There was something of a cold snap in the US a few weeks back that you may have heard about. It literally froze the entire state of Texas, though some places in the South Dakota plains saw temperatures plunge all the way to -40 degrees Fahrenheit. That's actually cold enough where the Celsius and Fahrenheit scales match, so as you might imagine, it's not the best time to go outside. But sometimes, you just gotta get that car painted.
Enter the crazy crew from Garage 54, where frigid temperatures are no big deal. They have a Lada – as they often do – and it's in dire need of some exterior enhancement. A paint job is in order, and doing it inside the shop just won't fly. The risk of getting overspray on trash cans is too high, so with the sun shining brightly outside, the spray work moves outdoors. Granted, with an air temperature of -22 F (-30 C) it's a bit cold but hey, it'll still work. Right?
Anyone with the most basic understanding of paint knows this absolutely won't work, or at least, it won't work well. Colder temperatures slow the drying process, but extreme cold will simply freeze the paint. Even with water separators in use, there's inevitably some moisture in the mix and that's seen rather dramatically as the first coat of paint is applied to the hood. At such cold temperatures that moisture freezes instantly, resulting in an extremely rough coat of paint that actually has ice ridges. And forget about letting the paint dry. It froze long before that could happen.
Surprisingly, the paint at least stayed fluid long enough to actually lay down on the car. After sitting outside in sub-zero weather for four hours, the Lada was brought back inside and as it warmed up, the full scope of the frozen endeavor was understood. The bumpy ice towers in the paint thawed and left craters, and the cold temperatures also trapped moisture within the paint, leading to hazy spots. Still, the paint ultimately stuck to the car, though it's debatable whether it was an actual improvement.
What's the moral of this story? Wait until it's warm if you really want a nice paint job.