MARYSVILLE, Ohio. -- The new Acura RDX is getting some extra scrutiny from inspectors as it rolls off the line here.
Honda of America Manufacturing Inc. has deployed 45 so-called "Line End Testers," hand-held units that can check how more than 100 systems are operating in a newly built RDX.
The goal is to catch any problems before the new vehicle leaves the Marysville plant. The new RDX, Acura's entry-level luxury crossover, goes on sale Thursday, Aug. 10.
"This is especially important when dealing with items that are very difficult for the associate to either see or hear," says Bill Easdale, engineering project leader for the RDX.
"For instance, making sure that all of the speakers are functioning correctly can be tough for an associate. It also makes sure that the turbo engine is functioning correctly, and the navigation system is working."
The Line End Tester was developed by Honda and Teradyne Diagnostic Solutions Ltd., of Manchester, England. It is similar to the portable unit used by Honda and Acura dealers to diagnose problems in dealership service bays.
Each test is conducted in a vehicle quality inspection area after the vehicle leaves the assembly line. Each test takes 10 to 14 minutes, says Phil Adams, engineering coordinator for vehicle quality control in Marysville.
"Our plans are to do this ultimately with 100 percent of our production," Adams says
The testing unit was first used in Honda's East Liberty, Ohio, plant during the launch of the 2006 Honda Civic. But that Line End Tester was an early model and could only scan for problems in 30 vehicle systems, Adams says.
The unit plugs into the vehicles' On-Board Diagnostic II connection. It can, for example, turn on the heating and cooling system to measure air flow and temperature, turn on all the lights in the vehicle and check each of the gauges on the dash.
"As the technology on the car continues to increase, it's becoming more difficult for a human to do all the quality testing," Adams says.
This test, he adds, can catch the kind of quality problems that typically show up on quality surveys, such as the Initial Quality Study that J.D. Power and Associates does each year.
You may e-mail Ralph Kisiel at [email protected]