Vehicle Testing??

Submitted: Friday, Feb 08, 2008 at 21:48
ThreadID: 54379 Views:2270 Replies:9 FollowUps:15
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Hi all,
Years ago a vehicle manufacturer would put a vehicle through a very strenuous testing regime BEFORE releasing it onto the market, and fix any problems it encountered. Now it seems that there is little strenuous testing and more of a "fix it on the run/ignore it completely attitude"
Before anyone lines me up for a cr@p kicking contest, many vehicles from all major manufacturers have suffered over a period of time and a number of vehicle models.

I would've thought that the problems that are prevalent in the current vehicles "should have been evident", modified/fixed Before the vehicle went on sale??

Looking forward to your thoughts and comments.

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Reply By: Trevor R (QLD) - Friday, Feb 08, 2008 at 21:54

Friday, Feb 08, 2008 at 21:54
Hi Wayne,

Completely agree. To me car makers should be made to refund or replace if the car needs major repairs or fixes during the warranty period. Hard to put a precise definition to the word "major repairs" but it needs to be done to prevent more of the Nissan 3lt debarcle that has cost so many consumers. As you have indicated it is not just Nissan either.

If laws were in place like this, how comprehensive do you think the car makers "testing" regimes would be?.....a crap load better than they are now, that's for sure.

Cheers, trevor.
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Follow Up By: pop2jocem - Friday, Feb 08, 2008 at 22:05

Friday, Feb 08, 2008 at 22:05
Hi guys,

Just a thought, is it possible that manufacturers have to compete in a very crowded market place? All fighting for our hard earned dollars. They could probably build there vehicles to a standard that would 99.9% not give trouble ever. The only downside is that said vehicle would cost 3 or 4 times more than now and most people could not afford to buy. IMHO

Cheers Pop
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Follow Up By: Trevor R (QLD) - Friday, Feb 08, 2008 at 22:33

Friday, Feb 08, 2008 at 22:33
Hi Pop,

I would rather have the expense up front with peace of mind as opposed to paying it off for ever in repair bills. Like most things you often get what you pay for but even the expensive models are giving trouble regularly these days.

You are right to a degree, we do bring it upon ourselves as consumers by wanting the best at ridiculous prices.

Cheers, trevor.
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Reply By: Louie the fly - Friday, Feb 08, 2008 at 22:13

Friday, Feb 08, 2008 at 22:13
Don't know about some of the shyte that comes from Korea, India, etc. but having a little bit of experience in the auto industry (20+ years), testing still goes on here. 1 million kilometers of road testing, 100000 hours of simulated suspension testing in situations harsher than you would ever experience, body fatigue tests, drivetrain neglect testing, etc. etc. etc.....

Testing still goes on, and tests are generally more strenuous than ever before. Even things
AnswerID: 286455

Follow Up By: Wayne's 60 - Saturday, Feb 09, 2008 at 00:03

Saturday, Feb 09, 2008 at 00:03
Hi Louie,

Agree that some testing is done, however...

To Quote you "1 million kilometers of road testing, 100000 hours of simulated suspension testing in situations harsher than you would ever experience, body fatigue tests, drivetrain neglect testing, etc. etc. etc....."

So why does the engine go "bang" at 150000 km or the front wheels fall off after 50000km of corrugations, or the chassis twist and crack if you carry a packed lunch in the ute??


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Follow Up By: Wayne's 60 - Saturday, Feb 09, 2008 at 00:37

Saturday, Feb 09, 2008 at 00:37
Ooooops. missed one,

why does the gearbox strip gears when towing a half empty 6x4.

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Follow Up By: Louie the fly - Sunday, Feb 10, 2008 at 09:42

Sunday, Feb 10, 2008 at 09:42
I can't answer that cept for the fact that cars by nature are machines and machines break down. Design has a lot to do with component lifecycles. I can't speak for Japanese manufacturers but the Aussie ones I've been involved with sure do have extensive testing.

Don't know where you are located but if you've not been involved in the vehicle building industry and you ever get the chance, take a tour through a car plant or a big tier 1 supplier. You will be surprised I'm sure. Unfortunately, Mitsi's that just announced their closure here in Adelaide, were probably the best in the business (in Oz).

BTW, I heard yesterday that GMHA may be looking at the Mitsi site to build their specialty production. i.e. wagon, ute, Statesman, so they can fully dedicate their underbody line for Commodore. Just what I heard.
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Reply By: Hairy (NT) - Friday, Feb 08, 2008 at 22:31

Friday, Feb 08, 2008 at 22:31
They use to do a lot of testing in the NT until they slapped us with speed restrictions.

