Why The WORST Car Color Is Actually The BEST

Car and Driver

Black looks absolutely phenomenal! But the most loved automobile color ever… is also a total pain in the ass! And since we’ve all at least thought about buying a black car, and I’ll admit, I’ve made the mistake of owning a few, I think it’s time that I set the record straight!

Black is definitely the worst car color, and about 10% of the time, it’s actually the best! I’m going to go through all the reasons why we all can’t stand owning black cars. And why, even after all that misery,  we just say YOLO and put up with it! 

You Can’t Keep Black Cars Clean

dirty black car

Black car paint is beautiful, but get ready, because it is the absolute worst to keep looking clean. The minute you’re done scrub-a-dub-dubbing her up, it’ll start attracting that thin layer of dust, dirt, dog hair, mud, and water spots… Anything and everything sticks to black paint like glue. Black is seriously the worst car color to keep clean

I would say that about 10% of the time you own your black car, it’s going to look great! But the rest of the time, you’re going to be in your driveway with a hose and a sponge. And RIP if you live in an area with hard water, or a lot of rain, or you have animals that live in the neighborhood and love to sit on your car. You’re pretty much f***ed.

Going on a cruise on a nice summer day? Don’t rest your arm on your window sill. All the oils from your skin will stay there as a permanent reminder that you need to be medically sanitized before you lay a finger on black paint.

dirt on black car
Premere Auto Detail

I’ve been tempted to dry wipe my black car before, you know, just use a microfiber towel and wipe it off. I mean, I washed my car a day earlier and there’s only a barely visible  thin layer of light dust on it, what could it hurt? Well, it hurts a ton!  If you’re not using some sort of liquid lubricant to protect the paint, that dust will act like sandpaper and completely destroy your car’s resale value!  

Take it from me, keeping a black car clean is a constant struggle. It’s like having a kid, because for the life of the car, you’ll be cleaning and taking care of it every weekend. So, be ready for that responsibility if you want to drive a deep, black, beautiful sportscar.

Black Cars Are Terrible For Rock Chips And Scratches

scratches on black car paint

Anyone who’s ever owned a black car has seen the stars, millions of little white spots dotting the empty black sky of their paint job. Black cars are infinitely more prone to rock chips and scratches than any other color, and when it happens, they are glaringly obvious! Every time you walk up to your car, you’ll notice all the new constellations forming in your paint, day by day your front splitter looking more and more like it has a 5 o’clock shadow of missing paint.

And you know what’s under black paint, and it definitely isn’t black! We’ve invented a car that drives itself. Why can’t we create a black undercoat for paint that doesn’t show these damn spots? And what I’ve found is the touch-up paint is never a perfect match. Black should be the easiest, and yet, it’s the hardest to get right! 

black car at a car wash
Valley Car Wash

Too lazy to keep up with the constant maintenance? Get ready for a life of stone chips, micro-abrasions, swirls, you name it. No other car color has to deal with these to this extent! And you can forget about taking it to a quick and easy drive-through car wash. Black car owners know that automatic car washes are good for one thing and one thing only… destroying your paint!

Okay, you’ve been good, you’ve washed and waxed your ride for hours and it’s looking sweet. Hope you have a hermetically sealed vault to park it in, otherwise you’re looking at repeating that wash routine in about fifteen minutes! I mean, I guess you could just let it get dirty, and ruin the paint, and lose thousands in resale value of the car. The choice is yours! I’d say it’s better to just get a different color car.

Black Cars Get Super Hot

infrared reading on a black car

A clean black paint job looks fire! But that’s not the fiery hot we’re talking about! Black is the absorption of all colors, so it actually isn’t a “color” at all! And color comes from light, light comes from the sun, so black paint is actually just a giant sunlight sponge, absorbing UV rays and heating up your car’s exterior and interior like an Easy Bake Oven. You probably learned all that in 2nd grade science class though. So, why are people still getting black cars? On a summer day, hopping into a black-on-black sports car is like stepping into a sauna

sun damage on a black honda
Motoring Essentials Guide

People who own black cars become parking scientists, they will park two miles from the store if it means they can leave their car under a shady tree. They know the position of the sun and calculate the way shadows move so they can get into their car without third degree burns. My black-on-black E36 M3 with leather interior would literally be impossible to sit in during the summer! And I live in Seattle!

Oh, not to mention that black paint speeds up the process of oxidation, which causes the paint to fade. So, if you’re looking at used black cars for sale, you’re going to see a lot of dull, chalky, flakey looking paint jobs out there.

Black Cars Are A Safety Hazard

wrecked black car next to the highway
Legal Reader

You are automatically a bigger safety risk on the road by driving a black car. And for once, it’s not you as the driver that’s at fault! See, black cars stand out the least against the background of the road. Yup! You are 12% more likely to be involved in an accident during daylight hours, and an astronomical 47% more likely when it’s dark out! 

I mean, it makes sense, black is a sneaky color. And that’s why good guys and bad guys alike love a black paint job, like the stealthy F-117 Nighthawk, or the Batmobile and Knight Rider, which all share the same hue. But if you’re not fighting crime in the middle of the night, that hard-to-spot paint job will probably get you in more trouble than it’s worth! 

black car smashed into a tree
San Francisco Chronicle

So why is black not only the worst color but also the best? Because for that 10% of the time when it’s clean, there’s nothing better. Black is an absolutely timeless color, and not just for cars, like black tie affairs and cocktail dresses. It’s pure business, it’s elegant, it’s for the person that wants to come across as strong, oozing confidence, and yet still slightly mysterious. For that few hours after a good detailing, owning a black car feels like heaven. As for the rest of the time, with all the rock chips, swirl marks and headaches it’ll bring you, you’ll be wondering if you made a mistake. But isn’t that how it is with just about every love-hate relationship? When things are good, they’re extraordinary. And when they’re bad, well… let’s just say my current car isn’t black.