What temperature ranges are best for applying cleaners, polishes, and waxes
When we talk about surface temperatures, we need to consider three factors:
- Surface Temperature
- Ambient Temperature
- Relative Humidity
- Surface Temperature (Actual surface temperature of the vehicle)
The best surface temperature range for applying cleaners, polishes, and protectants is approximately 60 degrees to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. More importantly, the surface does not feel warm or hot to the touch.
Basically, when you're working within this temperature range, it's not too cold, and it's not too warm to realize exceptional results from just about any Meguiar's product.
Meguiar's products will work easily within a much broader temperature range, such as, 50 degrees to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, but guaranteed best results will be achieved in the 60 degrees to 80 degrees range.
Ambient Temperature (Outside temperature)
Ambient temperature is the room temperature or the temperature of the surrounding environment. It's easily possible to have between 10 to 50 degrees difference in ambient temperature compared to surface temperature. This can make the difference between a product that's easy to work with, or hard to work with. Keep in mind, the hotter the ambient temperature, the quicker products will dry.
Humidity (Moisture in the air)
Simply put, humidity is moisture in the air. Technically there is Relative Humidity and Absolute Humidity, but as it relates to:
The simple explanation of moisture in the air, or more specifically, the amount of moisture in the air is the major factor, which will affect how easily or potentially difficult a product will be to work with, or a procedure will be to perform.
- Working with
- Curing, drying, hazing
- Wipe-off or removal of car care products.
Low humidity, in warm to hot temperatures, will act to cause liquids to evaporate and dry more quickly. This can make a product difficult to work with or decrease the amount of time the product remains easily workable on the surface.
High humidity in cold temperatures can make products hard to work because it can dramatically increase the amount of time necessary for the product to cure, dry or haze (depending on which product you're using).
Low humidity in low temperatures tends not to be a factor in working with, cure times, and when applying and in the removal of cleaners, polishes, and protectants (Low temperatures are a factor, but not low humidity in low temperatures).
High humidity in high temperatures tends not to be a factor in working with, cure times, and when applying and in the removal of cleaners, polishes, and protectants (High temperatures are a factor, but not high humidity in high temperatures)
Extreme temperatures, both cold and hot will make any product more difficult to work with.
Direct sunlight will dramatically increase the surface temperature compared to ambient temperatures and make cleaners, polishes and protectants extremely more difficult to apply, work and remove.
Air current/air flow, or windy conditions will act to increase the evaporation speed and potentially making some products more difficult to apply, work, or remove. In some cases this can be a bonus, helping a wax to cure/dry more quickly.
The best conditions for using cleaners, polishes and protectants on automotive paints would be in a cool place, out of direct sunlight, in a surface temperature range between 60 degrees and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, with comfortable to low humidity, with a light breeze to create the perfect conditions for detailing your car's finish.
Common sense and a good rule-of-thumb is to avoid applying any product if the surface is too warm to touch with the palm of your hand comfortably.
50 degrees Fahrenheit = 10.0 degrees Celsius
90 degrees Fahrenheit = 32.2 degrees Celsius