This periodic table shows you what your car is really made of

Aftermarket supplier GMB breaks down the elements that make up our cars in its own Periodic Table of Automotive Elements.

Kyle Hyatt Former news and features editor
Kyle Hyatt (he/him/his) hails originally from the Pacific Northwest, but has long called Los Angeles home. He's had a lifelong obsession with cars and motorcycles (both old and new).
Kyle Hyatt

Everyone knows that cars are sophisticated machines. Even the simplest car has thousands of individual parts and dozens of systems that must work together in harmony. Complex devices often require special materials to perform their functions, and the automobile is no different. Parts supplier GMB has compiled an interesting, if not exhaustive, periodic table of elements that highlights the elements most frequently used in vehicle production. Check it out.

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The materials used in making your car might be more exotic than you think.


While I wasn't shocked not to see any einsteinium or seaborgium used in vehicles, I was surprised to learn that bismuth and phosphorus are both commonly used in the painting process. Many of these materials have only relatively recently becoming somewhat common in production vehicles, such as titanium and lithium.

Some of the elements that got left out that are somewhat common include xenon (as found in HID headlights, which are fading out of popularity in favor of LED). Silicon which is a prime ingredient in glass and the vehicle's electronics, and iridium, which is more and more prevalent in spark plugs in modern high-performance vehicles.

It will be interesting to see what other elements get added to this table as technology changes and improves. Will we see molten-salt batteries used in vehicles or some weird kind of radioactive element powering heavy trucks for hundreds of years? Let us know what you think in the comments!