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What do the wire colors of a car stereo mean?

Car Stereo Wiring Guide

Warning: Disconnect the negative terminal of the battery before beginning any installation

Manufacturers have made connecting a car stereo to an wiring harness relatively easy with color coded wires. In the table below, we show what those wires do and what the colors mean.

Wire Color Legend

Download our car stereo wiring guide

Wire Color Polarity Function

Yellow + Constant 12 volt power source regardless of key position.

Red + Accessory 12 volt power source requires turning of the key position.

Ground - Chassis ground.

Orange + Illumination wire, provides 0 volts when lights are off and 12 volts when the vehicle exterior lights are on.

Orange / White stripe + Dimmer wire, provides 0 - 12 volts from the vehicle and is adjustable with interior light dimmer control.

Blue + Power antenna, provides 12 volts from the receiver when the FM or AM radio is being used. Turns off on any other source.
Blue / White stripe + Amplifier turn on, provides 12 volts from the receiver when receiver is turned on.

Brown + Audio Mute (Not common and not used in most applications).

Light Green - Parking brake, vehicle provides a ground signal when parking brake is pulled up.

Light Violet + Reverse trigger (+12 volts when vehicle is placed in reverse)

Pink + V.S.S. - Vehicle speed sense (PWM signal / square wave)
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