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Are Cars Made of Plastic?

Automobiles were originally made nearly entirely of steel. Nowadays, however, there is quite a lot of plastic used in the manufacture of most vehicles. Have you ever wondered what some of the plastic parts are that are in your car?


Of course, you may have immediately realized that much of the seating areas are made of plastic. However, plastics are also included more and more for the fabrics used to upholster those seats. You may think your seat is made of leather, but it may actually be an artificial leather made of plastic. You would be amazed at the different textures that plastic can be made to resemble. It is also quite durable, so the fabrics can stand the wear and tear of the kiddos better than regular fabrics would.

Instrument Panel

The panels on automobiles these days are getting to be pretty fancy. That couldn’t have happened without using plastics. Because of custom machining, manufacturers can create nearly anything with plastic, so when the designers dream something up, they can usually get what they want.

In addition, because the different instrument panels are not made of heavy materials such as steel, they help reduce the overall weight of the vehicle while not losing much, if anything, in terms of strength. Less weight can also help to increase the gas mileage for the vehicle.

One of the other benefits of using these types of materials is the ability to create hidden cavities where airbags can reside. Strategically placed airbags enhance the safety of modern vehicles.


Many headlights and taillights are made of plastic, but you may not realize how much of the interior lighting is also plastic-based. The lights to be able to adjust between nighttime and daytime, so using versatile plastic makes quite a bit of sense. Plastic is used in LEDs to help you navigate the instrument panels. Fiber optics also play a part, and those are made of plastic as well. Whether you consider the overhead lights, interior door lights or lights near items such as USB ports or cup holders, they make a difference to both your safety and comfort.

What’s Under the Hood

Many other auto parts that you don’t see every day are also made of plastic. Whether it is the container for your windshield washer fluid, tubes for the suspension system, brake housings or even parts of the chassis, plastic is important to the automotive industry.

Next time you drive your car, take time to appreciate the benefits of plastic.


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