HomeTips & GuidesCar Stereo Wire Harness Adapter: How it Helps You in Aftermarket Stereo Connection

Car Stereo Wire Harness Adapter: How it Helps You in Aftermarket Stereo Connection

Does installing a market-bought car stereo in your car haunt you? Well, if you have a car stereo wire harness adapter, it is much simpler than anything else. 

You only need to know the purpose of different wire colors in the stereo and get a wiring diagram to simplify the process. 

Table of Contents

What is a car stereo wire harness adapter?

A stereo harness is the one that helps you install a market-bought stereo inside your car. These are more or less like adapters. 

Although the stock stereo is designed to be replaced with a new one, and aftermarket stereos have the same inputs and outputs, the location of these inputs and outputs is not the same. 

Using a car stereo harness adapter simplifies this installation process. 

Connect one end to the stereo and the other to the original wiring harness, which was earlier connected to the factory-fitted stereo. 

aftermarket stereo installing

aftermarket stereo installing

Types of car stereo wire harness adapters

The market is flooded with innumerable stereo harness options, and the main challenge is to find the suitable harness that fits your car’s original wiring and the new stereo. 

Extension harnesses:

As the name signifies, these harnesses have long cables reaching any corner of the car. 

In some cars, stereo connectors are located far away from the stereo, sometimes even in the trunk. In such cases, you will need these extension harnesses. 

And in some advanced versions of these harnesses, you get an option for customizing length as per your need. 

Amp Bypassing:

There are options in your car where you can connect your car’s built-in amplifier to the aftermarket stereo system. 

However, sometimes, the market-bought stereo comes with better built-in amplifiers, and thus, you need not use the stock amplifier. 

You can bypass this stock amplifier with this amp bypassing harness. 

Safety alarm retainer:

Modern cars have a safety alarm system, which sometimes stays connected to the stock stereo system. If you remove this system, you may also remove the safety alarm connection. 

With a safety alarm retainer harness, you can retain the alarm system even after replacing the stock stereo. 

Programmable harness:

In modern cars, a few enhanced features like Chrysler Uconnect, FORD sync, and many others are built-in in the stereo system only. 

When you remove the stock stereo system, you may not have access to all these fantastic features. 

However, with advanced programmable harnesses, you can retain all these features. 

Though a little expensive, these specialized harnesses are of great value. You can stay connected to all the fantastic features of your cars even after installing an aftermarket stereo. 

Behind the car stereo

Behind the car stereo

How can you find a suitable car stereo wire harness adapter?

The only thing you must do is to have some information about the harness, which helps you decide if it is suitable for your vehicle type. 

Before picking a harness, you must have answers to the following questions: 

  1. What is the year, make and model of the vehicle?
  2. Does your car have a factory-fitted stereo system?
  3. Do you possess an aftermarket stereo already?

If your answer to the third question is “YES,” you may not need any radio harness as aftermarket stereos come with the wiring harness. 

If the answer to the second question is YES, you may need a specialized harness to provide low-level signals to the amplifier. 

How to install a car stereo wire harness adapter?

Earlier, it was difficult to install a stereo with an aftermarket wiring harness as the color codes from each brand, sometimes even model, were different.

 However, now manufacturers are designing car stereos with standard wire colors. 

The connection becomes easier with the referral diagram of stereo wiring in the car’s manual. 

You only need to connect the colored stereo wires to the respective colored slots present in the harness

Once you do this, connect the other end of the stereo harness to the car’s head unit

Stereo wires are of four types based on their purpose.

  • Ground wire: A black wire among so many stereo wires is the ground wire. 
  • Power wires: They are three in number: red, yellow, and orange. The red power wire is meant for accessories, the yellow one to supply constant power of 12 V, and the orange one (having white stripes) is the illumination wire for the dimmer. 
  • Amplifier and antenna wires: Here, the solid blue wire is to connect the antenna, and the blue with white stripes is meant for the amplifier. 
  • Wires for speaker: There are four speaker wires in the stereo, and each one of them has two variations: striped and solid. The four colors of the speaker wire are gray (for the right front speaker), white (for the left front speaker), purple (for the right rear speaker), and green (for the left rear speaker).

As said above, each color has one solid and another with black stripes. In each combination, the solid wire is for the positive terminal, while the striped one is for the negative terminal. 

What if you don’t have a car stereo wire harness adapter?

Sometimes, you may not find a suitable wiring harness for connecting your stereo to the car. In such a case, you can follow the below-mentioned method.

  • Keep in mind the colors of the car’s stereo wires.
  • Now, look for the pigtail that comes with the heat unit. 
  • Connect the stereo wires with that pigtail.
  • Suppose you don’t even have a pigtail; in such a case, you can buy one or connect the wires directly to the main unit.
  • However, if you are connecting the stereo directly to the head unit, you must look for the wiring diagram of the unit or get it online. That is essential because the color codes in these systems may differ.
Pigtail wiring harness

Pigtail wiring harness


Of course, you can always get a custom wiring harness to easily connect a stereo and car’s head unit for their normal functioning. 

At Cloom, you can find custom wiring harnesses for stereo and many other automobile accessories and systems. 

Contact our engineers to discuss the details of your requirements so that they can suggest the best possible solution.

Hi I am Christa, sales manager of Cloom.

I have extensive expertise and experience in wiring harnesses and I believe I can help you.

And we have a very professional technical team who can clearly understand the customer’s needs and give professional suggestions and solutions after receiving the drawings.

If you also have wiring harness needs, please send me the drawing so that we can give you our quote and start our business.

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