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Steering wheel audio control adapters

Get a new stereo and keep your steering wheel controls

Many people are surprised to learn that their steering wheel audio controls won't work with a new car stereo without the help of an extra adapter. If you're considering upgrading your factory radio to an aftermarket receiver, adding a steering wheel audio control adapter lets you keep the full functionality and convenience of your steering wheel controls. We even offer a solution for vehicles that don't have factory steering wheel controls (see below).

Steering wheel audio controls in a 2006 Toyota Sienna XLE

Taking a look at the different adapters

It’s important to select the correct adapter for your vehicle. Not all adapters work with all cars, and some cars have no compatible adapter. We check these steering wheel control adapters for ease of installation in every vehicle. When you identify your vehicle on our site, you'll only see the adapters that are easiest to install in your specific vehicle. And when you buy any stereo from us, you'll get a deep discount on the steering wheel control adapter for your car.

If you have multiple adapters to choose from, it can be difficult to know which one is the best option. Here's an overview of the pros and cons of each adapter.

Axxess ASWC-1

Axxess ASWC-1


  • Plugs into many Metra stereo installation harnesses for easier installation
  • Easiest to program — the auto-programming feature recognizes the car automatically in many cases (see below), and programs the buttons automatically
  • Reads both digital and analog signals (see the explanation below)


  • Difficult to remap buttons — It's not as easy to redefine what the steering wheel buttons do

iDatalink Maestro

iDatalink Maestro ADS-MSW


  • Programmed online — set it up before you get out to the car and define the buttons the way you want
  • Supports multi-function buttons — press once to do one thing, hold it down to do something else
  • Watch the video demo on iDatalink's website — under the "Video FAQ" tab, look for "How to Flash a Maestro SW"


  • Does not read digital signals — analog only (see below)




  • Least expensive option
  • Works in many older vehicles


  • Programming is more complicated — you have to program each button in a specific order
  • Requires an additional adapter to read digital signals (see below)




  • Reads both digital and analog signals (see below)
  • Supports multi-function buttons — press once to do one thing, hold it down to do something else
  • Multiple programming modes — manual or via computer
  • Confirms manual programming with audio beeps as well as flashing LEDs (the other adapters only use LEDs)


  • Most expensive option

The details explained

The chart above is nice, but some of the points need a more thorough explanation.

Easier installation

  • Some stereo wiring harnesses (used to connect a new stereo) have a built-in connection for a steering wheel control adapter. Purchasing the matching steering wheel control adapter will result in an easier installation. For instance, the Axxess ASWC-1 adapter might plug right into the Metra wiring harness for your car, saving you a bunch of time.
  • Even when the stereo wiring harness doesn't have a connection built in, we have other adapters for some vehicles that will still let you plug in your SWC adapter. These extra harnesses are usually inexpensive and make the installation much simpler.
  • Our advisors can let you know if one of these situations applies to your vehicle.

Analog vs digital signals

  • Many modern vehicles send the signals coming from the steering wheel audio controls to the radio in a digital format. The Axxess ASWC-1 and the PAC SWI-CP5 adapters can read these digital signals.
  • You'll need to tap into the wiring in your steering wheel if you're using the iDatalink adapter in a vehicle like this.
  • Identifying your vehicle on our site will make sure you're buying a compatible adapter.

Button programming

Maestro box

The ADS-MSW connects to your computer via USB cable

  • Some steering wheel adapters require you to manually assign a function to each of your steering wheel control buttons. The instructions that come with your adapter will show you how to do this.
  • Some steering wheel adapters (namely, the Axxess ASWC-1) have an auto-detect mode, so it'll program itself to transmit the right signals from your steering wheel controls. If auto-detect mode doesn't work to your satisfaction, you'll still have the option of programming the adapter manually.
  • One neat advantage to manual programming is that you can choose to assign functions to the buttons on your steering wheel that are custom to your needs. This option is not available with all brands of aftermarket car stereos, so you'll want to do some research ahead of time to make sure your desired preset change will work.
  • The iDatalink ADS-MSW and the PAC SWI-CP5 adapters both let you use a computer to program the buttons (referred to as "flashing" the adapter). This is an easier way to set up the buttons and gives you more control over what they do. Plus, you can program the adapter before you start the installation.

Installing your steering wheel controls adapter

Tech support

Our tech support advisors can help you find the right wire

For the most straightforward installation, install your steering wheel adapter and aftermarket stereo at the same time. If you already have an aftermarket stereo installed, you'll need to pull it out of your dash to install the steering wheel control adapter.

Depending on your vehicle, the installation process can range from very simple to fairly complex, and that's why we recommend downloading more detailed vehicle-specific instructions from PAC, Axxess, or iDatalink. All three manufacturers also offer online instructional videos and installation tips.

