Help! My CD is Stuck in My Car CD Player

Car CD players are fickle toys. One day it plays a CD perfectly, the next it refuses to spit out your CD. Just like that. A few weeks ago I was in the same boat. When I went to eject my CD, an error came across the CD player. It read: NO DISC. Not only was my CD stuck inside, the player did not even recognize there was something in there. AND it was a library CD. So there it was, held hostage at the mercy of a piece of temperamental technology and my CD was due back at the library in two days.

Frustrated, I took to Facebook and Google for help. Here is what I learned:

  • ┬áThe type of CD player makes a huge difference on what your extraction options are. If it is a factory CD player, meaning it is part of the dashboard and cannot be removed will result in a very pricey and professional removal process. Many cars with this type of player come with an anti-theft feature, which is a fancy way of saying that the CD player and all other dashboard controls are connected. Mess with one (say, removing the CD player) and you risk losing functionality in the dash and steering wheel. And getting it fixed by a dealer will cost up to $600. Plus, you will be lucky to get the CD back in one piece. If you have a CD player that can be removed easily, you can ship it to the manufacturer and the CD can be extracted, usually in good condition.
  • Always look at the manual override. If you have an after-market CD player (one that was not built into the car), there is often a small button (usually accessible with the end of a paperclip) that can manually eject the CD. If you are not sure, check the user manual (always a good idea to keep it on hand) for removal suggestions and tips.
  • Be careful what you stick in there. Many Youtube videos and Google searches suggested a variety of tips for removing a CD. Many involved sticking other items in the player to extract the CD. Such tips included using a blank CD (thinner than regular music CDs) to stick under the stuck CD and pulling it out, and putting double stick tape on the end of the ruler and pulling the CD out. I ignored the double stick tape suggestion and put duct tape on the end of the stick. Sure enough, when I pulled out the ruler, the duct tape slipped right off inside of the player.
  • Thin tweezers or pliers are king. After panicking with the prospect of having a CD and duct tape stuck in the player for the rest of its life, I called my dad in a panic. With a small needle nose pair of pliers, the CD was out in seconds. Never underestimate small tweezers and calling your dad for help.
  • Buying a new car is not a viable option, but a nice suggestion from a Facebook friend.
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