Can I change the brightness of my new car DAB radio?

I recently installed a single-DIN DAB car radio in my Vauxhall car, but at night the screen and buttons seem to be very bright. Can anything be done?
– Tony

Compared to the radios fitted in cars 10 to 20 years ago, and the in-dash stereos on more recent cars, new DAB radios can seem like a mini mobile disco.

Fortunately most after-market car stereos do have options to change the brightness and colour of the backlight which illuminates the display and buttons.

Some in-dash digital radios can dim the display automatically – according to whether the vehicle’s lights are switched on or not. This works with a connection to the car’s wiring, often found along with the power and other leads behind the radio. If you’re not confident with auto-electrics you should consult a professional.

If the wiring is correct the auto-dimmer may not be enabled in the settings. The user manual should detail how to enable or disable the auto-dimming function. If you don’t have the manual you should be able to find it online on the manufacturer’s website.

Most car radios have an option to set the dimmer on or off manually, through the settings or a dedicated button. Again, the user manual should have the details.

If the dimmer is enabled, but the front of the radio still seems too bright, you could try changing the colour of the backlight. Many after-market radios offer this as an option so that the colour of dials and buttons in the car and the new radio are matched. If the radio has a green light by default, you could see if amber or blue is less noticeable at night.

Something else to check is that the demo mode is disabled. Many radios enter a demo mode by default when switched on for the first time. The colours and moving text might look good in an auto accessories shop and demonstrate the abilities of the radio, but once installed there is no reason to keep this enabled.

Adapters like the Pure Highway 400 change the screen brightness automatically using a light sensor. However, it can be changed manually too through the display settings.