Those of us who live in Florida know this one absolute truth: the climate is absolutely brutal on automotive finishes and on car interiors. Blame it on a near-ideal blend of UV radiation, heat, humidity and salt air, but no other climate on the planet can destroy paint as well as Florida.
As you’d guess, there’s an industry devoted to exploiting Florida’s climate for the development of future automotive paint and interior materials. As My Fox Tampa Bay (via Autoblog) explains, Q-Lab torture-tests materials in a field near Homestead, Florida, in the shadows of the Everglades National Park.
Samples may spend as long as a decade under the harsh Florida sun before a manufacturer will approve the finish for use on a production vehicle. Each day, up to 40,000 readings from these samples are taken, and annually each sample is reviewed in detail to accurately gauge the impact of Florida’s climate.
While the testing may be cruel and unusual to automotive paints and prospective interior materials, the net result is a more durable product. We wouldn’t want to be the technician inspecting the panels in a snake-filled field under the hot Florida sun, but we’re glad someone is doing it.