What Car Color Fades Fastest in the Sunlight? (2023)

What Car Color Fades Fastest in the Sunlight? (1)

If you walk down the aisles of a junkyard, you might notice that some cars look more faded than others. This might change how you shop for a car — you might want to choose a color that fades slower, so it looks better for longer. This begs the question: what car color fades the fastest in sunlight?

No car color fades faster than others. Technically, there’s no way to explain why one color would fade at a different rate than another. As humans, we notice when vibrant or dark colors fade sooner than light colors, but that doesn’t mean that they’re actually fading faster. It’s just easier to notice when a car stops being so bright or vibrant, like a red or black car.

In this guide, I’ll start off by explaining the science behind fading and how it’s connected to your car’s paint color. From there, I’ll answer your question and give you some helpful tips to prevent fading altogether.

Why Car Paint Fades

Before talking about specific colors, I should explain why car paint fades in the first place. There are a few major reasons.

Exposure to the Sun

One of the biggest causes of fading is exposure to UV rays from the sun. These are the same rays that lead to sunburn and cancer in humans. When your car is parked outside during the day, UV rays from the sun will beat on your car’s paint and cause it to fade.

What Car Color Fades Fastest in the Sunlight? (2)

Another problem with direct sunlight is the additional heat. Car paint does not like to be heated up, and the paint particles will start to break down with enough heat or enough exposure to higher temperatures.

This is why you’ll notice a car fades quicker in Arizona than it does in Maine.


Fading paint is actually a byproduct of oxidation. For reference, this is the technical term that refers to rust forming on your car.

When rust forms, your car’s paint will chip, bubble, fade, and flake off. In a lot of cases, it’s often too late to save your car from oxidation once you notice this.

Chemical Damage

If you use the wrong chemical cleaners on your vehicle, you can cause your paint to fade. I’ve had experiences in the past where I chose the inexpensive cleaning option, then I damaged my truck’s paint and couldn’t restore it.

Corrosive Materials

Finally, your paint might be dulling thanks to exposure to different corrosive materials. You might be surprised to learn that you run into a lot of these materials on a daily basis. Some examples are bird droppings, pollen, salt from the road, bug guts, and acid rain.

What Car Color Fades Fastest in the Sunlight? (3)

It might be obvious, but the reason it fades your paint is that the acid can break down your topcoat and attack the pigments in your paint. In simpler terms, it’s a chemical reaction that causes your paint to fade.

(Video) Car Color Test: Are Black Cars Really Hotter In The Sun? | Autotrader

The Relation Between Color and Fading

After understanding what causes fading, I should explain the relation between fading and the color of the paint pigment. After all, you’re here to learn which car color fades the fastest in the sunlight.

The question itself is a good hint towards what’s going on. Out of the fade-causing list I described earlier, sunlight is the only category that can be changed thanks to your paint color.

The color of your car is due to the pigments used in the base coat of paint on your car. On top of that coat, you’ll find a few layers that come together to make the topcoat — a protective barrier between your car’s colorful paint and the environment around you.

What Car Color Fades Fastest in the Sunlight? (4)

UV rays don’t care about your topcoat, since it’s transparent by design. Instead, the UV rays will go through the topcoat and start attacking the colored pigments of your car’s paint.

It dulls the paint by breaking down the pigments that give the paint its color. Scientifically, there is no pigment variation from one color to the next. In the modern era, creating color is a strictly chemical process and involves the same group of materials from one paint color to the next.

In ancient times, you would use a redberry if you wanted to get red paint, but today every paint comes from the same base materials. This idea is going to come in handy in one second.

Also, just to be clear — oxidation, chemical damage, and corrosive materials do not depend on paint color at all. These will have the same effect across the board.

What Car Color Fades Fastest in the Sunlight?

So, which car color will fade the fastest with the same exposure to sunlight? On paper, there is no winner — every paint will fade at the same rate.

Scientifically speaking, there isn’t any tangible proof to explain why one pigment would fade faster than another since they all use the same base chemistry.

The only differences between colors are their wavelength and what colors they absorb. Neither of these factors comes into play when you talk about sunlight or UV-related fading.

