Why Does My GMC Sierra Radio Stay On When The Door Is Open?

Many GMC Sierra owners face an unusual problem. After they turn off the truck and open the door, their radio stays on. This is a problem no one wants to have. For one, a radio that won’t turn off will drain the battery.

If you’re a GMC Sierra owner who has this same issue, this guide can help. We’ll go over the most common causes of this issue and how to troubleshoot each one.

1. Bad Retained Accessory Power Door Switch

Rap diagram

Image Credit: RealFixesRealFast

A bad retained accessory power door switch (RAP switch) is the most common cause of this problem. Your Sierra comes with a retained accessory power system. The system contains:

  • A RAP switch in the driver's door
  • A relay leading to the body control module (BCM)

What's the point of having a RAP system in your truck? It's so certain accessories can still operate for a certain amount of time (usually 10 minutes) after you turn off the ignition. Such accessories include the radio, dome lights, and headlights. The RAP system shuts off some accessories like the radio once you open the door. Here's how the RAP system works:

  1. When you open the door, the RAP switch pops out.
  2. The RAP relay connects to the RAP switch and the BCM. When the RAP switch sticks out, the BCM (which also connects to the radio) shuts off the radio.

The RAP switch should last the lifetime of the vehicle. In some situations, though, it can fail. When it does, the RAP switch sticks or doesn't pop out. When the RAP switch fails to pop out, the BCM doesn't get the message that your door is open. Therefore the BCM doesn't shut off the radio.

Check the RAP switch in the driver's door to see if it pops out when you open it. There's also a chance that the RAP switch is fine, but there's something wrong with the RAP relay.

2. Bad Body Control Module

Body control module

If the RAP switch is fine, the problem could be the body control module (BCM). A malfunctioning BCM may not be able to receive a signal from the RAP switch, send a signal to the radio, or both. The best way to have your BCM checked (and replaced) is to bring your truck to a shop. You can get a idea of whether the BCM is the issue by looking out for the most common symptoms of BCM failure:

  • Radio working intermittently
  • Lights working intermittently
  • Gauge cluster working intermittently
  • Warning lights flashing without any action on your part
  • Battery draining
  • Difficulty starting the engine

3. Loose Or Bad Connection


Image Credit: AlAnsariAutomobile

It's possible that both the RAP switch and the BCM are fine, but there's a loose or bad connection. If the connection between the RAP switch and the BCM is loose or bad, the BCM won't get a signal from the RAP switch when the door opens. It's also possible that the connection between the BCM and the radio is loose or bad. In that case, the BCM can't shut off the radio when the door opens.

Check the following connections:

  • The wiring and connectors between the RAP switch and the BCM
  • The wiring and connectors between the BCM and the radio

Look for:

  • Any loose connections
  • Any damage on the wiring

Reinstalling or replacing the faulty connector should take care of the problem.

The Radio May Be The Issue

What if the RAP, BCM, and all the connectors are fine? It's possible that there's an issue within the radio that's causing it to not respond correctly. You could try to perform a hard reset (it's much easier than doing a Cadillac CUE hard reset). If that doesn't fix the problem, you may want to have your radio looked at.

We offer radio & screen repair services. You can send your Sierra radio to us to have us figure out what's wrong with it. If you'd rather replace your radio, we have remanufactured OEM radios. For example, check out this replacement radio for 2012-2014 Sierra trucks.