A miniature car wash, about the size and shape of a popcorn machine, plays an important role at the Nissan Technical Centre North America in Michigan. Equipped with a spinning brush that has vibrant blue bristles, this highly specialised (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 a customer frequently takes his Altima or her 370Z through the rigours of an automatic car wash.
To mimic an automatic wash cycle, Nissan’s miniature car wash spins the brush at around 180 revolutions per minute, causing the bristles to harshly slap the paint sample as water jets spray and “Arizona dirt” replicates the harsh and abrasive real world.
The red 1:16 scale model of the 370Z pictured 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.