AnswerID: 286463

Reply By: madfisher - Friday, Feb 08, 2008 at 22:43

Friday, Feb 08, 2008 at 22:43
20 years ago ford released the ea falcon, which was a dog . released prematurely and was the start of fords demise.
Twelve months ago I brought for a modest sum a Jack with 101000ks on it, apart from servicing this vehicle has been flawless.
Cheers Pete
AnswerID: 286467

Follow Up By: disco driver - Friday, Feb 08, 2008 at 23:20

Friday, Feb 08, 2008 at 23:20
So what you are saying is:-

Buy something that's done 100000km and have a carefree run for years?

Some other bugger has spent thousands road testing and repairing it for you.

Otherwise your comments are meaningless>

(who just bought a 1981 Landrover with a genuine 63000km on the clock)
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Follow Up By: madfisher - Saturday, Feb 09, 2008 at 17:58

Saturday, Feb 09, 2008 at 17:58
Disco wife has a nh Paj that has now done 87000ks. We brought it two years ago with 63000ks . Only repair to date is we replaced the timing belt as a precaution and the air conditioning compressor is getting noisey which needs to be rectified. My mate always buys new, I buy well looked after vehicles that have already lost most of their capital value in depreciation. He has more trouble with his new vehicles than I ever do.
I only keep my cars till 200000ks and start looking for another car. This has worked well for me for the last 30 years.
What model rover did you pick up?
Cheers Pete
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Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Friday, Feb 08, 2008 at 23:12

Friday, Feb 08, 2008 at 23:12
Its always been good to buy the last of a series - still holds true.
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Follow Up By: Wayne's 60 - Saturday, Feb 09, 2008 at 00:07

Saturday, Feb 09, 2008 at 00:07
Very true Phil,
Had a HZ awhile ago, great car!!
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Follow Up By: gilghana - Saturday, Feb 09, 2008 at 06:06

Saturday, Feb 09, 2008 at 06:06
100% agree - be it a computer or a car or a truck! That is why I bought a early '07 1HZ engined troopie... One of the last. Hopefully should last a while and any issues should be dealt with???
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Follow Up By: garryk - Saturday, Feb 09, 2008 at 13:41

Saturday, Feb 09, 2008 at 13:41
I agree with this as well
I have been a mechanic all my life and same rule holds true in all brands
Also the brands which are sold worldwide seem to get sorted quicker than an Australia only model as do vechiles with production in large numbers rather than one produced in small numbers
You will usally pay a high price by wanting to be the first with the latest
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Reply By: PajeroTD - Saturday, Feb 09, 2008 at 05:07

Saturday, Feb 09, 2008 at 05:07
I disagree. Manufacturers put vehicles through loads of tests before they mass produce it for the market. The thing is, how much more complex are vehicles now than they were previously? They have a billion computers and sensors, such as ABS, traction and stability control, electronic control transmissions and transfer cases, adjustable ride heights, airbag systems, complex high tech in-car entertainment systems, electric everything, emissions control - I'm sure you get the point. They dont just grab a ladder frame, wack on a body, throw in some seats and a carburttored engine in anymore. Just think of how many things can possibly go wrong on a modern car and what you get for your money these days, I really think the recalls are usually for minor issues. Of course, some vehicles seem to have more reliability issues than others, but to suggest they don't test them before they release them, is just dumb.
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Follow Up By: Louie the fly - Sunday, Feb 10, 2008 at 09:55

Sunday, Feb 10, 2008 at 09:55
PajTD, you are spot on. I had 3 recalls on my Adventra. (these are as accurate as I can recall without the paperwork in front of me)

1. Recovery attachment at front (yes they do have one) needed to be strengthened because it may fatigue or deform under a heavy load

2. Passenger side airbag may deploy due to a buildup of static electricity

3. A front brake hose may wear under certain extreme conditions of simultaneous suspension travel and wheel angle

Not only to they test, they continue to test after the vehicle is released. Having said that, we all remember when a certain Japanese maker covered up a big problem. Think a popular 4wd was included in that.

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Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Saturday, Feb 09, 2008 at 07:14

Saturday, Feb 09, 2008 at 07:14
Recently, where the Freelander was crowned the biggest Lemon in motor vehicle history, and it was said to have been released with 132 known faults.

Interesting article here.

Funnily enough, after that article bags the Freelander, and all european vehicles, there are automatically generated Google adverts below it for those wanting to buy a used Freelander :-)))
AnswerID: 286488

Reply By: Member - Kiwi Kia - Saturday, Feb 09, 2008 at 07:26

Saturday, Feb 09, 2008 at 07:26
In a lot of cases individual components are well tested BEFORE they get assembled into the new model. The only testing that is really required is to see that all the bits work well together.

