Use the Right Tools
Having the proper tools for the job makes stripping wires much easier. Invest in a good pair of wire strippers designed for automotive wiring. The right strippers will tightly grip the insulation without damaging the wire underneath. Strippers with multiple sized holes allow you to match the hole size to the gauge of wire you are working with.
You'll also want a sharp utility knife to cleanly cut through insulation. Dull blades can fray the copper strands. Needle nose pliers come in handy for pulling back cut insulation.
Applying too much pressure when stripping can nick or cut through the copper conductor. Take care to only apply enough force to slice through the insulation. Pull the insulation off slowly and smoothly after cutting to avoid damaging the wire.
Twisting the strippers around the wire instead of squeezing handles puts less stress on the wire itself. Make sure to grip beyond where you want to strip to get clean results.
Strip the Proper Length
Removing too much insulation leaves copper exposed and prone to shorts. Don't strip back any more length than is needed for your connection. As a general rule, only 1/2 inch of bare wire should be showing.
For inline splices, stagger the strips so that the copper is exposed on opposite sides of the join. This prevents shorts since the uninsulated sections will not touch.
Watch Your Cut Depth
Adjustable wire strippers allow you to control the depth of your cut. Use the correct size notch and adjust the depth as needed for the insulation thickness. Take a few test strips on scrap pieces of wire to dial in the right depth before working on actual wiring.
Stripping too deep risks cutting into the copper strands. Stripping too shallow may leave some insulation that needs to be trimmed. It takes some practice to consistently strip insulation without damaging wires.
Avoid Nicks and Scrapes
Take care not to nick or scrape the copper when stripping. Even minor cuts to strands can break over time from vibration and expansion/contraction. This can lead to intermittent electrical problems down the road.
Rotating the wire while pulling insulation helps prevent scratches. You can also use fine grit sandpaper to gently smooth any burrs or nicks on cut wires. Avoid aggressively twisting or pulling on the exposed copper.
Keep it Clean
Always strip wires with a sharp, clean tool. Dull, dirty strippers can leave residue behind. Use wire brush tools to periodically clean your strippers. Replace blades once they start to show wear and get dull.
Clean any grime off wires before stripping. Chemical residue on the insulation can transfer to the copper. Always cover stripped wire ends after removing insulation to keep clean until connecting.
Proper tools, technique, and care when stripping wires helps ensure clean, undamaged conductors for solid electrical connections. With practice, you can efficiently strip wires to OEM standards. Just take your time and avoid rushing through the process. Patience and the right tools are the key tricks to professional wire stripping.