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What car parts have precious metals?

What car parts have precious metals?

One of the noblest and most valuable substances in the world is considered to be precious metal. These are materials that have a high value per weight, which also makes them ideal for use in manufacturing expensive equipment like cars.

Car parts that contain precious metals are often the ones that you would think of first: engine blocks, catalytic converters and transmissions. Other parts that contain precious metals include brake discs and pads, steering wheels, exhaust systems and even some windshields.

Types of Car Parts

The most common types of car parts that contain precious metals are:

Gold-plated fuses 

This is probably the most well-known example of a car using precious metals in its manufacture, but it’s also one of the rarest. The demand for gold has been so high over recent years that it’s become increasingly difficult for manufacturers to source enough gold for use on their cars, so it’s no longer an option for many manufacturers. However, if you’ve got one with a gold-plated fuse box then you’re one of the lucky few!

Gold-plated spark plugs 

Unlike fuses, these are still commonly used today because they help reduce carbon build-up and increase fuel efficiency by making combustion more efficient. This means that your engine will work more efficiently and last longer than if they weren’t present.

Copper wiring 

Copper is an ideal material for wiring because it conducts electricity very effectively while also being very flexible which makes it ideal for use inside modern cars where space is at a premium and wiring needs to be hidden away from view as much as possible!

Catalytic converters

The catalytic converter is a device that reduces the number of pollutants in your exhaust gas by converting them into less harmful substances. It does this by using precious metals such as platinum and palladium. The most common types of catalytic converters contain 66% platinum, 20% palladium and 14% rhodium.

Vehicle transmissions

Transmissions are used to change gear ratios and drive wheels. They are made up of hundreds of tiny parts, including gears, bearings, shafts and seals. All these components contain different types of precious metals such as copper or nickel plating or other forms of plating like tin or zinc. Many cars now have automatic transmissions which use an electromagnetic process to shift gears rather than hydraulic pressure like older models did, so these may not have any precious metals in them at all!


Engines also contain precious metals such as platinum and palladium in their valves, cylinder heads, pistons and other moving parts. These elements help keep engine temperatures stable while reducing engine friction which improves fuel efficiency and performance. Brakes use a lot of carbon fibre material which is also made out of carbon fibres mixed with epoxy resin, which has nickel plating on them for corrosion resistance.


Brake discs are made from steel and iron. However, they can contain a small amount of nickel to prevent them from rusting. Brake pads are made from a combination of iron, aluminium and carbon fibres. The pads also contain some copper for corrosion resistance and heat resistance. Brake fluid is typically made from silicone oil mixed with some additives that increase its viscosity at low temperatures.

Steering wheels

Steering wheels can be made from plastic or leather with a thin layer of chrome plating over them to give them an attractive look. They may also have some decorative wood inlays on the centre hub area of the wheel or around its rim.

Catalytic converters

The catalytic converter is a device used in the exhaust systems of motor vehicles. The main function of the converter is to reduce harmful tailpipe emissions by changing the chemical composition of toxic gases. The catalyst works by oxidising the pollutants into less harmful substances. The converter accomplishes this oxidation through the use of a platinum-based coating applied to the ceramic honeycomb structure.


It is interesting that some metals are used in car manufacture and are necessary for its operation. It may not be obvious to motorists why some parts of their cars’ engines need precious metals or how they help the vehicle to run.


What are precious metals?

Precious metals are materials that are rare, valuable and generally limited in supply. Precious metals include gold, platinum and silver (and other related elements). These metals have been used throughout history for their beauty, durability and rarity.

Are all car parts made with precious metals?

No. Some auto parts are made with non-precious metals. One example is steel, which is an alloy of iron, carbon and other elements. Steel is also used to make vehicle frames and other structural components of a car or truck.

What are the precious metals that are used in car parts?

The precious metals used in car parts include silver, gold and platinum. These elements are known as noble metals because they are resistant to corrosion and oxidation. They also have good electrical and thermal conductivity properties, making them ideal for car parts such as spark plugs, wires and connectors.

Are there any other applications for these metals?

Cars aren’t the only places where you will find these precious elements being used. They can also be found in computers, appliances, mobile phones and other electronic devices around your home.

How can you tell if a product contains these metals?

You can tell if a product contains these metals by looking at its packaging or by reading its specifications online. If it has a label saying “silver plated” or “gold plated,” then it is likely that the product contains one or more of the abovementioned materials.