If the cable overheated, there could be a fire. The fuse prevents that happening, because its thin wire will melt and break the circuit long before the cable itself can heat up and burn. Some cars have only two fuses. One rated at about 30-50 amps protects components wired through the ignition switch — flashers, wipers, heater-motor and instruments.
All the electrical units of measurement are interrelated: a pressure of 1 volt causes a current of 1 amp to flow through a resistance of 1 ohm. Volts divided by ohms equal amps. For example, a light bulb with a resistance of 3 ohms, in a 12 volt system, consumes 4 amps.
This means it must be connected using wires thick enough to carry 4 amps comfortably. Often the power consumption of a component will be stated in watts, which are found by multiplying amps and volts. The lamp in the example consumes 48 watts.
This is called a negative earth system, and when buying an electrical accessory a radio, for example check that it is of a type suitable for your car system. Fitting a radio with the incorrect polarity will damage the set, but most car radios have an external switch for setting the polarity to suit that of the car. Switch to the correct setting before fitting.