Today, car makers like Nissan perform a vast amount of behind-the-scenes tests before making a final decision. This applies to everything from seat fabrics and interior finishing to the best possible exterior paint. These tests are especially important for the latter as bad paint can result in all sorts of problems like rust which is never a good thing.
It’s a fact that the sun makes life possible on Earth but this life-giving force also damages your car’s exterior paint. The sun’s rays are directly responsible for destroying a vehicle’s paint especially after years of exposure and even more so in certain parts of the world. Southern California is just one example as Cape Town and a few cities across Australia are also among this list.
Focusing on Nissan America, their Detroit-based engineering centre tests paint samples regularly and have developed an interesting and highly effective testing method. Nissan used a 4,000-watt Xenon light bulb to study solar energy and the effects it has on exterior car paint and other materials as well. The special light bulb was designed to emit the same wavelengths imitating sunlight.
Many automakers invest loads of time, money and manpower to test and improve all aspects of their vehicles. Among others, exterior paint is at the top of the list as many companies work toward finding the perfect paint-preservation method against UV rays. Nissan’s Detroit team, for example, has utilised the Xenon Weather-Ometer (XWO). In simple terms, it is a testing tool that evaluates the durability of certain materials in varying climate conditions.
Here, paint samples rotate around the 4,000-watt Xenon light bulb which imitates the earth’s orbit in a controlled environment. To accurately test and measure results, it also shines light 24 hours a day just like the sun. Engineers can bake 100 samples at once inside the XWO to speed up the testing process. While the primary focus is on paints, they also include plastics and other components prone to sunlight damage.
They even test different shades of black and grey and several other colours to guarantee quality. The engineers at Nissan will observe the paint samples through a series of cycles to record any changes. This extreme testing method will hopefully prolong the lifespan of exterior paint and other materials even further.
The ultimate goal is ensuring top quality exterior paint for all Nissan customers so that car owners won’t have to deal with paint-related problems in the future. In most cases, repairing fading exterior paint and overall damage is not cheap.
According to Doug Prytula, a technician for Nissan North America: “In addition to rigorous real-world tests, this tool allows us to create harsh environments. It is one more step we take to ensure Nissan’s quality standards are second-to-none.”
Considering Nissan’s big investment in these types of testing methods speaks volumes of their commitment to customer satisfaction and quality workmanship. Who knows, perhaps one day we will have exterior paint that never fades or chip. For more interesting articles on developments in the motoring world, please follow us on Facebook or read our blogs.