What Type Of Steel Is Used In Cars? (Know the Steel Type Used in Cars!)

Last Updated on December 31, 2022 by Leepu Da Maxim

There are quite a few types of steel used in cars like carbon steel, stainless steel, high-strength low-alloy steel (HSLA), tool steel, aluminum, etc.

Type Of Steel Used In Cars

SteelIt is one of the most common steel metals. This is because they are easy to use, strong, cheap, and widely available.
Some components manufactured with steel are the roof and chassis, wheels, exhaust, engine, and brakes.
AluminumIn this case, it is a much lighter metal compared to steel and offers greater strength. 
It is also resistant to rust in an excellent way. Beyond that, it is much more expensive and difficult to work with than steel.
MagnesiumCompared to steel, magnesium is stronger and is easier to work with than aluminum.
So, it is a middle ground between steel and carbon fiber.
IronThese days, this type of metal is used less and less because it is difficult to work with and much heavier than other options.
Beyond the weight, iron offers excellent durability so it is often used in some engine components.
TitaniumTitanium offers excellent resistance to corrosion from chemicals or salt water. It is also a material that is strong and light, as well as quite exotic.
Some sports exhaust systems include titanium when they are high-end because this metal is difficult to work with.
In some luxury cars, titanium offers excellent weight reduction and increased strength. When it comes to the same density, titanium offers greater strength compared to other metals.
Carbon steelThis is a very common type of steel used in automotive components. This type of steel is strong and inexpensive.
High-strength low-alloy steel (HSLA)This is also a type of carbon steel and it is mainly used in structural components of cars, such as frame rails and suspension components.
Tool steelThis is high-carbon steel and it is mainly used in the manufacture of tools. This type of steel is very hard, therefore, making it suitable for use in various automotive parts.

What Is Stainless Steel?

These days, a lot of objects that are used every day are made of stainless steel. However, very few people know exactly what this type of metal is. So, in this case, it is a type of steel with a very low carbon content. Also, it usually contains about 10% chromium.

To convert steel into stainless steel, the properties that chromium can offer are required. That is why this component is one of the main ones to be able to obtain excellent resistance to corrosion. In particular, chromium can offer steel additional protection while being invisible, adherent, and highly durable.

It is even an invisible film that is self-healing in the presence of oxygen. Small quantities are needed for self-healing from chemical or mechanical damage to this steel. At the same time, it is possible to increase the resistant and protective properties of chrome with other components. In particular, the corrosion resistance is increased by the addition of some elements.

Some of the most commonly used elements are nitrogen, nickel, and molybdenum. Of course, an increase in the chromium content for steel making also optimizes the properties.

In simple words, it is possible to find four main types of stainless steel. A more detailed classification makes it possible to distinguish more than 60 different grades when manufacturing stainless steel. The four main types of stainless steel are:

1. Martensitic 400 series

2. 400 Series Ferritic

3. Austenitic 300 series

4. Precipitation hardening

What Are The Benefits Of Using Stainless Steel?

Using stainless steel can provide excellent benefits depending on the specific application. In general, stainless steel can provide a high level of resistance to corrosion and other types of damage. For this reason, stainless steel is frequently used in automobiles, appliances, and many other items.

1. Excellent Corrosion Resistance

As you have mentioned, one of the main benefits that can be obtained with stainless steel is a good resistance to corrosion in general. For this, a certain amount of chromium must be incorporated in the steel manufacture. In particular, chromium is a component that provides the necessary properties to resist the corrosion of other components.

In this case, the grades of a minor alloy can resist the corrosion of pure water and some atmospheric environments. Conversely, when it comes to high alloy grades then the resistance also increases.

In this case, environments containing chlorine, alkaline solutions, and the vast majority of acids will not affect the steel. This is why it is effective to use stainless steel in a large number of objects today.

In the same way, stainless steel is also really useful for the manufacture of many objects. That is why most of the machinery used in a factory can contain a large part of stainless steel in its composition. In combination with this, many components of the automobiles need stainless steel to offer a good result. 

2. Heat And Fire Resistance

When some special alloy grades are obtained, it is possible to obtain excellent fire and high-temperature resistance. Here, nickel alloys and high chromium contents are required in steel manufacture. In this case, each of these components can offer resistance to scale formation as well as excellent additional protection.

Therefore, the components made of this type of stainless steel are not affected by high temperatures. In many manufacturing processes, fire and high temperatures are unavoidable components. Therefore, stainless steel that can resist these highly damaging components is often essential.

Therefore, this type of stainless steel can be found in a large number of aerospace and aviation applications. In particular, we can find this metal in main flow lines, valves, feedwater heaters, boilers, superheaters, heat exchangers, and other components.

3. Excellent Level Of Hygiene

When high levels of hygiene are required in many parts of the world, stainless steel is often used. It is necessary to consider that in a large number of food processing plants, kitchens, and hospitals a high level of sanitation is required. Here, it is not possible to use other types of metals due to the low level of hygiene or the possibility of toxicity in some processes.

In general, stainless steel is very easy to clean due to its structure. At the same time, the high resistance to the corrosion of many chemical components is another important aspect. Therefore, it is possible to use a large number of cleaners with a high level of corrosion and avoid damage to stainless steel. 

4. Aesthetic Appeal

Of course, aesthetic appeal is another of the most important aspects when using stainless steel. In this case, the shiny look and specific color of stainless steel offer an important decoration and design factor.

Stainless steel is usually related to the great attraction and modern appearance of these times. For a large number of users, stainless steel is often synonymous with quality and efficiency in maintenance or cleaning.

5. Excellent Weight Resistance

Of course, one of the strengths of stainless steel is the level of hardening it can offer. This requires one of the austenitic grades at the time of stainless steel manufacture. In this case, the hardening properties provide excellent results in a large number of applications today.

This is why high-quality strengthening is obtained by cold working. Production costs are often lower, which is an excellent way to save money. Duplex grades are used to obtain a reduced material thickness compared to the most common alloy grades. Especially the high strength grades are what enable this advantage.

6. Simple And Short Production Time

In these times, thanks to excellent technology and technical advances, it is possible to obtain manufacturing with an optimum level of ease. There are various modern techniques for handling stainless steel in different ways. 

In general, it is possible to assemble, machine, form, bend, weld, and cut stainless steel more easily and quickly. Besides, compared to traditional steels, this allows reducing the time needed for the manufacture of stainless steel. Of course, this is convenient to increase productivity.

7. Excellent Level Of Impact Resistance

When analyzing a 300 series austenitic grade alloy, the microstructure is very efficient on impact. In this case, the high level of toughness before very high temperatures provides excellent benefits. This type of stainless steel is one of the most conveniently used in cryogenic applications.

8. Excellent Service Life

In this case, it is necessary to relate the life that can be obtained with stainless steel compared to other factors. Here, the most important factors are the costs of production and materials for the manufacture of this steel. In other words, the relationship between cost and benefit is one of the most balanced and convenient today.

Even the maintenance costs of this type of metal are usually very low which represents an excellent money-saving. Therefore, stainless steel is one of the least expensive options for the production of other types of metals.

9. Stainless Steel Is Fully Recyclable

Last but not least, stainless steel can provide an excellent degree of recycling. This can reduce production costs and the amount of new raw materials used in manufacturing. All new stainless steel that is manufactured is 50% recycled. 

This requires re-melting stainless steel that comes from scrap metal and objects that are no longer used. This is the beginning of a new life cycle for stainless steel, making it much more efficient than other options.