Nissan rains supreme on watertight testing of crossovers

  • Every new Nissan crossover is subject to the “dishwasher test” during development
  • 24,000 litres of water sprayed at each Qashqai, Juke and X-Trail – with every drop recycled
  • Additional high-pressure jet washer test ensures no moisture gets in

ROLLE, Switzerland – You wouldn’t put your car in a dishwasher, but that’s exactly what Nissan does with every new model it launches. Of course, you can’t fit an actual Qashqai crossover in a kitchen appliance – which is why Nissan’s European Technical Centre has a scaled-up version that can house a full-sized vehicle.

Thousands of liters of water are sprayed at the exterior of a car from every angle, and the process is accompanied by a fingertip inspection to ensure the highest quality in waterproof sealing. Also known as the monsoon test for obvious reasons, it takes place several times during the engineering development of all cars and vans, right across Nissan’s wide range.

Initially, 24,000 liters of water rain on to the car. During the most dramatic part, more than 1,000 liters land in just 15 minutes – equivalent to a meter of rainfall.

Engineers at Nissan’s state-of-the-art facility – at Cranfield, UK – could easily have created this test to be fully automated. But the rigorous nature of the development program, as well as the world’s weather, means that’s simply not demanding enough. The process requires Nissan technicians to attack the vehicle’s seals with a jet washer, specially engineered to operate at pressures as extreme as 150 bar. That’s considerably more powerful than many popular domestic units, which operate at 110 bar.

Carl Sandy is one of the Nissan engineers who have helped develop the punishing test standards.

“Another member of the team will be in the car with a high-definition endoscope to see inside the panels, looking for even the tiniest drop of water that may have made it through,” said Sandy.

Such is the attention to detail that Carl’s team will even strip out the whole interior to confirm that there is no water coming in.

During the whole program – the monsoon test and jet-wash – up to 30,000 liters of water are used. That’s equivalent to more than 2,000 times the amount used in an average domestic dishwasher cycle.

Such frivolous use of water may seem wasteful, but crucially not a single drop goes down the drain. It’s filtered back into a giant tank, ready to drench the next car that comes through the chamber. Recycling the water is just as important as keeping customers dry.

Nissan’s test standards are sufficient for the relatively modest climate and roads of Western Europe, but are also robust enough for more extreme environments.

“Rigorous testing is important because not every market is the same,” said Sandy. “For example, in Russia, commercial jet washers run at a higher pressure to cope with road dirt. Through continuous evolution of test standards, we make sure that our cars stand up to the most demanding driving requirements in Europe.”

About Nissan in Europe
Nissan has one of the most comprehensive European presences of any overseas manufacturer, employing more than 14,500 staff across locally based design, research & development, manufacturing, logistics and sales & marketing operations. Last year Nissan plants in the UK, Spain and Russia produced more than 635,000 vehicles including mini-MPVs, award-winning crossovers, SUVs, commercial vehicles and the Nissan LEAF, the world’s most popular Electric Vehicle with 97% performance satisfaction and 95% of customers willing to recommend the car to friends. Nissan now offers 24 diverse and innovative products for sale in Europe today, and is positioned to become the number one Asian brand in Europe.