Car DVD Player Problems

By Marshal M. Rosenthal

A DVD player in a car can have problems just as the DVD player in your home. But this also includes that the disc playing inside is vulnerable to every pothole or bump the car might encounter. Here's some of the common problems that can occur and how to correct them.

Disc Not Recognized by DVD Player

Some older DVD players in cars have problems with some of the new features that have been added to DVDs. Check to see whether there is a firmware update for the DVD player by going to the company's online website and searching through Support.

Disc Won't Play

Check that the disc is in good condition, with no scratches or dents on the bottom (silver side). Also, lightly flick any dust off the bottom using a lint-free cloth. If the disc won't play and is a disc that has been burned on a computer, try playing a commercially bought DVD or CD. If these play, then the DVD or CD that was made on a computer is either defective or the DVD player is not compatible with playing them.

DVD Doesn't Play Consistently in DVD Player

Subtitling can sometimes cause a DVD movie not to play correctly on a car's DVD player. Make sure that subtitling is turned off in the DVD player's settings. Also check that other settings, such as brightness and contrast, are at normal levels.

Disc Skips, Doesn't Play Smoothly

Any bumps or vibrations can affect the disc. Some correction for this is built into the DVD player, but not enough to correct for a pothole or if the car has bad suspension or if the driver brakes suddenly. Try to drive smoothly while the disc is playing.

DVD Screen Doesn't Come Down

If the DVD player has a drop-down screen that doesn't work, check to see if the fuse has blown. If it has, replace it with a similar model and then try turning on the DVD player again. You can also try turning off the car and then starting it again in case the battery wasn't supplying enough power for the DVD player.

Check the Car DVD Player's Wiring

If the car's DVD player was installed after-market (i.e., by the car's owner or a service center and not in the factory), there is always the chance that wiring has been frayed or gotten disconnected. Check the wiring of the DVD player to make sure that it is not being bent or frayed and that all connections have been properly done.


Most car DVD players are mounted on or in the dashboard, with the screen either in the dashboard or coming down automatically when turned on. Because of the danger of the driver looking at the screen and not the road, it's better to have the DVD screen in the headrests of the cars so that they are watched only by the passengers in the back seat.