A Starter Guide to Automotive Plastics

automotive plastics

Some studies suggest that up to 50% of the modern automobile is made up of plastic. Yet, the plastic in the car only accounts for 10% of the car’s total weight.

Already the first advantage of these plastic automotive parts is clear. They add much less weight to a car than other parts.

So, are all these automotive plastics made from the same type of plastics? As an automotive supplier, how does the company decided which plastics should be used for certain parts?

To learn more, read on about the types of plastics used in automotive plastic parts.


Polypropylene, known for having sturdy, stable, and resistant properties, making the flexible choice for plastic molding. Used various ways because of the flexibility the mold has with multiple different shapes.

It’s used for things like gas cans, chemical tanks, bumpers, cable insulation, and even carpet fiber.


Polyurethane is widely used by automotive suppliers because of its flexibility, sturdiness, and resistance to chemical solvents.

Interesting plastic for injection molding because of the solidity.  Also, used for plastics soft or hard forms.

Polyvinyl Chloride

Polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, is a popular plastic in modern cars. Used within the following:

  • Thermal stability
  • Heat resistance
  • Low lead content
  • Flame retarding properties

You will likely find PVD used in electrical cables, doors, and auto instrument panels.

Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene 

Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) is a copolymer that combines or polymerizes acrylonitrile and styrene.

Commonly used with other plastics as an additive to make them more impact resistant and tougher.


Polyamide, a plastic widely used plastic application in the automotive industry for things like:

  • Gears
  • Engine covers
  • Fuel caps and lids
  • Door handles

This plastic has good wear resistance and heat stability.


Polystyrene is a naturally transparent polymer. Therefore, using both foam form and solid form. Found within the following:

  • Car interiors
  • Car fittings
  • Sound dampening foam
  • Knobs
  • Display bases
  • Door panels

Polystyrene is so widely used for its heat and chemical resistance properties.


This material is an unusual and widely needed plastic in the automotive industry. Therefore, properties include:

  • Durability
  • Cheapness
  • Chemical and microbial resistance

Polyethylene, used for plastic fuel tanks and glass-reinforced car bodies because of low density and chemical resistance.


Polyoxymethylene, or POM, is a semi-crystalline plastic, maintains dimension despite what exposed to. POM features included are rigid, UV resistant, sleek in appearance, and chemical resistant,


Acrylic withstands UV radiation and has outstanding optical clarity, making it a great alternative to glass for the automotive industry.

Therefore, readily available and cheap, making it a good alternative to polycarbonate in the automotive industry. Therefore, widely used for automotive topcoats, motorcycle windshields, and car light covers.

Know the Automotive Plastics

Many automotive plastics are widely and creatively used in the automotive industry for a wide range of parts. With so many plastic options, it gives manufacturers the options they need to create a superior product.

At Nova Stevensville, we specialize in plastics for all your manufacturing needs. So, contact us to learn more and learn how we can help you with your plastic manufactured needs.

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