All About Automotive Connectors

Automotive connectors are useful devices for facilitating electrical connections within a vehicle. As an abundance of electronic components are added to modern automotive for things like included safety features, environmental protection, and smart technology, more automotive connectors are used as well. The following blog provides a brief introduction to automotive connectors and highlights key characteristics about them. With this knowledge, automotive engineers, owners, and operators can get a better sense of the role and importance of these devices.

Basic Structural Components:

Even though there is a wide variety of designs available for automotive connectors, they all follow a basic structural makeup. These are the four major parts of an automotive connector:

The Contact: At the heart of any automotive connector is its contact pair or the male and female contact pieces which complete an electrical connection. Male contact pieces are rigid parts with pins that can either be round, square, or flat. They are typically made from brass or phosphor bronze and are meant to be attached to a female mating component. Female contact pieces, or sockets, rely on a more elastic structure so they may fit closely with a male component during mating and create a more secure electrical connection as a result.

The Shell: The outer protective cover of a connector is called the shell. It both shields the sensitive inner components from the surrounding environment and provides easy alignment of the plug and socket during mating. This shell can be made from metal or a more flexible material such as rubber or plastic.

The Insulator: Also called the base or insert, the insulator is the part of an automotive connector which arranges the contacts where they need to be and insulates the current passing through them, minimizing power loss. Some of the most common materials used for insulation are glass/ceramics, rubber, and plastics.

Accessories: Apart from the core components of connectors are the various structural and installation accessories. Structural accessories like clamps, positioning keys, and gaskets are components which add to the structure of the connectors themselves, whereas installation accessories like nuts and screws aid in attachment.

Design standards

As technology advances, so do the standards of quality manufacturers are able to uphold. The following list are six requirements for automotive connectors to meet the USCAR-20 standard expected of them:

  1. The material of the connector contact is stable and reliable
  2. The positive force is stable
  3. The voltage and current of the circuit are stable
  4. The temperature requirement is within the specified range, including the surrounding temperature and the connector’s own temperature rise
  5. The connector matches the type used in the high-speed and long-distance communication computer
  6. The connector is able to work reliably in harsh conditions


Automotive connectors are useful devices for transferring and electrical current for a wide range of automotive electronics. If you are in search of dependable automotive connectors and/or other electromechanical components for your next project, Purchasing Management 360 is here to assist you. With an inventory of over 2 billion new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find NSN components, our customers are sure to find all the high-quality parts they require. In addition, our widespread supply chain of trusted manufacturers ensures that our items can be shipped with rapid lead times and offered at competitive prices. Get started today to see how Purchasing Management 360 could become your premier strategic sourcing partner. You may browse our catalog of available parts on our website and send us a completed Request for Quote (RFQ) form to get a competitive quote for your comparisons in just 15 minutes! 


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