Automotive Trim Testing

Smithers Rapra provides you with instant access to a world class R&D team specialising in automotive plastics, rubbers and composite materials. As polymer specialists, we can assist on a wide range of internal and external automotive trim projects – providing guidance through OEM engineering performance specifications and with expert support in testing to meet your development and approval timescales.

Whether you need simple material testing or full project management of your qualification requirements and entire R&D programmes, our experts can support your project.

Expert-Led Testing Programmes

Starting with raw material qualification, our laboratories offer a comprehensive range of capabilities that support your interior component and trim product performance qualification. Our laboratories are ISO 17025 accredited and audited by European and US vehicle certification bodies.  

For automotive trim testing, our testing techniques include:

  • Pressure
  • Vibration
  • Temperature
  • Mechanical Shock
  • Thermal Shock
  • Fluid Compatibility
  • Abrasion and Scratch
  • Environmental Testing (UV, IR, Xenon Arc, Salt Spray, Ozone)

Material Property Characterisation


Environmental Testing

Operational testing

Lab Scale injection moulding of test plaques and tensile/flexural/impact test bars

Tensile, compressive, flexural and tear strength

Thermal properties – melt flow, HDT, DSC, DMA, Rheology  

Abrasion and scratch resistance

Impact/stone chip resistance




Product cleanliness

Salt-spray resistance

Thermal cycling and thermal shock

Colour fastness / UV (Xenon and Fluorescent)

Ozone resistance

Fluid compatibility and susceptibility

Abrasion and scratch testing

Hot and cold operational performance

Mechanical operational forces and durability

Product abuse and deformation

Vibration performance of components

The automotive trim products we test include:                                                                                       

  • Instrument panels
  • Roof and door liners
  • Rear parcel shelf
  • Engine and door seals
  • Weatherstrips
  • Seating components
  • Finishes and coatings
  • Lacquer and soft feel paint
  • Leather surrounds
World-class Product Development support

Polymers are used in a wide range of internal and external automotive trim  Our world-leading polymer expertise is able to enhance your project at every stage, supporting designers with material selection, independently assessing processing issues and supporting the supply chain through testing and qualification data of products.

End of life and Warranty Support

Our experts advise on product end of life considerations and warranty failure issues, where a speedy response is required to assist with an investigation.

Our unique knowledge-base and cost-effective lab scale environment can help you:

  • Enhance your own R&D process
  • Develop materials that differentiate your products
  • Assist in cost down initiatives
  • Reduce lead times
  • Negate risks

Polymers are used in a wide range of internal and external automotive trim applications including instrument panels, door seals, handles, seating components, finishes and coatings. Our world-leading polymer expertise is able to enhance your project at every stage across the supply chain.

Contact our expert team >