24 September 2011

Door edge protector - parking dings no more

Have you ever slammed your car door on the next concrete pillar? Better still, ever hit your friend's car door with your car door in office car park? Worry no more as Ford has invented a "Door Edge Protector", and it will make it to production with the new Ford Focus.

We are used to ugly solution like vertical rubber insert and stick-on moulding to prevent our car door from getting its mark due to minor accident like this. Ford solution, however, is more innovative. The black flap you can see here is hidden on door inner panel, where it sits on the outer region from the door latch and weatherstrip. The flap will move into position once the door is opened (even if you open the door by mere 150mm) and can retract in mere 60 milliseconds under door slam movement. No details were given on how it works, but I suspect it is actuated mechanically with some linkage connected to the door hinge or door check, as the door latch is motionless once the catcher has been unlocked during door opening operation. Those unfamiliar with the terms here, door hinge is, well, a hinge like you house door, door check is the little bar at the leading edge of the door (inner side, and usually sits in the middle of the door between upper and lower hinge) and its function is to hold the door from closing back once you open it. It has some stepped build into it that you can feel upon opening the door. Try this on you car, but don't if your car is national car that come with 2 doors that was launched in 2006. That car was known to have weak door check!