Nobody wants a leaky car. Gaps, holes and loose weatherstripping can result in excessive cabin noise, an overworked air conditioning unit, or an unexpectedly eventful trip through the car wash.
Engineers once relied on relatively primitive methods of identifying potential vehicle leaks. According to Ford, techniques included filling the car with smoke and observing from where it escaped, or engineers simply feeling for leaks with their bare hands. Now the automaker has developed a better way.
In the video above, Ford engineering supervisor William Dedecker, who oversees vehicle noise, vibration and harshness, is shown pumping hot air into a 2013 Ford Fusion. Using thermal imaging technology, Dedecker and his team are able to identify problem areas via a live, color-coded heat map of the vehicle. Red areas show where heat is escaping the vehicle, indicating a potential leak. Once the leaks are identified, they can be addressed.
"We are the first automaker to use [thermal imaging] technology to track air leaks," said John Crisi, Ford noise, vibration and harshness engineer. "Our cameras can detect tiny holes and openings we could not otherwise identify."