(Video) Why Do Colours Fade In The Sun?

However, I should point out the caveat here: just because a certain color of paint doesn’t fade faster than another, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t look like it’s fading faster.

If you have a white car and a red car, you’ll notice fading in the red car much sooner. It has to do with how we perceive color and the vibrance of red. The same is true for any of the bright colors you might see on a car: red, yellow, lime green.

What Car Color Fades Fastest in the Sunlight? (5)

On the flip side, you’ll also notice dark colors fading quicker, with black being the best example. The faded paint involves more whites and grays, so fading will stand out more in a dark landscape (namely, on a black car).

Due to this phenomenon, a lot of people will say that red paint fades faster. I’m here to assure you that there’s no scientific reason behind this. People will argue that since red has the lowest wavelength on the observable color spectrum, this has something to do with how quickly it fades. The color’s wavelength has no interaction with the fact that sunlight is breaking down the colored particles at a uniform rate.

When you’re painting a mural, does the red paint dry faster than the black? No.

No color fades the fastest, but when vibrant or bright colors fade, we’ll notice it sooner.

Ways to Prevent Fading Car Paint

The best way to deal with fading is to prevent it in the first place. Repairing faded paint is a very expensive and time-consuming undertaking. For older cars, it’s almost never worth the thousands of dollars you’ll need to spend for paint restoration. Here are some easy ways to prevent fading car paint.

Park in a Garage

The best advice I can give you is to park in a covered garage. This will keep your car away from the great outdoors for most of the day. Since your car won’t be exposed to sunlight, then you don’t have to worry about UV rays fading your paint.

What Car Color Fades Fastest in the Sunlight? (6)

Parking in a garage has a lot of benefits, and keeping your paint healthy is just one of them.

Get a Car Cover

If you don’t have access to a garage, the next best thing is a car cover. This is a canvas or fabric cover that stretches over your car and completely covers it. The material used will not let UV rays in, and it will protect your car’s paint.

(Video) How to Fix Faded Car Paint

What Car Color Fades Fastest in the Sunlight? (7)

Make sure you understand how to apply a car cover before using it. Incorrectly covering your car might lead to rust, but it’s easy to avoid by correctly putting on the cover.

Park in the Shade

Whenever you run errands or park at the office, you should look for a shady area to park. This is a bit of a catch-22 because parking under a tree exposes your car to more tree sap and pollen — both of which are corrosive and known to fade car paint.

What Car Color Fades Fastest in the Sunlight? (8)

However, shielding your car from sunlight and UV rays will prevent fading in your car. Sunlight will fade your car faster than pollen will, so I think it’s worth it. The best option is to park under a covered parking spot or near a tall building (whenever possible).

In the past, I’ve had coworkers who cover their car during the working day, so you can consider that as well.

Get a New Paint Job if it’s Too Faded

If you have a car that’s been parked outside for a decade, there’s a chance that the paint will be too faded for a simple DIY solution. The best option is to prevent fading in the first place. If you can’t prevent it, then you’ll have to get a new paint job if it’s too faded.

One of these paint jobs from a professional could cost thousands of dollars. Unfortunately, the only option is to use a professional. It requires stripping down topcoats, repainting cars, and reapplying the topcoat — a process that a DIYer can’t do well.

What Car Color Fades Fastest in the Sunlight? (9)

An alternative to painting your car is to get a wrap on it. This is a layer of film that covers your paint and topcoat. Instead, you’ll just see the wrap.

If a wrap fades, then you can just remove it and put on a new one. The pricing for a professional wrap is pretty close to a paint job, costing a few thousand dollars.


Now you know more about how paint color reacts to sunlight. As I mentioned in this guide, the color selection doesn’t change how quickly or slowly a paint fades. With that being said, you can happily pick any paint color you’d like for your next car.

If you have more car questions, explore the rest of my blog. I post content weekly, so keep checking in to see my newest guides. I also have a list of professional-grade Car products that can help you out a lot.

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What Car Color Fades Fastest in the Sunlight? ›

Regardless of UV intensity and if you're located in a warm climate like Arizona, some color paints are more susceptible to fading, with red paint usually losing its color the fastest.

