Car Stereo Wire Colors Code & Wiring Diagrams

Aftermarket Car Stereo Wire Colors

If you’re looking to install a car stereo, it’s important to know the wire colors so that you can connect them correctly.

If I told you that there was a way to make your car stereo sound better than ever before?

Believe it or not, by using the right wire colors when installing your system, you can improve the quality of your music while also protecting your vehicle’s wiring.

This guide will show you the most common colors and what they mean. With this information, you’ll be able to install your new car stereo wiring in no time!

How to Identify Aftermarket Car Stereo Wire Colors

Most aftermarket car stereos will use one of two standards for wire colors: EIA/TIA (Electronics Industries Alliance/Telecommunications Industry Association) or ISO (International Organization for Standardization). In either case, there will be a standard set of colors used for each function. Here is a quick guide to the most common wire colors and their functions:

Car Stereo Wire Colors
OrangePower / Illumination+12V Dimmer/illumination wire
RedPower+12V Ignition (Accessory Power)
YellowPower+12V Memory (Constant Power)
BlueAntenna+Antenna Power
BlackGroundingStereo Chassis Ground
Blue / White StripeAmplifier+Amplifier Turn On
Gray / Black StripeSpeakerRight Front Speaker
Purple / Black StripeSpeakerRight Rear Speaker
GreySpeaker+Right Front Speaker
PurpleSpeaker+Right Rear Speaker
WhiteSpeaker+Left Front Speaker
White / Black StripeSpeakerLeft Front Speaker
Green / Black StripeSpeakerLeft Rear Speaker
GreenSpeaker+Left Rear Speaker
PinkMisc.+Vehicle Speed Sense
BrownMisc.+Audio Mute
Light GreenMisc.Parking Brake
Light VioletMisc.+Reverse Gear Trigger

EIA/TIA Wire Colors

  • Red: Power (+12V)
  • Black: Ground (-)
  • Yellow: Battery constant (+12V) always on
  • Orange: Ignition switched power (+12V)Turns on when you turn the key to “on” or “acc”
  • Green: Left rear speaker (+)
  • Purple: Left rear speaker (-)
  • Gray: Right rear speaker (+)
  • White: Right rear speaker (-)
  • Blue: Left front speaker (+)
  • Brown: Left front speaker (-)
  • Aqua: Right front speaker (+)Beige: Right front speaker (-)

ISO Wire Colors

  • Red: Power (+12V)
  • Black: Ground (-)
  • Yellow/Violet: Battery constant (+12V) always on
  • Green/Brown: Ignition switched power (+12V) Turns on when you turn the key to “on” or “acc”
  • Gray/Purple: Left rear speaker (+)
  • White/Black: Left rear speaker (-)
  • Green/Yellow: Right rear speaker (+)
  • Violet/Red: Right rear speaker (-)
  • Blue/Purple: Left front speaker (+)
  • Brown/Gray: Left front speaker (-)
  • Pink/Aqua: Right front speaker (+)White/Violet: Right front speaker (-)

What Color Wires Go Together In A Car Stereo?

In a aftermarket car stereo system, the wires that connect the various components together are color-coded to make it easier to identify which wire goes where. While there is no one standard for wire colors, there are some general trends that can help you determine which wires go together.

Car Stereo Wire Color Code

Power Wire

Most head unit will have a red wire that is used as the “power” or “ignition” wire. This wire produces 12 volts of DC power to the stereo, and is usually switched so that it only has power when the ignition is on. This ensures that the stereo doesn’t drain your battery when you’re not using it. 

The red wire must be connected to a fuse in order for it to work properly. If there is no fuse, the red wire will constantly provide power to the stereo, even when the ignition is off, and this can quickly drain your battery. For this reason, it’s important to make sure that the red wire is always fused correctly.

Ground Wire

The ground wire (black color wire) is a metal wire that’s connected to the car’s chassis and provides a path for electrical current to flow from the car’s battery to the head unit. This helps ensure that the current flowing through the stereo is consistent and doesn’t get interrupted, which can cause problems like static noise or even a blown speaker.

