To look at automotive stereo wiring diagrams for any specific vehicle and head unit is obviously the easiest way to wire in an aftermarket car stereo. Meanwhile, it’s also possible to get the job done without any labels, adapters, or diagrams.
Since automotive stereo wire colors are pretty uniform, you don’t actually need a wiring diagram to install a car stereo even with a second-hand unit without any paperwork. Most aftermarket manufacturers stick to a standardized speaker wire colors scheme.
Installing a Used Car Stereo With or Without a Pigtail
If you find yourself with a used car stereo and you have the pigtail that came with the head unit, just check out the list in the next section of this article to see what each wire in the pigtail needs to connect to. If you don’t have it, the best option is to look for an adapter that’s designed specifically to connect that head unit to your make and model of car. Otherwise, you’ll have to obtain a replacement pigtail to proceed or a wiring diagram which is sometimes printed on the exterior of the head unit.
Standard Head Unit Speaker Wire Colors in Auto Aftermarket
Most aftermarket car stereos use a standardized coloring scheme for the power, ground, antenna, and speaker wires. If you get the pigtail that came with head unit and it uses the standard colors, then the wires will have the following purposes and colors:
|Yellow||12V Constant / Memory||Power Wire|
|Red||Switch / Accessory||Power Wire|
|Orange (White Stripe)||Dash Light Dimmer/Illumination||Power Wire|
|Green||Left Rear Speaker (+)||Speaker|
|Green (Black Stripe)||Left Rear Speaker (-)||Speaker|
|Purple||Right Rear Speaker (+)||Speaker|
|Purple (Black Stripe)||Right Rear Speaker (-)||Speaker|
|White||Left Front Speaker (+)||Speaker|
|White (Black Stripe)||Left Front Speaker (-)||Speaker|
|Gray||Right Front Speaker (+)||Speaker|
|Gray (Black Stripe)||Right Front Speaker (-)||Speaker|
|Blue (White Stripe)||Amplifier Remote Turn-on||Amplifier|
Understanding what these colors mean can make your installation faster, easier, as well as ensuring that your installation is done properly. It is important that the appropriate cables are connected properly to the cables that they are intended to. Failure to properly connect wires can potentially result in damaging the components and voiding warranties.
Keep in mind that this guide applies specifically to most aftermarket applications. Your vehicle’s factory OEM wiring can be very different from above colors and they will not match the colors mentioned above. Please always check the wire coloring codes on your components before installing them.