In most cases, you'll have to splice some wires. If you're comfortable making a few cuts into your vehicle's wires, this is a great project for a do-it-yourselfer. And when you buy from Crutchfield, our tech support is available 7 days a week to walk you through the installation.

Soldering is recommended for the most secure connection, and is required for many of these installations. See our Car Stereo Installation Guide for soldering tips. You can minimize the amount of soldering by using Posi-Products™ wiring connectors. They're as secure as soldering, but much, much easier to use. And this particular set of Posi-Tap™ connectors is specifically sized for the smaller wires you'll encounter when installing a steering wheel control adapter.

If you're installing a radio made by Kenwood or JVC, you'll need to connect a wire from your new interface to the Blue/Yellow wire on the radio's harness. If you're installing any other compatible brand, you will simply plug in the interface's 3.5 mm jack into the steering wheel remote input on the back of the radio.

Axxess RFASWC universal steering wheel controls

The Axxess Universal Interface straps onto your steering wheel

Don't have factory steering wheel controls?

If your car doesn't have audio controls on the steering wheel, you can add them when you install a new stereo. The Axxess RFASWC universal interface will work in ANY car. It's compatible with many major brands of aftermarket stereo, so it's a great addition when you're upgrading the deck.

How do I find the right one?

Contact one of our expert advisors for help choosing the right adapter to work with your car and your new car stereo. They can also answer any questions you have about the installation and give you some idea about how difficult it'll be — some vehicles are easier than others. You can reach them at 1-888-955-6000 or via chat or email.

  • Jason from Lees Summit

    Posted on 4/23/2019

    I have a JVC head unit I'm repurposing for my boat with the blue/yellow wire and am trying to add a jvc wired remote but the 2 don't seem to communicate. Will one of these adapters allow that communication?

    Alexander H. from Crutchfield on 4/25/2019
    Jason, give us a call. 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.
  • Bunn from Christchurch

    Posted on 3/13/2019

    Hi I have a 2008 corolla gx sedan. It doesn't have factory steering wheel controls, but i have purchased compatable ones for a 2099 onwards corolla. My question is, can I just replace replace the clockspring with a 2009 clock spring? So can I assume the nessary wires for the steering wheel controls would be already installed? As the scrrew holes for the steering wheel controls are there? many thanks in advance. Quinton

    Alexander H. from Crutchfield on 3/14/2019
    Bunn, this may be a question for your Toyota service department. Our tech team won't be able to provide any helpful details about clock springs. Good luck!
  • Jeffrey McCarthy from Albury

    Posted on 9/19/2018

    A very good article Alexander. I'm on a learning curve and this has helped a lot. My project is to integrate the following: Pioneer DEH-88prs Reference series headunit (no external amplifier) with wired remote input jack PLUS a Classic 1970s car with an analogue "Radio Balance Control" (=fader) rotary knob built into the dash. I want to turn this knob into a volume control knob, it being easier to reach while driving than the (fiddly) headunit volume knob. I need to replace the analogue potentiometer behind the dash knob with a digital potentiometer or a "black box" that will translate a rotary knob into wired steering control language. Then program it to speak to the stereo. Do you think this is possible? I have completely restored the car and the Pioneer headunit is high quality and looks "classic" in the space where the old 8-track used to be. Any ideas anyone? Jeff, Australia

    Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield on 9/19/2018
    Jeffrey, sounds like a very cool project, but you'll probably want to consult with your local car audio installer. I checked with one of our techs here and he pointed out that the original control would need to remain in use. Balance and fade are not operated via a steering wheel control input on the Pioneer. They are operated only in the menus and the SWC input does not have any commands for those two functions.
  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 4/24/2017

    Enzo, yes, that's the only option that we carry if your vehicle doesn't already have factory steering wheel controls.

  • Enzo F. from NYC

    Posted on 4/22/2017

    I installed a Sony wx 900bt double din radio into my 2003 Toyota RAV4. My car does not have factory steering wheel audio controls. Is the Axxess RFASWC the only way to add steering wheel audio controls to my car?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 10/24/2016

    Vitor, we can't say with assurance one way or another since these modules are vehicle-specific and additionally, we can only offer insight on vehicles sold within the U.S. If you have a specific adapter in mind, your best bet would be to call the manufacturer directly to see if it will work with your vehicle in Brazil.

  • Vitor Bartolini from Rio de Janeiro, RJ

    Posted on 10/21/2016

    Dear Alexander, thanks a lot for your time and concern. I'm trying to install a radio which only supports SWC analogue remote signals as remote controlling, no CAN support at all. My OEM steering wheel has buttons on both sides of the wheel but just the right side ones work (Vol+/Vol-/Track+/Track-) to control the radio because the left side ones are supposed to operate the cruise control which my car doesn't have. My question is: can I use these buttons to operate other functions of the radio? I can reach the output of them on the MFSW relay pretty easily, all I need to know is if I could use the CCS signals as an input signal for your module and then teach your module to use these signals to control the other functions of the radio. There are extra features of the radio that can be controlled through the SWC interface (Phone Answer, Soruce Changing, Memo + and Memo-). Thanks!

