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Three ways to connect your receiver's wiring harness

Be sure your connections are solid

I've been with Crutchfield since 1999, where I began as one our advisors, helping our customers choose new gear. After a couple of years, I moved to the writing team where I spent a decade researching new products and getting hands on with car stereos, amplifiers, speakers, and subs. Yeah, I've been doing this for a while.

For the past few years, I've been the managing editor of Crutchfield's Car A/V web article content. I couldn't ask for a better job — we get to play with car audio gear every day! I'm a Virginia native from the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Outside of work, I love listening to music, playing board games, and installing new audio systems for my friends.

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.

  • Elle Mae from oregon

    Posted on 6/22/2015

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

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

  • jhoads from Chanute

    Posted on 11/10/2015

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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.

  • Rachel Bemis from Perryville

    Posted on 12/6/2016

    I am looking to install my recently purchased head unit in my 2002 Hyundai Sonata. I am having a bit of trouble. My brother was smart and decided to cut the wires that connected to the stock head unit. What do I need to fix this? Would be amazing if someone could help me out. What kind of harness do I need?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 12/6/2016

    Rachel, you'll want to use this harness to connect your new radio, but you'll need to reconnect the factory harness that your brother removed. 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.

  • Antonio from St louis

    Posted on 12/7/2016

    Could I use bullet splice connectors to connect the wires?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 12/8/2016

    Antonio, if that's what you prefer. We tend to use Posi-Products or solder our connections.

  • David Smiley from Wilmington

    Posted on 9/1/2017

    Is the harness you provide all that would be needed to Install this unit into my 2002 BMW 530i in order to replace the current dsp stereo and retain the steering wheel volum control ECT.?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/5/2017

    David, I've passed your question along to one of our Advisors. They will contact you soon to double-check the trim level on your vehicle. Requirements for installation will vary depending on your factory package.

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