When you think of automotive wire, what's the first thing that comes to your mind? Is it an AUX cord, an iPhone charger, or maybe even the internal lighting wire. Some of these are "real" automotive wire, while others are cabling products that are traditionally used within automobiles. Today's blog, we'll be discussing the major differences between different types of automotive wire and cable.

Automotive Wire & Cable Products

What is Automotive Wiring?

Automotive wiring, as the name suggests, it's used within different types of automobiles. The applications of these products are very similar, yet choosing the incorrect one could spell disaster. Various configurations and different gauges, has made selecting the correct automotive wiring product increasingly more difficult. 

   Under A Cars Hood: Automotive Wiring


Automotive Primary Wire

The most prevalent wiring used within automotive applications is known as "Primary Wire." Primary wiring comes in many different configurations and constructions. In the United States and Canada, a primary wire is typically used for general purpose applications within automobiles and marine vehicles. These types of cables are also perfect solutions for harsh environments or challenging to reach locations, as the different constructions are able to fulfill even the most demanding application requirements.

SXL, GXL and TXL automotive wire

SXL Primary Wire

The SXL primary wire features a cross-linked jacket of polyethylene, which is resistant against abrasion, ageing and heat. With a more durable construction than GPT, the SXL primary wire is the preferred construction for high-stress applications involving industrial vehicles. SXL is perfect for automotive wiring applications when durability and reliability are a major concern. 


GXL & TXL Automotive Wire

These constructions are similar to the SXL configurations but have a slightly thinner outside insulation. The smaller O.D. allows these products to be applied in very tight locations and is also easier for pulling these wires through tight spaces. GXL and TXL automotive wire are very good alternatives for applications involving engine compartments where higher heat resistance is required. They're also used in applications that require SAE J-1128 ratings.


Insulation Cross-Linked Polyethylene (XLPE) Cross-Linked Polyethylene (XLPE)
Weight of 18 AWG 6.9 lbs/MFT 8.0 lbs/MFT
Voltage 50 Volts 50 Volts
Conductor Plating Bare Copper Bare Copper
Insulation Thickness of 18 AWG 0.016 in. 0.023 in.
Specifications SAE, Ford, Chrysler SAE, Ford, Chrysler
Wall Thickness Extra Thin Wall Thin Wall
Temperature Rating -51°C to +125°C -51°C to +125°C


GPT Primary Wire

One of the most popular types of cables for automotive applications is the primary wire, GPT. The GPT is typically the wire you'll see inside an automotive store, because of its all-around general-purpose configuration. Its construction uses a multi-stranded core and flexible insulation, making it very easy to install in tight locations. The GPT automotive wire is also resistant to oil, acids, chemicals and is rated for 80ºC and 105ºC.

     CSA TEW Wire Bare Copper UL1015, UL1028, UL1283, UL1284

Hook-Up Automotive Wire

Hook-Up wire is one of our team's most popular categories because of the various products' that act as alternatives to one another. The most popular type of hook-up wire used with automotive applications is TEW UL1015 (thermoplastic Elastomer Wire) or Motor Wire. This type of motor wire is typically used for the internal wiring of appliances and within HVAC equipment. The TEW, specifically the UL1015 & UL1028 constructions, are also being used increasingly more within automotive applications.


Automotive frame example

Battery Cable (SGT or SGX)

The last type of popular automotive wiring found in-vehicle applications today is the battery cable. The battery cable's main priority is to distribute power throughout the vehicle's electrical system. Battery cables are susceptible to corrosion and are the main issue with cars on the road, not starting. The battery cables are also larger in gauge size and heavier as a result, because of how they're responsible for distributing power to the rest of the vehicle's accessories. 



Purchasing Automotive Wire

If you are purchasing wire and cable for a very low price, be careful. For many different automotive applications, there have been plenty of offshore manufacturers that create these cables with aluminum conductors coated in copper, rather than traditional pure copper. The issue with aluminum conductors is that they can't hold a charge nearly as well as copper. Aluminum is only 60% as conductive as copper, which means it'll need a significantly larger gauge size to compensate for decreased power distribution.

When you choose Sycor, you know what you're getting 100% of the time. With high-quality manufacturers all over the world, we're able to correlate shipments for cost-effective pricing and an exceptionally high-quality product. With a number of different gauges and colours available, our team can make your wire and cable hunt fast, cost-effective and, most importantly, stress-free.Automotive wiring: Safety First

Automotive cables are a very popular choice and have a number of different configurations for various applications. From primary wire to battery cables, whatever your application requires, we'll have the solution. If you have any additional questions or concerns about your automotive applications, feel to reach out to one of our industry experts.


Sycor Technology Inc.'s Facebook   Sycor Technology Inc.'s Linkedin


Call Toll Free - 1.800.268.9444     or     Email Us - Info@Sycor.com

Sycor's Product Catalog

Sycor Marketing





* indicates required