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Why Can't You Wax In Direct Sunlight?


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Direct sunlight is your vehicle finish's worst enemy on a consistent year-over-year basis. Hot metal surfaces create too much instantaneous evaporation of the fluids in your chosen wax or polish, and those fluids are critical for allowing the bonding of the compounds in your wax or polish to your exterior paint surface with little to no scratching or marring.

So regardless of whether you are lax or anal about washing, polishing, and waxing your paint surfaces, always do it in deep shade and always allow the metal surfaces to cool down thoroughly if your vehicle has been sitting in the sun.

If you really want to maximize the preservation and "look" of your vehicle's finish with the minimum amount of effort, your best exterior color is always white. It fights sunlight and fading better than any other color due to its extremely high reflectivity, and it hides swirls and minor scratches better than any other color for the same reason. For the last 15 years, all of the vehicles that have resided in our garage have been white. As a result, the exterior maintenance that I have to do is quite minimal compared to the folks who own the dark side of the color spectrum. I have many other things I'd rather do with my time than wax cars and if you're the same way then white is your color of choice.

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Temperature conditions:

These are the temperatures and conditions that are relative to the application of car care products; the most important is the actual surface temperature of the vehicle. The other things that will have a direct bearing on this is the humidity as this will effect the cross-linking (cure) time, excess humidity will also affect ‘how’ a wax or sealant dries (i.e. it may cause hazing or clouding of the surface)

The other climate related condition that should be avoided when applying car care products is direct sunlight, as this will dramatically increase the surface temperature compared to ambient temperatures causing the product to dry prematurely and may render it ineffective.

Surface Temperature (Actual surface temperature of the vehicle) between 50 and 80oF, products will work well within a much broader temperature range, (40° to 90° F) but the best results will be achieved in the 60° to 70° F range surrounding air temp (ambient or room) must be 55oF + to ensure the minimum vehicle surface temperature of 50oF(recommended as a minimum by most manufacturers)

The products mentioned by SWO3ES will work at higher temp/sunlight up to a point...

Melting Point (Fracture/evaporation temperatures): Polymers 350oF, Silicone oil 350oF, Mineral oils 200oF, Synthetic blends (Carnauba wax / polymers) 200oF, Carnauba wax 180oF, and Bee’s wax 130oF, in actual practice the high temperatures frequently encountered by vehicles from the radiation causes wax compounds to melt, for example, a painted surfaces exposed to ambient temperatures of 85oF in direct sunlight, will obtain a temperature of 195 degrees or more. It should be noted that there is a range of temperatures at which melting begins and that the 'melting point' is the end point of that range

JonM

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