- top tips
Which Car Colours Keep You Cooler?
Updated 27 Sep 2023
Did you know, the exterior colour of your vehicle does more than just make your car look awesome?
Depending on the colour and type, the paint applied to the exterior of your vehicle can either reflect or absorb the incoming sunlight when parked outdoors.
This can vary the temperature inside the cabin, especially on a hot Aussie summer’s day! Nobody likes getting into their car and burning the backs of their legs and bum!
Typically, the darker the exterior colour, the more heat and energy it absorbs from the sunlight, which increases the temperature inside the cabin.
The metallic content of the paint can also contribute to a higher temperature inside the car.
Studies have shown the difference in temperature between a white car and a black car left in the sun can be as much as 5-6 degrees after just one hour.
This means your vehicle’s air conditioning system has to work harder to cool down the inside of the car, which increases fuel consumption and exhaust emissions.
Whilst an average 2% increase in fuel consumption per car doesn’t sound like much, when multiplied by the number of darker-coloured vehicles on the road, this would add up to millions of litres of fuel and tonnes of Carbon Dioxide emissions that could be reduced every year.
The interior colour can also affect how much heat is retained inside your vehicle.
How does my car’s interior colour affect heat absorption?
Dark-coloured dashboards, leather seats and trims will absorb more heat and take longer to cool down once the vehicle is moving. Leather seats also take longer to dissipate heat than their fabric counterparts. Using car seat covers can help prevent sun damage and help keep your seats cool.
How to keep your car cool?
Looking for some simple ways to keep your vehicle cool?
Parking your car in the shade is an obvious solution, but that option isn’t always possible.
Utilising a windscreen shade to reflect sunlight off your dashboard will not only help keep cabin temperatures down but also protect the plastic and leather from discolouration and cracking.
Window tinting can also prevent harmful UV rays from damaging your interior and reduce temperatures in the cabin.
Having your windows cracked slightly will allow hot air to escape when parked – but make sure they’re only left open a centimetre or two.
Keep in mind that in Queensland, you can be fined for leaving your windows open when parked, as it invites thieves to break into your vehicle!
Placing a towel or blanket over your steering wheel and gear stick will help keep the heat off and prevent UV damage to these components, making driving after being parked more comfortable and safer, by preventing burns to your hands!
If you are looking at purchasing a new or used vehicle, choosing a light exterior paint colour will help reduce in-car temperatures during the summer.
Also, consider looking at vehicles with a lighter-coloured interior. This will help keep the cabin temperature down, and when combined with the above tips, will help you stay as cool as possible this summer.
Finding a passion for cars from a young age, Joel carried out work experience as a mechanic whilst at school before starting an apprenticeship after finishing year 12.
Joel is now the Workshop Manager at Robina Volkswagen.