Silver vs Black Cars: Which Color is the Best Choice?


Silver and black are two very popular car colors, but which is the best choice for your next vehicle? In this article, I’ll compare the pros and cons of black and silver cars so you can figure out which is the best option.

The Quick Answer

Silver cars are much better at hiding dust and dirt compared to black cars, and are also less likely to highlight scratches and swirl marks. However, black cars typically look more glossy when clean and have a slightly better resale value compared to silver cars.

Considering other colour choices too? Check out these articles:

Showing Dirt and Dust

Silver cars are much better at hiding dust and dirt compared to black cars. Darker colors highlight dust in particular very easily as it builds up and dulls the finish. Lighter colors such as silver are more forgiving and do a great job at masking dust, making it a brilliant choice for hot and dry climates.

Silver is also a good color for masking traffic film which builds up when the car is driven on wet roads as the mucky water from the road surface gets splashed up on the lower sections and rear of the car in particular. It doesn’t to do as well at hiding mud splatter from country lanes as much as black, but on the whole a silver car will look cleaner for longer.

Winner: Silver Cars

Highlighting Paint Imperfections

There are several types of paint imperfection to unpack here:

  • Deep scratches
  • Stone chips
  • Light scratches and swirl marks

First let’s talk about deep scratches. These tend to look light grey or white in some cases, and hence silver cars are more capable of hiding them than black cars where the color of the scratch contrasts more with the color of the paintwork.

Stone chips on the other hand are typically a lot darker so black cars are better at hiding them than silver cars. Stone chips can be difficult to avoid if you drive on busy and fast roads, however you can get some paint protection film (PPF) on the hood and front bumper of the car which will shield the paintwork from this kind of damage.

The final type of imperfection is the clear coat scratch. These kind of scratches are inflicted when the car is washed improperly but using sponges and brushes or at the automatic car wash. They are very visible in direct sunlight, but also cause the finish to look duller in all conditions.

Silver cars are much better at hiding clear coat scratches and “swirl marks” compared to black cars which really highlight them. The lighter the color, the less obvious this kind of damage will be.

If you want to learn how to get the best out of your car’s finish then I recommend checking out my guide to washing a car without causing scratches for all the tips you need to know.

Winner: Silver Cars

Which Color Looks the Shiniest?

Black cars often look a lot glossier than silver cars even when they’re both clean. Darker colors tend to look more reflective which helps to provide that depth of gloss. Some silver car owners complain that it’s difficult to get a silver vehicle to really shine. Others, prefer the crisp look of clean silver paintwork.

It’s worth noting that the level of gloss and shine is all down to the condition of the paintwork. This means that it should be regularly cleaned using the proper technique to avoid clear coat scratches and swirl marks (as discussed above).

Winner: Black Cars

Resale Value

Both these colors are very popular, but in recent years black has become a more popular color than silver. According to infocopse.com, black was the second most popular color for new cars last year (23.2% of cars were black), whilst silver was the fourth most popular color (14.5% of cars were silver) in the USA.

The fact that black cars are more popular than silver cars means that they often have a slightly better resale value, despite being similarly priced when brand new. This is the case for all types of cars including sports cars, SUV’s, hatchbacks and saloons.

You won’t be losing out too much if you sell a silver car a few years down the line compared to if you bought a more exotic color though such as red, blue or yellow. Greyscale colors (white, black, silver and grey) are all considered to be the best colors in terms of their resale value.

Winner: Black

Paint Temperature

The panels on a black car get much hotter than the panels on a silver car in the sun. This is because black absorbs all other colors of the spectrum which causes the paintwork to heat up very quickly.

This can be a real pain when trying to wash the car on a warmer day as the water and chemicals can dry onto the paintwork and leave unsightly stains. This is less likely to happen with a silver car, and it’s less noticeable when it does due to the color.

Winner: Silver

Visibility to Other Drivers

Silver cars are more visible, particularly at night to other drivers compared to black cars and statistically are less likely to be involved in an accident according to several studies. According to rd.com, white cars are less likely to be involved in accidents. Compared to white cars, silver cars are 10% more likely to be involved in an accident, and black cars are 12% more likely to be involved in an accident.

The reliability of these studies is often called into question though, since there are so many other variables at play here. You should also be paying close attention to the safety equipment that the vehicle is fitted with when narrowing down your options.

Winner: Silver

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Heather

I first became interested in car detailing around 4 years ago and learnt all the main techniques on my very first car. I spend a lot of time detailing my current car, and trying to keep my family's cars looking presentable too!

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