Deciding on the colour of your new car can be great fun for some people and a nightmare for others! I won a car some years ago and had to pick what colour I wanted. So I called around some dealers and asked them what was the best car colour, in terms of what would be the easiest to sell. They recommended white, so that’s what I ordered, and it sold really quickly as an unwanted prize. But are there other things to consider, especially if you’re keeping the car?
Like me you’ve probably heard lots stories about green cars being difficult to see, black cars being much hotter, white cars are easiest to keep clean, red cars fade more, red cars get more speeding tickets and so on….
So what are the facts that you need to know when choosing the colour of your new car? Let’s look through some of the research.
Car Colour and Crashes
Did you know that Monash University’s Accident Research Centre published a report in 2007 linking car colour to crash risk? The study looked at data from crashes in Western Australia and Victoria and at different conditions including the light when the crash took place, the type of vehicle and how serious the crash was.
The study compared a whole range of colours with white and found that the colours that were at higher risk of being involved in a crash were:
They found that colour had a bigger impact on crash risk during the day. The risk of a crash during the day increased by 10% for these higher risk colours because they blend into the dark coloured roads, while at night the risk of a crash due to colour decreases.
White was, statistically, the safest colour.
Car Colour and Resale Value
If you want your car to hold its value over time then white, black, grey or silver are the best choices. You might love some of the fad colours but then find it difficult to sell the car in a few years time when it’s no longer so fashionable.
To give you an idea of how much we tend to stick with just a few colours, Autogenie conducted a survey of 9000 car sales in Australia in 2013 and found that white is our preferred car colour, with white, grey and silver making up 56% of the car sales. Compare that with purple, green, orange and yellow which altogether only made up 4% of car sales!
If you’re into fashion colours and not worried about resale then blue is trending at the moment, particularly in the paler shades and many manufacturers, including Porsche and Jeep, have come out with beautiful new shades of blue.
Or course red is still popular for those wanting to stand out. We’re all familiar with Ferrari’s ‘Rosso Corsa’ – the classic Ferrari colour.
And then of course we have a whole new world of ‘natural’ shades now – everything through the browns, earths, chocolates, coffees and any other term you can think of to describe a shade of brown!
So we’re pretty predictable when it comes to colour choices and that’s something to consider if you are looking to sell or trade in your new car in a few years. But what else could you consider?
Car Colour and Temperature
The Mythbusters looked into whether the exterior colour of a car made a difference to how hot it got inside during a summers day. They used two identical cars, one white and one black, and left them out in the summer heat with thermometers inside them.
In the middle of the afternoon they found that the black car had heated up to 57oC while the white car heated up to 52oC. So that’s 5 degrees different. Autotrader.com did a similar experiment and got similar results, and then they found that when the air conditioning was turned on in the car, the black car took longer to cool down. Not surprising since it was hotter inside than the white car when they turned the cooling on. But worth thinking about if you live in the hotter parts of Australia. While some people wouldn’t have a car in any colour other than black, they do get hotter and will cost more in cooling costs.
Car Colour and Fading
I heard from a fire fighter that their fire engines fade after 6 years even with regular waxing and we had a red car some years ago that started to fade. While modern paints and treatments are improving all the time they will still fade.
Red apparently absorbs UV light more readily than other colours and this explains why it tends to fade more quickly. There are lots of factors that are involved in the speed of fading such as the amount and intensity of light, air temperature, humidity, pollution, abrasive cleaners, the dyes and colourings used in the paint, etc. The most colourfast colours are white and silver.
The best way to reduce fading is to park in the shade or get a UV car cover if the car will be left for a long time in the sun. The recommendation is that you wash your car every 2 weeks to remove chemicals, and wax your car to build up an added layer of surface protection.
Car Colour and Cleaning
Black is generally agreed to be the hardest colour to keep clean. While it looks fantastic when it’s freshly cleaned and detailed, every bit of dust will show up from the moment you stop cleaning it. So unless you want to be a slave to cleaning it, or you know you can cope with the frustration of every fingermark and speck of dust showing up; or have lots of time and/or money for frequent cleaning, you probably want to find a different colour.
Many people say white is the easiest to keep clean. I agree that it’s much easier than the dark colours and it hides most of the everyday dirt and muck but it does show up road grime, especially across the back of the car.
The easiest colour when it comes to maintenance though? Something the colour of dust – and let’s face it in Australia this can vary from colours like champagne and taupe in the city to burnt orange in parts of the outback! So consider where you’re driving and how often you want to wash your car when deciding on your colour.
Car Colour and Speeding Fines
It’s difficult to find statistics on this one but the Accurate Auto Advice website states that statistics from the AAA Los Angeles library shows that statistically speaking, red cars are more likely to be involved in accidents and other traffic infringements than any other colour car! It also suggests that the Mercedes Benz SL Class Roadster is the most fined car. Of course this could just be because sports cars are fast, they’re often red, and fast cars tend to get tickets. Or perhaps it reflects the driving style and attitude of the driver? If you buy a fast car you like to go fast, and red is a popular colour for fast cars. So if you already have a lead foot maybe buy your sports car in a different colour!
Hopefully this information will help you in choosing the colour of your new car. Of course, if you have your heart set on a particular colour, like a friend of mine who recently bought a bright yellow Mini, then this probably won’t sway your choice! But at least you might be a little more aware of whether it is more likely to be involved in an accident, whether the resale may be affected and whether there are other measures you need to take to keep it looking fabulous.
Remember if you’re having trouble finding a particular colour in the car you want, our buying service may be just what you need. We can hunt around Australia and get what you want at the best price, and maybe sooner than others can. Just fill in our Enquiry Form to find out more.
What colour car do you drive? Was it your choice? Have you had an experience reselling different colour cars, or problems seeing different colour cars on the road?