Pioneer Wiring Harness: Why and How to Upgrade Car Stereos?

Car stereos are of the least concern to the manufacturer due to the cost implications and weight concerns.

As a result, some of them stick with the least expensive options or ignore them altogether. Therefore, you have to look elsewhere for quality stereos.

Luckily, custom cabling various custom cabling solutions for aftermarket radios for brands including Alpine, Clarion, JVC, Kenwood, Panasonic, Pioneer Wiring Harness, and Sony.

Our replacement harnesses are the same quality as the original harness, just at a much lower price.

Now, read along to learn more about our car stereo service options.

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Why Should You Upgrade Your Head Unit?  

Car radios are not a priority for most manufacturers. 

Remember, here are some reasons to upgrade your car unit.

Your speakers sound bored

Head units are the brains behind your car audio unit. They control all the functions relating to your stereo’s audio quality.

For example, modern head units feature an equalizer function that tweaks the bass and treble of media playing from the radio.

So, if your speakers are not performing to their full potential, aftermarket stereos are a viable option.

Nav radio and GPS

Aftermarket car stereo with integrated GPS

Aftermarket car stereo with integrated GPS

How do you find directions? If your answer is your smartphone, stop it.

New-age head units now have built-in navigation features to help you find your destination.

They also offer real-time data on your exact location, travel time, and traffic congestion via GPS satellite link or Nav Radio.

Digital radio and Video streaming

Car stereo with DVD screen.

Car stereo with DVD screen.

Do you remember the cassette player from the 70s?

Well, that is no more. Modern car stereos can now play music and video files in various formats.

Also, lossless technology lets you store more media on your device’s memory without compromising sound quality.

Furthermore, some current head units support wireless connectivity such as Bluetooth and WiFi.

Consequently, you can enjoy hands-free calling and enjoy free satellite HD radio.

Add some flair to your interior

The touch screen on the aftermarket car stereo.

The touch screen on the aftermarket car stereo.

Upgrading your head unit amps up the interior of your car.

Current head units feature touch screens and voice control, allowing for a better user experience.

They also include dazzling light animations that make your ride more enjoyable. 

Keep burglars at bay

Car stereos rank first in items stolen from vehicles.

You can keep burglars away by upgrading your head unit to one that is detachable.

Remove the head unit when not used to prevent your car from being a target in rough neighborhoods.

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Are you installing a new car stereo? Check this out

Car stereo with components

Car stereo with components

Your car stereo is a combination of different parts.

Therefore, you need to be wary of the upgrade’s effects on each one.

The receiver

A receiver is the control terminal for your car stereo.

It consists of the display panel, control buttons, and connection terminals. The key features to look out for include the following:

 Inbuilt preamp – in-built preamps correctly configure the audio before sending it to the amplifier.

Consequently, your sound is standard regardless of the source.

The display– Modern car stereos now come with interactive screens showing maps, videos, and music metadata.

Therefore, choose a receiver with these options to find your way when driving.

Connection ports – Bluetooth connectivity and voice control allow you to operate the stereo hands-free.

Consequently, you concentrate more on driving than switching stations.


Coaxial car stereo speakers.

Coaxial car stereo speakers.

Always consider your existing speakers before upgrading your head unit.

Most stock speakers cannot handle the output of modern car stereos.

Therefore, consider the type – coaxial or component speakers, their power rating, and speaker sensitivity rating, before upgrading.

A mismatch of the two will damage the entire system.

External amplifier

External car amplifier.

External car amplifier.

Similarly, it is crucial to see whether your car has an external amplifier.

If it does, look for a head unit that matches its configurations to obtain premium sound.

Car Stereo Wire Harness Cheat Sheet

Head unit installation is a straightforward process.

All you need is an understanding of the wire harness relating to wire colors.

Additionally, you will find information on the variations available in specific modern vehicle models.

Wire harness color codes

Car Stereo wiring harness.

Car Stereo wiring harness.

Aftermarket head units follow a standardized color code for the wire harness.

However, it is advisable to consult your car’s stereo manual before replacing the stock unit.

Below is the current EIA color code standard for a radio wire harness plug.


1.  The wire colors above are standard for all aftermarket car stereo wire harnesses.

However, depending on the head unit’s features, specific colors may be unavailable. 

2.   Car manufacturers do not necessarily adhere to the above color codes.

For example, some customer vehicles do not include factory wires for rear speakers.

