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Car Colours to Avoid: Making The Best Choice For Longevity, Style And Value

Selecting the appropriate colour for your car is more than a simple choice based on personal taste or visual appeal; it is intrinsically tied to factors like safety, upkeep, and future resale potential. What car colours to avoid and which to consider plays a pivotal role in determining how you feel about a certain vehicle, its attractiveness in the resale market, as well as its conspicuousness on the road, which can inadvertently influence accident likelihood.

As you mull over your next car acquisition, it becomes crucial to grasp the implications of vehicle colour choices. By doing so, you can align your decision with a blend of fashion-forwardness and astuteness, ensuring both aesthetic satisfaction and practical benefits.

Here are the 4 factors to consider, with best and worst colour options, as are discussed below:

Car Colour Impact On Safety

  • Visibility and Accident Rates
  • Psychological Impact
  • Best Car Colours for Safety
  • Worst Car Colours for Safety

Car Colour Impact On Resale Value

  • Classic vs. Trendy Colours
  • Market Demand
  • Best Car Colours for Resale Value
  • Worst Car Colours for Resale Value

Car Colour Impact On Maintenance And Appearance

  • Dirt and Scratches
  • Ageing and Fade
  • Best Car Colours for Maintenance and Appearance
  • Worst Car Colours for Maintenance and Appearance

Car Colour Impact On Thermal Comfort

  • Heat Absorption
  • Energy Consumption
  • Best Car Colours for Thermal Comfort
  • Worst Car Colours for Thermal Comfort

Car Colours Impact On Safety

1. Visibility and Accident Rates

Selecting the right car colour can be more impactful than a mere aesthetic choice, as it plays a role in vehicle visibility and, in turn, safety. Lighter colours, such as white, silver, and yellow, stand out more prominently in diverse lighting conditions as is the norm in the UK, potentially mitigating accident risks.

On the other hand, while dark colours like black or deep blue may appear sophisticated, they tend to meld with the surroundings during low-light conditions or adverse weather, posing challenges in detection on the road.

2. Psychological Impact

Car colours not only affect aesthetics but also elicit psychological responses among drivers and onlookers. The boldness of red, frequently linked with feelings of danger and exhilaration, can draw more eyes and attention compared to subtler shades like beige or grey.

The latter shades, often perceived as neutral, tend to seamlessly blend into the environment, going unnoticed in many scenarios.

Best Car Colours for Safety:

  1. White: This colour is the most visible during both day and night. Studies have shown that white cars are less likely to be involved in accidents compared to darker colours.
  2. Yellow: Like school buses and some taxis, yellow is often associated with caution and can be easily spotted in many lighting situations.
  3. Orange: A bright and noticeable colour that stands out both during the day and night.
  4. Red: It’s fairly visible in daylight, but less so at night. However, it’s still considered safer than many darker colours.
  5. Light Blue or Sky Blue: It’s more visible than its darker counterparts, especially during daylight.
  6. Gold: While not as common as other colours, gold can be quite reflective and visible under different conditions.

Worst Car Colours for Safety:

  1. Black: Tends to blend with the night and can be hard to see during evening hours or in poor light conditions. Research has indicated that black cars have a higher accident rate than cars of any other colour.
  2. Dark Blue: Like black, it’s harder to see in the dark or against dark backgrounds.
  3. Dark Green: This can blend with trees and other vegetation, making it less visible in certain scenarios.
  4. Grey or Silver: On cloudy days, during dusk or dawn, or in rain, these colours can blend with the road and surroundings, making them harder to see.
  5. Brown: Can blend in with many natural backgrounds, reducing visibility.

Remember, while colour can have an influence on a vehicle’s visibility, other factors such as the car’s lights, reflective surfaces, the driver’s behaviour, and environmental conditions play significant roles in overall safety. Always drive cautiously and be aware of your surroundings.


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Car Colours Impact On Resale Value

1. Classic vs. Trendy Colours

While a vibrant neon green might catch your eye in the present, its appeal might wane with time. On the other hand, timeless shades such as black, white, and silver have consistently shown resilience in terms of popularity.

These classic colours often fare better in retaining their value over the years in contrast to the more audacious, in-vogue colours that can quickly fall out of favour.

2. Market Demand

Car colours and their popularity can largely depend on regional and cultural inclinations, directly affecting their resale value. In certain areas of the UK, cooler shades such as blues and greens may be highly sought after.

Conversely, in warmer areas, the preference might lean more towards earthy tones, demonstrating the diverse and dynamic nature of market demand based on geographical distinctions: North, South, East, West, Coastal, Rural, City.

Best Car Colours for Resale Value:

  1. White: Traditionally, white has been a top-selling car colour and tends to retain its value due to its wide appeal and perception of cleanliness.
  2. Black: Seen as a luxury or professional colour, black cars, when well-maintained, can command higher resale values.
  3. Silver: A neutral colour that doesn’t show dirt or minor blemishes as easily, making it a favourite for many buyers.
  4. Grey: Similar to silver, it’s a neutral colour that’s widely accepted and easy to maintain.
  5. Blue: While it depends on the shade, certain blues, especially navy or deep blue, have broad appeal.

Worst Car Colours for Resale Value:

  1. Gold: While it may be a unique choice for some, gold cars often have lower resale values as they may be seen as dated or less universally appealing.
  2. Purple: As a less common and quite specific colour, purple cars can be harder to sell and might fetch a lower resale price.
  3. Bright or Uncommon Colours: Cars in colours like bright orange, green, pink, or other non-traditional shades can be hit-or-miss. While they may appeal to certain buyers, they can be off-putting to many, reducing the potential buyer pool.
  4. Brown or Beige: These colours can be perceived as dull or old-fashioned, which can lower demand and, consequently, resale value.
  5. Dark Green: Similar to brown, this colour is perceived by many as dated and can result in a lower resale value.

