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).
However, a component with a high current consumption must not be connected using wires which are too thin, or the wires will overheat, blow a fuse, or burn out.
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.
To guard against this, ancillary circuits have fuses. The most common type of fuse is a short length of thin wire enclosed in a heatproof casing often glass. The size of the fuse wire is the thinnest that can carry the normal current of the circuit without overheating, and it is rated in amps.