Therefore, consult your manual to identify the appropriate wiring connections.

Specialized Wiring Harness

Sometimes, you may require a specialized wiring harness to connect your aftermarket head unit.

Additionally, the type of wire harness you use will depend on your vehicle model.

Below are examples of where to use a custom wire harness.

Connections at a distant location—

Some of your car stereo components may be at a different location.

For example, some Ford Taurus models have the tuner and factory amplifier in the trunk. Therefore, you need a longer wire harness to reach them.

However, the wire harness plug adheres to the basic wiring scheme of standard vehicles.

How do you bypass the factory amplifier?

Factory amplifiers sometimes do not match the output of modern head units.

A specialized amp bypass harness lets you connect your vehicle’s factory speaker wiring plugs.

Furthermore, an amp bypass wiring harness is cheaper than amp integration adapters.

Car with an aftermarket amplifier in the trunk.

Car with an aftermarket amplifier in the trunk.

Are you keeping the stock amplifier in play?

Depending on your vehicle model, the stock amplifier’s wire harness can include compatible wiring connections for your new stereo.

Consequently, your installation time is much shorter.

Alternatively, you can consult us to custom-make a wire harness plug to accommodate the new head unit.

Safety Alerts

Accessories such as parking sensors and lane management systems use your factory speakers to sound alarms.

Therefore, installing an aftermarket stereo may result in you losing these functionalities.

So, use a specialized wire harness to connect these necessary accessories.

Proprietary technology

Manufacturers include proprietary technology in some of their premium models.

For example, current Ford models have steering wheel audio controls for the factory stereo.

Unfortunately, these add-ons involve complex wiring that may sometimes be incompatible with your aftermarket stereo.

Therefore, you will need a specialized wire harness to maintain these conveniences.

Unique dash layouts

Some modern vehicles integrate the factory stereo with other vehicle functions.

For example, specific Ford F-150 models have stereos and electronic climate controls in a single dash compartment.

Cloom can provide a custom dash kit featuring integration adapters to connect the complex wiring.        

Ford F-150 stock dashboard.

Ford F-150 stock dashboard.

Antenna adapters

AM/FM antennas vary depending on your vehicle model.

Some may follow the basic wiring scheme that plugs into the antenna port or as part of a more extensive amplification system.

Either way, you can choose from antenna adapters to make your aftermarket stereo compatible.

Steering wheel control adapters

Steering wheel audio controls are now standard in most modern vehicles.

Manufacturers include them as a safety feature to prevent you from unsafely operating the radio.

For example, you can now answer calls directly from your car’s steering wheel.

In addition, employing a steering wheel control adapter allows you to keep all functions without altering your steering wheel control interface. 

Steering wheel with audio controls.

Steering wheel with audio controls.

Pioneer Wiring Harness at Cloom 

Cloom Tech manufactures and supplies wire harnesses for a variety of automobiles.

Additionally, we have thousands of hours of experience installing aftermarket Pioneer car stereos.

Here is a list of some of our products:

  • Amplifier Integration Adapters for 200w Max Power – Amplifier, 4-Channel amplifier, among others
  • Custom Dash Kit and steering wheel control interface for 1988-2005 GM vehicles, Ford E-150, and Ford F-150 
  • Stock and custom wiring harness. For example, 16-pin wiring harness, 70-1858 wiring harness, 70-2003 radio wiring harness, RDBS radio wire harness, and ASC audio premium car stereo radio wire harness.
  • Switch connectors for aftermarket stereos such as AVH-4100NEX AVIC-6100NEX.
  • Antenna connectors

Cloom Tech provides comprehensive product descriptions, flexible payment, and shipping options.

Furthermore, we guarantee the fastest delivery times on all orders you place with us.


Do you find the above information overwhelming?

Then, reach out to Cloom to explore our automobile wiring harness solutions.  

Whether it is a specific wire harness plug or steering wheel controls for your car’s stereo, you can always rely on Cloom for help.  

Get Your Free Sample!

Enjoy a free sample worth UP TO $100!
Explore our custom services now. Email us at [email protected] for more details.

Hey, I am John, General manager of Cloom and OurPCB.

I am a responsible, intelligent and experienced business professional with an extensive background in the electronics industry.

Reach me at [email protected] to get a quote for your projects.


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