Unlike the blue, black, or red wires, the pink wire doesn’t come with all car stereos. And its purpose varies among different brands.
While some manufacturers use it as a parking brake or reverse wire, others use it as one of the speaker wires.
For those who don’t know, the parking brake wire sends signals from the vehicle to the head unit. It signals the head unit to enable video playback only when the car is parked. This is a safety feature whose primary purpose is to prevent the driver from any distractions when driving.
Similarly, the reverse wire triggers the different rear camera-related features when you shift the car into reverse gear.
This wire allows the head units to automatically switch to the rearview camera input when the car is in reverse gear. This, in turn, allows the driver to see who’s behind the vehicle so they can back up easily.
What is the Pink Wire in Aftermarket Head Units?
Here we will discuss how different car stereo manufacturers implement the pink wire.
Pioneer Head Units
There are very few Pioneer head units that feature a pink wire. In such units, this wire is for the car speed input signal.
Also known as the VSS (Vehicle Speed Sensor) wire, it’s connected to your vehicle’s speed sensor and sends speed-related information to the car stereo.
The car stereo, in turn, uses the information to perform different actions, such as automatically decreasing the music volume while the car is in motion.
Kenwood and JVC Head Units
The Kenwood and JVC head units usually have their VSS wire colored pink.
Sony Head Units
Sony head units generally don’t feature any wire colored as solid pink.
Alpine Head Units
Some Alpine head units, such as Alpine CDE-133BT, come with a pink wire that functions as an Audio Interrupt In wire.
Also known as the audio interrupt, or mute wire, this wire mutes your car speakers temporarily when your phone signals it to.
For example, when you connect your phone to the car stereo and have an incoming phone call, the phone will signal the car stereo through this wire to mute the music so you can hear the phone call.
DUAL Head Units
In DUAL head units, the pink wire functions as the parking brake wire.
What is the Pink Wire in OEM Stereo Systems?
Just like their aftermarket siblings, many OEM car stereos feature pink wires.
In most Toyota vehicles, the pink wire is the left-front speaker wire.
Most Ford vehicles have the right-rear speaker wire colored brown/pink. But some F250 models use pink wire as accessory wire.
For those who don’t know, the accessory wire is the one that provides power to the car stereo when the ignition is in the accessory position. Due to this power, you can turn on a car stereo when even the engine is off.
Related Post – Ford Stereo Wiring Color Code & Diagrams
The GM vehicles generally have their power antenna turn-on wire colored pink. This wire sends a turn-on signal and enables the power antenna to raise or lower the antenna mast – depending on whether the car stereo is on or off.
The sole purpose of this wire is to have better signal reception.
Nissan vehicles are interesting because they have pink car stereo wires fulfilling different purposes based on the vehicle series.
They are left-front negative speaker wires in Nissan Versa and Sentra vehicles. And work as reverse wire in some Qashqai models.
The same is the case with Honda vehicles. In Honda CRV models (2002-2006), you get a right-rear speaker negative wire colored pink.
In Honda Accord (2008-2012) models, the left-front speaker negative wire is colored pink.
In Jeep vehicles, the pink wire functions as a constant +12V or switched +12V wire.
Other Car Stereo Wires
Apart from the ones that we talked about earlier, there are additional wires you need to pay close attention to while installing a car radio.
This wire provides constant +12V power to the car stereo. The car stereo uses this power to store critical information, such as current time, radio station presets, equalizer settings, etc. This constant power is why the car stereo retains this information even when you turn it off.
Remote Turn-on Wire
This wire sends a turn-on signal to the external amplifier when you turn on the car radio. The external amplifiers are power-hungry, and keeping them turned on all the time would drain the vehicle’s battery.
The turn-on wire ensures that the amp only turns on when you need it.
The ground wire allows the vehicle’s metal frame to be used as a ground connection. The ground connection is essential for the car stereo to work properly, as you’ll otherwise have electrical noise and interference in the sound.
The illumination wire provides power to the head unit’s display and controls. Its primary purpose is to illuminate the head unit’s display and controls when you turn on your vehicle’s headlights.
The dimmer wire enables the head unit to adjust its brightness according to the vehicle’s interior lights. Its primary purpose is reducing eye strain and providing better visibility while using the car stereo at night.
As mentioned earlier, the functionality of pink wire varies according to the manufacturers.
While the information is up to date for most vehicles/head units, new models may have a slightly different color scheme.
Therefore, you should always go through the owner’s manual or do online research before installing a car radio.
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