Guide to environmental testing for the automotive industry

Environmental testing refers to measuring the performance of equipment under specified environmental conditions, for example, high and low temperatures or humidity, wet environments, electromagnetic interference, high and low pressure, etc. 


Environmental testing in the automotive industry has almost endless applications, helping vehicle and component manufacturers test the capabilities of their products to see how they perform under different conditions. Cars and other vehicles are an integral part of our daily lives and society, they must guarantee our total safety, for every use, under every circumstance. 


However, that’s not all. Safety standards are not only defined by the manufacturer, there’s also different regulatory bodies that need to give the green light before a final product can be released to the market. There are, in fact, several situations that may require automotive environmental testing to test various components that make up a vehicle, including, but not limited to:


  • Bodywork (crash tests, road surface performance)
  • Engine (cooling/heating, engine oil, fuel, coolant, gas emissions, etc.)
  • Electronic components (EMC tests, battery performance in EV)
  • Other vehicle parts (steering, wheels, brakes, gearbox, etc.)


Types of vehicle environmental testing

As previously mentioned, automotive environmental testing has almost endless applications. Here are some environmental testing protocols commonly associated with the automotive industry.

Cold temperature testing

Increased brittleness, frailty, and stiffness of materials are only a few of the effects of low temperatures. These types of effects can affect many vehicle subsystems and the overall driveability of the vehicles in cold environments, making it vital to perform such environmental tests before deployment on the market. 


Temperature-related effects on emission from internal combustion engines and the performance of the battery in EVs in cold conditions are equally important aspects that need to be evaluated extensively. 


Cold temperature vehicle environmental testing may be carried out either in natural environments, or making use of what you call a “cold chamber”, a chamber used to simulate a cold climate.

Driveability testing

Driveability of the vehicle needs to be ensured regardless of the road surface, whether it’s asphalt, gravel, dirt, snow or ice. Testing vehicles on winter road conditions is especially important due to how it alters the driveability of the vehicle.


The grip is worsened, the acceleration may be impaired, max speed may be reduced, and the brake distance might be significantly increased in cold environments and on cold, slippery roads. 

Chassis testing

Chassis testing includes evaluations of acoustic problems, such as squeaks or rattles, how well the vehicle’s suspension can handle bumps and potholes, as well as the general durability of the chassis in different environments.

Perform your automotive environmental testing with Icemakers

We provide a complete vehicle environmental testing ground for cold-weather testing. We are the only contact point necessary to ensure a successful test project without any hiccups or interruptions. Read more about the services we provide at our vehicle proving ground.