A common saying tells us to “not sweat the small stuff.” While this may be sage advice in our daily lives, the phrase is not applicable when it comes to bringing a new vehicle to market. In terms of manufacturing and engineering, sweating the small stuff is a vital aspect when endeavoring to produce a quality vehicle. As we continue down the path and take our supporters along the journey, we will continue to show the small details that culminate to make up the Elio. Today, we will look at one of these overlooked details: automotive seals.
Automotive seals are used in a number of important locations throughout the vehicle. Sealing is critical for resisting water intrusion, as well as sealing in connectors to displace water from the connection. Sealing the body of the vehicle is important to keep out moisture and to prevent corrosion of internal components. The sealing technology we are utilizing, supplied by Cooper Standard, reduces weight and improves safety, cabin acoustics, occupant comfort, and the aerodynamics of the vehicle.
Here are some of the areas that we will utilize this technology:
- Sealing is used around the door for displacing water, keeping out dirt, protecting the door when it is slammed, as well as limiting wind noise. Both door handles, interior and exterior, are also sealed.
- The deck lid for displacing water, protecting the area when slammed, as well as the prevention of dirt and NVH (Noise Vibration and Harshness.)
- The windows have sealing on both the inside and outside to redirect the water. These are utilized to minimize water intrusion, as well as prevent noise caused by wind.
- The hood has a seal located at the closing area to manage the slamming of the hood, prevent debris and water from reaching the engine compartment, as well as reduce NVH.
- Seals are used in the exhaust vent to ensure that the door shuts properly, and manages the exchange of air when using the HVAC.
- Additional seals are used in the electrical components, electrical connectors, lights, front windshield, mirrors and most any opening on the vehicle.
To ensure that the vehicle is sealed properly, we will be performing a battery of tests both through the engineering stage and at our plant in Caddo Parish. Testing will include:
- An aerodynamic test to ensure wind noise has been mitigated
- A car wash/monsoon testing to confirm water is not entering the cabin
- Door testing, which includes the cycling of the door (open, close, open, close…) window cycling, high-pressure water testing, and door slam noise quality.
- Deck Lid testing
- Sun soaking for high temperatures to assure proper performance
- Thermal shock to assure the seals perform at various different temperatures
- NVH testing to assure we have eliminated all squeaks and rattles
When you’re driving your current vehicle, its seals are probably far from your mind. If the vehicle is poorly sealed, however, it will be a source of constant frustration. By sweating the small stuff and focusing on the many small details that make up a vehicle, while also keeping an eye on the larger picture, we can produce a quality and lasting vehicle.