Black and white are among the most popular colors for a car. While both have their merits, each comes with its own set of challenges as well.

For example, if you live in cold parts of the country, a black car may be warmer in January. In the desert, a white car will be easier to cool.

white car vs black car infographic


Key takeaways

  • White cars are generally more visible than black cars at night but less visible in rain and fog.
  • White cars are easier to keep clean compared to black cars.
  • Black cars show scratches and scuffs more than white cars.
  • Black cars attract more heat compared to white cars.
  • Black cars stand out more compared to white cars.
  • Black cars show paint stains and watermarks easier than white cars.
  • White cars are less likely to be involved in an accident compared to black cars.

White Cars: Highly Visible, Tough to Keep Clean

Pros:
White cars are highly visible at night. If you plan to be driving a lot after dark, chances are good that you will be safer on the road after dark.

If you live in a snowy region, get in the habit of using your headlights when it rains so you’ll be sure to use them when it snows.

All cars are tough to see in rain, snow, and fog, but white vehicles are especially tough.

Your white car will look crisp and clean under regular paved road dust. A white car can also hide paint scuffs and even tolerate a few bird droppings.

In regions that regularly use salt on the roads to reduce the risk of ice build-up, your white car may look a bit dingy but will still appear white until the weather warms up and you can wash the vehicle.

If you live in a region that gets a lot of sun, a white car may be the best way to stay cool. All cars tend to turn into solar ovens when the windows are rolled up, but your white car will absorb the least amount of heat.

For those who live in the desert, a light interior will also help. Consider adding window guards so you can leave your windows cracked and keep out any rain that threatens to lower the temperature even further.

White vehicles hold their resale value well; because white is such a popular color, you can likely get a better payout for your white car than if it were another light color such as yellow or silver.

White cars also come in several different finishes. If you want a white car but need it to stand out a bit more than a traditional white gloss finish, a pearl finish may be more to your taste.

white BMW car parked on grass

Cons:
If you’re looking for a car that will stand out from the crowd, white may not be your best choice. White cars are popular, but they’re also common.

When you leave the grocery store looking for your white car, you may be searching for a while among the sea of other white cars.

While a white vehicle will hide salt and regular dust, those who travel on dirt roads may soon come to regret purchasing a white car.

If your soil contains a lot of iron or if you regularly have to manage the ruts of a gravel road, your car will always be dirty. Once it rains, your car will be spattered, runny, and dirty.

As your car ages, rust spots will show up quickly. While this does mean that you can address them more easily, your white car will show this sign of aging more quickly than a darker vehicle.

white Infinity car parked at dusk

Black Cars: Elegant and Sleek, Quickly Dusty

Pros:
Black cars have a subtlety that is hard to beat. There’s a reason that most limos are black; they have a tendency to show an unhurried elegance that a brighter color just can’t carry off.

If you like to drive a vehicle that will garner attention when parked, consider a black car with a bit of chrome. Your black car will serve as a foil for any and all shiny trim.

Like a tux or a good black dress, a black car will stand up and stand out but with a lot of class.

Black cars are slow to show rust. If you prefer to drive a classic or even like to do a little DIY, maintaining an older black car may be easier than something a bit lighter.

Addressing rust with some sanding and some black primer may be the simplest method until you can paint the whole car.

black Mercedes car parked on gravel at a factory

Cons:
When it’s clean and polished, there’s nothing like a black car for class and panache. However, it doesn’t take much dust to dull that polish. Road dirt, sand, and salt in the winter, bird droppings, and pollen will show up immediately.

If your car gets a scuff or a bump, it will also be quite visible. While dust is very visible, black cars are not; a black car is more likely to be in a wreck than any other color.

It can also be challenging to effectively wash a black vehicle. If you drive away from the carwash with a wet car, drops that dry on the surface will stand out on a black car but fade into insignificance on a white car.

freshly washed Ford Mustang in a parkade

You may need to pull off to the side and dry your car before you can get back on the road.

Black cars soak up the heat. If you live in a warm area of the country, such as the desert southwest, your car may be up to 20 degrees hotter after 3 to 4 hours.

Leaving the windows cracked can reduce this heat build-up, but it’s also important to consider how hot all the surfaces inside the car will be.

Yes, you can use air conditioning to lower the temp of the air in the car. However, the seats, steering wheel, and belts will all be hotter to the touch.

If you live in cold parts of the country, this can actually be to your benefit. Garage the car overnight to reduce discoloration from frost and leave it in the sun during the day so your commute home is comfortable.

For those who live outside of snow country, a black car may be very uncomfortable in the summer.

For those who truly want a car that will stand out, avoid either black or white. If those are your only two choices, carefully consider the hours that you will be driving and your safety concerns.

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