Testing a car to its limits

by / Comments Off on Testing a car to its limits / 150 View / October 19, 2014

Martorell, – Before being marketed, a vehicle is put through a whole raft of tests in extreme conditions in countries all over the world to make sure that it works properly. During the summer, a team of some 50 technicians and engineers from SEAT’s Technical Centre travel to a desert area in southern Spain to carry out the Summer Tests, a series of checks done at temperatures of over 40ºC. This year the new Leon X-Perience has been tested to its limits on all sorts of surfaces.

Each model is driven over some 20,000 kilometres, and each and every one of the tests carried out has a practical goal for the customer. For example, how do you know when you have to change the engine’s air filter?  In order to calculate this, the car travels behind a dense cloud of dust thrown up by a support vehicle for almost two hours. And tests of a different kind are also carried out on this sort of terrain to guarantee that no dust gets inside the car even in the most extreme situation.

The car is driven over a gravel surface for some 3,000 kilometres so as to analyse the impact of the gravel on the entire area of the underbody, wheel wells, external and rear end of the bumper. Engineers make an appraisal of the endurance of materials so that they last for the entire life of the car itself. In the klapper test, checks are carried out to make sure that the more than 3,000 parts comprising the car do not make annoying noises for the driver and passengers. This test is carried out on rough surfaces, with support equipment such as endoscopy being used, as well as the human ear.

The Summer Tests also check stability control systems with the latest software modifications. These tests are carried out on low-grip tracks, and are confirmed on a track with bends of different curvature.

Roads with ice, snow or in a bad state of repair, driving at altitude, different fuels, extreme heat or intense cold…., each country may have its own specific requirements. And for this reason, in addition to the Summer Tests, the Technical Centre’s experimenters travel to countries in the five continents if and when required – Mexico, North Africa, Russia, China as well as all over Europe and elsewhere – to submit the car to all sorts of test. The fact of the matter is, although they are built in Martorell, the cars may be shipped to any one of the more than 75 countries where the company has a presence.