Cold Feelings About Depreciated ICE?

Bruce writes:

Hi Sajeev,

In the comments for “QOTD: Are All These Turbocharged Cars Going to Last?” there was a long discussion on whether dashboard entertainment systems were also a weak point in modern cars. Well, it’s turned out to be a weak point in my 2004 Acura TSX.

It’s a first-generation TSX with a 6-speed manual gearbox and a total hoot to drive, but the dash computer/radio has always been a problem. The high-mounted LED display failed and was fixed under a recall (the problem was a bad chip in the radio). It gave up the ghost again nine years later and the dealer threw up his hands at fixing it for free. Now the infotainment system constantly reboots rendering it unusable.

My question: Is it worth having this problem fixed on an 11-year old car?

Not having the infotainment system is more of a nuisance than anything else. The CD player works. I can adjust the radio and temperature controls using the knobs and buttons. I already use my phone to navigate because it has real-time traffic functionality. I can’t redirect the vents, adjust the bass, treble or balance, or see the clock or set temperature for the cabin, however.

Your thoughts?

Sajeev answers:

The perk of living in the Internet age — aside from this fantastic column and its magnificent author — is that almost anything can be repaired with Googling, including in-car entertainment (ICE). This video suggests cleaning the DVD disc to fix the rebooting issue.

This company rebuilds a host of Acura components, and specifically the non-navigation setup for $125-225. I’d contact them for a rebuild estimate on yours … but they aren’t the only game in town.

High tech auto infotainment repair shops are popping up in major cities, which aid local mechanics in making local repairs. I recently purchased a reconditioned Marc Levinson amp for my mother’s 2006 Lexus GS. It was silly money from the dealer (over $2,000) because it’s a rare Lexus option. So off I went to my trusty stereo repair shop in a not-so-pleasant part of town. Twenty-four hours later and $500 lighter, I had a rebuilt amp with a 90-day warranty.

I could have spent (a little) less buying a junkyard part from eBay, but who knows its lifespan.

I’ve had good luck with the cottage industry (?) around ICE repairs, so give it a shot.


  1. Brandi Reeves

    Maybe I just haven’t looked in to right places, but given the current system with touch screens to control everything, do they even *make* cars now with audio systems that aren’t integrated into everything else? Last one I did was my MK IV (2004) Golf where I replaced the stock auto-reverse cassette with something with A) bluetooth and 2) USB.

    It must be killing the low end aftermarket audio market. I say low end, because I’m assuming there is a way to make higher end equipment work, since like most things, there is a solution given enough $$$.

    • Blake Brock

      True in that any problem can be solved with enough money thrown at it.

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