How To Troubleshoot SiriusXM Reception Issues

We all can agree that SiriusXM enriches the driving experience a lot. So reception issues can really put a damper on your trip. It’s no fun driving in complete silence or having the sound fade in and out, causing you to miss some of your favorite songs or radio shows. Luckily, SiriusXM audio quality problems are pretty easy to troubleshoot and fix.

Ruling Out Your Stereo System

Before diving into the troubleshooting process for SiriusXM, let’s verify that your stereo system is working just fine. It’s possible that your head unit or one of your speakers is starting to go bad. It’s pretty easy to check your stereo system:

  1. Turn off SiriusXM.
  2. Insert a CD or connect an MP3 device to the stereo system.
  3. Play around with the volume, treble, and bass to see if the stereo system responds accordingly.

aftermarket subwoofer

Is the audio quality iffy? Is there a lack of range when you adjust the volume, bass, or treble? If yes, then your stereo system is likely the culprit behind the poor audio quality. In such a case, you can look into upgrading your stereo system. If everything sounds okay, then the issue probably lies in your SiriusXM system.

To find out what exactly is wrong with your SiriusXM system and how to fix it, take a look at this of list symptoms and possible causes:

1. Symptoms: Fading Audio, Static, No Audio

Possible Cause: No Signal

Even though SiriusXM has a large coverage area, it’s not available everywhere. When you enter an area where SiriusXM isn’t available, the signal drops. The most common “dead” places include:

  • Extremely rural areas.
  • Underground parking garages and tunnels.

If you’re in an area where your radio should be getting a SiriusXM signal, try refreshing your radio.

siriusxm coverage area

Possible Cause: Car Radio Not Set To The Correct FM Frequency/ Interference From Another FM Channel

Your SiriusXM radio works by broadcasting a low power FM signal. You (or your installer) chose the frequency during the set-up process. Your car radio needs to be tuned to that exact frequency to play good quality sound. If the car radio tuner gets bumped just a little, the sound quality will be poor. You can find the frequency your SiriusXM radio is broadcasting on by pushing the menu button and looking for the setting.

During the setup process, your SiriusXM radio was set to broadcast on an FM signal that was unused in your city. As you travel, you may find a radio station also broadcasting on the same frequency. To fix this, you can change the frequency that your SiriusXM radio is using. To do this:

  • Search on your current zip code here to locate an empty frequency.
  • Set the SiriusXM radio to broadcast on the new frequency.
  • Tune your car radio to the new frequency.

If you need more detailed instructions, refer to the “Find an FM Frequency” section in your SiriusXM user guide.

Possible Cause: Weak Or No Auxiliary Cable Connection

Troubleshooting this issue is easy. You just have to check all the cables between your car’s stereo system and your SiriusXM radio (or adapter) to make sure they’re connected securely. If they are, then check these two things:

  1. The SiriusXM radio’s FM mode: Make sure it’s off.
  2. Auxiliary input mode: Make sure your car stereo is in auxiliary input mode.

2. Symptoms: Unusually Soft Audio

Possible Cause: Audio Level Output Is Set Too Low

Does the volume suddenly drop once you turn on SiriusXM? It’s usually because SiriusXM’s audio level isn’t set high enough for your stereo system. You can easily fix this problem by following the instructions in the “Setting the Line Out Level” section in your SiriusXM user guide.

3. Symptoms: The Audio On A Certain Channel Sounds “Different” Than Other Channels.

Possible Cause: SiriusXM Audio Technology Varies By Channel

Sometimes the problem isn’t your SiriusXM radio, but actually the channel you’re listening to. For instance, local traffic and weather channels use different audio technology than other channels. The sound on non-music channels is compressed as compared to music channels, so it sounds different. If you think that might be the case, listen to other channels. If all or most of them sound OK, then it’s simply the audio technology being used by the channel.

Got any questions not addressed in this post? Please contact us. We’ll be happy to help you troubleshoot your SiriusXM audio issues!

Categories: Satellite Radio