The electrical system of a car is a closed circuit with an independent power source the battery. It operates on a small fraction of the power of a household circuit. Current flows along a single cable from the battery to the component being powered, and back to the battery through the cars metal body. The body is connected to the earth terminal of the battery by a thick cable.
If the wrong-sized wire is used, or if a wire becomes broken or disconnected, this can cause an accidental short circuit which bypasses the resistance of the component. The current in the wire may become dangerously high and melt the wire or cause a fire.
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