Electricity flows from a battery in one direction only, and some components work only if the flow through them is in the correct direction. This acceptance of a one-way flow is called polarity. On most cars the negative () battery terminal is earthed and the positive (+) one feeds the electrical system.
Some components must be connected in series. For example, the sender in the fuel tank varies its resistance according to the amount of fuel in the tank, and sends a small electrical current to the fuel gauge.
Printed circuits are plastic sheets on which copper tracks have been printed. Components are plugged directly into the tracks. A few modern cars have flexible printed circuits. The copper tracks are printed in ribbons of flexible plastic, which replace the whole wiring system.
Often, however, it is hidden away, perhaps under the dashboard or down in the front knee-well. The car handbook usually gives the location, but without a book finding the box can prove difficult. Get to know where it is before anything goes wrong.