How to get the radio code for your Mitsubishi free

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Put a new battery in your older Mitsubishi? Blow a fuse, or just putting the factory radio back in, and now it doesn't work? It isn't broken. DO NOT pay a dealer, or a web site for the code. Mitsubishi offers the unlock code for free! Here's how.

Things You'll Need

  • A telephone
  • Possibly a phillips screwdriver
  • Possibly a dental mirror
  • If your Mitsubishi factory radio says "OFF" or "CODE" when you turn it on you need to unlock it's anti-theft feature. If it says "OFF" turn the key to ACC for 5 minutes with the radio on, and displaying "OFF". After 5 minutes the radio will turn itself off. Turn the key off then back on again. The radio should now display "CODE". If this doesn't work disconnect the battery for 5 minutes, and repeat the 5 minutes radio on displaying "OFF" with key in ACC until the radio turns itself off. Now that it says "CODE" go to step 2. The radio must display "CODE" to enter unlock code.

  • A lot of people have the code, and don't realize it. Before going to step 3 check your owner's manual, and glove box. The car came with a small business card with the unlock code on it. Often it is in the owner's manual slip cover, or between pages, or fell out into the glove box. If you can find it, or it is otherwise written somewhere in your car's paper work, it will save a lot of time. The code will be a 4 digit number like 1304, 0897, etc... it is individual to the radio's serial number, not the car's VIN number. So the VIN will not help. You have to go to the next step which is finding the radio's serial number.

  • The radio's serial number is on the left side of the case that is inside the dashboard. You will have to remove the fascia that is around the radio carefully to reveal it. In most models you can use a small dental style mirror to see the code without completely removing the radio. If you can't see it this way you will have to take it all the way out. Don't disconnect anything just pull it out far enough to see the numbers. The model number starts with MNxxxxx, this is not the number you need. The serial will be an 8 digit number, no letters. It will be close to the model number however.

  • Now that you have your serial number call Mitsubishi Motors of North America at 1-888-648-7820, M-F 7am - 4pm Pacific time. They will give you your unlock code for free, and they are even very pleasant about it!

    DO NOT PAY ANYONE FOR THIS CODE IT IS A FREE SERVICE!!!

  • Now that you have your unlock code you have to enter it into your radio. They should take you through this on the phone, but I'll write it out here too. The 1,2,3,4 preset buttons on your radio toggle up only through the digits 0-9. The 1 preset button is the first digit holder, and so on for the 4 digit code. If you go too far just keep pressing the button, and it will go back to 0, and you can get back to the right number. If your unlock code has a 0 in it you have to press the button once to get to 0. It starts with a dash (-). This doesn't count as the 0. For instance if your unlock code is 0873, you will press preset 1 once, preset 2 9x, preset 3 8x, and preset 4 4x. Once you have the correct number in the diplay press the "CD" button, and it will unlock your radio. If you didn't do it right, it will display "ERR1" before going back to the "CODE" display. Don't mess up more than twice. After the third failed try things get a lot more complicated.

Tips & Warnings

  • Some local dealerships will try to charge for this code. Don't pay them. It is a scam. They call the same number given in the article, and get the code for free. I have heard of people being charged up to $75 for a FREE service. The same is true for most other makes of car also. If the radio locks the car's manufacturer usually offers the code for free.
  • Web sites that offer to send you the code for a fee do the same thing, and charge anywhere from $15 - $35, for a FREE service.
  • After you get your code write it down somewhere you won't loose it, and keep it with the car, so you don't ever have this headache again.
  • Most cars 2003 and newer don't do this anymore because, well... it was a bad idea. That's why the unlock codes are free now.
  • If you have to remove your dashboard panel, or radio be very careful. Examine how the panel comes apart, and don't force anything. Make sure you have removed all the mounting screws, and use a small, thin screwdriver to slip mounting tabs loose, and support panel pops at the base where they slip into the panel so you don't pull the pop out of the panel instead of the dashboard base.
  • Don't just randomly put numbers in to try to crack the code. After 3 failed attempts the radio goes into another lockdown mode, and unlocking it gets more complicated.
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