Monday, May 20, 2024

5 Materials Used in Vehicle Manufacturing

Carbon fiber is a highly desired material some automakers use to manufacture high-end cars. It’s a premium material known to enhance vehicle safety since it can absorb substantial quantities of impact energy. It’s also relatively lightweight compared to many other materials. A lighter car can result in better fuel efficiency so you save money at the gas pump or charging station.

According to one source, Americans borrow an average of $40,366 for new vehicles and $26,685 for used vehicles. If you spend tens of thousands on a car, truck, van, SUV, crossover, or any other vehicle, it pays to learn as much about it as possible.

Understanding the features, capabilities, and performance metrics makes sense. But so, too, does looking at the types of materials used to manufacture cars. 

Consider these five popular materials.

  1. Steel

It’s no surprise that automakers often use steel to manufacture vehicles. And it’s not just the exterior, either. Steel is used to manufacture many vehicle components. One reason car manufacturers use steel is that it is a strong material, and that can factor into driver and passenger safety on the roads and highways. 

One source notes that cars contain an average of 900 kilograms or 1,980 pounds of steel. From the roof to the chassis and from the door beams to the exhaust pipes, steel is a popular material. 

  1. Aluminum

Aluminum is a versatile material automakers use to manufacture transmissions, engines, brake parts, speedometers, air conditioning parts, body parts, and more. While aluminum isn’t as hard as steel, it’s still strong and is lighter than steel. It’s also worth noting that aluminum is more susceptible than steel to scratches or dents. But since aluminum is more elastic and malleable than steel, it can be used to make components that automakers can’t use steel to make.

  1. Plastic

Plastic isn’t a glamorous material, but the material is nonetheless common. It’s light and flexible, which can increase fuel efficiency. It’s also relatively cost-effective, which can lower vehicle price points. Many components in even the most premium vehicles contain plastic — from the air vents to the dashboard and from the door handles to the headlight assemblies.

It’s worth noting that there’ve been advancements in plastic manufacturing. For example, Genestar is a polyamide engineering plastic with properties that include, but aren’t limited to, heat resistance and low water absorption. 

  1. Glass

Yet another common material automakers use to manufacture vehicles is glass. From the windshield to the back window and from the other windows to the backup camera lenses, glass is a key feature. Depending on the vehicle you get, you can choose features like a glass roof. The right amount of glass can help to make the interior feel less cluttered and more airy.

  1. Fiberglass

Fiberglass is another common material vehicle makers use. This material offers benefits over materials like steel. For instance, fiberglass is a non-corrosive material. So, some areas of a vehicle that traditionally contain steel can be manufactured using fiberglass. Sometimes an older vehicle that’s mechanically fine is no longer safe to drive due to corrosion. Fiberglass components won’t corrode no matter how much time goes by. 

Another essential plus when using fiberglass is that it’s fire-resistant, which means fire won’t spread, should there be a fire. It can be the difference between getting out of an accident in one piece and suffering severe injuries requiring hospitalization. 

These are five materials carmakers use. You’ll want to examine the various car-making materials to see the pros and cons. Doing so will help you make informed decisions when buying a car.

Lindsey Ertz
Lindsey Ertz
Lindsey, a curious soul from NY, is a technical, business writer, and journalist. Her passion lies in crafting well-researched, data-driven content that delivers authentic information to global audiences, fostering curiosity and inspiration.

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