Automotive PCB: Meaning & Importance

The demand for Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) continue to go up by the day and with it comes the preference for specific applications. Automotive, such as cars are one of the major beneficiaries of this specification and that led to the advent of automotive PCB.

This article explains what automotive PCBs are all about. We also look at some of the properties and benefits of using these types of circuit boards in cars and other forms of automobiles.

What is an Automotive PCB?

It can best be described as the type of Printed Circuit Board (PCB) solely dedicated for use with automotive or automobiles.

This is important, considering the rising demands in the automotive industry for devices that comply with the wave of changes in car electronics.

With the right automotive PCB, it becomes simpler to meet these demands, while positioning these devices for “smarter uses” in vehicles.

The Properties of the Automotive PCB

If you are to choose a PCB for an automobile electronic design specification, it has to be in line with some of the best practices.

Understanding the properties of these circuit boards makes all the differences, as to how you make the most out of it. Here are some of the automotive PCB properties:

Board Design

Generally, the board is designed in a way that it uses a non-conductive circuit board, which usually has all the necessary electrical and electronic components.

The electrical components are mainly used for the connections and that involves the connection to the board via a physical support aid.

Reliability and Durability

When choosing an automotive PCB, one thing you want to look out for is the reliability. How durable can the board be?

It is an important consideration, especially when you take note of the fact that the automobile or vehicle is susceptible to use in extreme conditions, including exposure to dirt and chemicals.

The ability of the automotive PCB to withstand the constant exposure of the core vehicle electronics to dirt, temperature and chemicals can help narrow down on the search for reliable automotive PCB.

Of course, it might be a tough task to find out whether the circuit board is reliable and durable or not just by looking at it. However, you may be successful at that, just by looking at the components. Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) with the following components have higher durability: aluminum, copper and high-temperature laminates.

Why Do We Use Automotive PCBs: The Benefits?

It is important to point out some of the reasons why choosing an automotive PCB can make all the difference for the car’s electronical performance.

Here are some of the reasons why automotive PCB is required in most modern vehicles:


These types of circuit boards follow the traditional design of PCBs, and that is programming. The concept of Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) is to simplify how we interact with electronics and to do so, these electronics need to be flexible, in terms of usage.

Applying a similar principle, the automotive PCB offers programmability, which helps in fixing any issues and or the non-functional components.

Convenience Purposes

Most automotive PCBs power one or more important electronics in vehicles. The essence of adding those electronics in the first place is to bolster or improve your convenience or comfort.

With the programmable design of circuit boards, there is no limit as to how these boards can further be optimized to improve the functions of the mobile communications systems, video display, air conditioning and audio systems.

Overall Fuel Optimization

Some PCBs have been optimized to work with automobile transmission systems, especially as it pertains to saving fuel.

For example, the circuit board could be used to transformation or conversion of gasoline to fuel gas. It can also be used to convert to other energy sources, such as hybrid power and pure power.

Faster Repairs of Automobile Electronics

Your car’s electronics might develop issues and, in some cases, this would require changing the parts.

With the automotive PCB, these repairs can be done faster, and therefore, reduce the needs for part replacements. The configurable design also aids in the faster reproduction of repair solutions or the remaking of the affected parts for replacement.

Security Reasons

Most modern vehicles have one security feature or the other. Thus, the enhancement of the car’s security system(s) is one use case of the automotive PCB.

Here, the circuit board helps in coordinating the security optics of the vehicle, such as enabling and controlling automatic avoidance, radar monitoring and autonomous driving. You can also count on it to maximize the use of the car’s airbags, using the infrared monitoring system and keeping the stereo cameras in good working conditions.

Examples of PCBs Used for Automobiles

There are a wide range of Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) designed for use with automobiles, especially cars. The following are some of the examples:

  • Rigid-Flex Automotive PCBs: these circuit boards are both rigid and flexible. They come in handy when optimizing the performance of automobile electronics that require flexible usage.
  • Flexible Circuit Boards: the design of the flexible PCBs involves the mounting of the circuit components atop a flexible, plastic substrate.
  • LED PCBs: these types of automotive PCBs are mainly used for automobiles that require additional lighting. The design features a chip that produces or emits light when current passes through it.
  • Single-Sided Automotive PCBs: these circuit boards have just one side and this side is where the components are mounted. Both the circuit board components and the conductive materials are placed on the same side of the board.

Automotive PCB Buying Guide

If you are convinced that using the automobile circuit board for your vehicle is the best option, here are some factors to consider before you pay for it.

Typical Applications

The fact is that some automotive PCBs perform better with specific applications than the rest. The typical applications of these types of circuit boards include but are not limited to:

  • Anti-theft systems
  • Digital displays
  • Power relays
  • LED headlights
  • Transmission sensors
  • Ignition systems
  • DC/AC power converters
  • Antilock braking systems and;
  • Emergency assist systems

The Cost Factors

How much does the automotive PCB go for? The higher and more extreme the applications, the higher the amount.

Conclusion: Choose a Reliable Automotive PCB Manufacturer

At the end of the day, the manufacturing company contracted to work on your automotive PCB can make or mar the design. At Hillman Curtis, we help you transform your vision for a “smart vehicle” from paper to reality through our inclusive automotive PCB design capabilities.

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