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What wires and cables are used in the automotive industry?

There are many wires and cables used in the automotive industry, but the largest categories are battery cable, primary wire, brake cable, and speaker wire.

What standards should be considered when choosing Automotive Cable?

Common standards for the automotive industry include those created by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), Underwriters Laboratories (UL), and the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). It is also important to consider the specifications set by individual car manufacturers. Allied Wire and Cable’s automotive primary wire meets all Ford and Chrysler standards.

What types of insulation are on an Automotive Wire?

The most commonly used insulations on automotive are PVC and Cross-Linked. PVC insulation is extruded by heating PVC and then extruding it through a dye on the stranding. PVC can be melted with a heat source to change its form. Cross-linked insulation is created by extruding the material through a tube under heat and pressure to change the molecules of the insulation to another state.

The main difference between the two is the temperature range. A cross-linked automotive wire can withstand much higher temperatures than PVC automotive wire. There are three main types of wire for both insulations, all of which are primary/general use wires.

  • PVC automotive wire:
    • GPT - used for general circuit wiring and rated to 80 °C
    • TWP - lead-free, thin wall automotive wire rated to 105 °C
    • HDT - heavy wall automotive wiring rated to 80 °C
  • Cross-linked automotive wire:
    • GXL— thin wall, most common type, works with most standard automotive connectors, rated to 125 °C
    • SXL— standard wall, rated to 125 °C
    • TXL— extra thin wall, best for applications that require minimal size and weight, rated to 125 °C

How do you determine the gauge (AWG) of Automotive Wire?

First, make a small cut about 1/2" long and remove the insulation on the automotive wire. Then, count the individual strands of copper and use a micrometer to measure one of the strands. From there, refer to the table below to determine the wire's gauge.

# of strands/strand gauge = wire gauge
7/28 = 20 AWG
16/30 = 18 AWG
19/29 = 16 AWG
19/27 = 14 AWG
19/25 = 12 AWG
19/23 = 10 AWG
19/21 = 8 AWG
37/21 = 6 AWG

What are the different types of Battery Cable?

Battery cable is a large automotive cable but is still available in PVC and cross-linked forms like smaller wires. One type of PVC battery cable is the SGT cable. It is rated at 80° Celsius and can be used in starters or battery grounds.

Cross-linked battery cables can also be used in starter and battery ground applications, and are more resistant to heat, abrasion, and aging than PVC cable. One type of cross-linked battery cable is the STX cable. It is rated at 125° Celsius and has the thinnest wall of the cross-linked battery cables, making it popular for automotive applications with limited space.

What are other common types of Automotive Wire and Cable?

Trailer cable, automotive brake cable, ignition wire, fusible link wire, and SRML wire (high-temperature motor lead wire) are all considered automotive wire and cable.

How can I customize my Automotive Wire?

We offer several customization services for an automotive wire. Both PVC and cross-linked automotive wire can be printed with custom text or company logos and striped with up to three tracers. PVC automotive wire can also be dyed for easy identification.