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Three ways to connect your receiver's wiring harness

Be sure your connections are solid

Robert Ferency-Viars is the managing editor for the Crutchfield car A/V learning content, and has been with the company since 1999. A Virginia native from the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, he loves spending time with his wonderful wife and sons, listening to music, writing, and playing games with friends. Robert's love for car audio began at 16 when he installed his first car stereo.

More from Robert Ferency-Viars

Vehicle wiring harness

The first step to installing a new car stereo is connecting the receiver's wiring harness to the adapter harness that will plug into your car. Making long-lasting connections is of the utmost importance. By using one of the methods illustrated below, you can be sure that your connections will last for years to come—and that your new in-dash receiver will work properly.

Method 1: Soldering

Soldering makes the most solid connection. Heat shrink tubing protects and insulates that connection. The task always starts with a wire stripper for removing insulation from the wire ends.

Method 2: Posi-Products connectors

Posi-Products™ connectors are easy to attach and stay firmly in place. This is our favorite method because of the quality of the connectors and the simplicity of the technique.

Method 3: Crimping

Crimping can create a reasonably solid connection. You'll need a crimping tool and crimp caps. The only potential drawback: if the caps aren't crimped tight enough, they can shake loose. Give them a good tug before you install that stereo!

Install it like a pro

Facing those two bunches of wires can be intimidating, especially if this is your first installation. But the task really isn't that hard if you take your time and make your connections with care, one wire at a time. Before you know it, you'll have your new stereo installed and ready to rock.

Last updated May 18, 2016
  • Elle Mae from oregon

    Posted on 6/22/2015 11:41:13 PM

    I have a 1987 Chevy Winnebago Chieftain that im trying to install a Kenwood CD Receiver Model # KDKDC-X395. My wiring harness for the Winnibago are not the same colors As the stereo harness. Nor are they labeled. Please help. This was suppossed to be a surprise for my husband for guys weekend and now he's upset because his "HOMe" is all tore apart. So much for a surprise. Thanx

  • Robert Ferency-Viars from Crutchfield

    Posted on 6/24/2015 10:57:00 AM

    Elle Mae, unfortunately, we've never researched any Winnebagos, so we don't have any wiring information. You might be able to find those details in the owner's manual, if you happen to have it, but really, your best bet will be to post this question on some RV forums or Winnebago help sites. If there are any RV dealers in your area, they might be able to help. For what it's worth, this is a normal situation for any vehicle. Auto manufacturers use their own color codes and they rarely correspond to the aftermarket color conventions. That's a very thoughtful gift...good luck!

  • daniel mourmouris from United States

    Posted on 8/2/2015 8:45:02 PM

    Just installed a pioneer avic8000nex in my 2015 Nissan frontier and the face keeps opening and won't shut. Any ideas?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/3/2015 11:13:02 AM

    Daniel, if you bought your gear from Crutchfield, you can call Tech Support for free help troubleshooting your system. If you purchased your equipment elsewhere, you can still get expert Crutchfield Tech Support - 90 days-worth for only $30. Check out our tech support page for details. Alternatively, check out Pioneer support for help.

  • John from Newark, ohio

    Posted on 8/17/2015 12:00:51 PM

    Will a Sony CDs-ca710x fit my 1994 ranger pickup cult? If so how do I connect to my harness

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/17/2015 2:37:26 PM

    John, we have the wiring harnesses you'd need for a straight-forward installation, but which harness depends on which '94 Ranger you have. Give us a call at the number above. The good news is you won't need a dash kit to fit that radio in your dash.

  • Joshua Vincent from Bowling green

    Posted on 8/31/2015 3:05:49 PM

    My Nissan sentra the plugs were cut when I bought the car so how can I hard wire my boss CD player in

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/31/2015 3:22:40 PM

    Joshua, you can search our online Knowledge Base for wiring diagrams. If you don't find the information you need, try your local dealership or online Nissan forums. Good luck!

  • Trevonn Brown from forestpark

    Posted on 9/7/2015 3:40:26 AM

    I have a 96 tahoe 4wd 4 door. I purchased the car with the factory radio removed n the original wire harness cut. I need to know how to turn on my factory amp so my speakers will work. What color is the power to the factory amp?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/8/2015 2:22:51 PM

    Trevonn, you can search our online Knowledge Base for wiring information.

