Radio Code FAQ

Buying a secondhand radio from Ebay or a Scrapyard - the pitfalls!

"I need a code for my CD player which I've just bought from someone on Ebay."
Our advice: We know it's tempting if your radio breaks and you want to keep the car 'original', or upgrade to something that fits as if original to the car (from a higher spec model perhaps), but the amazing bargain you thought you were getting may be anything but a bargain - infact you may end up throwing it away. At best you may need to obtain the unlock code because the one the 'owner' supplied doesn't work, but certain brands require the code to be recovered from the car manufacturer's database using the vehicle's VIN number (Clarion models in Peugeot and Citroen are often linked to the VIN and cannot be decoded from just the serial number, for example), and so you will need the VIN of the car it came from. However, if the radio or sat-nav is one that is electronically paired to the car it was originally fitted to, there's no way around it other than a physical re-pairing of the unit to your car's VIN. Needless to say, that's not a cheap, easy thing to do.

Buying from anyone on Ebay is frought with dangers as you generally can't know who you are buying from and whether you can trust them. Ebay is a great marketplace for secondhand stuff, but when it comes to units with security functions built into them, it's a big risk. And rightly so - no one wants to make it easy to pass on stolen units and encourage a return to the kind of vehicle theft levels we used to have in the 80s and early 90s. If you use PayPal then you have a way to dispute the transaction but it can still be a hassle. And let's not even get into what can happen if 'your radio' has been reported as stolen or can be traced back to a stolen vehicle. We've even heard stories of Interpol following up on a stolen unit in order to track down the source of organised car theft.
Buying a radio from a scrapyard is perhaps a little 'safer' in that you can sometimes get a note of the VIN of the vehicle it came from and they may (if you're lucky) have the book with the code in it. That said, we've had those that found out the hard way that the nice CD player they just bought cheap is one of those 'paired' models. It can still work out as an OK buy, as long as you were expecting it.

Clarion PU-2859A 'electronically paired' CD/radio

"I just want to swap over units as the current unit in my car has a faulty CD player. The information here is in regard to the unit I want to put into my car." [units such as Clarion PU-2859A(I) in Citroen]
Our advice: I believe the model you have is one that is electronically matched or 'paired' to the car it was fitted in at the factory. In other words, you cannot simply put it into another car without physically reprogramming the 'allowed' VIN number to that of the new car - I'm not sure if it doesn't work or works but constantly beeps if you try to use it in the 'wrong' car (usually the latter with these 'paired' radios). These radios generally do not need a separate code to be entered.
For more information and help on reprogramming the unit to your car's VIN, take a look at this page at DND Services. We can recommend DND as a longstanding specialist car radio decoder and service agent.

Where do I find the Serial Number on an Audi RNS-E?

We received a request without the serial number and so asked for more details. The customer replied with "Please see attached pic with all numbers etc. Can't see a number like AUZxxxxxxxxxxx you're describing." [RNS-E Sat-Nav in an Audi A4 Avant]
Our advice: Oh, OK, it's because they don't put the number on the chassis on those. If it's a newer version of the RNS-E (or rather, running a newish version of the operating software inside) then the serial number is displayed on the code entry screen. With this unit it's not shown on any label unless written somewhere by hand. If you can't see it then you will probably have to go to an Audi dealer and they will retrieve the unlock code, or at least the AUZ serial number, from the unit by connecting a VAG reader/diagnostic device. We can't do anything from a remote location without the 14-digit AUZ serial number, unfortunately.

Peugeot radio codes calculated from the 'C7 number'

Older Clarion radios such as the PU-2294A(C)fitted to the Peugeot Expert.
Our advice: The PU-2294 can sometimes be decoded from a C7 precode number if it is included on the metal chassis - it was dropped years back but older units still exist, especially in vans and other commercial vehicles. If your radio has the C7 number, it will look very similar to C70000006611 (always starts with C7, then zeros, then 4 numbers on the end). Take a look for that and include it in the 'additional info' box when you send the form to us.
Apart from a physical reset, the only other way to decode these units is by the car's VIN number and reading the code from Peugeot's database, as long as the radio is the one originally fitted to that car.

My CD/Radio beeps a lot!

"My Citroen estate came with a radio/tape player installed and I bought a radio/CD player on Ebay to put in. It works but loud beeps every 3 seconds because I haven't got the code for it. Security number shows as TOX000." [units such as the Siemens VDO RD3-01 originally fitted to Peugeot]
Our advice: Sorry, this radio cannot be decoded from the serial number. Even worse, it's not a simple case of getting a code. These radios are digitally programmed to a particular VIN number (i.e a specific car). The only way to stop it beeping (if used in a different car) is to get the VIN in the radio reprogrammed so it matches the new vehicle. In most cases these radios do not require a code to be input - they 'know' when they are in the original host car and work correctly. You've given the security number as TOX000, which looks like the usual 6-digit format used on Philips sets in Peugeot, but in this case it simply confirms that it's a VIN coded unit.
There is a specialised car electronics/decode company (DND Services - see link above) who we can recommend - you would need to send the radio for them to reprogram to the VIN number of your car. BUT that assumes your car uses the same system to recognise the radio and read the VIN code!