According to its engineers, chemicals found in these products can apparently react with certain surfaces, causing them to wear out prematurely unless they also feature some type of special protective finish.
“From hand sanitisers to sun lotions to insect repellent, consumer trends are constantly changing, and new products are coming on to the market all the time. Even the most innocuous seeming product can cause problems when they come into contact with surfaces hundreds and even thousands of times a year,”said Ford of Europe Senior materials engineer, Mark Montgomery.
Richard Kyle, a materials engineer added on, “There were instances of particularly high wear in Turkey and we managed to trace it back to ethanol potentially being a contributing factor, and most likely a popular hand sanitiser that contained 80% ethanol - far higher than anything we’d seen before. Once we knew what it was, we were able to do something about it.”
To prevent advance wear, Ford says that they run tests at temperatures as high as 74°C and in some cases, they even simulate exposure to the sun, launching ultra-violet light rays at a car’s interior. Plastics are also tested for strength at temperatures as low as -30°C before using a rubber ball that weigh quite a lot more than a normal football, to bounce repeatedly off the materials to make sure they don’t crack.