White is the most popular car color worldwide and it’s not without good reason. However, if you’re considering purchasing a white car then there are a few things you should know about this color choice before you take the plunge. I’ll be addressing all the pros and cons of white cars in this article so you can decide if it’s the right color option for your next vehicle.
Pros and Cons of White Cars
The benefits of buying a white car include the lower cost compared to other colors, higher resale value, and the fact that they are statistically less likely to be involved in accidents. However, white cars highlight dirt, stone chips and dents and can be hard to make shine compared to other colors.
White Car Advantages
White is the most popular car color in the world, so it’s no surprise that the color offers numerous advantages over other common choices such as black, grey and silver. Let’s take a look at them in some more detail.
White Cars are Cheaper to Buy New
On most cars, solid white paint comes as standard in the price making it a cost effective choice. Most other colors come as an optional extra which costs upwards of $300 in the USA and £250 in the UK for most brands. If you want a pearlescent or metallic finish, you can also expect to pay $500/ £500+ depending on the make and model of car.
Most white cars have solid paint. However, another popular option is pearl white. Pearlescent paint is made by mixing ceramic crystals with the solid white paint which gives it more of a sheen and glow. It’s hard to spot the difference between solid and pearl white in dull conditions, but it’s much easier to see when the sun is out.
However, if you want to go for a pearl finish then you can expect to pay an additional cost for this which means it’ll end up costing the same as most other colors.
White Cars Have a Good Resale Value
Due to their popularity, white cars have an excellent resale value. Hence, if you’re buying your car from new and plan to sell it in a few years, you won’t be losing as much money to depreciation as you would with a more exotic color.
This is the case no matter what type of car we’re talking about, from hatchbacks and saloons to SUV’s and sports cars. White cars are in higher demand in the used car market.
White Cars Hide Dust
If you live in a hot and dry climate, then white is an excellent color choice if you want your car to look cleaner between washes. Unlike darker colors, white masks dust build-up so the car won’t look quite as dirty between washes in dryer weather.
White Cars are Highly Visible to Other Drivers
White cars are statistically less likely to be involved in accidents because they are more visible than most colors in daylight and night-time driving conditions. According to citywidelaw.com, white cars are 12% less likely to be involved in an accident than black cars.
It’s worth noting that this does not reduce the insurance premium in most countries though. For example, in the USA, insurance firms do not consider car color as a factor when calculating the cost of the insurance policy.
White Cars Hide Clear Coat Scratches and Swirl Marks
Minor imperfections in a car’s clear coat (the top coat of paint which goes over the color coat to provide a gloss finish) can result from improper wash technique. This includes using sponges and brushes instead of a microfiber wash mitt to wash the vehicle, or using automatic car washes.
These imperfections are often referred to as clear coat scratches or swirl marks, and they are highly visible in direct sunlight and often look like spider webs. Not only do they look unsightly in sunny conditions, but they also cause the paintwork to look duller in all levels of lighting.
Fortunately, since white is the lightest car color available, these imperfections are far less noticeable compared to darker colors such as black and grey. Hence, it’s a bit more forgiving and won’t look as bad in the sun.
Having said that, if you want to maintain the “new” look to your car, then you should take some steps to prevent this kind of clear coat damage.
If you want your car to look as shiny as possible for years to come, check out my complete guide to washing a car without causing scratches.
White Paint Stays Cool
Unlike darker colors, white paint doesn’t heat up as much in the sun since it reflects the light rather than absorbs it. This means that you’re less likely to get water spots on the paintwork which can cause etching in the clear coat which is a pain to correct. So if you live in a rainy climate, or like washing your car frequently, white paint should make like a little bit easier.
Color Matching is Easier
If you go for solid white paint (not metallic or pearlescent) then the color matching process is much easier and more accurate in the event that a panel needs respraying. Again, since white paint is the cheapest option available, the cost of a respray won’t be quite as much either. However, keep in mind that if you go for a pearlescent white finish, the color matching process will be more tricky.
White Car Disadvantages
Okay so we’ve been through all the main advantages of owning a white car, but unfortunately it’s not all good news. White paint can present some challenges over other colors that you should be aware of.
White Cars Highlight Mud and Dirt Splatters
If you live in an area which is prone to rain or snow, then the white paint on your car won’t stay looking clean and fresh for very long. Although white is great for hiding dust which is perfect for those who live in hot and dry climates, it’s not a great choice for wetter climates if you like your car to stay looking clean.
White paint highlights mud and dirt splatters which are often seen on the lower sections of the car when driving in the rain. These are made worse if you often drive on high speed roads or country lanes. So, if you want your car to stay looking clean then you need to be prepared to wash it quite frequently if you opt for white paint.
White Cars are Harder to Make Shiny and Glossy
One of the main drawbacks of white paint is that it can be hard to make it look super glossy. This is because darker colors tend to look shinier, and the paint must be very clean and in good condition (free from scratches and swirl marks) to get a good level of gloss.
There are some things you can do to enhance the finish though, including using a wax or sealant to increase the gloss and using a tyre and trim dressing to make the black areas of the car as dark as possible so they provide plenty of contrast.
Check out my tips for detailing a white car to learn everything you need to know to get the best possible finish.
White Cars Highlight Stone Chips and Dents
Whilst white cars are more capable of masking scratches and swirl marks in the clear coat of the paint, defects which go all the way down to the primer or metal are very noticeable on a white vehicle. Defects like stone chips and deeper scratches are grey in color and stand out against the white paintwork.
To protect the car against stone chips, some owners like to apply a paint protection film (PPF) to the front end of the car which stops this kind of damage. PPF is worth considering if you are purchasing a high-value car as it can help to increase the resale value if the paintwork is free from stone chips.
White Cars are Very Common
As I mentioned at the start of the article, white is the most popular car color choice worldwide, which means your car won’t really stand out from the crowd. If you are choosing a very popular make and model, and going for white paint then you’ll likely spot the car everywhere you drive and in the car park too!
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