“You can never go wrong with black” as they say. And I agree, even when it comes to car colors. It looks cool, sleek, and stealthy. But as someone who has owned a couple of black cars in the past, take it from me when I say they are not without their problems. This post will discuss the pros and cons of a black car.
If you’re thinking of buying a black car for the first time in your life, continue reading to find out about everything you need to know about owning a black car.
Pros And Cons Of A Black Car: The Pros
Let’s not beat around the bush, there are three good reasons why you should buy a black car:
1. It Looks Cool
As simple as that. Yes, I know that looks are subjective. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” as they say, but black does make a car look good. As mentioned, it makes cars look cool, sleek, and stealthy.
Black is elegant and makes even the most dreary-looking car looks nice. Compact hatchback in black? Cool. A mid-size sedan in black? Makes you look like an executive. A full-size SUV in black? Makes you look like part of a mafia family.
Sure, some cars will look better in certain colors. For example, a Ferrari 458 will look better in Rosso Corsa; it’s a beautiful car, to begin with, and Ferrari’s Rosso Corsa color showcases that. But a Nero Daytona (that’s what Ferrari calls their black paint) 458 wouldn’t look wrong either. It may not be quite as beautiful as a 458 Rosso Corsa, but it still looks sleek, and if anything, more menacing.
2. It Hides Design Cues Or Features You Don’t Like
Another reason why I argue black makes any car looks good is that it hides design cues, features, or language that you don’t like. The design language is a set of rules that guides visual identity. In the case of cars, it refers to design features that are commonly shared across the lineup. For example, all BMWs share kidney grilles and similar sidelines.
When done right, design features will not only make cars identifiable but look beautiful as well. But when done wrong, it can ruin the overall design of the car. In some cases, design features may look entirely out of place.
The most common case is with the A-line or “accent line”, sometimes referred to as the “character line”. This is the line that’s on the side body that runs along with the silhouette of the car. When done right, the accent line can improve the car’s look. The Ferrari 612 Scaglietti side “scallop” is one of my favorites, even though not a lot of people agree.
But when done wrong, it will make the car look like it has weird proportions at best. And at worst, it will ruin the look of the car. Black paint makes the accent line – and other design features – less obvious if you don’t like it.
For example, I don’t like the new gigantic kidney grille on the new BMW 4-Series. I also don’t like the air intake and inlets, and I feel like the car has too many lines and creases that aren’t cohesive to the overall design.
But in black? Well, I still don’t much fancy it, but it makes the grille and creases less obvious. Making the silhouette stand out further, and the car looks less ugly to my eye.
3. It Holds Resale Value – Sort Of
The last reason is that black is one of the car colors that hold resale value quite well. You might notice that most vehicles on the road are either white, black, gray, and silver. According to CarMax, black is the top choice among their buyers, making up 22.25% of their sales.
White, gray, and silver cars sit behind black cars. And other studies also find similar results, with black almost always in the top 3 colors of car sales in the US.
This is a bit of an oversimplification, but this means that there’s more demand for cars in black, white, and silver. And when there’s more demand, prices will go up. Or in the case of secondhand cars, they will retain more of their original value.
However, interestingly, some “unique” car colors actually hold their value better than black. Yellow seems to be the color that holds its value best with the lowest depreciation according to research from iSeeCars.
This took me by surprise, to be honest. But black still holds its value quite well, especially when compared to colors like purple and brown. And the depreciation rate for each color is different depending on the type of car.
For example, a coupe car in black depreciates at around 25% in three years. Meanwhile, black sedans depreciate at around 39% in three years. And of course, the make and model of the car will also affect the depreciation rate.
Pros And Cons Of A Black Car: The Cons
Now, what are the cons of owning a black car? Here are two reasons why buying a black car may not be right for you:
1. It Gets Hot – Literally
While black paint makes your car looks cool, it does make it hot, literally. You might have heard that black and darker-colored clothing absorbs more heat, and the same is true for car paint.
I won’t get into the science why since I’m no expert, so if you want to learn more about why black absorbs more heat, you can learn here. But what I can tell you is that since black retains heat, this can increase the car’s interior temperature.
Even after a few minutes under the sun, the interior can become very hot and humid. Not a big deal if you’re driving with the air-conditioning on, but it does mean you have to be wary of where you park during a sunny day. Pick a spot without shade and you’ll come back to a car that’s sizzling hot inside.
Of course, if you live somewhere cold, this isn’t a big deal and you can ignore this point. But this next one is true for all black cars, no matter where you live:
2. Lots Of Scratches And Swirl Marks
Let me make it clear first: black cars don’t scratch more easily than other colors, but it’s more visible on black cars. The reason is that scratches often result in a white appearance. And of course, white is more visible when it’s on a black background.
