How To Connect Car Stereo
Learning how to connect a car stereo can be tricky if it is your first time, but this simple guide will help you get a grasp on just what is happening with all those wires. Since 1999 all after-market car stereos have used a standard color code in respect to their wiring. This has made it easier to know the function of each wire and to connect the wires to their corresponding wiring harness (or directly to the wires in your car’s dashboard). There are several methods for wiring your car stereo, but this guide will focus on the easiest method.
To begin with, you will need the following items:
- Wire stripper
- Electrical tape
- Wiring harness
- Antenna adaptor
- Determine wiring arrangement. Depending on what type of stereo you purchased, the amount of wires coming from the back will differ. However, wiring harnesses contain every wire needed for modern car stereos to function, so you will want to determine what wires you will be connecting the stereo to. The objective here is to splice every wire coming from the back of your car’s stereo to the wiring harness. To prevent shorts, tape off any wires from the wiring harness you will not need. If you stereo uses all the wires, move to the next step.
- Splice wires together. Every car manufacture uses different color codes when it comes to stereo wiring, so their functions will differ depending on what make you own. If you are not using a wiring harness, refer to your owner’s manual to determine the function of each wire. However, wiring harnesses use the same standard color code that is used by after-market stereos. If you are using one, you simply need to match the colors. Use your wire stripper and strip off one-inch of protective coating from each wire, twist the matching colors together and cover the exposed area with electrical tape.
- Connect antenna adaptor. Depending on the model stereo you purchased and the make/model of your car, you may need to connect an antenna adaptor. Plug the adaptor into antenna port on the back of your stereo. If you do not require an antenna adaptor, proceed to the next step.
- Connect harness to car. After you have all the wires spliced together, you are ready to connect it to your car. Your wiring harness is designed to connect directly to the wiring adapter within your car’s dashboard. Make sure your car is turned off and connect the harness to the adaptor. If your stereo requires an antenna adaptor, connect it to the antenna wire coming from your car's dashboard.
- Test it out. Once you have everything connected, turn your car on and test your radio. If everything went well you should immediately hear noise coming from your car’s speakers. Secure your stereo in your car’s dashboard, replace any dashboard molding and enjoy the tunes!