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What Is the Best Car Colour to Buy?

Discover the significance of car colours, from popular choices to how they influence safety and resale value, in the Savvy blog.
Published on November 27th, 2020
  Written by 
Adrian Edlington
Adrian Edlington is PR & Communications Manager at Savvy. With a keen interest in personal finance, car loans, the mortgage industry, cost of living pressures, electric vehicles and renewable technology, Adrian's research includes conducting primary data surveys and analysis of up-to-the-minute secondary Australian data sources. His work on behalf of Savvy has been featured on ABC.net.au The Conversation, the Sydney Morning Herald, AFR, News.com.au, The Age, Herald Sun, Adelaide Now, SBS On The Money, 7News, Car Expert, Which Car, Drive.com.au and more. In his spare time, Adrian enjoys mountain biking and business podcasts.
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   Reviewed by 
Bill Tsouvalas

Reviewer

Bill Tsouvalas
Bill Tsouvalas is the managing director and a key company spokesperson at Savvy. As a personal finance expert, he often shares his insights on a range of topics, being featured on leading news outlets including News Corp publications such as the Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun, Fairfax Media publications such as the Australian Financial Review, the Seven Network and more. Bill has over 15 years of experience working in the finance industry and founded Savvy in 2010 with a vision to provide affordable and accessible finance options to all Australians. He has built Savvy from a small asset finance brokerage into a financial comparison website which now attracts close to 2 million Aussies per year and was included in the BRW’s Fast 100 in 2015 as one of the fastest-growing companies in the country. He’s passionate about helping Australians make financially savvy decisions and reviews content across the brand to ensure its accuracy. You can follow Bill on LinkedIn.
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Choosing a car colour is a personal decision, but it's also one with practical implications. In a market flooded with options, making a choice can be hard. In this blog, we explore a variety of factors to help you make an informed decision when selecting the best car colour for your needs and preferences. 

What is the most popular car colour?

According to Axalta’s 2022 Global Automotive Color Popularity Report, white is the most common car colour globally, making up 34% of cars on the road. This supports data from a 2017 survey that found 30% of Australians drive a white car.

This trend shows little sign of abating. White cars again claimed the top spot in recent analysis of car sales statistics in NSW, with grey and blue cars also popular among drivers in the state. On the other end of the scale, the least popular car colours in New South Wales are chrome, tan and fawn.

What is the safest car colour?

White is not only the most popular car colour, but also one of the safest. A 2007 study by Monash University found a clear link between vehicle colour and crash risk, with lower visibility colours like black, blue and grey having higher risks. According to the report:

  • Black has 12% higher crash risk compared to white, followed by grey (11%), silver (10%), blue and red (both 7%).
  • During dawn or dusk, black, grey and silver have higher crash risks relative to white, with increases of 47%, 25% and 15% respectively.

Car colour may also have a knock-on effect on car insurance premiums, with “safer” colours potentially cheaper to insure.

However, colour is just one aspect impacting road safety. Many other factors contribute to your safety behind the wheel, including:

  • Driver behaviour
  • Road conditions
  • Vehicle condition
  • Weather conditions

Can I change the colour of my car?

In Australia, you can legally change the colour of your car. This can be done in two ways: you can paint it or use vinyl wrap. Most colours are acceptable, though keep in mind that highly reflective wraps are not permitted. As changing your car’s colour is deemed a minor modification, it does not require certification. However, you will generally need to register the change with your state or territory’s road authority.

NSW: Your vehicle’s details can be changed at a Service NSW Centre. Changes may need to be verified by an authorised examiner. Find out more here.

VIC: You have 14 days to notify VicRoads of the change. No inspection is required. Find out more here.

QLD: Car owners will need to complete a Change of Vehicle Particulars Notification form. Modifications may be inspected. Find out more here.

SA: In South Australia, drivers must complete and submit an MR7 Application to alter vehicle or trailer details to a Service SA centre. Find out more here.

WA: Approval is not required to change the colour of your vehicle but you must complete a Change of Vehicle Details form. Find out more here.

NT: Minor modifications may be carried out with no approval required. Find out more here.

TAS: You can change the colour of your car without requiring an inspection. Find out more here.

ACT: Changes must be notified to Access Canberra within 14 days. Find out more here.

Should I choose a specialist car colour?

If you want to stand out on the road, you might be considering premium paint options. But is getting an unusual car colour worth it? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons:

Pros:

  • Unique: a specialist car colour can help your vehicle stand out from the crowd, making it easier to spot in a sea of standard colours like black, white and silver.
  • Personalisation: choosing an unusual car colour allows you to express your personality and preferences, creating a vehicle that reflects your individual style.
  • Increased visibility: certain bright or contrasting colours might be more visible to other drivers, potentially enhancing safety on the road.

Cons:

  • Higher cost: metallic and especially “premium” paints can be significantly more expensive than standard colours.
  • Maintenance: certain specialist paints require special care and might not be repairable by all body shops.
  • Resale value: uncommon colours can take longer to sell or potentially fetch a lower price compared to neutral colours.

Can my car’s colour affect its resale value?

The colour of your car can impact its resale value when it comes time to sell it on. Conservative colours such as white, silver and black can result in a quick sale as they are in wide demand. However, according to research by iSeeCars.com, uncommon colours tend to hold their value better than more common colours. The study found that:

  • Yellow cars experience the least depreciation, losing just 13.5% of their value over three years.
  • Beige, orange and green cars all lose less than 20% of their value.
  • Silver, black, brown and gold cars depreciated the most, losing 23.2%, 23.9%, 24% and 25.9% of their value respectively.

This isn’t because yellow cars are more popular but because there are fewer yellow cars available – and demand for these cars outstrips supply. In contrast, common colours have a larger pool of used cars on the market, potentially leading to lower resale prices.

Which car colours are cooler?

The exterior colour of your vehicle can significantly impact its temperature when parked outdoors, especially in hot Australian summers. Darker colours tend to absorb more heat from the sunlight, leading to higher cabin temperatures. This, in turn, increases the workload on the air conditioning system, resulting in higher fuel consumption and emissions.

Meanwhile, vehicles in lighter colours like silver or white reflect a higher percentage of sunlight, preventing the car's exterior from absorbing as much heat. A study in California found that light-coloured cars can be up to 6°C cooler than dark ones when left in the sun. As well as making for more comfortable conditions, a cooler cabin also means less reliance on air conditioning, helping to reduce fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions.

Choosing the right colour for your car can be complex – beyond personal preference, it can impact various aspects of your driving experience and even affect the vehicle's resale value. However, with the facts in hand, you can make a decision to suit your circumstances. Ultimately, the most important factor is finding a colour that makes you happy behind the wheel!

Whatever colour you choose, if you’re in the market for a new car Savvy can help. With our car loan comparison service you can search offers from a range of top providers in Australia, helping you find a car loan that fits your needs and budget. Get started with Savvy today!

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