Why does the radio stay on when I get out of my car?

John Paul, AAA Northeast's Car Doctor, answers a question from a reader whose car radio just keeps playing.

The Buick Cascada convertible.
The Buick Cascada convertible. –AP Photo/General Motors

Q. I have a Buick Cascada convertible, which I really like. It handles well, and it’s just the right size for me. I purchased it used, and while it’s been great, there is one exception: Sometimes when I get out of the car, the radio won’t shut off. The car is off but the radio continues to play. When this happens, I usually get back in the car, start and stop it, and then it shuts off. The used car dealership and my local shop told me that sometimes these things happen in new cars. Is this the only answer? 

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A. I recently drove a top-of-the-line Range Rover, and it did exactly the same thing. Sometimes everything would shut off, sometimes not. In the case of your Cascada — and I agree it is a nice car — there is a fix. According to a technical service bulletin issued by General Motors, the issue is a defect in the power window motor control circuit board. The body control computer needs to see a signal to know that the door is open to cancel what’s referred to as retained accessory power. The fix is to replace the window regulator.

John Paul is AAA Northeast’s Car Doctor. He has over 40 years of experience in the automotive business and is an ASE certified master technician. Email your car question to jpaul@aaanortheast.com.

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