Car Stereo

It is optional that a qualified professional installer completes all Car Stereo installations. Some troubleshooting steps may also require a professional installer.

NOTE: For model-specific information regarding the procedures below, refer to the instruction manual of the car stereo.

If your car stereo has a changeable faceplate, clean the metal contacts with a cotton swab.

Important: Turn off the car engine and remove the key from the ignition switch before cleaning the connectors.

  • Try turning on the car stereo.
  • Press the RESET button if the car stereo or changer does not turn on.
  • Check if the power connection cables are well connected.
  • Make sure the fuse is blown not.
  • If the problem is still not resolved, the unit will need service.

Simple Fundamental Principle

The car stereo is an electronic part subject to the same physical laws as all electrical components. These electronic components are called “consumers” and can be lamps, seat heaters, secondary motors (electric windows), or a car’s audio system.

The most fundamental law of electrical engineering is that electricity always flows in circuits. Therefore, any electrical consumer, without exception, must be mounted in a closed system and made up of a power source with a positive and negative pole and the corresponding electrical cables.

Put all the wires leading to the consumer, the wire going, and all the connections leading back to the power source, the wire back.

Grounding for Fewer Wires

The most common car stereo problem is that if each electrical consumer in the car equippe with its circuit, one would soon have a big mess of cables. Therefore, a simple trick is used that facilitates installation and, at the same time, reduces the price of the vehicle: The sheet metal body of the car operates as the return duct. The battery and the electric generator connect with a thick cable to the body. Thus each consumer can establish the complete return duct using a connection to the sheet metal. It sounds simple and great, but it can cause problems when mounting your car stereo.

What Electricity does the Stereo Need?

It is not a silly question since a car stereo needs not only one but three power outlets. Two for the radio function itself, the third for the speakers. The two power sockets of the new car stereo are

– the permanent positive

– the ignition positive

The permanent positive uses to maintain the memory functions of the new car stereo. Among them:

– The adjustable menu language

– The demo mode shutdown

– The adjusted transmitters

– The point where the CD or MP3 player was when the vehicle park

The ignition vivacious is the electrical supply for the regular operation of the car.

Before these functions were independent, modern car stereos generally required a secure connection to both power sources. Otherwise, they don’t work.


The New Car Stereo

There are many reasons to get a new car stereo. The old one broke or no longer had the desired functions. Today the hands-free device and contacts for MP3 players are standard. However, when buying an old used car, it is common to find an old radio that does not yet have these functions.

Fortunately, new car stereos are delivered with adapters to ensure a connection to the vehicle’s electrical system. However, one thing is already striking here: A plug connection is interrupted by the yellow and red cables. It has a specific reason.

Good Tools are Essential

To be able to mount even a reluctant car stereo, you will need the following:

  • Multimeter-1
  • 1 Wire stripper (pay attention to quality, do not use a cardboard knife!)
  • Set of cable lugs and clamps
  • Needle-nose plier-1
  • 1 Small screwdriver and flat (pay attention to quality, a cheap strain gauge will break quickly)

The universal tool for mounting a new car stereo is the multimeter. These devices, already available for 10 euros, are efficient and helpful in finding wiring faults. Power failures don’t stand a chance. What is needed now is to proceed systematically.

The New Car Stereo is Always Out of Adjustment

The New Car Stereo is Always Out of Adjustment

It is, however, the most accessible fault to correct: The fact that it turns on already indicates that it is receiving electrical power. However, the ignition positive and the permanent ones have exchanges in this case. For this reason, the red and yellow cables have a plug connection. The wires are separated and reconnected crosswise. So the problem is resolved, and the stereo works properly again.

Establish a Permanent Positive

The easiest way to put a permanent positive is through a cable that goes directly from the battery to the car. Running the line can sometimes be a bit of a chore, but it can also be a clean solution. However, for this solution, a 10-amp fuse should fit the cable. Otherwise, the line may burn out due to overload.

Establish a Ground Connection

The good news is that establishing a ground connection is very easy.

All that is required is a long black ground wire attached to a ring terminal. This component can be connected anywhere to the bare bodywork with a screw.

The black cable connects to the black thread on the adapter. It is cut in half there, and the insulating layer is removed and tied with a terminal.

Create a Positive Ignition

If there is no permanent functional identification in the harness, another consumer is turning. If this fault occurs, the ignition lock contact is usually not working correctly.

Instead of mounting a starter contact, getting the ignition pulse from another part is also possible. The cigarette lighter or 12-volt car plug, for example, is ideal. The piece disassembles, and the electrical power supply discover.

Here the assignment of the cables is again identification with the help of a multimeter. With residual wires, preferably red, a “Y”-shaped connecting wire forms. It mounts the electrical supply of the cigarette lighter. The other wire’s open end is now. A 10-amp fuse installs on said cable in the best of cases.

Error Message on the New Car Stereo

Error Message on the New Car Stereo

Finally, the car stereo can issue an error message. A typical notice is

“Miswiring, Check Wiring, then Power On.”

The stereo is entirely dead and cannot even switch off in such a case. In most cases of this type, the following have occurred:

The stereo has ground through its casing. It can happen if a ground wire damaged during installation has to pass through the mounting frame or housing. The stereo disassembles again, and the ground connection check.


Mounting a new car stereo is not always as easy as the manufacturers promise. However, systematically and with some skill and the right tools, even the most reluctant stereos generally fit all vehicles.