One of my favorite movie lines, is one made by Ian Malcolm, as played by Jeff Goldblum: “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could, they didn't stop to think if they should.” Basically the same thing can be said about installing amateur gear in and on a vehicle, late model or otherwise. To paraphrase… Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Perhaps where this scenario rears its ugly head more than any other, is in the power wiring of amateur gear. The major rule is, and always has been—Never use existing vehicle wiring, period! The most egregious wiring faux pas, is using accessory sockets to power amateur radio gear. And here is why you should not! While there are exceptions, most are wired with #16 AWG, or the Euro or Japanese equivalent. And most are fused at 10 amps (those fused at 15 amps just add insult to injury). This is where the 120 watt rating comes from. But is isn’t the rating, amperage, or the wire size that is the biggest issue. Rather it is long-term, resistive heating, also known as thermolysis. There are at least a dozen manufacturers of accessory socket plugs. All of them rely on a spring-loaded, rounded point contact, whose area is very small. By small, I mean about one square millimeter! This is roughly equivalent to the cross sectional area of solid #18 AWG wire. The resistance of the point contact when new, is typically 4 to 8 milli ohms. As these contacts wear, the junction resistance increases with predicable results—something burns! We also have to keep a few other thoughts in mind. First, a 50 watt 2 meter transceiver typically draws about 110 watts. The difference is comprised of final efficiency losses, fan, and other parasitic draws. As a result, you can’t use the wattage rating and power output rating as equivalents. Next, we need to remember that vehicle wiring is tightly bundled. Sometimes those bundles contain 50 or more individual conductors. Quite obviously then, we can’t use open-air, AWG ratings as gospel. The National Electrical Code specifications, rate #14 AWG at a scant 5.9 amps! This is slightly higher than that the SAE rating. Whatever vehicle you own or lease, is up to you to maintain. It is also yours to wire as you see fit. If you wish to take a chance by incorrectly wiring your amateur radio gear, by all means do so! The same goes for mounting gear, antennas, you name it. But keep in mind, that sooner or later, short cuts will indeed short circuit!