How to Wire Car Wire Color Codes for Stereos

By David Woo

Car stereo wiring is daunting, but can definitely be a do-it-yourself task
i power wiring image by Aleksandr Ugorenkov from

While wiring a car stereo can be a daunting task because of the small, enclosed space and the large number of multicolored wires involved, the job can be quick and painless with the right set of instructions and the right materials. Since each stereo is designed differently, correctly identifying the function of each wire can vary, so keep in mind that, depending on the type of stereo that you have, your tasks may be slightly different from those described here.

Removing the Stereo and Identifying the Wiring

Remove the stereo from its housing in the dash of your car using your stereo removal tools. Depending on the type of car that you have, the process of removing the stereo from the dash can vary. However, typically stock stereos that come with the car require that you remove part of the dashboard to access the stereo's housing, while aftermarket stereos usually are sold with tools to remove it from its housing.

Each car stereo is unique
i convertible car interior image by Christopher Dodge from

Cut the wires which connect the stereo to the car, leaving as much length as possible still connected to the car, and use your car stereo wiring diagram to identify the function of each wire. Depending on the type of car you have, each wire's function can vary. However, typically the red wire indicates "Power," black indicates "Ground," yellow indicates "Remote," and striped, multicolored wires indicate speaker wires.

Identify the function of each wire on the new stereo which you plan on wiring to your car using your stereo wiring diagram. As with the previous wiring diagrams, each stereo's diagram is unique, so the function of each color may differ. Once you have identified the function of each wire, connect them to the corresponding wire at the dash of the car (Power wire to Power wire, Ground wire to Ground wire, and so on).