Auto Wire Harness Tape: A Simple Thing to Protect Complex Wire Harness

The wiring in today’s autos is massive and spreads to various locations as technology improves. However, wires facing extreme heat, corrosive chemicals, or bullets can destroy fires, braking failures, or other catastrophic problems. Thus, you have to conceal and wrap to avoid the issues. A driver can choose various methods to keep the wiring in a car safe. The auto wire harness tape is one of them.

Understanding Auto Harness Covers

Multiple solutions exist for enclosing and securing a vehicle’s wiring harness.

  • Zip ties securely bundle wire together but give little protection or insulation.
  • Plastic conduits provide shielding from harsh environments, but they aren’t as lightweight or adaptable as other materials.
  • Heat shrink tubing is resistant to temperature extremes, water, and chemicals. The application process is lengthy, however.
  • Tapes can also bundle and protect the wires better. You can use it for various purposes, including protective wrapping, bundling, and sealing, making them versatile and economical. With its many available backings and adhesives, the tape can provide the same level of protection against abrasion, heat, cold, and sound as the other options. Tapes also outperform tube and plastic conduit in terms of flexibility, weight, and ease of installation. 
 Different types of insulating Adhesives

Caption: Different types of insulating Adhesives

Elements of Tape

In general, tape consists of an adhesive coated onto a backing, which you can form from various substances. 

Types of Adhesives

Tape adhesives come in many forms, each with its benefits and applications. 

  • Rubber glue is commonly used because of its durability and adaptability. 
  • The engine compartment, which can reach temperatures of up to 200 degrees Celsius, is a perfect place to use an acrylic or silicone adhesive.
  • In addition, adhesive-free rubber or silicone tapes that self-amalgamate are available. This tape is watertight and sticks only to itself.

Some adhesives can cause damage to the wires or the insulation around them. Therefore, it’s essential to pick a tape with the correct adhesive. 

Types of Backings

The adhesives on tape can prevent some damage, but the tape’s backing can shield the wires from other hazards.

  • Tape made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is widely used in wire harness installation due to its versatility. It may be shaped to fit snugly around the wire looms because of its flexibility. Certain varieties are hand tear-able, perfect for general packing and placement. Other kinds give electrical and thermal insulation when paired with acrylic adhesive. For the same reason, thick PVC tapes can withstand wear and tear.
  • Tapes made from glass cloth can withstand high temperatures without melting. Winding wires in the engine bay or along the exhaust is a perfect use for them. Specific spots on the wiring harness call for clear textile backings. Some fabric tapes are treated to be flame-retardant or impervious to water.
  • Polyester is a type of textile backing used for heat resistance and abrasions. In addition to being resistant to extreme temperatures, this is also quite durable. It’s easier to work with than glass cloth as you can tear it apart with your hand. Automakers sometimes use nonwoven polyester (PET felt or fleece) to dampen exterior noise in the car’s main structure.

You can strengthen these protective layers using specialized adhesives in conjunction with the materials. It would help if you considered the flexibility and the protection level the tape can give. Moreover, you can reuse several videos across a wide range of applications, thus limiting the cost.

Wrapping tape on open wires

Caption: Wrapping tape on open wires

Benefits of Auto Wire Harness Tape, Wire Wrapping Tape

When selecting a tape, it is essential to consider temperature resistance and wire connection.

  • A wide selection of low-VOC grades and other adhesive types for the soft PVC products
  • Aluminum/glass cloth product for heat reflection 
  • Polyester, rayon, glass, and cotton cloths with extensive temperature and abrasion performance
  • Nonwoven foam and fleece kinds for sound dampening  
  • Cloth and PVC for dry-area splice protection; 
  • Self-Amalgamating tapes and sealants for water resistance.

What Makes a Great Vehicle Wire Harness Tape?

To ensure the best quality and efficiency and to comply with the design challenges in the wiring assembly market, wire harness tapes and wire packing tapes meet international OEM specifications. 