It’s important to note that car colour preferences can be influenced by regional preferences, cultural shifts, and even current fashion trends. What might be popular and valuable one year or part of the UK might change in the next. If resale value is a significant concern, potential car buyers should consider researching current local trends and future predictions.


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Car Colours Impact On Maintenance And Appearance

1. Dirt and Scratches

Light-hued vehicles, especially shades like white or silver, have an uncanny ability to mask dirt and minor blemishes more effectively than their darker counterparts.

Yet, a downside to these paler colours is that they often showcase stains more prominently, making them potentially more challenging to maintain in pristine condition.

2. Ageing and Fade

Darker vehicles, while often exuding sophistication, tend to display signs of ageing more rapidly. This is chiefly attributed to their pronounced susceptibility to the fading effect.

Lighter shades, especially the timeless white, demonstrate greater resistance to UV ray-induced damage, ensuring they retain their vibrancy and allure for extended periods.

Best Car Colours for Maintenance and Appearance:

  1. Silver: Known for hiding dirt and dust fairly well until it’s ‘very’ dirty. Minor scratches can also be less noticeable.
  2. Grey: Similar to silver, grey can disguise dirt and minor imperfections reasonably well.
  3. White: While it might show dirt more than silver or grey, white cars tend to hide light scratches or scuffs better. They also don’t show fade as noticeably.
  4. Dark Blue: Depending on the shade, darker blues often hide dirt better than lighter shades, although scratches can be more visible.
  5. Beige or Light Brown: These colours can camouflage dust and dirt relatively well until a thorough wash is needed.

Worst Car Colours for Maintenance and Appearance:

  1. Black: Shows dirt, dust, pollen, and especially swirl marks or scratches very easily. It’s also more susceptible to clear coat scratches and requires meticulous care to keep it looking its best.
  2. Bright Reds: Red cars can look stunning when clean, but they tend to show dirt relatively easily. Additionally, red paint is prone to oxidation and fading when exposed to the sun for extended periods. See our article on Protecting Your Car From The Sun
  3. Dark Green: Similar to black, dark green cars show dirt, scratches, and imperfections more readily than lighter shades.
  4. Bright and Uncommon Colours: Bright colours like orange, lime green, or yellow can be unforgiving, showing dirt, scratches, and imperfections easily. Plus, any paint repairs or touch-ups can be more noticeable if the colour match isn’t perfect.
  5. Metallic Finishes: While they can look beautiful and have a depth to them, metallic colours can be challenging to match if you need paint repairs, making discrepancies more noticeable.

Regardless of colour, the key to maintaining any vehicle’s appearance is regular washing, periodic detailing, and protection from the elements (like using a car cover or parking in a garage). Proper maintenance can ensure even the most custom colours stay looking great for longer.


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Car Colours Impact On Thermal Comfort

1. Heat Absorption

Darker shades, while often preferred for their elegance, come with the disadvantage of absorbing more of the sun’s heat. This can result in a noticeably warmer interior on sunny days, which might not always be comfortable for passengers.

In sharp contrast, vehicles painted in lighter colours effectively reflect the sun’s rays, promoting a cooler and more pleasant internal environment.

2. Energy Consumption

The colour of a car influences fuel efficiency, which plays a crucial role in reducing emissions and enhancing the vehicle’s performance through absorption, reflection and the need to use power to operate air-conditioning.

A fascinating recent study indicates that cars with cooler colours are approximately 2% more fuel-efficient than their darker counterparts. This difference is attributed to the principle of reflection and absorption: cooler coloured cars reflect nearly 60% of the sun’s rays, while darker shades manage a mere 5%.

Best Car Colours for Thermal Comfort:

  1. White: Reflects sunlight and doesn’t absorb heat as much as darker colours, making it the coolest option on hot days.
  2. Silver: Besides reflecting a good amount of sunlight, the metallic particles in many silver paints can help reflect more of the sun’s rays.
  3. Light Grey: Similar to white and silver, light grey reflects a considerable amount of sunlight.
  4. Beige or Light Tan: These colours also do a good job in reflecting sunlight and keeping a car cooler.
  5. Light Blue: It can be cooler than its darker counterparts, especially when it’s a non-metallic finish.

Worst Car Colours for Thermal Comfort:

  1. Black: Absorbs the most sunlight and heat, making it the hottest colour in direct sun. Black cars can become ovens in hot weather, especially if left in the sun.
  2. Dark Blue: While not as heat-absorbing as black, dark blue still attracts a considerable amount of heat.
  3. Dark Red: Similar to dark blue, deep reds absorb more heat than lighter shades.
  4. Dark Green: This colour will also absorb a lot of heat, especially in direct sunlight.
  5. Dark Brown: Like the other dark colours, dark brown cars can get significantly hotter than their lighter counterparts.

If thermal comfort is a concern for you, it’s also worth considering investing in quality window tinting, which can block out a significant portion of the sun’s UV rays and heat, regardless of the car’s paint colour. Using sunshades, parking in shaded areas, or garages can also help in maintaining a cooler interior.


Related Reading

Why You Need Sun Protection While Driving

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Car Colours: Making the Right Choice

Choosing a car colour goes beyond mere personal preference. It’s essential to weigh factors like safety, maintenance, long-term value, and energy consumption when making a decision. Given that a vehicle is a significant investment, avoiding the wrong car colour and choosing one that fits your lifestyle and needs will optimise its value and your overall driving experience.

Selecting a car colour isn’t just about aesthetics. It encompasses vital aspects of safety, economics, and upkeep. When shopping for a new car, approach the colour choice with research and thoughtfulness, ensuring that it benefits you in multiple ways, not just because ‘you like the colour’.