Stripping Wire Insulation

An insulating layer of plastic covers electrical wire used in automotive wiring harnesses. When electrical wire is joined to other wires or connected to a terminal, the insulation needs to be removed. Wire stripping tools come in various configurations, but they all perform the same task. The type of tool you use or purchase will depend on personal preference and the amount of electrical wire repairs you perform. A good pair of wire strippers removes the insulation without damaging the wire strands. Never use a knife or other type of sharp tool to cut away the insulation, as it often cuts away some of the strands of wire as well. This is known as ringing the wire, which effectively reduces the current-carrying capacity of the wire

To strip wire insulation, follow the steps in Skill Drill 36-1:

1
Choose the correct stripping tool for the wire you are stripping. (Photo 1)
2
Most wire strippers can remove the insulation from different gauges of wire, so select the hole in the stripper that is closest to the diameter of the wire to be stripped.
3
Place the wire in the hole and close the jaws firmly around it to cut the insulation. If you have selected the right gauge, the tool will cut through the insulation but not through the copper core. Only remove as much insulation as is necessary to do the job. Insufficient bare wire may not achieve a good connection, and excessive may expose the wire to a potential short circuit with other circuits or to ground. Also, removing more than 0.5" (12.7 mm) of insulation at a time can stretch and damage the core. (Photo 2)
4
Some strippers automatically cut and remove the insulation. Others just make the cut and hold the wire tightly; you then need to pull firmly on the wire to remove the insulation and expose the copper core. To keep the strands together after the insulation is stripped away, give them a light twist. (Photo 3)
SKILL DRILL
36-1
Stripping Wire Insulation
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1
Choose the correct stripping tool.
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2
Select the hole that matches the diameter of the wire to be stripped. Place the wire in the hole and close the jaws firmly around it to cut the insulation.
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3
Remove the insulation. To keep the strands together, give them a light twist.