Ford is subjecting every fabric used inside its vehicles to a series of tests where they are stretched, scratched, snagged, and even splashed with grease, dirt and hot coffee, to see how they will stand up against the test of time.
Throughout a vehicle’s lifetime, it’s inevitable that a car’s interiors show signs of wear and tear. Frequent sitting on car seats, leaning on arm rests, gripping the steering wheel and fiddling with the instruments – all results in costly upholstery and panel replacements.
To ensure this doesn’t happen with its vehicles, engineers at the Ford’s Dearborn facility have begun staining vehicle fabric with everyday substances like hot coffee, soda and dirt to evaluate how well they can be cleaned afterward, testing their overall stain resistance.
Further, a team of examiners have been assigned to smell various samples of materials used inside Ford vehicles and rank them, helping the engineers achieve interiors with a perceptible but not disturbing odor.
Some of the unusual ordeals Ford materials need to go through include:
- The Five-Finger Scratch Test, which is used to scratch samples of different plastics to see how much abuse they can take.
- The Soil and Cleanability Test, which splashes different substances on seat fabrics to evaluate how well they can be cleaned afterwards, testing their overall stain resistance.
- The Resistance to Dye Transfer Test, which rubs materials of different colors (including the dreaded new blue jeans, a long-term destroyer of white leather sofas around the world) against the leather used for car seats to see if any stains are left behind.
- The Mace Snagging Test, which spins seat fabrics on rotating rollers roughly 600 times while they’re repeatedly struck by a spikey iron ball to test how strong they are.
Image credits: Ford Media