The Increasing Use Of Plastic Components Within The Automotive Industry


For many years, metal was the only appropriate material for use in the manufacture of parts for use in the automotive industry, due to its superb strength and versatility that enabled manufacturers to mould it into the shapes required to produce not just the larger parts, but also all of the small and essential components.

As surprising as it may sound, over recent years, the auto industry have been turning to plastic components, such as snap rivets, nylon washers, and spacers. These are a great alternative for many of the parts that are hiding under our vehicle hoods.

The plastics we have available nowadays, such as nylon screws, have advanced to a point whereby they offer us the same benefits as metal; i.e. durability and strength, along with several advantages over the metal equivalents...

Strength & Durability

Plastic may not be the material that springs to mind immediately in terms of strength, but the development of a broad range of new plastics has opened up a wealth of new possibilities. Some plastics are reinforced with woven fibreglass for extra strength, others are resistant to chemical abrasion and resistant to flames and fire damage! These technological developments mean that the auto industry is now taking full advantage of the fact that many of today’s plastics are every bit as strong and durable as their metal counterparts.

Weight Reduction

Perhaps the most beneficial reason for switching out many of the parts that would previously been constructed in metal, in favour of their plastic alternatives has been the opportunity to significantly reduce the weight, and therefore the operation and running costs of a vehicle.

Metal parts and fasteners are obviously a great deal heavier than the alternatives that are available in plastic and this has enabled the auto industry to knock kilos off the final weight of each vehicle produced, without making any compromises whatsoever in terms of the safety and reliability of that vehicle. 

Reduce Wear & Tear = Reduce Vehicle Maintenance

Metal may be an incredibly durable and resilient material, making it an ideal choice for many of the applications it is used for, however it is not without its own issues!

Underneath the hood, components are exposed to extreme conditions in terms of heat, humidity and exposure to the effects of chemical and acid corrosion over time.

The development of plastics that are resistant to corrosion and damage in these conditions makes them an obvious choice for any manufacturer wishing to boost safety at the same time as reducing the repairs and maintenance issues that are associated with typical wear and tear on metal parts.

Identifying The Right Plastic Parts For The Job

These days many plastic components are specifically designed for use within the auto industry, so whether you are looking for:

  • Nylon nuts, screws or washers for use under the hood

  • Plastic clips to keep the engine wires neatly organised

  • Plastic fasteners for the interior trim of the vehicle

Or, any other plastic component! With a little careful research - you are bound to find the ideal plastic component or part to do the job efficiently! 

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