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How To Find Remote Wire In Car Stereo?

If you want to install a new stereo in your car and try to find the remote wire location in your vehicle, then do not worry. I have just located the remote wire for you.

The remote wire is located behind the stereo, and it usually comes in blue with a white stripe on aftermarket stereos. However, it can come in another color on factory stereos. The remote wire instructs your amplifier to turn on each time the stereo is switched on (usually every time the vehicle is powered on).

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Tip: When wiring the stereo to the car installation, make sure the harness has long enough wires to allow you to make proper connections.

If you need to replace the harness with the new one, I recommend using either Scosche or Metra harnesses explicitly designed for the radio and car models.

Before you can replace your car stereo, you will need to locate the remote wire. In most modern cars, this is easy. However, previous-generation cars can be trickier.

In this article, I will provide you with a step-by-step guide on locating the remote wire in your car stereo.

How To Find Remote Wire In Car Stereo Using Harness Color Code

Color codes are used to quickly identify the wires in an automotive wiring harness. Car stereo installation is a snap when you know how to decode the color code on your new car stereo harness. 

The most common way of identifying wires in a car stereo wiring harness is by using the standard color code.

The remote wire usually comes in blue with a white stripe on aftermarket stereos. However, it can come in any color on factory-installed stereos. 

The stereo installation wiring harness is the wire that connects your car to the new stereo. It contains the bare wires that are connected to the new stereo and then connected to the factory wiring.

The wires inside a stereo installation wiring harness are color-coded for ease of use.

There is a standard color code for aftermarket car audio installation. This standard color code provides an easy way to identify what wire goes where in your vehicle. Therefore using a standard harness will save you time, energy, and money when installing an aftermarket car stereo or amplifier.

Below is the standard color code for aftermarket car stereo wiring harnesses and a basic description of what each of these colors stands for so that you can apply it to your installation.

Wire Color And Their Function

  • Yellow – 12V Constant/Memory
  • Red – Switch/Accessory
  • Black – Ground
  • Blue – Antenna Remote
  • Blue with White Stripe – Remote(turn-on, amplifier)
  • Orange with White Stripe – Dash Light Dimmer(Illumination)
  • Green – Left Rear Speaker (+)
  • Green with Black Stripe – Left Rear Speaker (-)
  • White – Left Front Speaker (+)
  • White with Black Stripe – Left Front Speaker (-)
  • Purple – Right Rear Speaker (+)
  • Purple with Black Stripe – Right Rear Speaker (-)
  • Gray – Right Front Speaker (+)
  • Gray with Black Stripe – Right Front Speaker (-)

Note that this color code applies specifically to aftermarket applications. The factory OEM wiring of your car can be different from the above. 

Because of this, special wiring harnesses are designed for easy connection to factory harnesses without worrying about the corresponding colors.

Always check the wire coloring codes on your components before installing them.

What Is Remote Wire(In Car Stereo)?

A remote wire is a lead that comes with your new stereo system and allows you to connect it directly to your vehicle’s wiring system instead of through the radio receiver. 

The remote wire is used to activate the various functions in your car stereo. For example, you can turn the volume up, turn it down, change channels, or switch from AM radio to FM or from CD to tape.

Note: Some manufacturers add an external power wire to the car stereo. If yours did not, you can still use a remote wire for your stereo.

The remote wire should be plugged into the 12-volt accessory outlet in your vehicle, which can typically be located under the dash near the driver’s seat. 

This accessory outlet provides power for your radio and other accessories such as your cellular phone or radar detectors and will provide power for your stereo if you have connected a power wire to it.

Once this connection has been made, you should be able to use all of the functions on your radio, including volume control and sound presets.

Uses of Remote Wire In Car Stereo

In-car stereo, the remote wire may be used for:

1. Turning a subwoofer on and off.

If you want to add a subwoofer to your car stereo, but there is no audio output from your head unit, then what you need to do is wire in a remote turn-on lead.

This will give you a separate audio output from the radio, which you can then feed into an amp and subwoofer.

2. Amplifier remote turn on and off.

This is very similar to the above, but it’s used for amps that don’t have a built-in remote turn on.

