Depending on their intended uses, automotive fasteners are made usually of either stainless steel or plastic. Plastic fasteners are not as strong as stainless steel fasteners, but they have fairly high resistance to shock and vibrations, and they can be more suitable for use in affixing upholstery and other non-structural applications.
Steel fasteners are usually made of high grade stainless steel wire or rod. Steel automotive fasteners are used in door panels, small engine parts, airbag housings, among many other parts of a vehicle. Automotive fasteners include nuts, bolts, screws, retainers, spring clips or washers.
Each variety of fastener is engineered to fill a specific automotive requirement, and choosing the correct fastener in the manufacturing process is vitally important. Because vehicles are held together by fasteners, it is impossible to overstate the importance of choosing reliable fasteners and using them correctly.
The main types of automotive fasteners are nuts, bolts and washers. Nuts are used to secure bolts and screws to a surface, and they have interior (female) threading. Bolts are threaded with pins or rods.
They always have heads and are used in wheel construction. Automobile washers are small, flat discs that have holes in their center. They are used to hold a load of automotive bolts, prevent leakage, distribute pressure and they are used in radiators.
Plastic fasteners, often made with vinyl, are manufactured through injection molding, while metal fasteners are usually cold worked and heat treated to ensure strength and durability.
Stainless steel is valued as an automotive fastener material because of its strength and resistance to corrosion. Because all vehicles are subject to changing weather conditions and sometimes the presence of salt, corrosion resistance is am important fastener quality.
One of the strongest vehicle fastener materials is titanium, but its use is usually restricted to aerospace fastener applications.