  • jhoads from Chanute

    Posted on 11/10/2015 10:31:35 AM

    I plan on getting a Kenwood DPX 501BT for my 2000 Ford F150...Just wanted to know if this harness would be compatible....?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 11/10/2015 11:36:08 AM

    J Hoads, we do have a wiring harness and kit available for your vehicle. You can use our vehicle selector to confirm what else is needed for the installation once you select the radio you want. If you have any questions, just give us a call. An advisor will be able to help you as well.

  • Trevor from Pfafftown

    Posted on 11/18/2015 10:50:14 AM

    I am looking to purchase an aftermarket stereo(from Crutchfield) for my 03' Grand Cherokee Laredo(without infinity sound system). I have aftermarket door speakers, as well as a Fosgate amp powering a single 10" MTX Jackhammer sub. Will this wiring harness match the wire colors in the factory harness? Also, will it power the apms remote(REM) wire that leads back to the receiver? Thanks for your time and patience with my newb questions!

  • Dave Delamere from Crutchfield

    Posted on 11/19/2015 8:50:22 AM

    Trevor, the wiring harness we offer for your Jeep plugs directly onto the plug that detaches from your factory radio. Each pin is a match to your Jeep's wiring. You'll need to match the wiring colors on the bare wire end of the adapter to your new car stereo's wiring harness. The remote turn-on wire for your Rockford amp will need to be directly connected to the amp turn-on wire on your new car stereo. There's a blue wire on the wiring harness we offer, but it's made for turning on the factory Infinity amp if it was present in the Jeep.

  • Trevor from Pfafftown

    Posted on 11/19/2015 7:29:35 PM

    Thank you, that was a great help! How would you suggest I wire my REM wire to the new head unit? I'm looking at the Sony CDX-GT570UP, and I see that it has a blue terminal on the back of it. Would that happen to be a REM terminal? Thank you again!

  • Dave Delamere from Crutchfield

    Posted on 11/20/2015 9:26:03 AM

    Trevor, you're very welcome. The Sony CDX-GT570UP does include a blue wire with a white stripe that is a remote turn-on wire. If your amp already has a remote wire installed, you'll want to identify it and then connect it to the blue/white wire on the Sony receiver. This essentially turns the amp on when the receiver comes on.

  • Trevor from Pfafftown

    Posted on 11/20/2015 6:49:48 PM

    I greatly appreciate your help! I am more than satisfied with the service at Crutchfield. My new receiver will be delivered shortly :) thanks again!

  • Robert Spradley from reading

    Posted on 12/13/2015 1:03:04 AM

    How do I connect the two adapters in my 98 passat, I already have the head unit wired, just need more info on how to connect the rest of harness in the dash.

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 12/14/2015 9:48:54 AM

    Robert, check out our online Knowledge Base. You'll find wiring information for your Passat there. And if you bought your gear from Crutchfield, you can call Tech Support for free help troubleshooting your system. If you purchased your equipment elsewhere, you can still get expert Crutchfield Tech Support - 90 days-worth for only $30. Check out our tech support page for details.

  • Dillon from Las Vegas

    Posted on 12/30/2015 12:59:32 PM

    I just watched the soldering video in preparation for my car audio receiver installation and was wondering what size soldering wire I should buy. Wire size was not mentioned in video method 1.

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 1/4/2016 11:49:28 AM

    Dillon, you should use the thinnest gauge soldering wire possible for this kind of precise work.

  • Jerome Mahoney from Sellersville

    Posted on 1/16/2016 5:42:49 PM

    I have 1995 Mercedes Benz c class. I changed out the radio head w a JVC kD 320 Bts and speakers purchased at Crutchfield. After install, powered up, miswired message on display, no sound. Talked to ur rep Jason today and he said that I installed wrong wire connectors and I replaced them and soldered the speaker wires and shrink tubed. Still no sound.

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 1/18/2016 12:03:36 PM

    Jerome, give Tech Support another call. If you've wired your speakers correctly, that will help our team troubleshoot what else could be the problem. If you've taken photos of your most recent wiring job, that could be helpful as well when you call Tech Support.

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