5 Advantages High Carbon Steel Brings to the Automotive Industry

Advantages of using high carbon steel in the automotive industry.

High carbon steel is a versatile metal alloy widely used in fastening applications across multiple industries. Some of these applications include construction, toys, appliances, and the cutlery in your kitchen. High carbon steel’s properties allow for many treatments, including several in the automotive industry. 

In this blog, you’ll learn the five advantages high carbon steel offers to automotive manufacturers and why they keep coming back for more.

What is High Carbon Steel?

According to The Welder, “High carbon steel is defined as steel having a carbon content from 0.35% to 1.86%.” High carbon steel is an alloy that has undergone a heat treatment method known as quenching. After subjection to intense heat, up to 850oC, the quenching or rapid cooling of the metal in oil or water “traps” the carbon and transforms the steel’s structuring.

Lower carbon steel may be easier to cut, weld, and form, costing less than its higher carbon counterpart. And while lower carbon steel is ideal for pipelines, fences, gates, and other ornamental trim, high carbon steel is the only choice for many applications in today’s vehicles.

Chad Castrigano, Director of National Accounts at Three D Metals, said, “People use the high carbon because of the high strength it has. The high carbon content makes it resistant to wear and tear, so it doesn’t break down over time.” And that makes high carbon steel the perfect choice for the automotive industry.

5 Advantages of High Carbon Steel

  • Strength: High carbon steel has a high strength-to-weight ratio and a tensile strength greater than lower carbon steel. This gives it the ability to withstand greater pressure without bending or deforming. 
  • Durability: Parts manufactured using high carbon steel won’t be as susceptible to corrosion or extreme weather conditions. Compared with low carbon steel, high carbon steel won’t wear out as quickly under adverse factors.
  • Flexibility: High carbon steel easily forms into many shapes and sizes without breaking. Once in the configuration desired, apply heat-treat, and the steel will acquire “memory.” It maintains its shape even after being applied.
  • Ease of Assembly: Fasteners and other applications made from high carbon steel are engineered to fit with exactness. Removal and reapplication are repeatable.
  • Aesthetics: Because of the strength and durability of high carbon steel, parts and fasteners can easily be hidden to allow for aesthetic appeal without sacrificing strength.

High Carbon Steel & the Automotive Industry

Here are only a few of the applications high carbon steel fulfills with consistent performance for the automotive industry:

  • Vehicle Frames
  • Door Panels
  • Springs
  • Mufflers
  • Panel Trip Clips
  • Connectors in Electrical Terminals
  • Bumper Clips
  • Airbag Clips
  • Fuel Rail Clips

According to Castrigano, what makes high carbon steel ideal as a fastener for automobiles is its ease of assembly, strength, and durability. Clips made of high carbon steel can be snapped into place, and the assembled component removed and re-applied several times over the vehicle’s life.

Related: High Carbon Steel Properties & End-Use Applications >>

Why Choose High Carbon Steel for Auto Parts Manufacturing?

While high carbon steel has a higher cost than low carbon steel, its structural properties provide more value, especially regarding automobile safety features. And you can’t put a price on safety. The construction industry has regarded the benefits of using carbon steel in construction as critical to solid infrastructure.

You need a fastener with enough strength to hold safety features in place–like airbag retainer clips. Low carbon steel in that application could cause the retainer clips to fail and the airbag to come out of the assembly, creating a hazard that could be life-threatening. A fastener made with high carbon steel holds the plastic panel on while allowing the airbag to expand safely.

High carbon steel is also preferable as a fastener in applications where appearance is part of the design. For example, instead of using nuts and bolts to keep a bumper attached to a vehicle, high-carbon steel clips are hidden beneath the surface and stay connected under adverse conditions. 

Let Three D Metals Handle All Your Steel Product Needs

As you can see, high carbon steel is the choice when you want strength, durability, flexibility, ease of assembly, and aesthetics. The value you get from using it for safety and reliability in the automotive industry far outweighs its slightly higher cost. When you’re searching for high carbon steel in today’s market, Three D Metals has your back.

Three D Metals is a family-owned small business specializing in stellar customer service. That’s why we’re the friendliest folks in the metals industry. Let us show you how high carbon steel can work for you. Reach out to us today for a custom quote!