The ground wire should be attached to a bare piece of metal on the car chassis (usually near the battery), and it’s important to make sure that it’s properly attached so that there aren’t any gaps where electricity could flow unexpectedly. If you’re not comfortable doing this yourself, you can always take your car to a mechanic or audio specialist who can do it for you.

Antenna Wire

Blue wire on a aftermarket car stereo is typically the antenna power wire. This wire provides power to the antenna, which is necessary for the antenna to function properly. In most cases, the blue wire will be connected to a 12-volt power source. If you are installing a new aftermarket car stereo, be sure to connect the blue wire to the same power source as your other stereo wires. Failure to do so could result in damage to your car stereo or decreased performance from your antenna.

Illumination Wire

The orange wire on a aftermarket car stereo is the illumination wire. This wire provides power to the dashboard lights so they can be turned on when the car is turned on. 

This wire is responsible for lighting up the dash and display when you turn on your vehicle. The orange wire needs to be connected to a constant 12-volt supply. In most vehicles, the ignition switch is the perfect place for this connection. This wire provides power to the illumination system of your stereo. The orange wire is usually a red wire with a white stripe, and it’s usually located in the harness that runs from the head unit to the amplifier.

12V Memory Wire

The yellow wire on a head unit is typically used for 12V memory, or “clock,” signals. This means that it helps preserve your station presets and other settings when the car’s ignition is turned off. In some cases, the yellow wire may also be used for tuner functions. For example, it may send a signal to the radio telling it to switch to a specific frequency range. Consult your car radio’s owners manual to be sure what function the yellow wire performs in your specific mode.

Brown Wire

The “brown wire” is the audio mute wire. When you tap into it, it effectively mutes all sound from the head unit – perfect for silencing that obnoxious passenger or when you need to concentrate on driving.

Some cars have a specific “mute” button on the head unit that can also be used to achieve the same effect, but if your car doesn’t have one and you don’t want to reach down and fiddle with the wires each time, then just tap into the brown wire and you’re good to go.

Car Stereo Wiring Diagram

This head unit diagram will show you how to wire your head unit. It’s very helpful if you’re installing a new stereo, or rewiring your car. Use this as a guide or refer to the owner’s manual that came with your stereo – when wiring any car audio system, be sure to follow all safety precautions.

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Is It Possible To Install A Car Stereo Without Any Wires At All?

If you don’t have any accessible wires in your vehicle for installation, an integrated wiring harness is a last resort. It combines all of the necessary elements into one single unit that connects to your car’s electrical system as well as the existing wiring. There is no need to cut any factory wiring and install the device in line with this type of installation.

Why Would I Need A Wiring Harness?

If you’re replacing your factory radio with an aftermarket unit, you’ll need to use a wiring harness. The wiring harness will allow you to connect your new head unit to your car’s electrical system without having to cut any of the existing wires. This makes for an easier installation process and ensures that there will be no problems with your stereo.

Where Can I Get A Wiring Harness?

You can purchase it from Amazon and aftermarket car stereo retailers. They’re usually included with the purchase of a new head unit. If you’re not sure which harness to buy, consult the retailer’s staff for assistance.

How Do I Install A Wiring Harness?

The installation process for a wiring harness is usually quite simple. You’ll first need to remove the dashboard panels in your car to access the wiring harnesses. Next, you’ll need to identify which wires on your head unit should be connected with those on your vehicle. If the colors are different, you can use a chart or an online guide to match them up. Once the wires are connected, you can reattach the dashboard panels and test out your new stereo!

Is There Anything Else I Should Know Before Installing My Car Stereo?

When you’re installing your aftermarket head unit, it’s best to use the same colors as what came with your vehicle. This will make for an easier installation process and ensure that you won’t damage any of the wiring.

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I'm Miles Walker and I'm the founder of I've been in the car audio industry for over 20 years and have a wealth of knowledge to offer on all things related to car audio. I graduated from UC Berkeley with an electrical engineering degree, so you can rely on me for top-notch expertise and advice when it comes to upgrading your sound system.

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