Does Car Color Affect Resale Value?

| February 6, 2013

car color affects resale valueYou used DexKnows to find your local auto dealers, but now you’re back home and exhausted. On top of the running around to find the vehicle you like, you also have to decide what color to go for. It might defy logic, but the shade of a car or truck can stir up strong feelings and even affect its resale value.

There are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to color. What looks good on one vehicle can seem inappropriate on another. Tastes change, too, so what’s hot today might look dated five years from now. But if you want to avoid the “ugly car” stigma when you come to sell, there are a few principles to remember.

Avoid the fads

Vivid colors like orange, purple and lime green can look good, especially on smaller vehicles such as Ford Fiestas, Honda Elements and sporty cars such as the Hyundai Veloster. The danger is that when you come to sell, these colors will date you worse than an eight-track stereo.

Also, the newly fashionable flat or matte colors some manufacturers are offering look cool, but they need hand washing to maintain their appearance. Future buyers may be put off by the work involved in caring for such a finish.

Type of vehicle

Luxury cars used to always be black; these days, you can also choose from more upscale silvers. Soft pastel shades, however, are a definite no-no. And strong colors such as red, and even yellow, can be fine for sports cars and little hatchbacks, but they don’t work on luxury models. For family cars and minivans, silver is a popular shade at the moment.


A black car doesn’t make a lot of sense in the Sunbelt states. Sure, it could look fantastic, but owners will quickly tire of needing to keep the air conditioning running to make the interior bearable. In those locations, white, silver or other light colors are far more practical and therefore more desirable.

The dust magnet

Speaking of practicality, there’s the business of keeping the exterior clean. Black can look sharp, but 10 minutes after washing the car, the dust starts to show. White paint isn’t much better in this regard. The best shades to hide dirt are silvers and grays, which may be one reason these colors are so popular.

Supply and demand

Recently, silver has become the runaway favorite color for new cars, but does that mean silver cars will be the most sought-after used cars? Perhaps, but tastes change, and some argue that oversupply will reduce demand. In other words, when you decide to sell your silver Honda Odyssey, there may be so many of them around that buyers will be able to pick and choose.

Does color affect resale value? The answer is yes, it can, but it’s not always easy to predict the best colors to buy. That being said, there are a few basic principles to follow: Avoid the fads, black is always sharp but can be a lot of work, and Corvettes and Ferraris should always be red (although they can look good in other hues too!).

Armed with that knowledge, it’s time to head back to the car dealers you found on DexKnows and take another look.

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Category: Auto Buying, Autos

About the Author ()

After twenty years in the automobile industry the craft of wordsmith called. Putting down the wrench, Nigel picked up a keyboard on which to express his passion for all things automotive.