Automotive Wire loom: Protect and Organize Your Vehicles’ Wires and Cables

FACTS CHECKED BY  Jose George​

The engine of a car comprises long lengths of electrical wires. These wires are responsible for controlling electric components such as headlights, wipers, AC, brakes, and many more. Exposed ones tend to damage with time. Thus, it would help if you protected them from harsh environments, dust, heat, and high vibrations. That’s why we need the automotive wire loom. How does it work? Let’s have a clear picture.

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What is a Wire Loom?

The wiring loom is an effective solution to managing and storing long wires. Also, as wire looms are flexible, they provide extensive protection against vibrations, punctures, friction, and scratches. You can wrap and organize the cables in an orderly manner so that you do not face tangled wires and cables. 

You can see  a wire loom in a wide variety of locations:

  • Automotive wiring
  • Home P.C.
  • Home theatre
  • Anywhere wires and cables are a danger or a chaotic mess. 

Six Types of Cable Wrap Options for Automotive Wiring Harnesses

For automotive wiring harnesses, you have several options to wrap your wires and cables. These are:

Corrugated flexible conduits / automotive split wire looms:

Automotive split wire looms are the most common type available in the market. You can also call them corrugated flexible conduits. With it, you can organize, protect and hold your automobile wires in one place. There is a slit down the length of wire loom tubing, and start enclosing wires at the slit and then surrounding them to protect the whole wire runs. You can pick from ¼” to 1-inch diameter wire loom options. Also, you can get these looms in spool sizes of 100 to 1000 feet. 

These automotive wire looms have several advantages:

  • Firstly, they protect against abrasion and crushing of wires
  • Secondly, they can withstand a high-temperature range of 300 degrees Celsius. 
  • Lastly, they also have flame retardant properties for extra protection.

Nowadays, auto manufacturers are giving color codes to split loom tubing. The color codes help them to know high voltage circuits. As a result, it prevents people and mechanics from shocks and damaged equipment.

The variety of colors codes are as follows:

  • Black stripes: for under-hood automotive applications (high temperature)
  • Blue and yellow: for high voltage circuits (up to 42V) like diesel injectors and power steering motors.
  • Pink: anti-bacterial for food truck vehicles
  • Orange: for very high voltages (144v-650v). range wire looms are more common in hybrid and electric vehicles. Orange tubing indicates that electric shocks from these wires can cause serious injuries.

Image: split wire loom

Self-closing wrap/Woven Mesh Split-Sleeve Wire Loom

Woven mesh split wire looms enclose the cables and wires by themselves. They offer several advantages:

  • Firstly, These wire sleeves offer extra overlapping that provides overall protection for the wires. They are soft and quiet even in high vibration conditions.
  • In addition, this flexible wire tubing can bend even along the tight radius without getting distorted and split. 
  • Thirdly, you can easily pull-out wires and replace and repair them easily.
  • Also, it can withstand a temperature range of -70 degrees Celsius to 125 degrees Celsius.
  • Lastly, it offers resistance to cuts and abrasion.

Image: woven mesh split wire loom

Braided self-closed wrap/split sleeving

This braided sleeve is a self-closing wrap woven from Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) monofilament. These wraps have a self-coiling tendency to wrap around wires without any cable ties or Velcro, and their self-rolling coincidence degree is around 25%. 

This split-sleeve braided wire loom offers the following advantages: 

  • It is a highly flame-retardant wire loom.
  • It is lightweight and has excellent abrasion resistance. 
  • Removing and adding cables is very easy.
  • This braided sleeve can bear a temperature range of -50 degrees Celsius to 150 degrees Celsius.

Image:  braided sleeve

Dual wall adhesive heat-shrink tubing

As the name suggests, this tubing has two layers. The outer layer is polyethylene, and a hot adhesive forms the inner layer. It easily snugs around cables and wires and smooths their rough exterior surfaces. It requires a heat gun to apply and thus takes more time. Further, you may not use it for the entire wiring harness.

The tube offers several advantages:

  • It provides electrical and thermal insulation
  • The adhesive layer provides strong protection against chemicals and moisture.
  • Its working temperature is around -45 degrees Celsius to +125 degrees Celsius.

Image:  heat-shrink tubing

Cable sleeving or expandable sleeving

Expandable sleeving allows easy insertion of wires. Once inserted, they tightly fit around wires and cables, giving a protective grip securing wires in place. You can use expandable wire sleeving for outboard motor cables, wire harness assemblies, and marine hoses.

Image:  expandable sleeving

Fiberglass sleeving

Fiberglass sleeving has a coating of a resin material that offers protection against temperatures up to 1200 degrees Celsius. You can use this high-temperature wire loom in high-heat environments, such as fire and emergency vehicles. 

This fiber sleeve offers multiple advantages:

  • These are resistant to abrasion, high heat, gasoline, and several chemicals
  • You can easily cut them with scissors without fraying their ends.
  • It tightly encapsulates wires and cables even under highly vibrating and mechanically stressful conditions.

Image:  fiberglass sleeving

Automotive wire loom clips

You can hold wire looms in place with the help of these routing clips. Further, you can use wire routing clips to secure specific wires to a fixed object. 

The need for high temp automotive wire loom

Nowadays, vehicles have separate computers for managing different functions. As a result, more and more wiring is needed in engine functions. However, engines run at temperatures higher than 200 degrees Celsius. These complex wires face various stresses. If you do not give proper wire protection, they will degrade over time, and you can then face a short circuit or fire hazard. 

For example, the wires and cables in cars may degrade over time due to exposure to high heat constantly. This degradation may lead to several electrical problems, and the increased wire resistance is one of them. The high resistance affects the sensors, electric components, and other engine functions.

Conclusion

Wire looms ensure that your vehicles are running without risk of wear and other destruction. However, you are sure about this only when you use reliable wire looms. If you are also looking for high-quality and affordable wiring harnesses with wire looms and tubing, we can help you.

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