You simply run the wires to an ignition-powered accessory lead or any other switched power source and then wire them into the remote lead socket on your amplifier.

This way, you can use your car stereo’s on/off button to turn the amplifier on and off.

Remember that if you do not use the remote wire from the stereo to the amplifier, you risk your battery becoming quickly discharged, and you will not be able to start the car.

What Is The Difference Between The Remote Wire And The Antenna Wire In Car Stereo? 

It seems that the antenna wire and the remote wire are the same. But this is not true.

Indeed, there is a difference between the antenna and the remote wire, although they are very similar.

The main difference is that one activates the amplifier and the other does not. It means that their functions are pretty different for your car stereo set-up.

Antenna Wire is what connects the amplifier to the radio. It runs from the antenna connector on an aftermarket radio to the antenna input on your amplifier.

Antenna Wire has positive and negative wires connected by a fuse. The wire itself will be a thick 16 gauge stranded wire, and the ground is usually wrapped with aluminum foil.

There is also a reason why the remote wire in the car stereo is blue with a white stripe, and the antenna wire is blue.

The blue color with white stripes is an industry standard for thin, high-quality wires that transmit weak electrical signals.

The remote wire has to transmit a very tiny signal to the stereo. So it has to be extremely thin and conductive, but it also has to look good. 

The white stripes are used as shielding (that’s why shielded wire is always white) to not interfere with other signals. The remote wire also has to be very durable.

The blue color helps the antenna wire stand out against another wiring so that it’s not mistakenly hooked up to something else.

The antenna wire doesn’t have to transmit a signal, but it must resist other radio waves and car electronics interference. 

The antenna wire also needs to be very durable because it will probably be exposed to extremes of heat and cold and be knocked around by passengers.

How Should The Remote Wire Be Connected In Car Stereo?

The remote wire can be connected in two ways:

1. Connected to the positive terminal of the battery.

2. Connected to the left-hand side of the ignition switch.

The remote wire on a car stereo can be connected to the ignition or directly to the battery. There are advantages and disadvantages to both.

Trying to connect a remote wire directly to the battery is dangerous, as the voltage is high and can easily cause electrical shock or even an explosion. In addition, it will drain the battery power unnecessarily when the car is off.

The other option of connecting the remote wire is to connect it to the ignition, which is safe and convenient.

The remote wire will respond only when the car is switched on, but there’s a risk of accidentally disconnecting it from the ignition when you don’t want to.

How to Connect the Remote Wire to the Ignition Switch?

  • The key here is to first connect the wire from the ignition switch to the head unit. This ensures that the head unit is powered up automatically when you turn on the car.
  • The wire from the ignition switch goes into pin 20 of your wiring harness, which is labeled “ACC” on the back of the head unit. This wire powers up the stereo automatically when you turn on your car’s ignition.
  • Next, connect one end of the ground wire to a good ground point in your car. This can be any bare metal bolt hole.

If you connect it to a bolt close to where you’re installing your stereo, that’s fine because it will only be a short run. 

Connecting ground wires isn’t critical because they don’t supply power as other cables do. Ground wires redirect excess current away from sensitive electronics in case there is an electrical fault in your system. 

  • Next, connect one end of the remote wire to pin 14 on your wiring harness, which is labeled “REM” on most harnesses.
  • Finally, connect one end of the accessory power wire (ACC+ or Accessory+) to pin 24 on your wiring harness.

Troubleshooting steps:

  • Connect the remote wire to the car stereo. Turn the key in the ignition, and then push the “on” button on your car stereo’s control panel to turn it on.
  •  Does your car stereo power on? If not, check your wiring and make sure all connections are secure. If it still doesn’t work, you may need to replace your stereo or wiring harness.
  • Disconnect the remote wire from your car stereo, and then try pushing your car stereo’s “on” button again. Does it turn off? If not, check that there aren’t any blown fuses or tripped breakers in your vehicle’s fuse box or relay center under the hood.


Finding the remote wire at the back of your car stereo is a pretty simple task that takes just a few minutes.

To do this, you must find which wire has the color that corresponds to the remote wire.