Miniature Nissan car wash means better paint, worry-free washing

The smallest car wash you’ve never seen keeps busy at Nissan Technical Center North America in Farmington Hills, Michigan

  • Nissan engineers test paint samples in the scaled-down car wash to ensure exterior paint holds up to the demands of a modern car wash, which can scratch clearcoats and abrade paint
  • Special dirt, called "Arizona test dirt" by testers, is applied to paint samples during the test cycle to replicate real-world grit and ensure that Nissan paint is tough and long-lasting

FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. A miniature car wash, about the size and shape of a popcorn machine, plays an important role at the Nissan Technical Center North America in Michigan. Equipped with a spinning brush that has vibrant blue bristles, this highly specialized (and fun to watch!) machine allows engineers to test paint samples to make sure Nissan's exterior paints hold up to the tough environment of automatic car washes.

Long before a Nissan ends up on dealer lots, engineers have made sure that every shade of exterior paint will stay looking great, even if our customer frequently takes his Altima or her 370Z through the rigors of an automatic car wash.

To mimic an automatic wash cycle, Nissan's miniature car wash spins the brush at around 180 rpm, causing the bristles to harshly slap the paint sample as water jets spray and "Arizona dirt" replicates the harsh and abrasive real world.

In the video to the right, the red 1:16 scale model of the 370Z is for illustrative purposes only. In actual testing, Nissan paint is applied to rectangular plates (such as the yellow sample seen in the photos), which are placed into the miniature car wash and tested multiple times to ensure a top-quality finish that lasts.

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