Monday, May 17, 2010

Behind-the-Scenes in Consumer Reports Labs

Following their triggering of the Lexus GX 460 recall, I spent a day inside Consumer Reports labs to get a behind-the-scenes look at some of the rigorous and unusual tests they perform on products they rate.

A sample: treadmills get pounded repeatedly with a spinning metal drum imbedded with rubber green balls the mimic running feet. (The device's nickname: Johnnie Walker.) Stainless-steel grills are pelted with salty spray to test for rust potential. Bike helmets get strapped on a metal head form and dropped onto sharp objects.

The most curious? The Maine Coon cat hair showdown. Watch the above video or read the story to find out more.

Update: we also explored this here on CNBC and on ABC News' "Good Money" show.