When it comes to car color, many consider only the aesthetics. And fair enough. But there are other things to think about when it comes to the world of automotive paint. Color can impact everything from purchase price to resale value. Some car colors are even easier to maintain than others. Let’s take a closer look.

High Maintenance Colors

A good general rule of thumb: if a car color is more expensive to buy, it’s likely more expensive to maintain and repair. A few examples of high maintenance colors include:  

  • Matte Finishes 
    Cars with matte finishes typically come with a laundry list of maintenance do’s and don’ts. No wax products. No polishes. No commercial car washes. Hand washing with specialty products formulated for matte paint is ideal. If you get a ding, be prepared for a hefty price tag to repair it. Even the tiniest scratch may require removing a much larger area to be fixed.

  • Tinted, Metallic, or Pearlescent Finishes
    These special finishes get their glossy and reflective sheen from a multilayered application process. As a result, repairs made to metallic or pearlescent finishes can be on the pricier side. They require more pigment, more layers, and more labor to apply. Dark metallics are also more likely to show wear quickly when compared to lighter metallics.

  • Black or Dark Colors
    Black or darker cars may not be costlier to repair. But they do tend to reflect dirt and grime more than their lighter counterparts. They’re also more likely to show off every scratch and ding.

Low Maintenance Colors

Some colors are just easier. 

  • Gray or Silver 
    Ashy colors are great at hiding dirt and grime, which can mean fewer trips to the car wash. (Not that we recommend ever sleeping on proper car maintenance).

  • White or Light Colors
    While white and lighter colored cars may show mud or darker road grime, they’re still better at hiding dust, scratches, and dings.

The better you care for a car, the better it’ll look — whatever color it is. Here are a few quick tips for keeping cars of any color sparkly.

  • Clean off bird droppings, insect remains, or sticky sap  right when you notice them. They can be corrosive to a car’s exterior paint.
  • Washing by hand is easiest on a car’s exterior. But if you can’t wash by hand make sure the car wash you go to is clean and well maintained (no damaged or fraying brushes, please).
  • If your paint job can handle wax, it’s best to do so twice per year: once in spring and again before winter.

And don’t forget about these other 7 Tips for Proper Car Maintenance.

Safe and smart | Car safety


about Rebecca

Rebecca is a freelance copywriter and editor living in the SF Bay Area with her husband and two kids. She enjoys productively channeling her anxiety into safety-minded articles for home and garden, running with her robot trainer, and advocating on behalf of the Oxford comma.