Segment-exclusive underbody splash shields improve durability and fuel economy
DETROIT – As a General Motors splash test engineer, Dave Schoener has helped to develop an innovative splash shield for the Chevrolet Cruze that protects the engine compartment from water and potentially harmful contaminants.
In addition, the splash shields, a segment exclusive in the Cruze, help prevent underbody corrosion by repelling water, dirt and mud. They also contribute to the Cruze’s fuel economy by reducing wind drag.
“With the Cruze, you have a very comprehensive splash protector on an entry sedan that you typically wouldn’t see except in high-end luxury vehicles,” said Schoener.
Schoener recommended adding underbody shields to the Cruze after observing repeated splash tests in GM’s new $1.4-million Flooded Road Lab at the company’s Milford, Mich. Proving Ground.
There, engineers drove the Cruze through a submerged roadway filled with five to 30.5cm of standing water – at speeds ranging from eight to 56 km per hour – to ensure long-term quality and dependability. Schoener and his team used the lab learning to find solutions to keep water, grit, salt and other contaminants away from the Cruze’s engine and transmission.
Facilities such as the Flooded Road Lab demonstrate GM’s commitment to vehicle quality, where thousands of kilometers of simulated abuse provide opportunities to improve vehicles before they reach customers. Underbody splash shields are among many improvements added to GM’s vigorous long-term durability testing.
“Just as I train to build endurance before each race, achieving long-term vehicle durability comes from putting the Cruze through its paces here at the Proving Ground,” Schoener said. “We do intense durability testing to ensure our customers get top-quality vehicles they will enjoy for many years.”