Modern pickup trucks come equipped with a multi-functional infotainment system to listen to music and control various vehicle parameters.
However, it requires its engine in an ON position to preserve the battery from draining. Therefore, every truck has an ON accessory and starting mode of operation.
How to Keep Radio On When Truck is Off? You can keep the radio ON when the truck engine is OFF by entering accessory mode. For trucks with Start/Stop push-button, turn the shift lever to park position and tap the push button once to keep the radio ON. For trucks with the key ignition, turn the key to the first click position to activate the accessory mode and use the radio with the engine OFF.
Here are a few methods to listen to music and radio while working in the garage or outside for partying purposes.
How to Keep Radio On When Truck is Off?
All trucks have an accessory mode of operation that allows truck owners to keep the infotainment system, USB ports, and fan ON without cranking their engine.
You have to follow a simple sequence of steps to turn ON the accessories, whether you have an earlier truck model with key-based ignition or the latest push-button Start/Stop technology.
The same steps will also work well for all vehicles with manual or automatic transmission systems.
Trucks with Start/Stop push button
Trucks manufacturers have introduced keyless push-button start in the latest models after 2015.
Turn ON the Accessory Mode Without using Brake Pedal
Earlier models have a key-based start, and every driver was well aware of the accessory mode. The accessory mode will not be evident in these models, and you need to follow the 3 steps mentioned here.
Shift lever to the neutral position
If your truck has automatic transmission, you need to move the shift lever from the drive position to the neutral position.
It is also an essential step before turning OFF the engine to stop the vehicle. You can also apply the handbrake as a crucial safety step.
Turn off the engine
The next step is to turn OFF the truck to enter accessory mode. Press the red Start/Stop push-button once, and it will turn OFF the engine.
However, you can still use the head unit of your vehicle.
Shift lever to park position
After stopping the engine, you need to turn the shift lever to park mode to apply parking brakes.
To come out of the accessory mode and turn OFF the radio, press the Start/Stop button twice, and it will turn OFF the power to all systems.
Turn ON the Accessory Mode using Brake Pedal
This method will work for a few vehicles and is tricky as you have to press the shift lever button and stop button simultaneously. Here is the sequence of steps to turn OFF the engine while keeping the radio ON.
Press the brake pedal
The first step is to push the brake pedal while the truck is in ON state. Moreover, the shift lever should be in an ON position to prevent accidental movement.
Press the shift lever release button in the Park position
Next, press the push button to release the shift lock by keeping the lever in the park position.
In the case of models after 2016, you need to perform this step while the shift lever is in the drive position; otherwise, it will turn OFF the whole system.
Push the stop button
Release the brake pedal; however, keep the shift lock release button in the pressed position. Using your second hand, press the engine stop button once to keep it functional.
Release the shift lever lock button
The last step is to release the shift lever lock button. It will keep the radio ON while your vehicle is parked.
Now, if you want to turn OFF the device, press the Start/Stop push-button twice.
Turn ON accessory Mode in an already Turned OFF truck
Press and release the push button without depressing the brake pedal. Moreover, the intelligent fob key should also be inside the cabin for this function to work.
It will activate the accessory mode and turn ON the power to the system. Then, you can operate it to enjoy music or whatever you want to do.
Trucks with ignition key-based start/stop
Earlier models of pickups have key-based ignition systems to turn ON the engine. There are 4 clicking positions of the key in the ignition switch for OFF, Accessory, ON, and Start functions.
Stop the engine
Move the ignition key to the first position that will ultimately turn OFF the truck engine and all electrical systems.
Turn the key to accessory mode
Next, move the key to the first click position to activate the accessory mode. It will keep power ON to some electrical accessories like head unit, warning lamps, and USB ports.
Turn ON the radio
Now turn ON the radio, and you can use it without any issues.
Again, it will be beneficial if you have to wait for someone in the parking lot or to do some maintenance work on your truck.
To completely turn OFF all the systems, move the key to the OFF position.
How long does the truck radio remain ON after turning off the engine?
The earlier models of vehicles with key-based ignition systems made it possible to keep the head unit ON.
Models later than 2011 have a battery monitoring system that monitors the battery consumption when the engine is OFF and will automatically turn OFF the accessories in excessive power consumption.
Therefore, you will only be able to listen to the radio for 10-15 minutes after it goes OFF as a safety measure to preserve battery charge. After that, you can turn it ON again by repeating the procedure as mentioned earlier.
Drawbacks of turning ON the truck radio while the engine is off
Keeping the radio ON for prolonged times can damage the battery life.
Pickups nowadays have intelligent electronics to monitor all their systems. It won’t allow you to keep the accessories with the engine OFF.
You will see warning messages like weak battery or battery saver, and PCM will turn OFF all systems by itself.
Do all models of pickup trucks support listening to the radio when the engine is off?
Accessory mode is available in all trucks models, whether old or new, having a key or keyless ignition and manual or auto transmission.
Older models have better flexibility due to fewer safety features and allow you to keep the radio ON for unlimited hours.
The latest models have multiple safety systems to ensure the proper operation of the truck. Therefore, they will allow you to turn ON accessories for a limited time with the engine OFF.