Information about Factory CD Players
Although compact discs are losing popularity amongst audiophiles and MP3/WMA digital music, Pandora or even satellite radio are gaining new users every day it’s still common to find CD players in the car you’re driving. It looks like the CD will be heading the way of the cassette tape but its long reign is not over yet. Since we will be seeing this technology for some time to come we might as well learn how to take care of the player, solve problems and learn about common issues surrounding this spinning disk form of entertainment.
CD Sound Quality
The thing that made us move from cassette tapes to compact discs was hands-down the sound quality. Even though the CD has been around awhile it still produces better sound than the standard AM and FM broadcast signals. When you insert a disc and it does not produce the expected results it’s time to take a closer look at it.
One thing to consider is if you’re playing a CD-R you will often find the audio quality is reduced. This is because of available options when the disk is being burned. Many burning software programs offer the ability to compress the files to fit more music per disc. Generally speaking, the larger the files the better it will sound. It’s a difficult balance to strike and users will have to make the decision of what’s more important. The audio quality or the amount of music the disc holds.
Condition of the Compact Disc
The physical condition also has a lot to do with the sound quality heard from the speakers. Whether it’s burned or factory produced, taking care of the surface that is read by the player’s optical sensor is of utmost importance. You need to put discs back in the original cases and store them away from harsh sunlight and dirty conditions.
Since the CD player scans the bottom surface if you are setting them down momentarily to grab the case, do so with the bottom side facing up.On the subject of handling CDs it’s always best to keep fingerprints off the reading surface. Handle discs from the edges and the center hole. If one becomes damaged, especially warped, deeply scratched or cracked avoid the temptation of inserting it into the player. It will be cheaper to either buy or make a new disc as opposed to repairing or replacing the player.
Care of the CD Player
As touched on above the number one way to care for your CD player is to take a good look at the disk before you insert it. If the read surface of the CD is dirty take a soft cloth and dampen with plain water or an extremely mild detergent mixed with water. Wipe it from the center out towards the edge and buff dry with a soft lint free fluffy towel. Another issue to address is one of the major causes for a CD to become jammed in the player.
Installing a label for easy identification on burned discs is a common practice. After storage in a hot car the glue can soften on the label and it can begin to curl. It might even look good as you insert it, but can pop up when the disk is inside. When labeling is necessary it is advised to use a permanent marker instead. Finally, using an optical cleaning disc or solution is not recommended on GM original equipment CD changers and players.
Dealing with CD Player Problems
Sometimes when we go to insert our favorite disk we are greeted by an error message or the disk comes right back out of the player. There are a few things that can cause this issue. If it’s a new disc that’s never been installed in this particular player it might not be the right audio format. If it’s one you have played before and the read surface looks okay it could be the player is too hot.
Some factory units have an overheat protection where they will reject the disk when a certain internal temperature is reached. Another common issue in the summer is extremely high humidity or moisture on the reading surface. Any type of water can cause read errors as the optical laser reflects off of the water droplets. Still the most common problems for an error message would be a cracked disc, CD installed upside down, a label that’s peeling off or deep scratches.
No one likes dealing with a broken CD player. The truth is we’re our own worst enemy when it comes to this subject. Maybe we get lazy or just busy driving, but often people will not take care of the discs they love so much. If you have a center console filled with unprotected CD’s and empty cases you’re asking for trouble down the road. Store, clean and care for your discs and your chances of experiencing problems with the player will be greatly reduced.
If CD’s become stuck in the factory installed player and will not eject or an error message is displayed the dealership provides the best chance at having that unit repaired. A dealer service department will be set up with an electronics repair company. That can disassemble and fix many internal problems or offer an exchange unit at a reduced cost.