So you’re installing a new stereo or other component in your car and wondering where to connect that mysterious parking brake wire. Don’t worry – you’re not alone. Plenty of drivers take on car audio projects, but connecting this important wire trips many people up.
Not connecting the parking brake wire properly can prevent certain functions on your new stereo or device from working. However, with a little guidance and the right tools, this can be a relatively straightforward process.
In this informative guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to connect your parking brake wire correctly.
Here’s a quick answer: The parking brake wire needs to be connected to the actual parking brake lever or assembly inside your vehicle. Locate the parking brake pedal or lever, then find the wire bundle underneath the dashboard in that general area. Identify the wire, often green in color, then splice into the wire and connect it to your new car stereo or accessory following the installation instructions. Properly connecting this wire enables video and other restricted functions to work only when the parking brake is engaged.
Why Does the Parking Brake Wire Matter?
You’re probably wondering why you even need to bother connecting a parking brake wire at all. The purpose is safety.
This wire allows certain features like video playback to only work when the parking brake is engaged. This prevents drivers from being distracted by video while the vehicle is in motion.
So connecting it properly is not only good practice, but required for your new components to function fully.
Where is the Parking Brake Wire Located?
Now that you know why it’s important, where do you find that elusive green wire? The parking brake wire is always located near the parking brake lever or pedal assembly under the dashboard.
In some vehicles, you may need to remove interior trim pieces to access it. Check your specific vehicle’s service manual for exact locations, but it’s typically easily accessible by hand or foot near the parking brake area.
What Tools Will I Need?
To connect the parking brake wire properly, you’ll want to gather a few essential tools:
- Wire Stripper – For cutting into wires and removing insulation
- Wire Cutter/Crimper – To trim wires and attach connectors
- Electrical or Masking Tape – To insulate connections
- Screwdrivers – For removing trim panels to access wires
- Multimeter (optional) – For testing connections
- Zip Ties – To neatly route the wire
And of course – safety first! Be sure to disconnect the negative terminal on your car battery before working with any wires.
How to Identify the Correct Wire
The parking brake wire is typically green in color or green with a colored stripe. However, you’ll always want to double check with the install manual for your new stereo or device to confirm.
If the wire color in your vehicle doesn’t match, trace it back to make sure it leads to the parking brake. A quick continuity test with a multimeter can verify you have the correct wire.
Parking Brake Wire Colors by Make
|Typical Parking Brake Wire Color
Colors may vary – always test to confirm
Step-By-Step Installation Guide
Now that you know what tools are needed and how to ID the wire, let’s walk through the actual installation:
Step 1: Locate and Access the Wire
First, find the parking brake lever in your car and look for a bundle of wires underneath the dash in that general location. Check your vehicle repair manual if you’re having trouble.
You’ll likely need to remove some trim panels to gain access. Be careful not to damage any interior trim pieces during removal.
Step 2: Prep the Wire
Once located, use your wire strippers to remove a 1/2″ section of insulation from both your new stereo’s parking brake wire and the vehicle’s parking brake wire.
Twist the stranded copper wires tightly together so they are prepared to connect.
Step 3: Connect the Wires
Take your prepared wires and twist their exposed copper strands together tightly using pliers. Insert them both fully into a crimp connector or wire nut and crimp it firmly in place with crimping pliers.
Make sure no bare wire is exposed from the connector.
Step 4: Test and Tidy Up
Before buttoning everything back up, do a quick test to make sure your connection works.
Turn the key to the accessory position and test parking brake functions on your new stereo. If tests good, pack up the connection neatly with electrical tape and tie it off neatly away from any vehicle controls or moving parts.
Reinstall all trim panels carefully to complete the installation. Enjoy your new tunes!
Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about connecting parking brake wires:
Do I need to connect the parking brake wire?
Yes! Not connecting this properly prevents full functionality. Video and certain touchscreen features will not work unless this is connected.
What if my wire color doesn’t match the stereo’s instructions?
Use a multimeter to test continuity from the wire you located back to the parking brake lever. As long as you have continuity, you have the correct wire regardless of color.
What if I can’t find the parking brake wire at all?
Consult a vehicle repair manual. In rare cases on some modern vehicles, it may be integrated into a computer module. You may need a professional bypass module installed if so.
Can I just bypass connecting this wire altogether?
Not recommended. Bypassing the protection this offers is unsafe and illegal in many places. Some devices have bypass settings built in, but check regional laws in your area before utilizing.
While connecting your parking brake wire takes some work, you now have all the necessary details to do this correctly. Having a properly installed stereo or accessory with full functionality that keeps drivers focused on the road is well worth the effort.