What Is The Orange And Black, White Wire On A Car Stereo?

what is orange wire on car stereo

Your car stereo can be one of the most important parts of your vehicle. For many people, the stereo is something they invest a lot of money into. However, when you need to connect the stereo or remove the older version, you will come across a variety of different wires.

What Is The Orange Wire On A Car Stereo?

The orange wire is often the dimmer/illumination wire and comes with a slight white stripe running through it. You will find that the orange wire comes out of the stereo harness, and the purpose is to dim the radio’s screen in many cases. It can also light up the radio controls to make it easier for you to use the radio when you are driving in the dark.

You will find that it goes even deeper and the illumination wire is often connected to the lighting system of your vehicle. It can help to control the flow of voltage and will be activated as you turn the lights of your vehicle on or off. This also means that the control panel does not have to shine at its brightest the whole time and will only activate in accordance with your lights.


The traditional battery wire running to the 12V battery is found in yellow for the most part and the accessory wire is red. The accessory wire is for all the extras that you might be connecting to your stereo for enhanced performance.

The Importance Of The Orange Illumination Wire

You might be thinking that the illumination wire is simply another wire that connects to the stereo. However, it does serve a purpose that includes safety. Since it regulates the illumination of your display, the wire will send a signal to the display to help keep the illumination of the display correct when you are driving.

If the screen is too bright at night, it could be problematic and you will have plenty of glare on the inside of the vehicle. The glare can blind you intermittently and this will be frustrating while you are driving. You want the display on your radio to be bright enough for you to see, but not that bright to possibly blind you.

I should also mention that the illumination wire is not the same for all vehicles and occasionally, you might find one of the modern vehicles has an illumination wire for the day and a different one for the night. This enables the vehicle to switch between day and night mode at such a very complex level and regulation illumination.

The main idea is to keep your eyes fixed on the road and you don’t have to play around with the settings that could affect the stereo. Keep in mind that the double wire design is only in some of the newer and more modern vehicles and serves the purpose of making sure that you have optimal functionality while driving.

Does Every Car Stereo Have An Orange Wire?

Every car stereo will have a wire that controls the dimming and illumination, especially in the modern vehicle with better tech features. However, you should rarely rely on the colors of the wires when trying to determine which is which.

Keep in mind that the coloring of the wire does not have any impact and is only a supposed universal method to distinguish the wires.

With the use of a multimeter, you will have much more success in determining which wire is supposed to be used where. Once you have the correct wires at the right locations, you can use some tape to mark them. You can even rename the colors to help you understand which wire is going to which component with your vehicle.

While it is preferred that wires have universal colors, what is universal in the US might not be universal in China. Every car manufacturer will have their own way of implementing certain components and using the color of wire they deem the best.

However, every modern vehicle with an LCD should have orange wire or something similar in a different color for illumination and dimming.

Where Does The Orange Wire Go On A Car?

The orange wire connects directly to your stereo and from your stereo; it goes to the lighting system of your vehicle. Once you toggle or operate the lights, it will send a signal; to the display to allow it to change the illumination.

You can experiment with this and see how the lighting system of your vehicle will affect your display.

In many modern vehicles, the headlights are automatically turned on and this will also affect the stereo. When you are in your garage during the day and your vehicle is parked, you should try to toggle the lights. You can now see whether it affects the display and to what degree it will have an effect on your display.

What Is The Orange And White Wire On A Car Stereo?

Many people might notice an orange wire with a thin white line on the car stereo in many cases. For the most part, the thin white line on car stereo wires is an indication of a wire that sends power back from the stereo. However, the illumination aspect of the vehicle does not need to have negative input to work.

In many of the vehicles I have seen, the orange and white wires are simply a replacement for the traditional orange wire. It can easily connect to the lighting system and the display of your vehicle but will have the same effect as having orange wiring flouting around.

If you come across a car stereo that features an orange and orange/white wire, you will need to break out the multimeter. In such a situation, the colors of the car stereo might not be coordinated and you might not even know what the specific wiring on your vehicle means. It is important to understand how it works.

What Is The Orange And Black Wire In A Car Stereo?

You will rarely find wires integrated with a black strip. However, some stereo or car manufacturers might do this when they don’t have any other wiring colors left. However, the black wires are often reserved as earth wires that connect any stereo or electrical connection to the earth. These wires are some of the most important for safety.

You might occasionally find that brown is also used for the earth wire and this can be confusing if the orange color is very similar to that of the brown. I should once again mention that because you can rarely trust the colors of wires, you should invest in a multimeter. It will make it much easier to determine which wire should go where.

You can also trace a wire, which means that before you take a stereo apart, you can check to see where it connects. Once you see a wire connecting to the battery or the lighting system of the vehicle, you can be sure that this will be the common orange wire. The wire connecting the lighting system to the display is often the illumination wire.

Are Wire Colors Definitive?

Throughout the article, I have tried to emphasize the fact that wire colors are never definitive. While some people might have an idea of colors that are supposed to make up a specific wire, this does not always mean that it is the case. For instance, the grey wire should connect from the power system to the right speaker in many cars.

Unfortunately, I have seen blue and even purple used for this purpose. Different manufacturers might have different ideas of which colors should go where.

The multimeter is the best tool you can have to make sure you know what goes where.


The orange wire is one of the brightest and it is the first wire that many people see if the vehicle does not have a yellow wire connected to the stereo. The main purpose of the wire is to symbolize light and you will find that it controls and operates the illumination or dimming of the console display.

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