The increasing use of new materials with varying thicknesses within the automotive industry creates high demands on joining elements such as staking fasteners. Simultaneously statements about the feasibility of the design with joining elements already in the early stage of the development are necessary. The challenge is to define suitable element geometry, tool geometry and process parameters. To meet those requirements, a good understanding of the staking process is inevitable. According to the state of the art the examinations regarding the performance of staking fasteners under different conditions are totally conducted experimentally. This trial-and-error procedure leads to an extensive financial effort and to long development times for new elements. It is furthermore not possible to observe all influences of different process parameters. In the field of mechanical engineering the use of numerical simulation for complex constructions is a common technique. This paper deals with the applicability of the finite element method (FEM) on the joining of sheet metals with staking fasteners. In this matter the FEM is used to get scientific insights in the staking process and is also used to identify influencing variables and their interactions.