Best Car Colour – What You Need to Know Before Buying!

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?

Lime Green CarLike 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:

  • Black
  • Blue
  • Grey
  • Green
  • Red
  • Silver

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.

Are white cars the cleanest?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.

Natural colours now availableAnd 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. 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.

Black cars get hotter

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 Black cars look dirtiestwant 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!

In Summary

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?

6 Replies to “Best Car Colour – What You Need to Know Before Buying!

  1. Wow!

    Very interesting article indeed. Thank you.

    I have a black car (not because I wanted to buy black one but I bought it from the second-hand car market and this one was the best option at that moment.)

    Anyway, good to know that black attracts crashes the most. Have to more careful then. By the way, in Australia, do you use headlights in daytime? Because here, in the Northen Europe turned on headlights are a must. It is to reduce the number of such crashes, caused by darkness and dark car colors.

    And good to know that black sells well 🙂 Awesome!

    Thank you again.

    1. Hi Egon,

      It’s not compulsory to use headlights during the day in Australia. With our bright daylight (most of the time) I don’t believe it would make a difference. Really the only time you see cars with their headlights on during the day is when a line of cars are on the way to a funeral! I’ve driven in Norway (absolutely breathtaking scenery but the spiralling tunnels down through the mountains were really unnerving!) and found it surprising that cars all had their headlights on during the day but of course I was there in the summer. As the days get shorter, and darker, I can understand why having your headlights on would be compulsory.

      While black cars can be at greater risk of crashes generally, if you live where it snows at least they stand out quite well – so perhaps you have a good colour for your location, even if it wasn’t by choice!

      Thanks for your comment!


  2. I loved this article! I love cars–I know that’s a little strange for a woman to admit, but I do! I appreciated how you looked at various angles to make your determination on the best color. I do notice on new car lots that you see a lot of WHITE, so your statistics make sense. Very helpful information. I personally drive a blue car currently, but have had purple, white, silver, and green in the past.

    1. Hi Dana,

      I’d say you’re quite unusual to have had so many different coloured cars! Must be because you love cars. But then many people who love cars have a particular colour that they are passionate about as well. Let me know which colour you liked the best, or what you did or didn’t like about certain colours. Colour can be very emotional so I provide the information for all those that want to include an element of logic in their colour choice (or maybe it will just offer justification for an emotional choice!).

      Thanks for your comment!


  3. Thanks for such a great read. So many things to consider when choosing a colour. And most of them I’ve never even thought of, I just choose based on what I think looks nice at the time.

    We have a dark blue car at the moment, but only because the deep red was unavailable. Maybe that was a good thing if statistics are telling up red cars have more accidents or traffic infringements. 🙂

    I think it’s more the drivers than the colour of the car that causes accidents. Otherwise the government would restrict the production of certain colours in an attempt to reduce the road toll. What do you think?

    1. I think you’re right Andrew. While colours obviously can play a part in accidents, particularly during the day, I think accidents on the whole are caused by people. Either by drivers or by equipment failure, and the equipment failure can usually be traced back to a maintenance or servicing issue. Thankfully we have recalls when technical issues are identified in certain models, so that helps to reduce the part that equipment failure plays in accidents. Now we just need to take the drivers out of the equation – so I’m watching with great interest to see how driverless cars perform. So far the developments have them detecting red and blue as part of their identification of emergency vehicles. I haven’t seen any discussion of colour in terms of whether there is any advantage to making all driverless cars the same colour to assist in identification by drivers or by other driverless cars. Maybe once they have the technology sorted out we’ll see some tests on the best car colour for your driverless car!

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.



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