Automotive Wiring Colors

by Brandi Brown

Despite popular belief, there are no standard wiring colors for each wire in a car. The specifics of the wire coloring are dependent on the make, model and even year of the specific vehicle under consideration. The best way to determine how to know the appropriate wiring colors is to learn the basics of reading a car's electrical diagram.

Electrical Symbols

A basic electrical diagram has four symbols. These symbols represent the switch, battery, resistor and ground. Additional symbols represent variable battery source and the case ground. Advanced diagrams also will indicate the amps and circuit path. These symbols are universal, and memorizing them or having a copy handy is the best way to make sure you are looking for the right information.

ORN Symbols

Within advanced electrical diagrams, one symbol represents the size and color of the wire. This symbol, ORN, will let you know what color wire you should be seeking. ORN codes are usually printed with the entire color spelling for those with four or fewer letters, such as BLUE, or as an easily understood abbreviation, such as BLCK.

Color Symbols

Another way that diagrams include the wire color is by using a two-letter code. The first letter is the main color of the wire, and the second letter represents the striping. For example, a wire marked GR would be green with a red stripe.

About the Author

Brandi Brown is a freelance writer with over five years of Web-based experience. She has a bachelor's degree in history from Mercer University and is a graduate student in women's and gender studies at the University of Louisville. Her works appears in various online journals and offline newspapers.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera power wiring image by Aleksandr Ugorenkov from Fotolia.com