Choosing a Car Paint Color You'll Love

Coloured vintage cars

If car color is one of the most important factors in your vehicle purchase, you're not alone. Roughly one-third of car buyers would walk away from a deal if their preferred car color wasn't available. Learn how to pick the hue you'll love for the long-haul with your next ride.

Choose a Color That's Uniquely You

If you fall in love with a color, take some time and see if you can see yourself living with that color for years. If you can't get it out of your mind, it might be the color for you. "Cars are always an emotional purchase," says Senior Consumer Advice Editor Ronald Montoya from Edmunds.com. He further explains choosing a car color is part of what makes car buying fun because it's an outward expression of your personality.

Select Based on Political Affiliation

Personal interests like political affiliation influences colors as experts agree red cars are more popular in Republican states while blue cars are more popular in Democratic states. So if you have a powerful political affiliation, this may be a good way to choose.

Consider Comfort

You may also wish to choose based on the climate where you live. Lighter colored cars like white and silver may stay a little cooler in hot temperatures, so it's better in warmer climates. Black is most popular in colder climates because it will stay warmer and stand out better against snow.

Be Trendy

Some car color trends transcend time while others are directly tied to the values of a generation. Montoya suggests, "If you have your heart set on a color, don't be afraid to ask a dealership to order it." Just make sure it's refundable in case you change your mind.

Choose Popular Neutrals

Popular neutrals

The most popular car colors around the world are white, black, gray, and silver. While these tones may trade spots in the top list from year to year, they have consistently been favorites.

Pick Bold Colors

If you're interested in a trendy new color, don't wait to buy it. Montoya shares, "New colors are typically available for the short-term." If you see a color you love, it might not be available next year. The biggest color trend right now is the rapid rise in popularity of shades of blue. Other new color trends include:

  • High definition colors that mimic those seen on screens in every home
  • Natural colors showing the impact of environmental awareness
  • Dark, dramatic colors to represent strength in a time of political uncertainty

Err on the Side of Caution

Few studies have been conducted to determine how car color may impact motor vehicle accidents. While there is some evidence suggesting color can play a role in accidents, it is usually a very small role.

Minimize Automobile Accidents

White, yellow, and orange are the most visible cars in a variety of driving conditions and are the colors used for most safety gear, so it's no surprise they're considered among the safest. Red, black, and gray are the least visible, especially at night, which makes them more likely to be involved in passive car accidents.

Lessen the Likelihood of Traffic Stops

Sporty cars in white, silver, and red, in that order, get pulled over the most of any vehicles. While it might seem like there's a bias there, keep in mind white and silver are the most common car colors.

Protect from Automobile Theft

Cars in less popular colors are less likely to be stolen because they'll be harder to hide and resell. Hues like red, orange, brown, green, and yellow are less likely to be stolen than neutrals.

Consider the Costs

Car color can impact the initial price, maintenance costs, and resale value of a car because all are driven by demand.

Think About Maintenance and Repair

Black and white cars show scrapes and scratches more than other color cars, so they can cost more to maintain. Special finishes can also cost more to maintain and repair because the unique paints require more coats.

Keep the New Car Price Tag in Mind

Car with Matte Finish

In terms of color and finish, there are certain cars that cost more upfront. The extra price can range from $500 to $2,000 or more depending on the manufacturer.

  • Red and browns
  • Matte finish
  • Metallic or pearlescent finish

Maximize Resale Value

Montoya says, "If you're worried about the long-term, go neutral." Neutral colors like silver, white, black, and gray are the safest bet when it comes to a higher resale value because they appeal to a wider range of buyers. An unpopular or uncommon color like bright yellow or purple can actually depreciate the value of your car.

Shopping Tricks for Choosing Colors

If you want to see a variety of colors on your favorite make and model:

  • Use a website like Edmunds.com where you sort your search by color.
  • Type the name of a manufacturer's specific color with the make and model into a search engine to see pictures real buyers have taken of their cars.
  • Browse dealer lots before talking with a salesperson, but says Montoya, "Try to look at cars during the daytime because the color can look different at night."

The Right Choice for You

Your car choices in terms of make, model, and color are as unique as you. Evaluate what's most important to you, then pick a tone that best fits those values. When you love your car, it shows in the way you care for it.

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Choosing a Car Paint Color You'll Love