In the auto manufacturing industry, rubber isn’t just for tires. It is an important raw material that helps make many components of a properly working vehicle, and high-quality auto manufacturers should be able to rely on high-quality parts.
Choosing the right rubber-based materials can mean the difference between building a reputation of quality and having hundreds of additional warranty claims each year due to faulty parts. To an auto manufacturer, a quality vehicle starts with quality components made out of strong materials designed to withstand daily usage.
How Rubber Is Used in Auto Manufacturing
Approximately 80 percent of rubber in the United States is used in the auto manufacturing industry. While a majority of the rubber is used to produce tires, there are still many other uses for rubber in a vehicle, and manufacturers are increasingly relying on rubber products in new and innovative ways.
Within the many parts that make up a working automobile, rubber is used to create parts in nearly every major vehicle system. Rubber can make up the internal seals in the engine, connecting grommets in the fuel system, belts in the air conditioning system and various other hoses, gaskets, o-rings and liners throughout the vehicle.
Why High-Quality Rubber Is Important in Auto Manufacturing
Since cars are exposed to prolonged use, frequent weather fluctuations and daily wear and tear, the rubber components of an automobile must be able to withstand the rigors of use over time. In fact, the average vehicle lifespan is almost 12 years old, so vehicle components must be able to take a beating for many years.
While some components, such as door gaskets, are easily accessible and can be replaced to keep the car operating smoothly, other components, like internal engine seals, require extensive and costly repairs to the vehicle owner if they break down. If this happens frequently, consumers will associate the brand with poor quality and high costs of ownership, which can permanently damage an auto manufacturer’s reputation.
Additionally, if these components break down while the vehicle is still under a manufacturer’s warranty, any repairs would be paid for by the automaker, ultimately increasing manufacturing costs and decreasing long-term profitability.
How to Choose a High-Quality Rubber Supplier
Since auto manufacturers often produce many different vehicle models within the same factory, it is important to use suppliers that can easily adapt to different variations of needed products. When choosing a rubber supplier, find one that offers both standard and non-standard sizes for products such as o-rings.
Suppliers should also be intimately familiar with auto industry strength and durability standards, and have a proven method for quality assurance testing before the product is shipped. Your supplier should be able to produce any needed quality documentation upon request, so be leery of any supplier that seems hesitant to do so.
Reducing Your Costs With a High-Quality Rubber Supplier
To keep production lines running smoothly, auto manufacturers need a true partner in their rubber suppliers. If parts are delayed or don’t meet quality standards, the entire vehicle production line could be stopped until the parts can be produced. Part breakdowns can lead to high warranty costs and damage to the brand image. In extreme cases, below-standard parts can even cause costly manufacturer’s recalls or lawsuits due to safety concerns. To avoid all of these issues, an auto manufacturer should do the proper research to find a high-quality rubber supplier that is familiar with the industry and the rigors of automobile manufacturing.