I have a 2013 model used car that I bought two years ago. It came with a 7 inch touch screen infotainment system on its dash board with features like navigation, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a good FM AM radio. Except the radio I rarely use navigation or Bluetooth phone sync. After couple of months the touch started to become non-responsive. Since all important things such as call termination, mute and volume control have physical switches, I was happy with it.
During a periodic car check up on a local workshop, mechanic pulled battery terminals making the infotainment system locked. Now it ask for 4 digit pass code. Its one of their ant-theft mechanism and in order to enter those digits you need a touch responsive screen. So now I am completed locked out.
I visited service center of this car to get it changed, turns out they don’t repair it and only change by the unit. And will cost me Rs 50,000. Considering my usage is restricted to radio. That price is way too much.
So my next options were,
Use a normal cheap car radio player. I dropped this plan, since stereo players comes in very small size and I might need plastic placeholders to close rest of the area from the 7 inch screen. This can mess aesthetics of dash board. And it also affect value of the car if I will sell in future.
Use a 7 inch third party infotainment system available in the market. I did enquired with local car accessories shop and I dropped this plan as well because most of them are android and comes with enormous number of pre installed apps which I never gonna use it anyway. And I don’t need one more device that need to be connected to the Internet. Also the wiring at the back of these devices are different than what I have already so it need rewiring.
Last option was to change the infotainment system parts my own. I was under the impression that these units are in-house made, tightly assembled and sealed with screws that you never see in your life and you will never able to be open it up, let alone fix parts.
Couple of articles showed me that car infotainment system sizes and wiring at the back are actually standardized. This particular system’s OEM is LG
After gaining confidence from several youtube videos and articles, I chose the 3rd option and started to disassemble head unit. Luckily all those screw driver heads were with me. After taking everything apart I could see back of touch screen glass bulged and pushing against the display. The back of the display had a label with its manufacturers name Innolux display and its model number AT070TN94. You might know this company from all those raspberry pi displays in the market. Also Tesla car makers use Innolux display in their infotainment unit.
I was able to spot an online reseller in Hong Kong. I only need a touch screen display but to be on the safe side I also placed order for display as well(Price difference were negligible) Took 1 month to reach at my hand due to COVID restrictions. I assembled everything together and collected radio pass code the very same day I received the item. Everything is working now. yay!
The touch screen + display cost me Rs 6000/-. I can easily get an average android infotainment around this price. But it was the price I paid for avoiding e-waste.
So if you have a broken head unit in your pre 2015 era car. Try to change the parts yourself. Its not complicated like our mobile phones.