Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: How can electrical wires be protected from the hazards around them?

asked by on

How can electrical wires be protected from the hazards around them?

Electrical wires have a special rubber protective coating on them to protect from heat, cold, dirt, water, and antifreeze, as well as from each other. All wires are protected in a circuit with either a fuse or a relay. There are two main categories of automotive wire: PVC and cross-linked. The biggest difference between the two categories is temperature range, as shown below.

PVC wire is created by heating and then extruding through a die on the stranding. This insulation can be melted with a heat source, changing the form.

The three main types of PVC automotive wire are: 1. GPT – used for general circuit wiring and rated to 80 °C 2. TWP – lead-free, thin wall automotive wire rated to 105 °C 3. HDT – heavy wall automotive wiring rated to 80 °C

Cross-linked insulation is created by extruding polyethylene through a tube, under heat and pressure, in order to ‘cross-link’ or change the molecules of the insulation to another state. Cross-linked automotive wire can withstand much higher temperatures than PVC automotive wire.

As you can see, the differences between automotive wire insulation are mainly concerned about temperature rather than dirt or debris. The car manufacturer took all aspects of daily driving into consideration when building the vehicle you drive. The wiring that it has is already made to be protected not only with the coatings mentioned above, but also with wire looms, which are a plastic sheath over the wiring, and with electrical tape made to withstand the elements and keep the wiring in place so it doesn’t move around. Wires rubbing through their insulation is the number one issue with electrical problems to date. This causes numerous crazy problems and could destroy a computer in your vehicle. All automotive wiring harnesses for vehicles to this day are all still made by hand, which is why they are so expensive if you have to replace an entire harness assembly.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: High beams not working on 2005 Pontiac GTO

In some cases, the connector can heat up if there is a short in the lighting circuit, and can melt on the inside creating a short that one can't necessarily see. The lighting circuits are controlled by the BCM or...

Q: What damage is done when the battery has been hooked wrong and u turn the key trying to start the car?

If the battery cables were hooked up in an inverse direction and the key was turned to the 'ON' position, all of the electrical components including the fuse boxes, the starter relay, the fuel pump relay, the fuel pump, the...

Q: Navigation system and CD player stopped working

Hello. Most units for this model are not serviceable. Besides updates and software-type repairs, if there is damage to the unit causing the issue, you must replace it. Now if there are issues with power supply, that's a different...

Related articles

How Do Power Car Windows Increase Passenger Safety?
Power windows are responsible for approximately 2,000 emergency room visits every year. When a power window closes, it exerts enough force to bruise or break bones, crush fingers, or restrict an airway. Though...
P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...
P2103 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle Actuator Control Motor Circuit High
P2103 means there is a fault with the throttle actuator control motor circuit, likely due to a defective electrical component or part.