Types of Automotive Fasteners

When we think of automotive parts, we often visualise various engine components, bulky doors, or wheels. But the truth is that the average vehicle consists of over 30,000 small parts, most of which fall in the automotive fastener category. The fasteners are a generic term for all bits and pieces like bolts, nuts, screws, spacers, or springs used in practically every car component. Even though the fasteners are small, they are not insignificant, quite contrary. There are over 64,000 of different designs which are used throughout the industry, and there is no vehicle on the planet that would be able to function correctly if it wasn’t for those invisible mechanical heroes. In this article, we explore some of the most common types of fasteners used in the automotive industry.

types of automotive fasteners

Automotive Fasteners According To Material

Metal Fasteners – Iron or aluminium alloy (sometimes cooper) is the most common material in the automotive fastener world. Bolts, screws, nuts, and springs are all traditionally made out of metal. Those kinds of fasteners are usually more durable and reusable and used for the firm position of heavy items,engine parts, and suspension components. Most bolts are also covered in zinc for rust protection and durability.

Plastic Fasteners – Plastic is a very popular material in this industry, and numerous types of connectors, pins, spacers, and washers are produced used plastic or composite materials (sometimes rubber). Due to the brittle nature of the plastic, that kind of fasteners is often designed for single-use, and when they are removed, it is not recommended to be used again.

Most Common Automotive Fasteners in Use

Nuts and Bolts – The average car consists of a thousand nuts and bolts of all sizes used in its every corner. The nuts and bolts are used to hold engine components,suspension arms, and dashboards, amongst other things. Simple but irreplaceable, millions of them are produced each day using various iron and aluminium alloys.

Washers – A washer is a thin plate (metal or plastic) that is used in conjunction with a nut and bolt. Its primary purpose is to distribute the load or pressure created by the bolt. It is an extremely simple fastener, and it is often round in shape with an appropriate hole in the middle.

Screws – Screws are commonly used for positioning and tightening panels or components. The head of the screw can differ, and it can require different tools. Just like nuts and bolts, screws are almost exclusively made out of metal and used throughout the automotive industry.

Clips – Clips are very important in the modern car industry since they often replace the nuts and bolts and provide car manufacturers with more straightforward solutions. There are numerous designs for various purposes, but clips can be made out of plastic or metal. Most commonly, clips are used for positioning of exterior trim on a vehicle (metal) or for holding the interior panels, door cards, or plastic bumpers (plastic). Some clips are not reusable, while others are.

Clamps – Clamps are a very important member of the fastener family since they are often used in an engine for holding the hoses and tubes. The classic clamp design is made of metal with a screw to tighten the clamp and firmly hold the hose in place. There are few other designs, and some even made out of plastic, but this one is most common in all vehicles.

Rivets – Rivets are used in car production as well as in aftermarket and repair processes and have the simple task of firmly holing on two pieces of metal or plastic together. Most rivets are made from metal, but plastic ones are used for plastic bumpers or trim pieces. Rivets cannot be reused.

Springs – Made exclusively out of metal, springs are a simple type of fastener used to create tension between two mechanical components.

Pins – Designed to keep the components in place but still allow some movement, pins can be made out of plastic or metal. Metal ones are commonly reusable, but plastic can be destroyed when removed.

automotive fasteners


AFL exists to connect with its automotive customers as a partner, not just a parts supplier. Our aim is to really understand the problems you are facing, to collaborate with you and to help you solve that problem. We globally source, stock and distribute OEM and TS16949 quality fasteners, small parts and engineered components. We can satisfy both OEM production line and aftermarket requirements for both car and commercial vehicles.

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