The ASWC is a universal steering wheel control interface that can be used on most any vehicle with steering wheel controls. Designed to be used with today’s top aftermarket radio manufactures like Pioneer, Sony, Alpine, Kenwood, Eclipse, JVC, and others, the ASWC is all you’ll need to retain the OEM steering wheel controls.

The ASWC has the ability to auto-detect many vehicle makes and aftermarket radios and it will preset the steering wheel controls to the aftermarket radio automatically so no programming is required. If desired the ASWC can be manually programmed so the user can make the steering wheel controls function the way they want them to, only limited by the functions of the aftermarket radio. The ASWC also has a non-volatile memory, which means the ASWC will remember the programming even if the ASWC is disconnected from the vehicle. The ASWC is also updatable (via the Axxess website and the USB-CAB update cable). If there is an update made to the ASWC there is no need to send inventory back, or ask for the latest version, you can update it yourself and save time and money.

If you’re an installer like me then you know the headaches of installing a steering wheel adapter in many vehicles. While the process has become more streamlined and reliable in the past few years there are still several cars that pose the biggest problems while trying to program or install the device.

The Axxess ASWC is made by Metra Electronics, one of the biggest aftermarket car audio installation parts manufacturers in the country. Now as with all new products, I like most was very apprehensive in that it seemed to promise more than I thought it could deliver. For example some of the features this new interface has, like the auto programming of all the factory steering wheel buttons (and all the wires needed could be found at the radio). This for me seemed to be a no brainer since most of the cars I was working on lately had me finding all kinds of resistors and several wires and then programming all the buttons one by one. I have had several opportunities to use this new device and was extremely impressed with the ease of installation and the auto detection mode.

In the next few steps I am going to show you how easy the installation is and what to do if you have any issues with older radios.

Step one
The most important parts before you even try to install this device—know the exact year, make, and model of the vehicle the interface is going into. Make sure the radio you are installing is steering wheel control compatible (check the owners manual if you're not sure). Go to the Axxess website for a detailed information sheet on what color or colors the steering wheel control wires will be in your vehicle, the location, what wire and or wires to use on the ASWC, and what, if any, programming is required. Print or write the information down so you have it in the vehicle during the install. Last but not least, the most important step is to make sure you vehicle has steering wheel controls. I cant count how many times I have had a customer call me completely baffled why the device wasn’t working only to find out the car didn’t even have the steering wheel controls to begin with. Believe it or not.

Step two
Following the instructions I downloaded off of Axxess website for a 2004 Chevrolet Trailblazer, the process was relatively simple. The website said this would work for my car and it gave me the vehicle wire color (orange) I was looking for and the location, which was the radio harness.

Next I just had to scroll down a little further on the page to download the wiring instructions, which let me know what wires I would be using on the control device in this case.

Step three
Next I followed the instructions and connected the Black wire on the steering wheel control device to ground, then the Red wire to accessory (or switched ignition) and the pink wire of the steering wheel control to Pin A1 (orange wire) on the vehicle which is the data wire. All of the other wires in this case will not be used and were taped up to prevent any short circuits. Connecting the wires was fairly easy especially with the diagram that was provided from Axxess.

Step four
Now for the connection to the aftermarket radio: the only thing to take note of, since the steering wheel adapter automatically detects the type of radio, is the connector used. There are two in this case, the 3.5mm adapter or the blue/yellow, brown, brown/white wires which are used for either Kenwood or Eclipse radios. In this case I just plugged in the 3.5mm connector to the one on the back of my pioneer radio labeled steering wheel connector.

Step Five
Now its time for programming. Since this is the first time this device is being installed, this setup should be simple. You don’t have to reassemble the whole car back together and it would be best to have the device easily accessible for programming and or future updates. Now turn the ignition on after everything is plugged back in and the device's LED should begin to flash rapidly. Then you need to push the volume up button rapidly on the steering wheel; then after a couple of seconds the LED will stop flashing and not light up for two seconds. At this point don’t press any buttons; there will be a series of several flashes, some short and some long; then the LED will pause and flash up to nine times. This should be the end of the auto-detect phase and if it detected it properly the LED should light up solid. Now test the buttons on the steering wheel and enjoy.

In my case since my radio was several years old and the auto-detect mode didn't work the first two times I tried it. I was thankful that this steering wheel control had a manual program mode which I had to use step by step and button by button, but it did ultimately work and is currently working flawlessly. I have installed many steering wheel adapters made by other companies and have found thus far this one is hands down the most advanced and easiest to install and use.

In the past I have had to choose between several adapters with contributing factors, the main one being the brand of radio, and the year of the vehicle, and then the location of the control wire in the car, which varied from under the steering wheel to the back of the car. Over the past ten years since the introduction of the devices that control the radio with the factory steering wheel I have seen vast improvements and I think Axxess really hit the nail on the head with the AWSC. It's especially impressive because this one device does it all. Moreover, I have to compliment the manufacturer for making it completely updatable. That'll definitely be a great benefit to installers and shops.