Automotive cable parts and their importance

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As we all know there are many types of electrical wire. Understanding the better fitment of a wire for your application can be confusing. For this article we will focus on the wire typically used in automotive applications.

GPT or primary wire
This is the most common wire you find at the auto stores. As its time implies, it is a good general purpose automotive wire. It features a multi stranded core and flexible insulation making it ideal for pulling through tight spaces. It is usually rated to 80 degree Celsius to 105 degree Celsius. It is resistant to oil, chemicals and acids.

Motor wire
The biggest difference between GPT and motor wire is that motor wire features finer strands of wire. This allows it to handle higher voltages. Motor wire is rated at 600 volts with a temperature rating of 105ºC (221ºF). It is resistant to grease, oil, acids, water, solvents, fungus. Although most commonly used as internal wiring in appliances and HVAC equipment, motor wire is finding increasing use in automotive application.

SXL Wire
SXL Wire features a cross linked polyethylene jacket that can withstand higher heat, abrasion, and aging better than GPT wire. It is often the preferred choice in higher stress applications like race or industrial use vehicles. If you are looking for extra durability, this is a good choice.

GXL and TXL wire feature the same type of insulation but thinner walls to make it easier to pull through tight spaces.

Speaker wire
Speaker wire is a paired stranded wire intended for audio applications. As the name implies it is meant to carry the ‘sound’ from a stereo receiver to the speakers. It is intended for low voltage use and should never be used to carry load. Speakers can run in ‘reverse’ (out of phase) but they will sound terrible – so it is important that the + and – terminals be connected correctly.

Battery cable
Battery cable is typically used to connect the battery to the car’s electrical system (typically at the starter) and ground. It is larger gauge, heavier wire. Battery cables are most susceptible to corrosion, and can often be corroded inside the cable where it can’t be seen. If you are having starting issues, check your battery cables carefully.

Trailer wire
Trailer wire is typically GPT or Primary wire that is colored and configured for common trailer applications. Most trailers use a common coloring system that uses Green, Yellow, Brown, and White for the various lighting functions. Purchasing ‘Trailer’ Wire makes a trailer re-wiring or repair project simpler. It also helps in future diagnosis of problems.

These are the types of wires or cables used in automotives. Though size and capacity may change according to the application, cables will be common in all the vehicles like car and truck.

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