A Tight Wrap

For many years, PVC has been the standard material for wire harness tape. PVC’s flexibility makes it ideal for wrapping the wire bundles that carry modern electronics around the increasingly cramped interiors of (lightweight) automobiles

Abrasion Resistance

Abrasive resistance is a critical factor in how manufacturers classify wire harness tapes from A to F. (with A for no resistance and F for highly high). You can perform the scrape abrasion test by rubbing an abrading instrument back and forth across the tape. Keep it under predetermined pressure and circumstances, as outlined in international standard ISO 6722. Class A tapes can’t take more than a few hundred strokes before breaking, but Class F tapes can take over fifteen thousand.

Because of its high resilience to heat and abrasions, cloth polyester tape has gained popularity over the past decade. It can be easily torn by hand and is extremely bendable, making it ideal for manual usage. Sound can also be dampened using nonwoven polyester (such as fleece or PET felt).

Manufacturers are gradually moving away from using PVC tapes due to the durability of newer textiles.

Insulation From Heat and Electricity

PVC’s strength as an electrical insulator is beneficial here. Automakers may instead select polyester, fleeces, foils, and vinyl due to the high temperatures in the engine compartment. Glass cloth tapes have exceptional heat resistance compared to many other textile wire tapes.

Additionally, the adhesive layer must be resistant to temperature variations without peeling for the tape to insulate the wiring bundles effectively.

Resistance to Chemicals and Contaminants

Although woven tapes can serve well in areas where oils and pollutants are expected, foils and smooth tapes can provide good protection. Moreover, for protection against corrosive elements, you can use a contemporary polymer, such as polyester or PVC. 

In addition, if you need cloth tape, you can coat its backing with a flame-retardant or chemical-repellent material. 

Cloth duct tape to keep wires in place

Caption: Cloth duct tape to keep wires in place

Areas of Application

Here are two common areas of application where you can find tape protection.

  • In the interior of the car, where you need protection against environmental issues and noises
  • Inside the engine compartment, where you need protection against extreme temperatures, abrasions, and other environmental factors.

How to Wrap Auto Wire & Cable Harnesses Yourself

The need for a wire harness tape remains constant across vehicle types, makes, and models.

Choose the type of tape.

You must specify the aim of the tape cover and the type of tape in use. Are we dealing with an elastic polymer film with adhesive backing, a woven cloth, or a metallic foil? Is its primary function to keep a collection of wires pointing in the same direction? Or does it minimize the diameter of the bundle and improve its performance in some other way?

Depending on the application, certain types of tape can add various useful performance features to cables, like resistance to abrasion, better dielectric insulation, thermal protection, and EMI shielding. The amount of cover, layers, and the accuracy of the installation procedure all depend on the intended application.

Auto Wire Harness Tape: Tape Quantity

Since not all materials and applications are equal in thickness, this is not always an easy tell. More area coverage will require thermal and EMI materials to function well. If you’re wrapping a cable with bends, you’ll need more tape to get the job done. Thus, you will increase the tape length numbers by 1.3, one-third of the length per foot. 

However, do not make the common mistake of trying to save tape by using an extensive video on a smaller cable than is necessary. In addition to defeating the tape’s practical purpose, huge wrinkles and open gaps will also look bad visually.

Auto Wire Harness Tape: Installation

Although using tape is intuitive, a few considerations should be made beforehand. Moreover, for most uses, you should wrap the tape helical with an initial wind at a 75-degree angle. In most cases, it’s best to begin by covering the breakout legs with a thin tape that is proportional to the diameter of the breakout legs. After taping over the individual breakout legs, you might want to use a broader video for the longer main cable run.

Auto Wire Harness Tape: Grounding EMI Tapes

Like all EMI shielding materials, shielding tapes need one end grounded to be effective. When working with EMI Tape, there are a few options for creating a ground connection. The EMI approach will be based on the material composition and the customer’s desired level of EMI shielding performance.

Conclusion

Like any other component of a wire harness, tape wraps are crucial to the success of an electrical connector system in terms of both cost and reliability. Remember that there isn’t one “magic” material that excels in every circumstance. When assembling wire harnesses, it’s best to use as many off-the-shelf components as possible and cut down on those that demand a lot of creative problem-solving from the assembly line workers. Here at Cloom, we offer wiring harnesses and cable assemblies with types of wraps available, so your connection is safe and reliable.

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