Automotive parts of all types require fasteners and other small components for proper assembly and functionality. There are many types of automotive fasteners designed to fasten specific vehicle parts. Learn more about the different fasteners and their potential applications in the automotive industry, including special considerations for all types of aftermarket auto parts and race car fasteners.

Types of Automotive Fasteners

Here is an overview of the most common types of automotive fasteners that manufacturers use.


These components help connect different vehicle components and fix them into place. They often consist of carbon steel, but they’re available in different materials of varying sizes, thread patterns, and shapes.


Bolts connect multiple unthreaded components. These fasteners comprise external threads that enable the bolt to move into or out of the part.


Screws feature helical threads along the length of a metal rod, allowing the part to screw in and out of joining components, similar to bolts. The principal difference between screws and bolts is that while bolts can connect unthreaded parts, screws must be secured with internal threads.


Most studs are threaded on one or both ends of the rod and do not have a head. However, some studs may have heads fused permanently to the component it is holding.


A washer is a round metal disc-shaped component with a single hole in the center. Often used with nuts and bolts, washers help fasten parts into place.


Another type of automotive fastener is a clip, which consists of either polymer or metal materials. In addition to improving appearance, clips help position vehicle upholstery or trim during assembly. The benefits of these components are their combined versatility, cost-effectiveness, and reusability.


In the automotive industry, clamps are essential in securing tubing and hoses for engine systems.


Made of metal, springs sit between two different components to generate tension. The tension increases when the parts are compressed and released when extended. Specific applications for springs could include suspension parts and towing systems.


Primarily made of metal, rivets connect two plastic or metal components together. However, some rivets may consist of plastic for use in trims or bumpers. In addition to vehicle manufacturing, rivets are also commonly used in repairs and aftermarket service.


These fasteners keep components in place while allowing slight movement.

Materials Used for Automotive Fasteners

Automotive fasteners may consist of various materials, with the main two types being metals and plastics.


Most automotive fasteners use metal in their construction, including:

  • Nuts
  • Bolts
  • Screws
  • Springs
  • Studs

Additionally, fastener or auto part manufacturers may enhance properties such as durability and corrosion resistance with the help of a zinc metal coating over the base material.


Another commonly used material in automotive fasteners is plastic. Because plastic tends to be more brittle and less durable than metal, most plastic fasteners are single-use only. However, plastics offer certain properties that metals don’t offer, including corrosion and UV resistance. Vinyl is the most popular plastic material option for fasteners due to its overall stability, strength, and resistance to moisture.

Some of the main automotive fasteners made out of plastic include:

  • Spacers
  • Connectors
  • Pins
  • Washers
  • Clips
  • Rivets

Fasteners for Race Cars and High-Performance Vehicles

Racing vehicles and other types of high-performance vehicles also rely on automotive fasteners but with some special considerations. For example, race car fasteners need the durability of high-strength materials that can withstand heat, as race cars often travel at high speeds and generate more heat than ordinary vehicles.

Another consideration is the ease of replacement, as pit crews may need to quickly change out small parts or entire pieces. As a result, many automotive fasteners for racing will feature quick-release mechanisms.

Fasteners also must be constructed with strict weight requirements in mind. Minimizing vehicle weight is a key consideration in high-performance motorsport performance, so every gram matters.

The most common types of automotive fasteners are:

  • Quick-release latches
  • Pins
  • Springs
  • Clips
  • Washers
  • Locks
  • Rivets

To meet the above requirements, most of these race car fasteners are made of metal. However, rubber hooks are also used to hold the bonnet and are preferred for their ability to dampen vibrations.

Contact Associated Fastening for Automotive Fasteners

With automotive fasteners made of the right materials and designs, automotive manufacturers and aftermarket providers can reliably produce and service all types of vehicles. To get the ideal components for your automotive application, connect with Associated Fastening Products, Inc.

With over 30 years of experience in the industry, we are leading manufacturers and distributors of many types of automotive fasteners and other machined products. Contact us to discuss your fastener needs, or request a quote for pricing information for our standard and specialty fastener products.