Metals Used to Build a Car

Updated April 17, 2017

Cars have always been made of various types of metal. However, over the years, manufacturers began to incorporate materials that cost less and perform better, being lighter, for instance, or more corrosion-resistant..


Steel is the main metal used in almost all passenger-carrying vehicles. The iron and carbon alloy is used to build the frame of the car, including the doors, the roof, the boot and the hood.


In March 2009, a study by the Aluminum Association confirmed that use of aluminium in automotive manufacturing had risen to account for almost 9% of vehicle weight compared to just 2% in 1970.

Due to its lighter weight, aluminium is popular in sports cars and is also widely used in the manufacturing of both wheels and hubcaps.


Cast-iron and solid steel used to be the main metals used in the production of cars. However, due to their weight and cost, this is no longer the case. Because the engine is subject to corrosion and rust, using cast-iron, which is heavy and corrodes easily, is not the best choice.

Cast-iron and solid steel are still sometimes used in high-performance cars for the underbody of the vehicles, while lighter materials are used for the body and frame.

Other Metals

Copper, although expensive, is used for much of the electrical wiring in modern vehicles. There are also various other alloys and lighter metals, including magnesium, chromium and carbon. Besides being lighter, these materials are also resistant to rust and corrosion.

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About the Author

Chris Haughey has been writing since 2007. His articles have appeared in college magazines and newspapers including "The Terrace Star" and "Student Voice." He received a foundation degree in journalism in 2009 and completed a Bachelor of Arts at Teesside University in 2010.