This is why silver and white cars often appear to have very few scratches. Their lighter color means scratches and swirl marks aren’t going to be quite as visible unless you take a closer look.
This was the main reason why I hesitated in buying a black car. But of course, there are ways to avoid this. Using the right equipment and learning the proper method to wash your car is the first step to avoiding swirl marks. And getting your car detailed and coated is probably the best way to prevent scratches.
All this means that black cars will require more care and maintenance if you want to keep your car looking smooth. If you don’t want to worry too much about scratches and swirl marks, then perhaps white or silver would be the better color for you.
One more thing to note, you will find many articles saying that black cars will lose their shine easily. In my experience, this isn’t true. It all depends on how you maintain your car, as well as the quality of the paint job. The color doesn’t affect how fast paint loses its shine.
Pros And Cons Of A Black Car: Black Car Maintenance
Those are the pros and cons of a black car. If you’re still reading, my guess is you’re still interested in owning a black car. But as we’ve learned, the main problem with black cars is that scratches and swirl marks are more visible.
So, how do you maintain it? The tips we’ll list down below can be applied to a car of any color. But with a black car, it’s more important than ever that you follow these tips:
Wash Your Car – The Right Way!
Most hairline scratches and swirl marks are the results of improper car washing. If you don’t use the right equipment and method, the dust, dirt, and debris on your car will get dragged and scratched the car as you’re washing.
Here’s how to wash your car:
- Rinse the car with clean water thoroughly. Make sure you get any loose dirt and debris off the car, using a pressure washer will help.
- Use two buckets, one for the water and car shampoo mix, and the other for just water to rinse the wash mitt. Ideally, the water bucket should have a grit guard to help separate dirt.
- Dip the wash mitt in the shampoo, and start cleaning the car. I personally like to start from the top and work my way down the car. Don’t put too much pressure when washing. If dirt isn’t coming off easily, chances are putting more pressure won’t work either and will only damage the paint.
- Rinse the wash mitt whenever it starts getting dirty. After rinsing, dip it in soap again, and continue washing.
- Rinse the car again, and do it from the top to the bottom of the car.
- Dry the car with microfiber towels. You’ll want to have at least two of them. Wipe the car once, and then wipe it with the second towel if the surface is still wet.
- Don’t use excessive pressure. Check the towel regularly, if it’s dirty, then fold it or use a new one.
The video above is a great guide on how to handwash your car. They used a snow foam gun and a degreaser solution before washing in the video, but don’t worry about that if you don’t have it. Follow our guide and you’ll minimize scratches on your car!
No matter how well you wash your car, over time scratches and swirl marks will appear on the car. This is why you should detail your car to remove imperfections, and coat or sealant it to give it an extra layer of protection.
Car detailing is the process of cleaning and restoring a car to like-new condition. This involves cleaning the exterior and interior, polishing the body, and finishing with a sealant or wax to add a protective layer on top of the car’s paint.
In some cases, if the paint’s condition is really bad, a paint correction may be necessary to remove deep scratches and uneven paint colors. On top of all this, you should also add a ceramic coating or Paint Protection Film (PPF).
Ceramic coating is a liquid polymer that the technician will apply to the exterior of the car. Once it cures, it will form a protective layer much like a sealant or wax. However, they are more resistant to scratches and can last much longer. Sometimes up to three years, depending on the thickness.
Meanwhile, PPF is a polyurethane film that also protects the car from stone chips, scratches, and more. Think of it as a transparent car wrap, and is claimed to last for up to five years.
Car detailing usually starts at around $500, but this doesn’t include ceramic coating nor PPF. The total cost will depend heavily on your car’s size, and it can be as high as $2,500 for a top-notch job. We recommend enquiring into your local auto detailers to get a quote for your car.
Some More Tips
Most people think that car body maintenance and auto detailing is hard. And that’s why most people choose to have a professional do it for them. Nothing wrong with that, but if you don’t feel like having your car detailed, here are some more tips:
- Use bug & tar remover to remove dirt and debris that are stubborn. After a while, you’ll notice that the lower part of your car is probably covered in tar, dirt, and other debris that can’t be washed off. Spray a bug & tar remover and they will come right off!
- Don’t use sponges or chamois (shammy towel) to wash your car. Dirt and dust will get dragged along the car more easily. Always use microfiber towels and wash mitts. Use plush microfiber towels for drying, it will help remove any remaining dirt and absorb water better.
- If your car doesn’t have a ceramic coating, use a wash & wax car shampoo. The wax content will provide light protection on your car. If it has a coating, then use a car shampoo with a pH-neutral formula to help prolong the life of the coating.
