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HomeTips & GuidesAuto Electrical Connections: Learn About Their Different Types

Auto Electrical Connections: Learn About Their Different Types

About Auto electrical connections, When you repair auto accessories’ wiring, you have to disconnect and reconnect wires again and again. 

There are several methods of connecting wires. But how many of them are effective? Which one is safest? 

If you don’t know the answers. Read further about safe and reliable auto electrical connections.

Table of Contents

Basic connections:

As the name clears, these connections are basic, like you tie a knot in a rope. You need not have any special connectors or tools for making these connections. 

You can use basic connections for electrical circuits with a current of 5 amps or less and wires up to 16 gauge or smaller. 

If you are using 14 gauge or higher gauge wires, these connections are not safe.

Some of the basic connections are:

Twisting and taping:

  1. Take two wire pieces and strip off the insulation, about ¾ inch from each wire.
  2. Hold the wires so that the bare ends cross each other at an angle.
  3. Twist the two wire ends tightly in the clockwise direction
  4. Now, bend this twisted portion in a U-shape.
  5. Put this U-shape part on one of the wires and secure it tightly using electrical tape.

The Westinghouse Split:

  1. Take a pair of wire strippers. Cut the insulation by piercing the stripper inside the wire you want to tap into.
  2. Now, make another cut on the insulation, which is around ½ inch towards the right of the first cut.
  3. Using a razor blade, slice the insulation between the first and the second cut.
  4. Remove this insulation from the wire, and you will have bare copper wires exposed.
  5. Take a pick tool and insert it into the center of the copper wire. This is to make a passage through which you can pass the other you need to connect to this wire.
  6. Remove around ¾ inch of the insulation from the end of the second wire.
  7. Insert the bare copper wire end of the second wire through the passage you created in the first.
  8. Wrap this wire tightly, making as much contact as possible between the wires.
  9. Insulate the connection with the help of electrical tape.
  10. Lastly, tie a cable around the connection to further secure it. Use a second cable tie about 1 inch away from the first one as the stress reliever.
Basic auto electrical connections

Basic auto electrical connections

Crimp-style connections:

Unlike basic connections, you can use crimp-style connectors for small and large wires.

For small gauge wires

You can succeed in crimping only if you have the right tools. Firstly, you must have a good crimp tool for insulated and non-insulated connectors. 

A stake-type tool is good as it does not pierce through or tear the insulation.

  1. Strip off around ¼ inch of wire insulation from both wires.
  2. Once the insulation is removed, twist the two wires’ ends individually in the clockwise direction.
  3. Take the twisted end of the first wire and put it inside the crimp connector so that copper completely enters into the ferrule and insulation enters into the vinyl or nylon.
  4. Place the crimp tool on the first half of the connector where you have inserted the wire.
  5. Squeeze the tool with full force to make a tight crimp.
  6. Repeat the same process with the other wire after inserting it into the other half of the connector.
  7. Once done, apply heat through a heat gun so that insulation at both ends melts and encapsulates the connection.

For Large gauge wires

You can do it in two ways, and both need a unique tool. The tool is either a hammer-type crimping tool or a hexagonal compound crimp tool. 

The first one is economical, but the latter one is costly. The hammer-type tool is unsuitable for auto terminations, but you can use a hexagonal crimping tool. 

However, both tools are better used when used outside the vehicle.

Using a hammer crimp tool

  1. Take a razor blade and strip the insulation from the wire. How much insulation should be removed depends on the connector you are using. However, ensure that around ⅛ inch of wire comes out from the ferrule end.
  1. Put the ring terminal over the bare wire end so all the wires come inside the ferrule, ensuring ⅛ inch of wire sticking out.
  1. Put the crimp tool on a flat and hard surface and insert this wire and connector pair into the crimp tool, keeping the stake opposite the seam.
  1. Now, use a hammer and drive the stake into the terminal firmly. For this, you should give around two good whacks of the hammer. Don’t do too much, as you may tear the connector’s bottom, damaging the integrity of the crimp.

Hexagonal compound crimp tool:

  1. Fix the dies to the jaws according to the size of the connector gauge you are using.
  2. Using a razor blade, strip off the required insulation from the wire end. (Remember you must keep around ⅛ inch of bare wire sticking out from the ferrule end.)
  3. Open the tool jaws entirely and hold the tool so that one end is in your hand while the other lies on the shop floor.
  4. Insert the cable and ring terminal inside the tool’s jaws, keeping the connector seam in the middle.
  5. Start compressing the tool for crimping. Use both your hands to apply higher force. Your termination is well-crimped.

If you are using a long connector ferrule, you may need to do a second similar crimp next to the first one.

Crimp-style auto electrical connections

Crimp-style auto electrical connections

Soldering connections:

The Soldering is a good option for connecting wires of 18-gauge or larger.

Soldering two wires

  1. Strip around ¾ inch of wire insulation from both the wire ends.
  2. Hold the bare ends of the two wires crossing each other at an angle.
  3. Wrap the two wires around each other and twist them clockwise.
  4. Take the soldering iron and hold it under the connection. Allow the solder to flow inside the connection. In this method, you need not tin the wires before soldering. Soldering ensures a long-lasting connection.

Soldering a new wire to the already existing wire in a vehicle:

  1. Cut the insulation of the wire that you want to tap into using a pair of wire strippers.
  2. Make another cut around ½ inch forward to the first cut.
  3. Slit the insulation with a razor blade and remove the insulation section.
  4. Take the second wire and strip its insulation about ¾ inch.
  5. Insert this part into the passage created in the first wire with a pick tool. Wrap the two wires tightly around each other.
  6. Hold the iron under the connection and allow the solder to flow from the top.
  7. Finally, insulate the connection using electrical tape.
Soldering-style auto electrical connections

Soldering-style auto electrical connections

Temporary mechanical connectors:

These connectors are very common in automotive use. Installed on an insulated wire, they have a small contact area, so they are best to use in low-current applications.

 However, these connectors cannot resist harsh weather conditions, so don’t use them under a vehicle or the hood.

Scotchlok connectors:

These connectors have the easiest installation method. You only have to take appropriately sized connectors according to the wire you must put inside them.

 If you are using two different-sized wires, it is better to opt for another connection method. 

These insulators have color coordination in a similar scheme as insulated crimp connectors.

T-tap connectors:

These connectors are suitable for remote starters and automobile security installations. 

Their installation is somewhat complex and involves the connector wrapping around the wire you intend to tap. 

These also have color coordination similar to insulated crimp connectors. T-tap connectors are best for tapping into the wires that are difficult to reach.

  • Crimp a push-on connector on the wire that you want to connect
  • Slide this spade into the T-tap body, and you are done.

There are several problems that you may face with these temporary mechanical connectors. 

If you take them too small, they can cut the connecting wires, and if you take them too big, you won’t get a good hold of the wires.


The safety and integrity of automobile accessories largely depend on the electrical connections. Thus, you must make the right connections at the right place and do it correctly.

In case of any doubts, contact Cloom. We are here to help you with all sorts of automobile wiring harnesses and cable assemblies catering to your needs.  

Hi I am Christa, sales manager of Cloom.

I have extensive expertise and experience in wiring harnesses and I believe I can help you.

And we have a very professional technical team who can clearly understand the customer’s needs and give professional suggestions and solutions after receiving the drawings.

If you also have wiring harness needs, please send me the drawing so that we can give you our quote and start our business.

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