Most car buyers tend not to think about all the steps that are involving in bringing a quality vehicle to their driveway, but the process is far from simple, easy or straightforward. “It’s not as simple as making pizza”, GM Authority’s own Alex Luft is often heard saying around the office.
Case in point: GM assembly plants use numerous techniques to ensure quality control standards are met before any car leaves its manufacturing facilities. Some of these processes use large, complex machinery, while other methods are carried out with hand-held tools, like the sniffer gauge that’s used to find air conditioning leaks in the engine compartment.
The sniffer gauge is comprised of a long and flexible rubber prong that is attached to a base unit. It sniffs for certain odors that are typically associated with a coolant leak.
The refrigerant leak test is performed after the vehicle completes assembly. The car is started up and the A/C system is run for three to five minutes, giving the refrigerant the opportunity to flow.
Then, trained inspectors then insert the gauge wand into all interior outlets as well as into designated spots in the engine bay. The test itself takes about two minutes to complete.
If unacceptable levels of refrigerant are detected (a rare occurrence), the sniffer tool emits a loud screeching sound. The vehicle is then examined and rectified, as needed, before the unit clears quality control and can be shipped out to the dealership.
General Motors previously used black lights to check for air conditioning fluid leaks, but that test proved to be unreliable. By comparison, the sniffer gauge prevents false leak alerts thanks to its dual gas inlet, which reliably suppresses any signals caused by other present gases.
So the next time you see your GM vehicle order showing a status of “bayed for quality control” at the plant, just think about all the steps involved in ensuring a high quality product is delivered to your dealer.