- Use a scratch remover to remove any micro-scratches. You can learn how to use them here.
- When cleaning the wheels of your car, use a separate wash mitt, microfiber, and bucket. This is because there will be a lot of nasty dirt and grit on them, and using the same equipment to wash the car body will increase the chances of micro-scratches on your car.
Pros And Cons Of A Black Car: Questions & Answers
Still got more questions about the pros and cons of a black car? We’ll try to answer your questions below:
Do I Need To Wax It Every Weekend?
Some people may recommend you to wax a black car every weekend, but this isn’t necessary with modern car wax. They are far more durable than they used to be, and will typically last for about three months if applied correctly. We wrote a great guide on how to apply car wax yourself and you can read it here.
Can I Take A Black Car To An Automatic Car Wash?
They are convenient and very tempting when you don’t feel like spending an hour just to wash your car. But we generally don’t recommend it. Automatic car washes are known to result in a lot of micro scratches.
This is because they use floppy brushes that aren’t meticulously cleaned which means they can hold a lot of dirt. The dirt will then get dragged along your car, resulting in micro scratches. While they’re not immediately apparent in white or silver cars, black cars tend to show them more. For that reason, we don’t recommend it.
You’re better off going to a premium car wash service, which auto detailers also often provide. They handwash your car like they would before they start detailing a car, so there’s less chance of micro scratches. They cost anywhere between $15 – $70 depending on your car size and the wash package.
Can I Use A Waterless Wash Spray?
Waterless wash sprays are mostly intended to remove light dust and dirt. This allows you to remove them without having to spend too much time washing and drying the car. And yes, you can use them on black cars are well. Just be sure to follow the instruction to avoid any scratches to your paint.
Is A Pressure Washer Safe To Use?
Yes, pressure washers are safe to use on a car with black paint. Or on any car paint, for that matter. If you can control the pressure of the washer, set it to around 1,600 PSI to be on the safe side.
Another thing you have to remember is to keep the washer around 1 – 1.5 feet away from the car’s surface to prevent damage to the paint. And finally, be careful around paint chips as the pressure washer may peel off the paint. Learn more about how to use a pressure washer here.
How Often Does A Black Car Need Detailing?
Your car’s color doesn’t determine how often you need a detailing job. It depends on the car’s paint condition and will mostly depend on what package you choose at your first detailing visit. A standard package will finish your car with either a wax or a sealant.
As mentioned, car wax typically lasts for about three months, meaning you’ll have to take your car to a detailer more often to keep that shine and protection. Meanwhile, a sealant can last anywhere between 6 to 12 months. This depends on the thickness that’s applied, and you’ll have to take your car to a detailer about once or twice a year.
If you get ceramic coating or PPF, they can last anywhere between 3 to 5 years. However, oftentimes it’s still recommended that you go back for maintenance to make sure the protective layer is in good shape.
Additionally, PPF may turn yellow over time. But don’t worry, this doesn’t affect your car’s paint, but it will require some maintenance. Auto detailers will often include free yearly maintenance with the initial cost, so you don’t have to worry about that.
In any case, it’s a good idea to take your car to a professional auto detailer to keep it in good shape and looking sleek. You can learn to detail, polish, and even apply sealant or ceramic coating yourself. But this process is quite time-consuming and can take up your entire weekend.
Pros And Cons Of A Black Car: I’m Still Not Sure, Should I Get A Black Car?
This ultimately comes down to how much time and money you’re willing to invest in maintaining the car’s paint. If you don’t want to think too much about car paint maintenance, then a black car probably isn’t for you.
I’ve had my black car for six months now, and some micro scratches are already appearing. However, they’re only visible under direct sunlight or when I’m looking closely. From afar, the car still looks great, but I’m still planning to have it detailed and coated in the future.
If you don’t want the hassle, a silver car is probably your best choice. I find that it’s the color that requires the least maintenance, even when compared to white cars.
Yellowing can happen with white cars, especially if the factory paint job isn’t high-quality and you don’t wash it often. For this reason, I believe silver is the best color if you don’t want to think too much about maintenance.
Pros And Cons Of A Black Car: Conclusion
Those are the pros and cons of a black car. To recap, a black car looks great, disguises ugly design features in an otherwise beautiful car, and it holds the resale value of the car. The downside is that they get hot quicker since black absorbs more heat. This leads to a higher interior temperature which isn’t pleasant, so you have to be wary of where you park your car on a sunny day.
And the biggest downside is that they’re harder to maintain since scratches and swirl marks are more visible on a black car. So, you’ll have to invest a lot of time and money to keep your black car looking good.
I hope this article about the pros and cons of a black car has been helpful and will help you make an informed decision the next time you purchase a car.
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