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 10/17/2016

    Ivan, you'll need this harness to retain your factory warning chimes as well as this adapter for your antenna. Give us a call with any questions and an advisor will be able to help you.

  • Ivan from Allen, TX

    Posted on 10/16/2016

    I have a 2013 Mini Cooper Clubman w/o the H/K system. Is there an adapter for my vehicle?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/26/2016

    Jim, in your case, the interface provides the SWC signal via the databus so no vehicle wire has to be spliced. However, this is not the case for all vehicles. In some situations, some wire-splicing is involved. But to be clear -- in your case, you're good to go with no splicing.

  • Jim S.

    Posted on 9/18/2016

    I see a PAC RP4.2-TY11 Wiring Interface is required for a 2005 Toyota Sienna (JBL, but no Nav or DVD). What is unclear, even after review of PAC's online directions, is WHAT wires I would connect. See: I'd like to know how many wires which would require connecting and on what harness(es). Can this be solely done on the harnesses supplied with the installation kit or is altering/splicing of the factory wires needed? PAC's directions are rather obtuse and I see no indications what colors the factory wires are. Your online tutorial shows pretty much this van, but literally skips over the wiring part. Thanks!

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/22/2016

    Ryan, depending on the aftermarket receiver that you're installing, this would be the adapter for your Saab.

  • Ryan Gregory from East Windsor

    Posted on 8/19/2016

    Which steering wheel adaptor would be a good fit for my 1999 Saab 9-3?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/15/2016

    John, I've passed your question along to our sales team for the best answer. An advisor will contact you soon to help find the best gear for your Honda.

  • John B from falmouth, mass

    Posted on 8/14/2016

    2005 honda s2000 manufacturers install of honda unit. aux controls are located to left of steering wheel on the dash, again factory install. will i need some sort of aux kit to continue to utilize these controls? what radio/cd would be best compatible with it all? thanks

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/1/2016

    Robert, the resistor isn't part of the permanent installation. If your radio is auto-detecting as a JVC, you can use the included 12k ohm resistor in-line between the Blue/Yellow and Brown wire of the female 3.5mm jack. The resistor is only meant to be used during programming -- you'll remove it once the programming stage is over. Alternatively, you don't have to use the resistor at all. Instead, you can manually set the radio type. Just refer to the Changing Radio Type section of the Axxess manual (pp. 12-13).

  • Robert from Zephyrhills

    Posted on 6/30/2016

    Do I need to connect the resistor in between the wires from my ACWS-1 steering control module to the Kenwood DPX592BT stereo or just put the wires together the wires.

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 6/29/2016

    Tricia, I'm not entirely sure what your question is, but replacing your stereo will not effect your cruise control functionality. Give us a call with any questions and we can help you find the right gear for your Nissan.

  • tricia from lansing

    Posted on 6/28/2016

    2011 nissan rogue with no steering wheel audio controls. Best buy said I need one to keep cruise control???

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 2/29/2016

    Angie, these steering wheel controls are for use with compatible aftermarket stereos. It sounds as if you've purchased a Bose-equipped factory stereo, and in that case, you'll need to consult your local Nissan dealership.

  • Angie from Las Vegas

    Posted on 2/27/2016

    I just purchased a Bose stereo for my 2012 Nissan Altima. Which adapter do you suggest so my steering column will work Thank you

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 1/24/2016

    Heather, we actually haven't researched the harnesses required for that year and model with the Infinity sound package. However, if you don't have the factory Infinity package, then you'll be able to use this steering wheel control adapter. If you have any other questions about what fits your vehicle, check out our vehicle selector or give us a call.

  • Heather Miller from San Pedro

    Posted on 1/24/2016

    Which steering wheel adapter will work with a 2012 Kia Sorento EX and the Kenwood DNX572BH?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 1/18/2016

    Ramon, we recommend this steering wheel control adapter for your Sienna. For more information about your vehicle, you can use our vehicle selector to confirm what fits your car and get some info on what else is needed for the installation. Or just give us a call!

  • Ramón González from Reading, P.A 19601

    Posted on 1/18/2016

    Aftermarket ,stereo dual xdvd210 in my toyota sienna 2000 the wheel steering control not work , what need for ,used

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 12/28/2015

    Ethan, you'll need this harness for your Ram pick-up. You can use our vehicle selector to get some info on what else is needed for the installation.

