2008 Altima: Flashing, Frozen Stock Head-Unit Display

Got questions about your Nissan? We're here to help, and it's FREE!
User avatar
Posts: 7534
Joined: Sun May 17, 2009 11:51 am
Car: '08 Nissan Altima Coupe 3.5SE
'19 Infiniti QX50 FWD
'17 BMW 330e iPerformance
Location: Orange County, CA

2008 Altima: Flashing, Frozen Stock Head-Unit Display

Postby IBCoupe » Wed Oct 12, 2011 2:40 pm

The Car: 2008 Altima Coupe 3.5SE
The Problem Part: Related to the stock Bose head-unit.

Howdy! So about a month ago, a periodic problem began that happens regularly now. Within a few minutes of driving, my head unit freezes up. I'll describe what happens:

1. The display freezes.
2. The bluetooth disconnects.
3. The screen goes blank and dark.
4. The screen stays blank, but the backlighting increases to nighttime levels.
5. The screen stays blank, but the backlighting increases to daytime levels.
6. Return to step 3, and repeat.

Now, I can still do some things with the car's stereo system. I can still hit the power button to turn audio in the car off. I usually have my iPod plugged into the Aux jack, so the nice thing is that I can continue to listen. I can hit the "Tilt" button to adjust the head-unit position, and I can eject the map DVD within. I can press the individual buttons on the CD changer, and it switches to CDs. But when I do that, I'm stuck with the CDs at the previous volume level. So the next thing I do is eject all the CDs. Now I have nothing. When this happens, the only audio control buttons that function are those would not require any software to work. There's no touchscreen, no preset buttons, no settings, no steering-wheel controls.

When I stop the car and restart it, I have control of my audio system again. For a little while. Yesterday, I did this repeatedly, and every time, within five minutes of driving, the head-unit froze up again. At my wit's end, I pulled into a gas station and disconnected my battery for roughly 15 seconds. I reconnected the battery and got back into the car - noting that my preset radio settings had not changed, though everything else about the car had reset.

This wouldn't bother me excessively except for two things: First, the vast majority of my driving is done in periods of 1 hour more. When the freeze happens early in the trip, I'm stuck with it 'til I find a reason to stop. Second, most of my driving is done after sunset. While the flashing in the day is merely distracting and aggrevating, it's downright blinding at night. I've taken to holding the "Tilt" button all the way so that the faceplate aims upwards.

I'm planning to take my car into the dealer for its 110,000-mile maintenance soon, but I'd rather not add anything extra onto my bill than I have to. I'm hoping you guys can help me, and I'm praying that it's an easy fix that I can do on my own.

Return to “Nissan Online Mechanic”