As for the comment about Korean vehicles I would suggest that someone learn a bit more about the vehicle industry before making those statements ! The vehicle industry is so convoluted with who owns whom that you are probably buying a rebadged Ford/Mazda or Toyota with out knowing it.
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Reply By: Peter 2 - Saturday, Feb 09, 2008 at 09:33

Saturday, Feb 09, 2008 at 09:33
I think the biggest problem is that the manufacturers don't load the vehicle to the hilt or tow the heaviest loads continuously like people do in actual use.
Secondly most 4wd's especially are overloaded/over GVM when fitted with all the crap that people fit and carry in their vehicles so are exceeding the design parameters.
Thirdly while the manufacturer may design a vehicle to be able to carry a load or tow a given weight they don't build the vehicle to do it continuously like when people are travelling.
Ask any manufacturer for the vehicles duty cycle at full load or at full towing capacity, you will be very surprised at the answer if they can give you one.
Tied in with the above also ask for the off pavement/off road towing capacity, again you will find that towing anything more than a garden box trailer is exceeding the capacity in off road conditions of the vehicle IF the manufacturer can give you a figure that is.
In days gone before the days of cadcam and computers vehicles were designed to do a job with components able to withstand the rigours of use by a safe margin. These days with a computer they are designed to JUST do the job, if you regularly exceed the weight limits or do it continuously then it will wear out or break prematurely.
Upgrading components like suspension might delay the inevitable but will lead to other failures as shock loads are transferred to components not designed to handle the additional loads, The rear spring towers on coil sprung patrols are a case in point.
AnswerID: 286506

Follow Up By: Member - Kiwi Kia - Saturday, Feb 09, 2008 at 11:37

Saturday, Feb 09, 2008 at 11:37
Absolutely right !
Also, I believe that the main 4wd makers design their 4wd systems to handle snow and ice on black top rather then mud. Just because a vehicle has 4wd does not make it suitable for rough roads.
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Follow Up By: splits - Saturday, Feb 09, 2008 at 13:21

Saturday, Feb 09, 2008 at 13:21
I think you have hit the nail on the head Peter. There is a big difference between what cars are designed to do and how they are used.

I have a book and a video that show a good example of this with early Holdens. The video is about the history of Holdens and one part of it features an interview with one of the design engineers on the 48-215 and the FJ. He said they were designed for 35,000 miles. That would have been normal family driving over sealed and good dirt roads while carrying or towing loads within specifications. We all know the things lasted a lot longer than that with no major problems.

The book is titled "From Redex to Repco" and starts with the first three Redex trials between 1953 and 55. A total of 39 Holdens started the 55 trial with 11 finishing plus one more that finished but was not presented for scrutineering. Those 11 lost points for a total of 56 body and subframe cracks and numerous spring, shock absorber and radiator mounting problems.

Those cars were driven beyond their design limits and countless 4wds are subjected to the same treatment.

How cars are driven and loaded does not cause all of the problems though; the fact that they have to be built to a price accounts for a few of them.

In the early 1980s, a company I was working for bought a new engine tuning machine. The instruction book said the results for one particular test can vary from engine to engine. The reason given was "automotive engines are not precise devices". They were right, there is no precision engineering in a car except maybe inside a turbo and some parts of a diesel injection system. If there was a Corolla would cost as much as a small aircraft.

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Follow Up By: Member - Rotord - Saturday, Feb 09, 2008 at 14:30

Saturday, Feb 09, 2008 at 14:30
Spot on Peter . The so called 'extensive ' testing is aimed at getting the vehicle to a reasonable standard to release upon the unsuspecting public . If tested to destruction , interesting things happen . Periodically , the contest for the Army light vehicle contract arises and the Army tests to destruction . Toyota , Nissan and Landrover are finally tortured on asymetric concrete dragons teeth and angled concrete riffle boards untill the vehicle has a major failure . I don't know what breaks on the Toyotas and Nissans but they lose . The Landrovers break axles . but that protects a lot of other components so each Army Landrover carries two spare axles and the drivers can replace them quickly . Of course the Army has different requirements to the average offroader and that includes , if the tactical situation dictates , to drive heavy , at speed over unsuitable terrain .
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Follow Up By: Peter 2 - Saturday, Feb 09, 2008 at 17:45

Saturday, Feb 09, 2008 at 17:45
Yes was aware of the military testing procedures, hence the ownership of the Humvee as I was sick of troopies requiring a drivetrain rebuild every 100k when used for private use, mainly touring at or close to GVM.
As with the Landies the designed weak point in the drivetrain is the axles, 30 minutes with basic tools sees even an unskilled mechanic getting the vehicle mobile again.
Also the comfort of knowing that I will never exceed the designed operating limits of the vehicle, 60% gradient at GVM, 40% sideslope at GVM both for continuous duty, alloy body tub, kevlar composite doors and bonnet.
All systems designed to cope with extreme use continuously, coupled with that big block V8 noise, 1 1/4 tonne carrying capacity, 15l/100k fuel consumption, basic mechanicals that can be repaired by me virtually anywhere, all in a package designed nearly 25 years ago and still produced today albeit with more power and greater carrying capacity.
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