What's the deal with Seek and Tune on radios?

In every car I’ve ever tested this on, pushing the seek button jumps the tuner ahead until it reaches the next coherent radio station. But if you push it too fast, the tuner resets to where it was when you started.

However, you can push the Tune button as fast as you want and it doesn’t reset, but it always moves in increments of 0.2.

What is the purpose of such weird settings? Why even have a Seek button in the first place, and why does it reset when you push it fast?

Some of us go crazy in rental cars that are lacking a Seek button. It means “Siri, what else can I listen to?”

Seek sends you up to the next strong station. Tune let’s you choose the frequency of a specific station ex. 97.1 your smooth hits. Seek twice or more probably confuses the radio and it defaults to the bottom of the band 87.x


I’m not sure what you mean by pushing the seek button too fast, unless you mean pushing it twice. If so, that’s not using it correctly.

Push the seek button once. It will go to the next receivable station, linger there for a few seconds, then go on to the next receivable station after that. It will continue finding stations, pausing to let you hear them for a bit, then finding the next, pausing, etc., until you push a button (seek or a station set) to stop it. The first push starts the seek function, the second push stops it. If you push it twice rapidly, you are in effect cancelling the seek function.

The tune button goes to the next theoretically possible frequency, whether or not there is a receivable signal there. It goes one step per push.

The buttons serve different purposes and operate differently.

that’s the “Scan” function. “Seek” should go to the next (or previous) receivable station and stay there.

That’s a feature, not a bug.

there might be a scan function that stops at the next good signal and plays for a few seconds and continue on. hitting scan again stops it.

seek might go to the next good station and stop. holding the button may be like fast tuning.

with digital info in the station signal (and a radio equipped to use that info) you could be able to limit these functions to that station type, e.g. ROCK selector will only stop at rock identified stations.

You’re right, that totally slipped my mind.

I guess the answer for the OP, then, is that it takes “seek” longer to find and register a station than it takes “tune” to simply go to the next step, and hitting it again before the station is registered cancels it.

I guess the world makes some sense after all.

If seek does not find a station strong enough, it’ll keep cycling, the second push is a convenient way to get out of the loop.

Seek = go to next acceptable signal/station and stop
Scan = go to each acceptable signal/station, pause so I can sample dat chit, then proceed to the next one unless I hit ‘scan’ and stop yo ass
Tune = move up along every incremental band on the radio. If I tune to 95.3 and it’s static, so be it.