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.
Wire and cable sizes are classified by the maximum amperage that they can carry safely. A complex network of wires runs through the car. To avoid confusion, each wire is colour coded (but only within the car: there is no national or international system of colour-coding).
The strength of the current is measured in amperes (amps); the pressure that drives it round the circuit is called voltage (volts). Modern cars have a 12 volt battery. Its capacity is measured in amp/hours. A 56 amp/hour battery should be able to deliver a current of 1 amp for 56 hours, or 2 amps for 28 hours.
Most car handbooks and service manuals include a wiring diagram which can be difficult to follow. The colour-coding, however, is a useful guide to tracing wiring.