How Are Magnets Used In Cars?

Magnets are here, there and everywhere and we don’t even realise it. From the device you are reading this article on, to the hidden catches on your gate, magnets are an extremely versatile product with endless possibilities; they are an unsung hero in our opinion!

With the British Grand Prix this weekend, support will no doubt be high for Lewis Hamilton! To get you in the mood for all things motor sport, we decided to take a look into how magnets are used within the automotive industry. We’ll be exploring the use of magnets in the production line all the way to through to seat belt detection! Take a read and see how many examples you already knew about…

ABS Braking Systems


Anti lock braking systems are designed to help vehicles come to a stop quicker, whilst allowing drivers to steer as the car slows down. In essence, this helps to prevent accidents. Magnets are used in ABS systems to help attach them to the car and keep them in place. They are instantly attached and the magnetism is permanent, unlike that of electromagnets where an electrical source is required.

Seat Belt Detection

fasten-seat-belt-98794_960_720In recent years, there have been significant developments in detecting whether or not passengers and drivers are using their seat belts. More often than not, cars will detect if a seat belt is clipped in and will sound an irritating noise if it cannot detect anything; forcing you to put your seat belt on. These systems use reed switches that change the flow of electricity depending on the presence of a magnet and the type of reed switch. So the next time you plug your seat belt in, think about how the magnet detects this.

Door Positioning


Modern day cars have inbuilt alarms that will alert drivers to doors that are not shut properly. Using a similar system to those used in seat belt detection, the doors operate on a reed switch system where the flow of electricity to the alarm depends on whether the magnet inside the door is in contact with the reed switch. If it does not detect the magnet, it will sound and alert you to the door.

Car Roof or “Taxi” Magnets

One widely recognised example of magnets in the automotive industry is car roof applications, otherwise known as “Taxi Magnets” because of their widespread use of holding taxi signs to the roofs of cars. The magnets used in this instance are called clamping magnets, and are used to attach a sign to the roof of the car without the risk of scratching the paintwork or the sign sliding around.

Holding of Parts on the Production Line


Magnets are used in various aspects of building a car, from the production line through to the finished product. To hold parts in place during production, manufacturers will install heavy duty magnets to lift heavy components of the vehicle, including the outer shell and doors. This helps to keep them still for fittings, whilst managing the work load.

Tracking Systems


The final aspect where magnets are utilised in cars is in the tracking system. While a car moves, maneuvers speed bumps and rides along uneven surfaces, parts of the car can judder around. It is important to keep the tracking system in place so that it can continue to function correctly. For this application, cars use super-strong Neodymium magnets to keep the tracking system secure, often using magnets with an excessive hold to be sure.

So there we have it. The next time you are getting into your car, spare a thought for the magnetic technology that has gone into your vehicle. Not all manufacturers use magnets in the same way, but they are very much a key component in the motor industry and we are delighted to supply various car manufacturers with the magnets they require.

Thanks for reading! It’s now time to sit back, relax and watch the British Grand Prix!

If you have any questions or queries regarding magnets in the automotive industry, drop us an email on or give us a call on 0845 519 4701 and our team will be happy to help!

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