How To Reset Kenwood Car Stereo (Radio) – 3 Methods

Kenwood is producing state-of-the-art Japanese technology. It started as the Kasuga Radio Co. Ltd. in 1946 and has continued to improve as a leader in audio/video and communications products.

In 2011, Kenwood merged with JVC and now produces world-class car stereos. They have some of the best stereos on the market.

From pristine audio to superb functionality, Kenwood offers everything you’re looking for in a car stereo.

That said, nothing is perfect, and even the best car radios on the market sometimes act up and need a reset. Kenwood car stereos come in different models, but the resets are more or less the same across its product line.

This article describes the process of resetting your Kenwood step-by-step.

Which Reset Method is Right for You?

Kenwood radios are sophisticated devices. Being solidly engineered and built devices, they rarely break. The good news is this: most issues you might encounter are software-related. You can fix it with a reset, much like a computer.

If you’ve had your stereo for a while, maybe it has to behave in funny, not-so-fun ways. The buttons do not work correctly, and your display screen freezes. Perhaps you or a friend were experimenting with different settings. A simple reset will probably fix all these issues.

Simple/Soft Reset

I like to compare a soft reset with pressing rebooting a computer. No new installation takes place. When the computer restarts, it’s clear of errors, unwanted software conflicts have cleared, and the machine is working as designed again. It’s also the quickest way to resolve any conflict on a computer, and issues your software-powered radio may have.

We can compare common problems that may need a simple soft reset to correct include:

  • The stereo isn’t communicating/connecting with your smartphone
  • Buttons won’t respond to commands no matter how hard you try
  • The screen won’t respond to touch/swipe

Factory Reset

I like to compare this method to reinstalling the Operating system on a computer because the restart didn’t fix whatever went wrong. A factory reset on a radio is similar to that process. Only do you not need to reinstall the Operating System yourself. The radio does this from its memory.

Because your Kenwood wipes all the existing software from its memory and downloads its entire software from a chip within the device, a factory reset takes longer than a soft reset, just as it takes longer to reinstall Windows on a computer.

Factory resets If you have tried a simple reset and still experience issues, a factory reset will restore your car stereo to out-of-box settings. This erases all custom settings and returns the device to its basic configuration. After the reset, customize your settings again, and your radio will probably perform smoothly.

Reset Method for Kenwood KDC Models

This simple reset method will aid you in resetting your stereo for models such as the KDC line.

  • Step 1: Get a tool with a pointed tip ready, like a screwdriver or pin.
  • Step 2: Power up your stereo. Your reset won’t work unless the stereo has power. The car engine does not need to be running.
  • Step 3: Turn your stereo on by pressing the “Home” button. If the light comes on, your stereo is on.
  • Step 4: Look for the faceplate detach button. This button is usually in the bottom-left corner. Press it to detach the faceplate from your stereo carefully. You don’t want to damage it.
  • Step 5: Find the small reset button. Check your user’s manual if you are unable to locate it. Press and hold the button using that small pointed tool for 5 seconds. This is important as the reset may not be performed otherwise.

Your reset is now complete.

Reset Method for Kenwood Touchscreen Models

There are two types of reset methods to use depending on the situation. Soft or factory reset. We can do a soft reset to address minor problems, like an unresponsive display or Bluetooth connection issues.

1. How to Do a Soft Reset

  • Step 1: Get a tool with a pointed tip.
  • Step 2: Press the small red triangle button. This button is in the top-left corner.
  • Step 3: Press and hold it down with your pointed tool and release it in 5 seconds.

2. How to Do a Factory Setting

You may need an assistant. Ask someone to help you.

  • Step 1: Press the “CD Eject” button and the “Volume” button simultaneously.
  • Step 2: While holding the volume and eject buttons, use the pointed tool to press the small red triangle reset button. Press it once and release it. Keep holding until you see your stereo turn on and some details displayed on the screen.
  • Step 3: Find the “Initialize All” button on your screen. Click on it. The “now initializing” message will display for a few seconds.
  • Step 4: The stereo will display a message to push the reset button again to complete the initialize process. Push the button as instructed.

This will turn your eXcelon DDX stereo back to its factory settings. The reset process can take between 1-3 minutes on average.

How to Reset Kenwood Radio Bluetooth

If you decide to pair your stereo with a new phone and the stereo has reached the maximum number of paired devices, you will need to perform a reset to delete one of your old connections to make space for the new device.

  • Step 1: Press the phone button.
  • Step 2: Turn the volume knob and select “Settings”. Push the volume knob to activate the command.
  • Step 3: Push the volume button to click on “Pairing”.
  • Step 4: Turn the volume knob until the “Device Delete” command shows on the display and click on it.
  • Step 5: The list of paired devices will come up on display. Turn the volume knob to navigate the complete list.
  • Step 6: Once you see the device you want to delete, press the volume knob to select it.
  • Step 7: Confirm that you want to delete this device from your list by turning the knob to “Yes”.
  • Step 8: If there is more than one device you want to remove, repeat these steps.

When you initiate a hard, or factory reset, the radio will have the same settings it had when it came out of the box. It would surprise me if there were still issues with any radio function now.

Wrapping Up…

We hope this guide has helped you with resetting your Kenwood car radio. There are many models out there, and the location of the buttons may vary. But almost all car stereos follow the same basic steps. I would advise you to always check your manual.

Soft and factory resets are easy, especially on any Kenwood stereo system. If your problem is more of a user issue and unrelated to the hardware, we suggest starting with the soft reset.

If you are still having trouble, proceed with the factory reset method. 90% of the time, either reset option is all you need to solve your problem. If both techniques fail, you may need to bring your Kenwood authorized dealer or have a car stereo technician to check it out for you. Jam on!

Robert Muñoz

I’m Robert, a US-based auto electrician, auto mechanic, trained engineer and fanatic about all things motor vehicle. After studying engineering in college I returned to my original passion - car mechanics - and I ran a garage for a number of years serving my local community. Through my garage, I got involved in numerous road safety campaigns in my local area until eventually, I decided to share what I've learned with the world. Know more about me... You can follow me on LinkedIn.

1 thought on “How To Reset Kenwood Car Stereo (Radio) – 3 Methods”

  1. Hello,
    I need some help with a KDC -3021 Car Stereo. My Cd Player suddenly stopped working and keep spitting out the cd’s.. Ive tried many CDs ..its all the same .. They just wont play so i cannot even clean with a laser cleaning Disc….Its coincided with the loss of my Key Fob. So i am using the spare key. The cds just tripped out all the time. I was wondering if a reset might help.?. But guess what ? i cannot find any sign of a rest button.
    Please can you help ?




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