Your vehicle's electrical system is one of its most important – and most fragile – components. A simple peek under your hood will verify that there are a massive amount of wires that connect electrical components together. Some go to the alternator, others to accessories like windshield wipers, but all connect to the engine - the source of power. However, the engine creates a lot of heat, which can melt or destroy wires unless they are protected. Wires also face many hazards that can cause them to short out, stop working, and possibly even damage your engine or other parts.
Due to these facts, protecting car electrical wires and connections is vital to the overall performance and operation of any vehicle. Noted below are a few of the common ways that automotive manufacturers protect wires from exposure to extreme conditions.
Understanding The Dangers
Contrary to popular belief, heat alone is not the only condition that can damage electrical wires. In fact, both heat and extreme cold can cause wires to break down or crack. Moisture is another element that can trigger an electrical problem that needs to be diagnosed and repaired by a professional mechanic. In addition to simply not working, a serious concern is the possibility of fire.
Dirt and debris can also get to the wires, causing them not to work or to short out. In most instances where you experience an electrical issue with your car, the actual problem is with electrical connections that have become dirty. This creates a weak electrical connection. In order to reduce the possibility of electrical problems, you need to know how to protect the engine wiring for safety and performance.
Options for Protecting Electrical Wires
Many wires come with insulation to keep them away from the hazards. One way that manufacturers protect electrical wires is through the installation of special heat shields. They slip on and insulate the wires from getting too warm, which is beneficial since the engine area can become very hot. They act as a sleeve that goes over any current covering to provide more insulation. Another common problem that creates damage to electrical wires are sharp edges. To avoid splitting or fraying wires, they should go through a grommet if they are near sharp edges or fiberglass. If the cover on a wire becomes damaged or torn, it should be sealed with electrical tape to prevent further damage.
Keeping electrical wires properly secured is another way they are protected from damage. Wires are often tied to a solid surface so they can’t move and get cut or worn. If they are allowed to move around, the connection can be loosened until the electricity doesn’t flow to whatever component is attached to the wire.
Although most of these items are designed to protect electrical wires from the factory, staying on top of routine cleaning and under-the-hood maintenance can prevent many common electrical problems. Anytime you experience an electrical issue, it's a good idea to contact a professional mobile mechanic to come to your location and complete an electrical problems inspection.