White vs Black Car – Which Color Should You Choose?

Should you pick a white or black car? Which has more advantages? Let's help you decide which is best for you based on price, value, and more.

Standard colors are the most popular automotive paints. White, black, gray, and silver dominate the market. General data shows that white is currently making a resurgence, being the most popular right now.

You can see this for yourself any time you go out for a drive.

The topic of whether white or black cars are better is hotly discussed… among owners of white or black cars.

In reality, there isn’t too much difference. The deciding factor should be whichever you like the look of more.

With that said, there are still a few things you might like to know. None should necessarily sway your thinking in either direction. Still, they might be helpful as deciding factors if you can’t decide on a color.

In this guide, we will explain why you might choose one over the other. Let’s get started with the price.

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White vs. Black Car: Price

Ford F150

Answer: In general, white and black cars cost approximately the same. Supply and demand balance everything out.

The price of any car – well, anything – is set by supply and demand. It’s only worth what someone’s willing to pay.

If you’re buying a new car, most manufacturers offer standard blacks and whites for the same price. They’re often part of the base package, with no need to pay extra.

The jury’s still out on whether black or white paint is more expensive.

A white car needs several layers of paint to maintain its brilliance. The greater materials cost might mean it’s more expensive.

However, minor mistakes when applying black paint are more visible. As a result, it takes more care and painstaking effort, increasing the labor cost. This means black aftermarket re-sprays are often more expensive.

White vs. Black Car: Value

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Answer: You’ll find plenty of white and black cars wherever you go. The difference in value is negligible.

Is a white car worth more than a black car? Or vice versa?

As mentioned previously, a vehicle’s price is set by supply and demand. All cars deteriorate in value (depreciate). Unfortunately, that’s just the price of owning one.

In the past, black-colored cars were more popular. A few possible reasons exist for this. They appear larger and more aggressive, highlighting curves and accents.

Nowadays, white cars are becoming more popular. This is perhaps driven by minimalism and the fashion sense of sleek calmness. Smartphones (and other technology) and modern architecture reflect these styles.

As such, a second-hand white car might be worth ever so slightly more (at the time of writing). There are more impactful factors on a car’s value, however, such as condition, mileage, and vehicle history.

White Car vs. Black Car: How Dirty Does It Get?

White car cornering in mountain road with speed blur

Answer: If you’re looking for a vehicle that stays looking clean for a longer time, get a white car. Go for black if you want one that doesn’t show dirt so badly.

Ah. This is an age-old and still hotly-debated topic.

At face value, how dirty a car gets depends on how much dirt gets on it, and that’s the end of the matter.

The real question is, which paint color shows dirt more?

Your instinct might say that white cars will show dirt more clearly. After all, they’re white!

Actually, that isn’t usually true.

Black cars tend to show dirt and scratches faster than white ones. The brilliance of the black paint quickly fades, making it evident that it’s covered with dirt, dust, pollen, sap, etc.

White cars don’t show dirt so easily, despite what you might think. This is because white itself is already bright. It takes a lot of particulate matter before that natural luminosity dims.

Once white cars become exceedingly dirty (like being covered in mud), they’ll appear very unclean. But you’d still be surprised when putting one next to a black vehicle!

On the other side of the coin, smudges and water droplets show up more on a white car next to all the bright, clean areas! It’s important to wash one carefully because of this.

Put another way, cleaning black cars is easier, but you need to do it more often. There’s less need to clean a white vehicle as often, but it’ll be more difficult to wash all the dirt perfectly away.

White Car vs. Black Car: Temperature Difference

Answer: Black cars tend to warm up faster and reach higher interior temperatures. White cars will stay cooler. The right choice for you depends on your climate, but, in the end, you could simply cover your windshield. That’ll do the job just as well.

Hot Climates

Hot Weather Woman Inside Car

The exterior paint color dramatically affects the cabin temperature if you live in a hot part of the world.

White – in any application – reflects the sun’s radiation. Black absorbs it.

They’ll both still get hot, but the black paint will be much warmer.

This heat transfers through into the car’s interior, the cabin.

Although it depends on several factors, studies suggest black cars can get around 15 degrees hotter than white models.

That’s a lot hotter and a lot more uncomfortable.

Cold Climates

Car in winter in nature outside the city. Snow picture. Snow on the road. Winter road. The white trees. Black car. The car on the road.

But what if you live in a cold climate? Here, the color black generally outperforms white.

Black cars warm up faster because the color ‘absorbs’ more light. They’re also more visible in the snow.

That said, you can make a big difference to your car’s temperature by selecting an appropriate interior. Light-colored seats and dashboards will be cooler; dark ones will get warmer.

Covering your windshield with a foil reflector helps keep it cool and warm. There are always ways around these things!

Which Color Car Is Best?

In the end, white and black cars are both excellent. The color makes very little difference except in terms of temperature and cleanliness appearances.

Consider a black car if you live in a permanently cold part of the world. For example, on mountains or in Scandinavia, Russia, Greenland, Iceland, Kazakhstan, or the northern part of North America.

White cars are more appropriate if you live in warmer climates nearer the equator.

The dirt appearance factor is also somewhat insignificant. However, as a deciding factor, choose a black car if you’re happy to clean it regularly. Go for a white one if you don’t enjoy that kind of thing or pay others to do it for you.

Whatever the color of your car, choose one that suits your needs, and remember to look after it. Regular servicing, checking your tires and oil often, and, yes, washing it – they’re all vital.

Take care of your vehicle, and it’ll take care of you.

WhiteBlack
ClimateUsually hotUsually cold
Dirt retention appearanceAppears cleaner but requires a more thorough washAppears dirtier but doesn’t need to be washed so thoroughly
Value/depreciationNegligible differenceNegligible difference
Purchase costNegligible differenceNegligible difference

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Benjamin Kitchen

Ben is an automotive author from England. With experience in a fast-fit garage, he's an IMI-qualified light vehicle technician. He aims to help drivers worldwide with common automotive problems. You’ll often find him working with his 1.2 Vauxhall Corsa – it may have a tiny engine, but in eight years it's never once let him down!