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.
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.
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.
There are many fuses, each protecting a small group of components, so that one blown fuse does not shut down the whole system. Many of the fuses are grouped together in a fuse box, but there may also be line fuses in the wiring.