In addition to being known for being economical and dependable, Dacia cars are also well-known for being constructed with durable components. It is not uncommon to see Dacia Logan and Dacia Duster cars with several hundred thousand kilometers on the odometer! This is not a result of a stroke of good fortune. The durability of Dacia cars is a closely guarded secret known only to those working in the two labs at the Titu Technical Centre. Dacia's testing facility, located 45 minutes northwest of Bucharest, Romania, puts all of its models' internal and exterior parts through rigorous testing to ensure that they are of high quality and robustness. Why? To assure clients that their vehicle would withstand the test of time. How? Aging at a faster rate. Let us look inside the laboratories and see what makes them so unique.
How can you ensure that a new automobile will remain in excellent condition for years, even after a few hundred thousand miles? Dacia's answer to that issue is found in Titu, Romania. Hundreds of tests are conducted annually to determine the robustness of plastic and metal components used in the Dacia Sandero, Dacia Duster, and Dacia Jogger models. In addition, two laboratories are equipped with various aging and corrosion equipment that imitates the many ways vehicles are operated and the different weather conditions that drivers may experience in real life.
The Titu Technical Centre is located near the Romanian capital of Bucharest. The ultra-modern complex, which opened in 2010, is located in the heart of the Romanian countryside. Six hundred people, 350 hectares of testing areas, and an extensive network of outdoor test tracks: are the critical ingredients for ensuring the high quality found on Dacia's latest vehicles. Two laboratories dedicated to material durability are located within the center, where each model is subjected to a battery of accelerated aging tests. The experiments replicate years of real-world aging and exposure to various weather conditions within a few weeks. After that, passionate professionals thoroughly analyze each sample of each item.
The polymer and fluid durability center is the first destination on tour. Plastic components are included in the range of tested elements. Plastics, which can be shaped and molded into an infinite variety of shapes, are a significant component of automobile interiors: dashboards, gearboxes, and doors. If the vehicle is constructed using low-quality plastic, a substantial amount of the vehicle's parts will certainly degrade over time.
The laboratory, which opened in 2017, researches the atmospheric effect conditions and vehicle usage can have on the appearance and quality of car parts. For example, UV radiation, heat, and inclement weather can cause plastic components to bleach, fade, or even lose their original luster.
Numerous samples are exposed to UV radiation for up to 3,000 hours every day in laboratory testing chambers. As a result, the components are exposed to radiation levels comparable to those they encounter after several years of exposure to the sun. Additionally, samples are placed in weather chambers that simulate severe temperature and humidity conditions ranging from -40°C to +100°C for many weeks. The objective is to determine how parts perform in a variety of situations. After being put in the testing chambers, they are analyzed and compared to a control sample that is not aged.
Simply driving a car may have a detrimental effect on the look of plastic components. A bicycle, keys, or ring, for example, may cause damage to the car's body or interior that may leave permanent markings. As a result, all plastics are scratch tested. In concrete words, selected samples are scraped down the length and width many times using a metal screw. Scratches are unavoidable, but they should be superficial and have no effect on the plastic's qualities.
Additionally, pieces can twist, bend, or even shatter with time. Thus, in the polymer and fluid durability laboratory, a traction machine is utilized to stretch the plastic to determine its breaking point.
The corrosion center, which opened in 2015, is Titu's second unique laboratory. All metal components are screened in the accelerated corrosion chamber. In new automobiles, paint covers the metal components, but an accident or scrape that breaks the color and exposes the metal beneath increases the danger of corrosion.
Along with tiny samples, fundamental components such as the hood, tailgate, doors, and chassis plate are examined. Additionally, chrome and galvanized components such as brake drums and discs, screws, and emblems are subjected to rigorous testing. They are submerged in a corrosion chamber and subjected to harsh weather conditions with fluctuating temperatures, humidity, and air quality composition. After exiting this chamber, corrosion in the vicinity of the scratches is analyzed using a well-calibrated scoring system.
Along with imitating actual weather conditions, experiments are done to determine the effect of chemicals on the bodywork. For example, a particular test located adjacent to the corrosion chamber is used to expose metal components to chemicals such as windshield washer fluid or saline antifreeze.
The remainder of the tests is conducted in another room located farther along a hallway in the gravel chambers. Quite self-explanatory, the approach entails spraying components with high-pressure gravel to determine how it may harm the vehicle's metal body. Then, each protective layer, including paint, chrome plating, and zinc plating, is inspected to verify that the cars satisfy the highest quality requirements.
After passing the whole battery of tests are, the components and materials certified and permitted to be used in Dacia's brand-new cars, ensuring that every owner may achieve the million-kilometer milestone with pride.