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Light vs Dark Colored Cars and Coolness
Old 06-27-2013, 08:31 PM   #1
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Light vs Dark Colored Cars and Coolness

Are light colored cars really cooler than dark colored ones?

I'm talking about temperature coolness and not style

I've only owned dark ones (a dark blue one in past, and now a dark green one).

Hoping those would personal experience can shed some insight. Thx.
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Old 06-27-2013, 09:00 PM   #2
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I have owned both. And, I am not sure dark cars get hotter; but, it seems that they do get hot faster. This has been most noticeable for me, at least in my mind, on hot summer mid afternoon shopping trips: Dark interior with dark paint seems to get unbearable faster.

You asked for personal experience; so, there you have it. Just remember that you are getting the results of my flawed memory combined with my perception.
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Old 06-27-2013, 09:55 PM   #3
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Based on an experiment with two (2) cars (one light, one dark) it appears that the light car stayed cooler.

Silver and white cars are cooler, says study

However, I would like to see a greater N.
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Old 06-27-2013, 11:38 PM   #4
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For me, even in my darkered colored cars, as long as I use a reflective sun shade and crack the windows, when I step inside, the car is bearable. Without one, inside is like an oven.

I never really thought much about color of a car in this way before, so it interesting.
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Old 06-28-2013, 12:05 AM   #5
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Big difference. There is a reason that the pickup color of TX is white!

Years ago I conducted a simple test in a dealer's lot. A row of pickups, same model, all parked the same way baking in a late-spring sun. I put my hand on each hood in the same spot on each.
White - Warm, but could keep my hand on it forever if need be.
Beige - Pretty warm, after some seconds was starting to feel pretty hot, had to pull off.
Dark Red - Hot immediately, could not hold my hand on it for more than a couple seconds
Black - I could feel the heat before I touched it. Wow! I touched it real quick - psssst! Smell bacon?

Reinforced my color choice! My darker truck that I bought used is always hotter inside than my white one. Both have tinted glass, with front seat windows tinted darker aftermarket to the state limit to further reduce interior heat gain. The white one is always cooler. Have seen the same thing in cars.
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Old 06-28-2013, 06:10 AM   #6
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Being forced to drive a black company vehicle after years of white and silver I can safely say the black is much hotter. Also a real pain in the neck to keep clean.
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Old 06-28-2013, 06:44 AM   #7
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Yes, lighter car, lighter interior, tinted windows, sun shield, and a rain guard so you can crack windows all make a car less hot. I think the sun shield makes the biggest difference.
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Old 06-28-2013, 07:29 AM   #8
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Agree 100% that interior color also makes a big difference. My 2 vehicles' interiors are black & light beige. The light interior is always cooler when left in summer sun. The black will burn your thighs if wearing shorts
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Old 06-28-2013, 08:00 AM   #9
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Way back in the late 70's, there were six of us at mega corp that drove Cadillac's. We could drive them for a year and sell the cars for what we paid for them. One the six had a friend in Texas that had five friends that bought those cars every year. They wanted those cars loaded but no dark colors especially black. Hence, they were always white, silver, light blue, beige. Once I even had a yellow Caddy. Way back then, everyone in Texas knew they didn't want black cars.
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Old 06-28-2013, 02:37 PM   #10
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I've owned 2 black cars with black interiors, 2 white cars & 1 white truck with lighter color interiors, and multiple cars & trucks in-between with various color combos. My strong opinion is that black & darker colored vehicles do seem hotter. I will concede though that it might be as mentioned previously, that the darker onces just heat up faster. All I know is that after many years of many vehicles, I don't buy black ones anymore primarily for this (perceived) reason.
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Old 06-28-2013, 02:54 PM   #11
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White reflects, black absorbs.........
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Old 06-28-2013, 03:13 PM   #12
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What everyone else said.

Cheers!
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Old 06-28-2013, 03:18 PM   #13
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^ That.

When I was in Florida 20 years ago I was surprised at the very high percentage of white cars vs up here. I could only figure that the color was in response to the heat there. Many here confirm that.
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Old 06-28-2013, 03:21 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by veremchuka View Post
When I was in Florida 20 years ago I was surprised at the very high percentage of white cars vs up here. I could only figure that the color was in response to the heat there. Many here confirm that.
The vast majority of the many thousands of pickup trucks owned by oil companies in TX are white - and it isn't because white paint is less costly or stays cleaner...
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Old 06-28-2013, 03:35 PM   #15
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White reflects, black absorbs.........
Right. It's hard for me to believe anyone is actually questioning this.

Now, the magnitude of this - that's a little harder to say, and is easiest to do by measuring. That study linked appeared to only have the outside color different between the two, not the interior. I would expect the interior to have a significant effect, as you have a greenhouse effect with the windows closed. That extra heat will be trapped inside.

It was interesting that they estimated this to be a 2% gain in mpg. That's probably a bigger reduction in gasoline consumption than all the EVs that will be on the road in the next few years (I just couldn't let that one go by ).


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... My strong opinion is that black & darker colored vehicles do seem hotter. I will concede though that it might be as mentioned previously, that the darker ones just heat up faster. ...
It doesn't work that way. The black colors will heat up faster, and also stabilize at a higher temperature. You can't have one w/o the other, under a steady-state condition. They are tied together. More energy absorbed will do both.

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Old 06-28-2013, 04:06 PM   #16
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Most of the vehicles in Saudi, (when I was there), were white.
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Old 06-28-2013, 05:25 PM   #17
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I just saw a cute segment on the weather channel where they put all sorts of different colored crayons out in the sun on a hot day from light to dark pigments on a white sheet of paper. Only the darker colors melted and dripped down the paper.
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Old 06-28-2013, 07:39 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Nemo2 View Post
Most of the vehicles in Saudi, (when I was there), were white.
And some come with chauffeurs who start the AC 15 minutes before you arrive So the car is cool enough to sit in.
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Old 06-28-2013, 08:38 PM   #19
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Right. It's hard for me to believe anyone is actually questioning this.
Before seeing the numbers people quoted, I would have guessed that the greenhouse effect/interior color dominated and that the exterior paint color would only have a minor effect.
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Old 06-28-2013, 10:59 PM   #20
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My best friend has a Black/Black MB 600 that is darkly tinted (I am sure past the legal limit) and is supposed to have special thermal windows all around that keep the heat out. Let me tell you that in the heat of summer that car is an OVEN!! You get in it and it is hard to breathe. I wouldn't have the damn car to drive for myself if you gave it to me.... I am all about white/beige cars. It does make a really big difference.
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