How Ford Torture-Tests Its Badges To Ensure They Last as Long as Its Trucks

Like James Bond, the Ford badge is hard to kill.

byKristin V. Shaw|
truck grille with a blue Ford badge


The humble Blue Oval badge has represented a steady presence in the automotive industry for over a century now, bearing the name Ford in script letters. One might think the badge isn’t that important and doesn’t require a whole lot of process or thought, but that’s untrue. As it turns out, the badge itself is subjected to torture testing both separately and along with the vehicles themselves, including a trip to a deep freezer.

We already know that Ford puts its vehicles through the wringer in a number of ways to ensure that they’re durable enough for the market. The Mach-E endured 300 miles of chipped-stone roads to see if the paint could hack it without getting speckled. It was also subjected to a powerful wind tunnel and 60 car washes (and not the brushless kind, either). Also, engineers pelted it with 1,700 psi pressure washers from about a foot away to test the door seals, badges, headlights, and adhesives.

Ford has been known to drop 55-gallon drums into the beds of its test trucks at an angle to focus all of the force on the sharp rim of the drum. Engineers have created acid baths to simulate 10 years of corrosion and sent in armies of robots to slam into the trucks, including the badge.

To test the badge, the company uses a brutal freezing process to make certain the Blue Oval logo is steadfast under all conditions. First, it’s completely soaked in water for 20 minutes. Then the entire vehicle is pulled into what Ford refers to as the Freeze Chamber, which looks like a shipping container with a viewing window. It's a scenario comic book villain Mr. Freeze would relish.


The engineers program the deep freezer to reach temperatures as low as -40 degrees Celsius (which is the same in Fahrenheit) to simulate some heinous winter weather. (In case you were curious as I was, when I looked it up at the coldest temperature on record in the U.S. was -80 degrees Fahrenheit in Alaska in 1971.)

On top of the freeze test, Ford attaches and reattaches the badge over and over, and the Blue Oval sustains streams of high-pressure water to ensure that even obsessive car washers can't destroy it. Made with polymethyl methacrylate, a transparent thermoplastic, the front badge is 244 millimeters wide. It's formed with three unique four-cavity molds that can run either blue for production vehicles or black for special vehicles.

Give those badges some respect; they've been through hell.

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