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HomeTips & GuidesAutomotive Wire Harness Connectors – The Ultimate Guide

Automotive Wire Harness Connectors – The Ultimate Guide

About Automotive Wire Harness Connectors: You cannot underestimate the importance of automotive wire harness connectors in your car electronics. These devices come in various sizes, materials, and shapes to ensure the smooth running of your car systems. 

In today’s guide, I will discuss everything about automotive wire harness connectors, including their definition and types. 

I will also show you how to design your custom harness connectors and give you some cleaning tips to ensure optimal functionality.

What Is a Harness Connector?

In summary, connectors facilitate data flow and power from one electronic to the other. Usually, a male and a female connector work together to facilitate information flow. 

In addition to facilitating information flow, connectors secure the cable in an electronic for optimal system functioning.

What Are the Components of Wire Harness Connectors?

Typically, any wire harness connector that you have must come with two basic parts:

Casing: The first part features an insulator casing that houses the inner components of your connector and offers a stable connection.

Terminals: The other part is the terminal, which typically consists of pins made from highly conductive metals. As you may expect, terminals connect to your cables for data and power transfer.

What Are the Types of Wiring Harness Cooncetors?

Generally, expect different types and shapes of connectors depending on where you use them. Here, I will go through the six main types of connectors where you can use them:

Terminal Blocks

As the name suggests, terminal blocks feature one large conductor housed in an insulator casing. With such a connector, you can connect several wires to the conductor and disconnect them. 

For this reason, such connectors are very common in most electronics to facilitate quick upgrading and troubleshooting. Terminal blocks appear in different sizes and designs.

 For example, you will find terminal blocks for barrier strips, feed-through, and PBC mounts, but they all function similarly.

A terminal block example

A terminal block example

Binding Post

Binding post connectors feature a screw-like design at the end of a conductor. Here, you can just connect one cable depending on the function of the connector. You will find binding post connectors mostly in audio devices such as amplifiers and woofers.

Plug and Socket

A plug and socket connector combines two parts that work together. The first part is the male plug, which comes with the connection pins. The other part is the female one, i.e., the socket, which has holes where the pins plug. 

Some examples of such include the USB port, audio jacks, and sockets, all found in cars, airplanes, and other systems. 

What most technicians love about these connectors is their usage ease while providing a firm and secure connection.

A plug and socket connector

A plug and socket connector

Rack and Panel

You will likely find rack and panel connectors in servers for telecommunications and machines like printers. They are typically very adjustable and mostly used in stationary systems. Rack and panel connectors come in several types, such as rack-to-board and cable-to-panel.


Blade connectors feature a design like a plug and socket but with flat conductor blades. These conductors’ blades connect to a receptacle; you will find them in cars and some devices.

Ring and Spade

Ring and spade connectors feature an insulated barrel where you connect the cable via soldering. 

Then there is the ring which you connect to a bolt contact and screw together for a firm and secure connection.

 Interestingly, ring and spade connectors appear in different sizes and designs for seamless and secure connections. You will find such connectors in automobiles, grounding cables, and other gadgets.

Ring and spade connectors

Ring and spade connectors

How to Design Wire Harness Connectors

As you know, you can make custom wiring heinous that fits your car system. When that time comes, you must design connectors that work with your harness. With that said, let’s see some simple steps you can use to create your custom connector:

Determine usage environment

You want the connector you create to be functional but also durable and reliable. For this reason, you have to check where you will use it first. Doing so helps you know the materials you will use for your connector. 

For example, connectors you intend to use in high-temperature environments should have heat-resistant casing. Some other factors to check here include moisture, abrasion rate, corrosion, and other environments.

Interference Mitigation

Interferences lower the quality of data, power, or signal your cable transmits. For this reason, you must know them and figure out a way to curb them. 

For example, you can use Mylar casing to reduce electromagnet and radio frequency interference.

Taking measurements and designing

You definitely want a high-quality and reliable connector that can transmit and hold the cable securely. 

Therefore, precision in design is the key to a quality connector. Here, you have to take measurements of the wires, the casing, the terminals, and even the conductor gauge. 

Once through, you can design the connector on time and budget properly.

How to Clean Wire Harness Connectors

As you may expect, connectors can accumulate dirt and corrosion, especially outside. When this happens, the covering reduces their conductivity and data transmission, affecting their performance. 

The good news is that you can do some routine maintenance, which is mostly cleaning them with the steps below:

  • For a male connector, first of all, switch the power off to avoid electrocution
  • Then wipe dust and dirt off your wires and the connector using a dry rag
  • Inspect them carefully and check for any greenish corrosion on the pins, which you can remove using sandpaper.
  • After that, apply quality electrical contact cleaner or vinegar and clean the pins carefully, making sure not to break them.
  • Finally, use contact lubricants to spray your pins so that you may reduce the corrosion rate.
  • While here, note that if any pin breaks, you must replace the connector, as it will not function. 
  • For female connectors, spray the vinegar into the connection holes and clean the dust.
  • You can then put a small brush into the socket holes, cleaning them one at a time.
  • When all is perfect, spray the socket with the lubricant, and it’s now clean.
Cleaning female connectors

Cleaning female connectors


This guide lets you know everything you need about wire harness connectors. All I can say is always ensure proper and routine cleaning for optimal performance of your car electronics. 

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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