What car color fades the fastest in sunlight? ›

Despite all the myths and legends, it turns out that your car's paint will fade no matter what color it is. You might see fading more apparently on darker, or more vibrant colored cars, but a white or light-colored car will fade just as much.

What color car is best to leave in the sun Why? ›

Lighter-colored cars stay somewhat cooler to drive in hot climates because they don't absorb as much sunlight. White cars are the coolest of all, while black cars are the warmest. If the added distraction of being in a hot car until it cools down matters to you, keep this in mind before you purchase your next car.

What paint colors fade most in the sun? ›

Yellow, orange, and red are the paint colors most susceptible to fading. This is just one reason why paint manufacturers make different types of paint (and colors!) for exterior use. The exterior paints are typically higher quality than interior and contain special chemicals to resist sunlight-induced fading.

What color car is best for the sun? ›

White, silver, and other light colors are coolest, reflecting about 60 percent of sunlight but there are dark "cool" colors that can also stay cooler than traditional dark colors.

What color fades least in sunlight? ›

More neutral colours like tan, beige, brown, and various shades of white fade the least over time. Compared to brighter pigments like red, blue, and yellow, these and other milder earth tones tend to degrade far more gradually in UV radiation and harsh weather.

Which car color does not fade in the sun? ›

This means white cars don't absorb as much energy from sunlight as cars painted in darker colours do, which by extension means the interior won't be as hot if the car spends a long time out in the open on a hot summer day.

What car color is easiest to keep clean? ›

While all colors on vehicles look stunning in their own way, it is a simple fact that some are easier to take care of than others. The colors white, silver, gray, and other light colors are typically the easiest colors to keep clean.

What car paint color lasts the longest? ›

White is the longest lasting colour among all car paint options. Or, if you choose to pick faster fading car paints such as red and blue, keep the vehicle shaded to protect it from dust, dirt and UV rays.

What's the safest color car to drive? ›

We've referenced the safest color car on the road. That color is white. White cars are 12 percent less likely to be involved in an accident than black cars at any time of the day under any conditions. This is because there is often a lot of contrast between white cars and its surroundings.

What exterior colors to avoid? ›

Exterior House Colors You Should Avoid Using at All Costs
  • Pink. Your house isn't Barbie's Dreamhouse; it's a home that demands a color that turns heads and gives the home a clean appearance. ...
  • Yellow. ...
  • Beige. ...
  • Cream. ...
  • Green.
Mar 29, 2022

Which exterior paint color lasts the longest? ›

let's take a look at some of the colors that last the longest on exteriors:
  • Beige.
  • Tan.
  • Light brown.
  • Light blues.
  • White.
  • Light green.
Aug 22, 2020

What color does not fade fast? ›

Different pigments are used in different concentrations so will persist longer. Black is likely to last the longest simply due to the concentration of dye (although it will stop looking "black" quite quickly). Yellow is normally the least dense.

Which color cars get hottest in the sun? ›

Black absorbs all visible parts of the spectrum, turning that light energy into heat. The more energy it absorbs, the more heat it emits. White and silver, however, behave in the opposite manner, reflecting all light thrown their way. The result here is less energy absorption and less heat emission.

What colors are best for cars in heat? ›

Heat Absorption

A car coated in a dark hue will have higher heat-absorbing tendencies. Studies have shown that darker colors absorb more heat than lighter ones. Dark-colored cars absorb more heat, making the car hotter. On the other hand, lighter colors reflect heat well.

What color car has the best visibility? ›

BEST Car Colors:

At night, white is the most visible, but the study also noted that a lime-yellow stands out better against cloudy skies and snowy backdrops than white does.

What fades faster blue or red? ›

Among these absorbed photons are those toward the blue – and higher-energy – end of the spectrum. Red materials are also good absorbers of photons of ultraviolet (UV) light, which have higher energies yet. The result is that the red-emitting chromophores degrade at a faster rate, triggering fading.

What doesn't fade in the sun? ›

If you are planning on placing items in a sunny location, consider natural fabrics like cotton, wool, and wool blends. Fabrics blended with acrylic, polyester, and nylon are also less likely to fade. Avoid selecting fabrics like linen and silk as they are prone to fading quickly.

