If you've ever wondered how automakers know their paints will stand up to the test of time, a field in Florida may have your answer. Manufacturers routinely turn to Q-Lab, a facility situated on a 20-acre open field just outside of Homestead, Florida for durability testing. There, the company's engineers apply automotive paint to twelve-inch by 4-inch metal panels and leave them to bake in the unforgiving sun. The facility's location next to Everglades National Park is ideal for testing paint fade and durability due to the high humidity, heat and sunlight.

Owner Mike Crewdson says the samples may spend as long as seven to 10 years baking in the elements before they ever get sprayed on a production vehicle. Technicians receive a staggering amount of data on weather and paint conditions every day-up to 40,000 readings. Various manufacturers participate in these evaluations, but General Motors says it has been testing paint like this since the 1920s. Check out the local news broadcast embedded below for a closer look at the process.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 27 Comments
      Dan Cunningham
      • 2 Years Ago
      Cool article! There is a similar facility located in Sunrise FL. I used to live near it and got curious, so asked what they do there. Here's a Google Earth link to the location: https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ll=26.150837,-80.238639&spn=0.00216,0.004128&t=h&z=19
        Adam
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Dan Cunningham
        Thats just north of my old high school. Had no idea that was there!
      Vergenbuurg
      • 2 Years Ago
      As a Floridian born-and-raised, I can firmly attest to how destructive the sun and climate here is to a car. Had a neighbor move in with a beautiful-condition maroon Fiero... in one year, the paint turned into a sort of matte pink...
        threefortyduster
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Vergenbuurg
        I loved all the people who bought yellow Tiburons when they first came out around 99, whatever yellow paint Hyundai used was TERRIBLE, because nearly every yellow Tiburon I saw from around 2002 on was faded to the point that it would be considered awesomely matte today.
        Richard
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Vergenbuurg
        and based on what we read in the news, the human mind as well
          JR
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Richard
          You read and believe that?
      Robert
      • 2 Years Ago
      Lol, we've done Q-Lab's Christmas party at my restaurant (Capri) for over 4 years every December. I had no idea this was the kind of stuff they do!
      Brodz
      • 2 Years Ago
      So what we think are modern looking colours are actually up to a decade old?
      cubicledweller
      • 2 Years Ago
      They should do testing like this here in AZ...cars fade fast here...
      vwynn
      • 2 Years Ago
      People today are just lazy and dont give a rats arse about their cars anymore. They lack the passion to take care of the car internally and externally. They dont spend that 1 on 1 time to bond with the vehicle anymore... change oil? send it to the shops. Cars dirty? send it to the car wash that ends up scratching paint and stripping car wax to bare paint. Times have changed.
      dohc73
      • 2 Years Ago
      They also test out traffic-line paint on the highways near Orlando too. One of the highways that go southwest has sections of multiple lines of different paints in the very left lanes.
        threefortyduster
        • 2 Years Ago
        @dohc73
        If it's the same section I'm thinking of, it's just into Polk County between mile marker 29 and 31 on I4. I drove over them twice this weekend. The ones on the eastbound lanes are much less annoying than those on the westbound lanes. Thankfully I drive slow enough that I'm rarely in the left lane anyway. That's not to say there isn't one near Orlando, I try to avoid that area as much as possible.
      NAIF S
      • 2 Years Ago
      I guess GM must ignore the results.
        SloopJohnB
        • 2 Years Ago
        @NAIF S
        Good one. Triumph of hope over experience...motto on GM HQ building in Detroit....
      Jim Lowe
      • 2 Years Ago
      If GM has been doing this since the 1920's, what happened in the 80's and 90's?
      XJ Yamaha
      • 2 Years Ago
      Funny how companies like GM have been doing this since the 1920s since their business plan just a few decades ago was to build a car which last 3-5 years then basically start falling apart, which then the consumer would be forced to buy a new one.
      JF
      • 2 Years Ago
      What kind of crazy hyperactive journalism is this? Can you let anyone complete a full sentence before cutting him? Viewing this piece was exhausting because of the terrible editing.
      Porschetr
      • 2 Years Ago
      First car comes up to my mind when I think about faded cars is 90's Sunfire or Cavalier.
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