Changing Dead Battery Kills Jeep's Stereo

Bob somehow got the crazy idea in his head that when he changed the battery in his Jeep Liberty, the factory-installed 6-CD changer would not stop working. He and other Chrysler vehicle owners should have known better. Of course their stereos, made by Chrysler part supplier Mopar, couldn’t handle a battery change. Since no one has any idea how to fix this issue, Bob had the choice to get the same system replaced for only $575, or go out and buy a significantly nicer aftermarket stereo for a lot less money. Hmm, what to do?

As the owner of a 2005 Jeep Liberty I have been generally happy with the vehicle. Well, that is up until a few months ago during the winter when my Jeep’s battery gave up the ghost.

The Jeep came with a stock 6 CD changer with a model name of BRQ. Leave it to Mopar to come up with such an imaginative name. There are also BRK and BRS models to name a few. This had been a pretty decent CD changer up until my battery died and I stopped at a local big box store for a replacement battery. Upon installing the new battery, I noticed that although the AM/FM portion of the radio/changer still worked, I could no longer select “CD” from the menu. It was as though CD functionality was completely erased from the units menu.

First thing I did was dig the owners manual out of the glove box and find the section on radio and CD equipment. Again, Chrysler did a great job showing settings for 3 or 4 different changers but I soon found my model. Well, there was nothing on the CD changer instructions regarding resetting the device or precautions to take when changing the vehicles 12 volt battery.

Next I called the dealership I bought the Jeep from and talked to one of the service guys for Jeep vehicles. He had no clue what I was talking about and he talked to a couple of techs who said they heard of a security feature for car stereos that required a “code” to be entered to reenable the device. They did not know if the BRQ changer had or required such a code. Why should they know, they are only Jeep techs?

I next called a few more Chrysler dealerships and even the Chrysler mother ship. No, no one ever heard of such a thing but one dealer said I could bring my Jeep in and they could reflash the computer (which computer??).

I started searching for Chrysler and Jeep forums to see if I could find anything. Sure enough I found a forum where there were many similar complaints made about the same CD changer that was also stock in many Dodge Grand Caravans, etc. Many folks complained about the CD changer dying or disappearing after a battery or fuse change. Misery loves company.

Now, my question for Chrysler: WTF is the matter with you people? This is a blatant defect of your factory installed equipment. Why haven’t you sent out service bulletins or recall notifications? If I was able to find hundreds of people with this problem, that means statistically, there are probably thousands with dead BRQ CD changers. Why don’t the dealers know anything? Why don’t you as a company know anything? Are autos such a disposable commodity that you figure, “screw ‘em”, they will have to buy a new car in a couple years. Major Fail.

This does have a happy ending for me, however. I went to the Crutchfield website and did a search for stereo CD players that were mechanically and electrically a good fit for my Jeep Liberty. I found a great Kenwood CD player that took me all of 30 minutes to install and sounds and looks better than the original. And it cost $115 compared to the $575 that Chrysler wanted for a replacement.

The moral of the story… let the buyer really beware of Mopar.