Why Does My Jeep Compass Say Sound System Unavailable?


The Jeep Compass sound system is an extraordinary blend of smart technology, high sound quality, and ease-of-use.

So it can be quite frustrating when the sound system malfunctions. Issues with the sound system can manifest in any of the following ways:

1. It displays the Sound System Unavailable error message on the dashboard

2. A warning indicator on the dashboard which is represented by a yellow speaker symbol with an exclamation mark next to it

3. The radio or stereo stops working

4. You are unable to control the sound system

5. Poor sound from the sound system, especially when connected to an external device.

Any of the above is usually an indication that there is an issue with the sound system on your Jeep Compass which requires your attention.

There are several possible reasons why the Sound System Unavailable error message may be displayed on your Jeep Compass dashboard. I have found that oftentimes, it is caused by a minor issue that you can resolve on your own without taking your car to a mechanic or the dealer.

In this article, I have researched all the possible reasons why you may see the Sound System Unavailable error message on your Jeep Compass, and provided easy-to-follow steps on how to resolve each of them.

1. System Needs A Software Update

Any system that uses smart technology requires an update from time to time. This is because, updates provide bug fixes in the system, improvement in performance and capability, additional features, and lots more.

Smart systems that are not updated from time to time will run into a glitch over a period of use, and the Jeep Compass sound system is not exempt from this.

Therefore, when you see the Sound System Unavailable error message on your Jeep Compass dashboard, one of the very first things to consider is that the sound system firmware may be out of date.

Fix – It Needs A Software Update

There are a few ways to update the software on your Jeep Compass, but the easiest, recommended, and most reliable way to do this is to go to the Uconnect website and download the system update.

If you own a PC and have internet access, you can perform this process by yourself and you do not need to go to your car dealer to have it done for you.

  1. Go to the Uconnect downloads web page on your PC and enter the full 17 digits of your vehicle identification number.
  2. Click on Check for updates
  3. When the update result displays, click on Get started
  4. Next, click on View Available Updates
  5. On the next page that opens, click on Download Updates
  6. Depending on the speed of your internet connection, the download may take a while. But that’s okay because the update file is usually quite large.
  7. When the download is complete, insert an empty USB stick into your computer and copy the download file to the USB stick.
  8. When the file transfer is complete, make sure to eject the USB stick properly before removing it from the computer.
  9. Next, turn on your Jeep Compass and let it idle. If you don’t want to leave the car idling while the update is installed, you can connect the battery to an external charger instead.
  10. Next, insert the USB stick into the USB port on your Jeep Compass.
  11. You should see a message telling you to wait while the update is validated. Press OK and wait.
  12. After a short while, you will see a message stating that the update validation is completed. Then you’ll be asked if you want to install the update. Click Yes to install the update
  13. When the update process starts, do not remove the USB stick until you’re prompted to do so. Also, do not press any buttons or perform any other tasks on the car until the update is completed.
  14. The update process may take a while and you will see progress bars displayed on the screen.
  15. Once the update is completed, your stereo system will restart.
  16. Accept the changes and then allow the system to reboot fully
  17. You may be prompted again to wait for a few minutes while the update is validated. Select okay.
  18. If you are asked whether you want to reinstall the update, select No
  19. Finally, remove the memory stick from the USB port and then test the sound system.

2. Nothing is Wrong With the Stereo and It’s A False Alarm

Another possible reason why you may see the Sound System Unavailable error message is that the sound system simply ran into a software glitch.

A software glitch is essentially a temporary error that occurs in the processor of the system. Such errors usually go away on their own when the system self corrects.

Interactions of the sound system with other electronic components of the car, jarred or sudden movements of the car, and poor maintenance can all cause such glitches.

Fix – Ignore the Light

With the above point in mind, it is usually a good idea to initially just ignore the warning light and see if it goes away on its own. As I mentioned earlier, the Jeep Compass sound system is highly sophisticated and has high resiliency. As a result, it is usually able to correct minor glitches that cause the Sound System Unavailable error message.

So, just ignore the warning light for a couple of hours and see if it goes away on its own. If it doesn’t, then proceed to the other fixes listed below.

3. The Weather Is Cold

Ideally, sound systems in cars are designed to function optimally under different weather conditions. However, they are not very well suited to cold weather.

When the weather is very cold, the electronic components of the Jeep Compass sound system may not transmit data properly. Or, the circuits may overheat when trying to compensate for the cold weather. Also, condensed water can cause short-circuiting in the sound system of the Jeep Compass.

Either of these can cause the sound system to malfunction and display the Sound System Unavailable error message.

Fix – Warm Up Your Car

If you see the Sound System Unavailable error message in cold weather, the first thing to do is to let the car run for a while and warm up the systems. This should get the electronic components functioning properly again or correct the short circuits that may have been caused by water.

Warming the car for about 20 minutes should correct this problem.

How to Fix Sound System Unavailable Message

If all of the basic fixes above do not work for you, then you may try the following technical fixes to remove the Sound System Unavailable error message.

1. Sound System Panel Connector Glitch

The sound system panel for your Jeep Compass is likely located under the passenger seat. There are at least 2 and in some cases, 3 cable connections to the panel.

Sometimes, these connections may run into a glitch or may just be loose.

When this is the case, all you need to do is reset the connection and the Sound System Unavailable error message will go away.

Fix – Reset Sound System panel connection

Before performing the steps below, I recommend that you disconnect at least one battery terminal on your car. This is to avoid any electrical issues that may occur from disconnecting the speaker panel while the battery is connected. At least make sure that the car is turned off and the key is removed from ignition.

  1. Press the lever under the passenger seat and move the seat all the way up/forward. This will reveal the sound system panel.
  2. You will find 2 or 3 cable connections to the panel. Remove these cables at the connectors and then plug them back in any order. Make sure the connection is firm.
  3. Return the seat to its original position and then test the sound system

This has fixed the Sound System Unavailable error message for many users.

B. Rust

I have found that rust on the speaker connector can cause issues with the sound system on your Jeep Compass. When rust or even dirt accumulates on the collector, it interrupts the transmission of sound signals across the system, resulting in the Sound System Unavailable error message.

Fix – Clean rust and dirt

  1. Remove the door panel and access the speaker.
  2. Remove the speaker to reveal the connection that is behind it.
  3. Disconnect the connector.
  4. Use a clean, dry rag to clean the connector and remove any rust or dirt that may have accumulated on it.
  5. Replace the connector, then replace the speaker.
  6. Test the sound system to see if the issue is resolved


Job Guthiri is a freelance writer with 3 years of experience writing for Motorsrun and other established automobile outlets. His focus and key interests are Tacomas and maintenance. Read our Editorial Guidlines and Fact Checking process.


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