What color is least visible in daylight? ›

In daylight, red is still the least visible, but may seem more visible than other colors because of contrast (red is not as common in nature as some other colors and may stand out better for this reason), most visible in daylight green or yellowish green.

What color car has the best resale value? ›

Yellow, Orange

While it may be among the least popular color choices, yellow is the vehicle color that holds its value best overall, depreciating 70 percent less than the average vehicle. You'll typically find it on sports cars and low volume vehicles that typically hold their value relatively well.

What color makes a car look expensive? ›

Eminent White Pearl

White cars have a natural sense of luxury and classiness that can't be denied. So, it's a great choice if you want to keep your car color simple but not dark.

What color car hides scratches best? ›

The best colour for hiding minor dents and scratches is white. The reason for this is because its bright colour helps minimize the appearance of scratches, especially when it's a bright day. While white is the best colour, you won't go wrong with other lighter colours, such as silver grey.

What is the second safest car color? ›

Studies have found that black vehicles are around 50% more likely to be involved in a collision. This is the opposite of the safest color, yellow, which is followed closely by white.

What are the hardest car colors to keep clean? ›

Black is the hardest car color to keep clean.

The reason black is often the hardest car color to keep clean is that it shows dirt, grime and stains more than other colors. It's popular in part because it looks good but also because it hides imperfections well. Black cars are a status symbol for many people.

What color is cheaper to paint a car? ›

Painting your car a basic color such as white or black will be cheaper than a less common color.

What is the best color for a luxury car? ›

Neutral colors like white, black, silver, and gray are consistently associated with luxury and elite social status. They are elegant and often considered “classy,” at least compared to “loud” car colors like yellow and red. When considering practicality, sliver and gray hues are much easier to keep clean.

What is the most stolen car color? ›

According to a study from CCC Information Services, silver cars are stolen more often than any other car color. This is most likely because it is such a neutral color and will be less likely to stand out and be seen in a crowd of vehicles. Generally, the more unique your car color is, the safer it will be from thieves.

What color car do deer hit most? ›

Some scientists also claim the color white is most visible to deer and can act as a repellent, while others say black is less easily seen, which could result in more crashes with dark-colored vehicles.

What color car gets into the least accidents? ›

The safest car colors

According to the study, white cars are 12 percent less likely to get into an accident than black cars are, regardless of the time of day. Cream, yellow, and beige cars also ranked closely behind white; yellow actually surpassed white as the safest color in some studies as well.

What is the most welcoming front door color? ›

Traditional Pairing

"The old-fashioned, welcoming color for a front door is red," says Bruce Holliday of Landscape Plans Plus. Red is a frequent choice for homes with a traditional look, fitting with brick, molding and columns painted white.

What color stands out the most? ›

Red is the color of power. It gets people's attention and holds it. It is the most popular color for marketing.

What color is bad for front door? ›

According to The Painting Company, there are three colors to avoid when deciding on a shade to paint the front door. Those colors are orange, brown, and pale green.

What is the longest lasting exterior? ›

What Is the Most Durable Type of Siding?
  • Engineered Wood. As the most durable siding on the market, engineered wood combines the aesthetics of real wood with engineered wood strand technology for superior durability. ...
  • Vinyl Siding. ...
  • Fiber Cement. ...
  • Traditional Wood. ...
  • Cedar Shake. ...
  • Aluminum.

What exterior paint lasts 25 years? ›

Ceramic paint can be up to 8 times thicker than regular latex paint and can last up to 25 years.

How fast does exterior paint fade? ›

How Long Does It Take For Paint To Fade? homeowners can expect their interior paint to fade in between five and ten years. They can expect fading of exterior paint to happen within five to seven years. Exterior paint fade faster due to the direct exposure to sunlight, and UV rays.

What colors are fastest to slowest? ›

Violet travels the slowest so it is on the bottom and red travels the fastest so is on the top. This is because what is called the index of refraction, (the ratio of the speed of light in a vacuum to the speed of light in a material), is increased for the slower moving waves (i.e. violet).

