Vehicle door latch performance testing presently utilizes uniaxial quasi-static loading conditions. Current technology enables sophisticated virtual testing of a broad range of systems. Door latch failures have been observed in vehicles under a variety of conditions. Typically, these conditions involve multi-axis loading conditions. The loading conditions presented during rollovers on passenger vehicle side door latches have not been published. Rollover crash test results, rollover crashes, and physical Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 206 latch testing results are reviewed. The creation and validation of a passenger vehicle door latch model is described. The multi-axis loading conditions observed in virtual rollover testing at the latch location are characterized and applied to the virtual testing of a latch in the secondary latch position. The results are then compared with crash test and real world rollover results for the same latch. The results indicate that a door latch that meets the secondary latch position requirements may fail at loads substantially below the FMVSS 206 uniaxial failure loads. In the side impact mode, risks associated with door handle designs and the potential for inertial release can be considered prior to manufacturing with virtual testing. An example case showing the effects of material and spring selection illustrates the potential issues that can be detected in advance of manufacturing. The findings suggest the need for re-examining the relevance of existing door latch testing practices in light of the prevalence of rollover impacts and other impact conditions in today's vehicle fleet environment.

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