A few weeks ago there was a cold snap in the United States that you may have heard of. It literally froze the entire state of Texas, although parts of the South Dakota plains have seen temperatures dip to -40 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s actually quite cold where the Celsius and Fahrenheit scales match up, so as you can imagine, now isn’t the best time to go out. But sometimes you come must paint this car.
Enter the crazy crew of Garage 54, where freezing temperatures are not a problem. They have a Lada – as they often do – and it is in dire need of exterior improvement. A paint job is in order, and doing it inside the workshop just won’t fly. The risk of overspray on the trash cans is too high, so with the sun shining outside, the spray job shifts outside. Granted, with an air temperature of -22 F (-30 C) it gets a little cold but hey, it will still work. Law?
Anyone with the most basic understanding of painting absolutely knows this. habit works, or at least it won’t work well. Colder temperatures slow down the drying process, but extreme cold simply freezes the paint. Even with water separators in use, there is inevitably a little moisture in the mixture and it shows quite dramatically when the first coat of paint is applied to the hood. At temperatures so cold that moisture instantly freezes, the result is an extremely rough coat of paint that actually has ridges of ice. And forget to let the paint dry. He froze long before that happened.
Surprisingly, the paint at least stayed fluid long enough to settle on the car. After sitting outside in subzero weather for four hours, the Lada was brought back inside, and as it warmed up, the full scope of the frozen effort was understood. The bumpy ice towers in the paint thawed and left craters, and the cold temperatures also trapped moisture in the paint, leading to misty spots. Still, the paint eventually stuck to the car, although it’s questionable whether this was a real improvement.
What is the moral of this story? Wait until it gets hot if you really want a nice paint job.