Auto Painting in the Winter

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Winter is downright unavoidable in Wisconsin. The usual 4-5 months of weather typically around or below freezing will make any car enthusiast shiver and causes far too many issues with painting your vehicles. While the obvious solution to such a problem is to have your car painted by an auto refinishing professional in a heated shop, not every owner is willing to go to such expense for something they know they could do at home with their own auto painting equipment.

Low-Temperature Auto Painting

Low temperature auto painting can produce excessively high film thickness which can lead to issues like solvent popping (tiny pinhole-sized bumps caused by solvent evaporation) and orange peeling (where the paint will resemble and feel like the skin of an orange). The only way to fix these automotive painting issues would be to remove your new auto paint and redo the whole car finishing project. There will also be issues with drying as car paint takes much, much longer to set in cold temperatures and is far more likely to drip and run.

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A Warm, Well Ventilated Garage Ideal for Auto Painting

The ideal temperature for auto painting falls between 60 and 76 degrees, a temperature range we only experience for a few months (or weeks) out of the year. The perfect solution to such a problem is an insulated, heated, well-lit, heavily ventilated and humidity controlled garage. Many auto enthusiasts with the time and money have heated floors in their garages since cold concrete slabs will sap the heat from the room.

We have to be sure to stress the importance of a well-ventilated garage or auto finishing shop. You can end up with tiny auto paint dust particles in your brand new paint and paint fumes are, of course, extremely dangerous and flammable. Wearing a dust mask or breathing mask is also never a bad idea. No one wants to pass out in their garage in the middle of winter from deadly automotive paint fumes.

How Condensation Affects Auto Painting

A very important aspect of winter car painting to remember is the presence of condensation. If you bring a cold vehicle in to a warm garage you’ll likely end up with a thin layer of condensation forming across the body of the car. The thin, almost unnoticeable layer of water will make for adhesion issues and auto paint flaws. This is just like the condensation which forms on the outside of a cold glass on a warm day.

The best way to avoid any issues with condensation is to allow the cold car to warm up in your garage for at least four or five hours, though allowing for more time certainly isn’t a bad idea. It’s equally important to make sure your auto paint, primers and surfaces are all stored at the right temperature and aren’t allowed to freeze. If car paints and automotive primers get cold the viscosity will increase and cause numerous issues with both painting and drying.

Removing De-Icing Salts Before Auto Painting

Making sure your vehicle is very clean is another important aspect to consider before painting. While de-icing salt is a great way to keep roads safe, it wreaks havoc on car paint and finishes (not to mention the underside). Salt residue is very difficult to see as it can leave an almost invisible layer and can cause paint defects. After cleaning the vehicle with a conventional silicone remover, be sure to use a water-based silicone remover. Salt will only dissolve in water, so these water-based cleaners will ensure no salt residue is left behind.

Finishing Your Cold Weather Auto Painting Project

Follow the steps we’ve listed above and your winter auto paint project should go smoothly. Remember; keep your garage warm, well-lit and ventilated to maximize the quality of your new auto paint and to ensure an even finish and quick dry. Also, after the car paint has dried, let your car slowly cool to room temperature and wait at least two days before returning it to the cold outside temperatures. Patience is the ultimate trick to ensuring a great auto paint job.

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Auto Paint and Supply has the automotive paint and products needed for your winter automotive painting project. With over 60 years of experience, Auto Paint and Supply can help with any issues you may have with auto painting in the winter months. Come in today to speak to one of our talented and trained auto paint professionals or contact us online to ask about our quality paint and painting booth products and to ask any questions you might have about painting your car in cold weather.

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