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'97 Radio Replacement


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My '97 has the famous disappearing segments on the radio display. I've tried pressing on it to restore the connection as suggested elsewhere, but it didn't help. I'd like to replace it with another stock unit and I've seen security codes mentioned in a number of places. If I get a radio from another car, will I need the VIN to get a dealer to activate it? Can they use my VIN to activate a different radio? Does any of this even matter, or will it just drop in and work? I have the Pioneer radio. I'd like to know before I try to buy a replacement. Also, has anyone had this problem fixed? I could solder connections back myself (if it's simple) or take it to a shop, but I figured getting it repaired might cost as much as a used unit. Lexus wanted $500 to exchange it. Thanks for any advice you can offer.

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With the older model ES's, the radio security code only works if you set it to a 3 digit code of your choosing, therefore, the VIN number I don't believe would do you any good. I'm sure that less than half the people who own ES's have ever even tinkered with this function, so it'd probably be easy to find one that hasn't had the code set.

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