  • Ethan Camp

    Posted on 12/26/2015

    What adapter will I need for a year 2003 dodge ram 2500 truck for the pioneer AVH-270BT stereo?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 12/7/2015

    Chris, this is probably the steering wheel control adapter that you need, but give us a call with your vehicle details so an advisor can confirm.

  • Chris from Nashville

    Posted on 12/5/2015

    Hi Alexander. Which one can I use for my 2001 Mercedes CLK 320 Coupe?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 11/23/2015

    Rich, if your steering wheel doesn't already have factory controls, you can add them. However, universal steering wheel controls require an aftermarket stereo with a steering wheel control input. So, if you don't have one, you will need to upgrade your stereo as well. Give us a call and we can help.

  • rich from fontana

    Posted on 11/22/2015

    I have a 1995 dodge ram 2500 I am installing a pioneer nfx 4100. I don't have volume control on steering wheel ! will this work for me?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 10/22/2015

    Mike, I've passed your information along to our sales team. An advisor will contact you soon to help you find the wiring harness for your needs.

  • Mike from Bowling Green

    Posted on 10/21/2015

    Hello, I have a 1998 BMW 528i (e39) which adapter should I purchase?

  • Dave Delamere from Crutchfield

    Posted on 10/5/2015

    Michael, our vehicle database spans vehicles sold within the U.S., so I can't confirm information about your BMW. Additionally, we did not carry the Alpine 9850ri radio; however, I checked with our Tech Support group. The older steering wheel control adapter that is probably present in your vehicle will more than likely work with newer Alpine radios. You can also check with Alpine directly to see if radios sold in your area are compatible with an older steering wheel control adapter. Good luck!

  • Michael from Auckland

    Posted on 10/5/2015

    Hello I just bought an e46 325i BMW with an older alpine unit - 9850ri. I'd like to upgrade to a newer unit with usb and bluetooth. Presently the steering wheel controls work. If I swap in a newer Alpine unit will the steering wheel controls continue to function? Or have Alpine updated their steering wheel control input connector?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/3/2015

    Jose, here's the wiring harness that you need for your '03 Excursion. You can use our vehicle selector to confirm which stereos fit your car and get some info on what else is needed for the installation.

  • jose carrillo from Greenfield

    Posted on 9/3/2015

    I have an 03 excursion...what adapter would work best for me?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/19/2015

    Frank, I sent your questions to our sales team, and they'll be contacting you via email soon. For immediate help, you can contact them via phone or chat.

  • Frank from Panora, Ia

    Posted on 8/18/2015

    Hello, we have a 1999 ford explorer limited with a the mach system. The radio is toast. leaning towards the alpine cde-hd149bt. (We are not young anymore, are son is 44 years old) I am making a list of your items to purchase.. I am not too sure of what is needed for retaining the (redundant) steering wheel controls. What would you recommend, please? Thank you

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/13/2015

    Joham, we don't carry a steering wheel adapter or a wiring harness for your Mercedes. To install your stereo, keep in mind that you will need to bypass the factory amp located in your trunk, by running speaker wire from your stereo to your speakers.

  • Joham from Las vegas

    Posted on 8/12/2015

    What adapter do i need to mantain my steering wheel controls functioning with the kenwood Excelon dnx692 on a 2002 mercedes S500

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/23/2015

    Sabastine, you'd use this steering wheel adapter for the 2003 Nissan Altima.

  • Sabastine from logos

    Posted on 7/23/2015

    How about altima 2003

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/20/2015

    Gary, our vehicle database spans vehicles sold within the U.S. You may be able to find recommendations on forums that discuss the Astra specifically, or check with you nearest professional installer. Good luck!

  • Gary mccarthy from Llanelli

    Posted on 7/19/2015

    What adaptor do I need for my Astra 2003 1.6 model

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 6/1/2015

    Nichel, unfortunately, our vehicle database only spans vehicles sold within the U.S. If you have a specific aftermarket receiver in mind, you may be able to find recommendations on forums that discuss the Prado VX specifically.

  • nichel from zahle - lebanon

    Posted on 6/1/2015

    i please i 'm asking if i can have steering wheel control for my prado vx mod 2003

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 5/26/2015

    Hugo, the adapter unifies an aftermarket stereo with a factory system, so the easiest way to find out is to input your info in our vehicle selector and select your stereo of choice. You will be shown your options for retaining factory features. If you have any questions, just give us a call at 1.888.955.6000

  • Hugo

    Posted on 5/26/2015

    I have a honda civic 2008 which one of these adapters can i use?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 5/19/2015

    Larry, Retention of a factory AUX input will depend on your vehicle as well as on what aftermarket stereo you choose. If you input your info in our vehicle selector and select a stereo, you will be shown your options for retaining factory features.

  • Larry from Rohnert Park, CA

    Posted on 5/19/2015

    Which ones will let you keep the AUX input on a car?

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