• Rivets are ideal for various automotive applications, such as attaching body panels and chassis components.
  • Automotive rivets hold better than screws.
  • Rivets can be aluminum, brass, copper, nylon, steel, and zinc.

Reaching for a crew or bolt may be your go-to answer when attaching body or structural components, but it may not be the best one. When you head to your collection of automotive fasteners, it pays to consider whether rivets are a better solution.

Rivet Basics

Just like with other types of automotive fasteners, rivets come in several styles, sizes, and materials. Understanding those characteristics can help you choose the correct parts for your application.


Project location and the materials you are working with will play a large part in determining what rivet materials you need. Some of the most popular options include:

  • Aluminum: This is the most malleable of the metals typically used in rivets. They are also non-sparking and non-magnetic, which might factor into your decision. Aluminum may cause corrosion when used on steel components. 
  • Nylon: Softer nylon or plastic materials are ideal for attaching lightweight components, such as the dash or interior trim pieces. 
  • Steel: Structural connections require the strength that you can achieve with steel fasteners, including rivets. Different alloys provide varying levels of strength, corrosion resistance, and malleability. 
  • Copper: Copper and brass rivets are sometimes used in automotive applications. They are incredibly hard and offer superior corrosion resistance. These metals are also conductive, so you may find them helpful when working with electronic systems. 


  • Cleco Rivets: These blind fasteners are excellent for temporarily holding panels together while you install permanent rivets. 
  • Grip Serts: Threaded nut inserts allow you to add a threaded point where working materials are not thick enough to provide structural integrity. 
  • Blind Rivets: These are what most people think of when they hear the word rivet. Pop or blind rivets work well when you have little or no access to the back side of materials. They require no finishing once installed. 
  • Self-Piercing Rivets: Unlike other types of rivets, self-piercing versions do not require a pre-drilled hole. It is a preferred method for joining aluminum components. 


You will choose rivets that are appropriately sized for your project. Existing hole size will be the main determining factor in repairs, while new parts may offer a little more flexibility to match the supplies you have on hand.

Automotive Applications for Rivets

Rivets are ideal for applications where you are connecting mixed materials. For example, you might well two steel or aluminum components together, but you cannot weld them to each other or fiberglass to either. Additionally, rivets provide superior vibration resistance to spot welds.

It is important to remember that some cars require specially designed automotive fasteners, including rivets. If that is the case for brands that you frequently work on, consider investing in manufacturer-specific assortments so you always have the correct fastener on hand.

Keep Rivets on Hand in Your Shop

You can shop for premium quality rivets and other automotive fasteners online. Since they are useful for various applications, it is a good idea to stock some of the most common sizes and types of rivets so you always have proper supplies on hand.