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Summary
  • Carbon fiber is a sturdy and light polymer used to make car parts.
  • Using carbon fiber parts guarantees a durable, heat-resistant, and cost-efficient upgrade.
  • In addition, it also improves the vehicle’s speed and acceleration because of how light it is.

Carbon fiber is a sturdy and lightweight polymer in various car parts. It’s durable but not as heavy as steel and other materials, so it doesn’t add much to a vehicle’s weight, making driving safer and improving fuel economy.

Some vehicles have carbon fiber as part of their interior’s decorative trims. For example, it’s part of the instrument panel of the Maserati GranTurismo Convertible and in the black trim of the Cadillac ATS-V.

Automakers also integrate carbon fiber into exterior car parts, like the hood, roof, door handles, and side mirrors.

Advantages of Carbon Fiber in Cars

Vehicle manufacturers incorporate carbon fiber into their model because it’s sturdy and lightweight. In addition, it’s also durable, heat resistant, easy to mold, cost-efficient, and appealing.

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carbon fiber side mirror
Vehicle manufacturers incorporate carbon fiber into their model because it’s sturdy and lightweight.

Sturdy

Carbon fiber can absorb significant impact energy, making it sturdier than steel. It’s about five times stronger and twice as stiff.

What makes it strong and resistant to damage is its bonded structure. Many automakers take advantage of this, using the material to reinforce damage-prone hoods and spoilers.

Lightweight

Carbon fiber is lighter than other materials because carbon is low on the periodic table (atomic number 6). This means vehicles that use carbon fiber a lot are lighter than most.

For example, GMC managed to reduce the mass of the 2019 CarbonPro Sierra 1500’s pickup bed by 25% when it used carbon fiber.

The reduced weight increased the model’s speed and power, especially compared to heavier pickups. It also improved safety because of the improved crumple zones at the front.

Durable

Carbon fiber is durable because of its increased stiffness and tensile strength. It’s why car parts made from carbon fiber last longer than those made of aluminum or steel. 

In addition, carbon fiber doesn’t corrode, so it won’t rust even under adverse weather conditions.

Heat Resistant

Carbon fiber is more resistant to heat than steel fiber. This gives it an edge in performance, as vehicles heat up due to the engine working and radiation from the sun.

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Plus, because carbon fiber can handle temperatures of more than 5,432 Fahrenheit, you won’t have to worry about thermally damaging your carbon fiber parts or upgrades.

Easy to Mold

Carbon fiber is usually long and thin, making it easier to mold than steel. It’s also more flexible to manufacture, so automakers and aftermarket parts manufacturers can use them to make different car parts.

Cost-Efficient

Carbon fiber components tend to last longer than steel. So, while the price of opting for carbon fiber replacement parts or upgrades is steeper than using stock parts, it could save you money in the long run.

Appealing Look

While beauty is subjective, it could be argued that car parts made from carbon fiber are aesthetically more appealing than steel. They also make vehicles look more unique than others.

Carbon fiber is typically black, and the color adds depth and luster to parts. The woven texture also offers a seemingly timeless Gatsby-esque look.

Does Carbon Fiber Make Cars Go Faster?

Yes, carbon fiber can make cars go faster because of how light it is. Race car manufacturers often use the material because they need the reduced weight for better performance.

An example is the Ferrari SF90 Assetto Fiorano, which uses carbon fiber materials. Its top speed is 211 mph, with a lap time of 1 minute and 19 secs.

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How Much Are Cars With Carbon Fiber?

The price of cars with carbon fiber depends on the model you want to buy. However, the price point usually starts around $100,000.

For basic upgrades, such as hood replacement, expect to pay around $1,000 for the part and an additional payment for the installation/labor fee.

Final Thoughts

The popularity of carbon fiber car parts is due to the improved performance and visual upgrades they provide. Because they’re sturdy and lightweight, vehicles that use them are lighter and more durable than vehicles with parts made of other materials.

If you’re willing to splurge for car upgrades, carbon fiber is one route you can take. The overall value and longevity it provides is worth the price. Not only will you have a faster and slicker-looking vehicle, but you’ll have parts guaranteed to last.

About The Author
Written By Automotive and Tech Writers

The CarParts.com Research Team is composed of experienced automotive and tech writers working with (ASE)-certified automobile technicians and automotive journalists to bring up-to-date, helpful information to car owners in the US. Guided by CarParts.com's thorough editorial process, our team strives to produce guides and resources DIYers and casual car owners can trust.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

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