What vivid color fades the fastest? ›

It's not your imagination — red hair dye does fade faster than other hair color shades.

What makes color fade faster? ›

Shampooing Too Often After Coloring

Depending on whether your dye is temporary or permanent, your color may last anywhere from 6 to 30 washes. For those who wash their hair multiple times a day or week, this means your hair color may fade faster. The solution is simple – wash your hair less to save your color.

What color car goes fastest? ›

Looking at the data we have to admit that the cars with most powerful engines are not red at all but rather black, grey or white.

Why are most cars black or white? ›

So why are most vehicles these colors? There are a number of factors at play including the fact that white, black, grey and silver 'go with everything,' and are available on virtually every vehicle. The colors also don't go out of style, unlike some wild choices which might hurt resale values down the road.

What is the best color to resist heat? ›

After white, the colours that keep the body cool are none other than yellow, gray, and – surprise – red, still considered in the collective imagination as a 'warm' colour. Purple is in the middle of the ranking, so it can be worn during hot weather if it is your favourite colour.

What color rejects heat? ›

If you consider it a color, black absorbs the most heat. A black object absorbs all wavelengths of light and reflects none. Objects that are white, on the other hand,reflect all wavelengths of light and therefore absorb the least heat.

What colors are most heat resistant? ›

The most commonly used heat resistant paint colours include black and silver (also referred to as aluminium). Some heat resistant coatings we stock are also available in white, grey, red oxide and orange.

What is the number 1 car color? ›

America's Most Popular Car Colors (according to iSeeCars.Com) Grayscale colors (white, black, gray, and silver) represent a total of 78.5% of all vehicles on the road in the United States. White sits atop the list as the most popular choice.

What paint color lasts the longest on cars? ›

White is the longest lasting colour among all car paint options. Or, if you choose to pick faster fading car paints such as red and blue, keep the vehicle shaded to protect it from dust, dirt and UV rays.

Which car color is toughest to maintain? ›

Black and red are—by far—the hardest colors to care for. They need to be cleaned, waxed, and buffed often due to how easily they show everything.

Which color car is the easiest to keep clean? ›

While all colors on vehicles look stunning in their own way, it is a simple fact that some are easier to take care of than others. The colors white, silver, gray, and other light colors are typically the easiest colors to keep clean.

What car colors absorb the least heat? ›

Black absorbs all visible parts of the spectrum, turning that light energy into heat. The more energy it absorbs, the more heat it emits. White and silver, however, behave in the opposite manner, reflecting all light thrown their way. The result here is less energy absorption and less heat emission.

What color car ages best? ›

Cars painted white also reflect heat effectively, keeping them cooler for longer. Compared to other car colors, white cars generally appear newer for a more extended period of time.

What color car holds the most value? ›

According to the iSeeCars report, yellow is the most valuable colors among convertibles and SUVs, while orange does it for coupes, beige is best for pickup trucks, and purple, being among the rarest of colors in any segment, boosts the value of sedans the most.

What color cars are harder to sell? ›

A smaller supply of bold-colored paint jobs helps create a greater demand and less depreciation. A few relatively new, unusual-colored cars are available on the used market. A spokesperson from BASF tells us that purple, yellow, gold, and orange are the colors dealers are least likely to keep in stock.

What colors to avoid for cars? ›

If you're primary concern is minimizing the risk of a car accident based on color, then you should avoid the following car colors:
  • Black,
  • Grey,
  • Blue,
  • Red, and.
  • Green.

What color car sells the least? ›

What are the least popular car colors? Alternatively, while Americans love neutral, naturally elegant cars, they're immediately turned off by more gaudy and exciting colors. According to car color statistics, the least popular car colors include gold, yellow, and purple.

What color is best to avoid heat? ›

White, yellow, gray, and red

It is commonly said that white is the most appropriate colour for summer temperatures because it keeps the body cool, unlike black which tends to absorb heat.

What color is best not to get hot? ›

1. Wear White. A white object is white because it reflects white light, and white light is a combination of all the visible colors. This means that a white shirt (or pants) will reflect most of the light and not get hot.


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