Vanadium contributes to the strength and economic efficiency demanded in materials for automobiles and trucks. Materials used in vehicles must be strong, reliable, easy to manufacture and give the highest strength-to-weight ratio to minimise fuel consumption and be available at minimum cost.
Engine components such as crankshafts and connecting rods are highly stressed and must withstand many cycles. Vanadium microalloyed forging steels are widely used for these parts, as well as other applications in the chassis and drivetrain. As forged they have the high strength required and do not require the expensive heat treatment necessary with other steels. For motorsport applications and in some more exotic production vehicles, with high revving powerful engines, lightweight high strength titanium-vanadium alloy connecting rods are used. High strength suspension and valve springs also benefit from vanadium additions as a result of improved sag resistance and the potential to reduce the size and weight.
For vehicle structures hot and cold rolled HSLA sheet steel can be used for weight reduction and in heavy trucks and trailers vanadium microalloyed hot rolled sections are used to minimise weight and maximise payloads.