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.