Is the Color of Your Car Ruining Its Resale Value?

5 min read

Did you know that choosing the wrong color can cause your vehicle to depreciate twice as fast as other colors?

Continue reading to learn which colors ruin your car’s resale value, which ones can increase it and which maintain it.

How Color Affects a Car’s Resale Value

There are a lot of factors that come into play when determining a vehicle’s value. For example, the mileage, condition, body style, features and options, fuel prices, supply and demand, and accident history will affect a vehicle’s resale value. But, there is another factor that influences the resale value of a car: color.

This is due to several reasons, including changing trends, whether manufacturers have retired the vehicle’s color, and geography. Yes, where you live can affect the resale value of the vehicle you buy or sell.

According to an article published by U.S. News & World Report, white and silver vehicles are more efficient in warm, sunny areas because white reflects light. This means that the vehicle’s air conditioner doesn’t have to work as hard, thereby earning the vehicle a better fuel economy.

On the opposite end of that is black and dark blue vehicles. They are more efficient in areas with long, cold winters. That’s because darker colors absorb heat, so the car’s heater doesn’t have to work as hard, thereby earning the vehicle better fuel economy.

As for changing trends, what’s popular today may or may not be as popular a few years from now. This can either help or hurt your car’s resale value. Here’s something else you should know: cars painted with rare colors retain their value much better than cars painted with common colors. You should also know, however, that this doesn’t apply in every situation.

For example, colors that don’t resonate well with used car shoppers — e.g., purple, brown and gold — will actually hurt resale value. In fact, according to an article published by Kelley Blue Book, choosing the “wrong” color can cause your car to depreciate anywhere, ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars!

That being said, playing it safe when it comes to color can definitely help when it’s time to sell your car. But, just what is considered safe? We’ll address that later on in this article. For now, we’ll address what colors you should avoid, so you don’t ruin your car’s resale value.

Colors That Ruin Your Car’s Resale Value

According to an article published by Money Talks News, the worst car colors you can pick are gold, brown and purple. Gold-colored cars depreciate 45.6% over three years. For brown cars, the depreciation rate is 42.1%. For purple cars, it’s 41.2%.

Here is the average three year depreciation rate for other colors:

  • Black: 38.4%
  • White: 38%
  • Silver: 37.6%
  • Blue: 37%
  • Red: 36.9%
  • Gray: 36.4%
  • Green: 31.3%
  • Orange: 27.1%
  • Beige: 22.8%
  • Yellow: 20.4%

As mentioned before, rare colors can sometimes hurt resale value. But, common colors can end up hurting resale value as well. According to, Motor1 reported that “buying a common color like black or white could end up costing you later if you try to sell the car in the used car market.”

Colors That Tend To Hold Their Value

Now, it’s time to address what’s considered safe colors in the auto industry. According to the Money Talks News article, orange, beige and yellow cars depreciate at a much lower rate than others — 27.1%, 22.8% and 20.4%, respectively. The color yellow helps boost resale value by 18.5%.

Phong Ly, the iSeeCars CEO, said that for lower-volume cars like convertibles, their analysis showed the color yellow to have the lowest depreciation compared to any other color. However, yellow is the color with the least depreciation for more popular body styles like SUVs and pickup trucks.

“Yellow may not be a widely desired car color, but there are enough people who want yellow, versus the number of yellow new cars being ordered, to make yellow cars more desirable than others on the used market. In fact, yellow is among the colors with the lowest vehicle share. It is most commonly a color for sports cars and other low-volume vehicles that hold their value relatively well,” iSeeCars executive analyst Karl Brauer said, according to Money Talks News.

Meanwhile, the color orange can increase resale value by 7.8%. And, like the color yellow, orange also appears on a small overall share of vehicles is often found on low-volume sports and muscle cars.

Lastly, beige boosts pickup trucks’ resale value the most. Beige cars make up less than 1% of all vehicles. And, while many may consider it a boring color, some drivers may like the fact that it “encompasses a spectrum of hues from off-white to a light brown and stands out in a parking lot while still being a neutral color,” Brauer said, according to Money Talks News.

Colors That Maintain Their Resale Value

If you are looking to maintain your vehicle’s resale value, used car mobile marketplace Instamotor suggests purchasing blue, red or silver vehicles. Blue SUVs and compact crossovers are becoming increasingly popular, as are red pickup trucks and SUVs. In fact, it’s the second most popular color for trucks and SUVs, after white. For luxury cars, the color silver will help maintain their resale value.

BEWARE: If you opt for a red car, know that you’ll likely end up with a ticket or two. According to an article published by CNET in 2018, a compilation of statistics from various law enforcement bureaus showed that red cars get more tickets than any other color — except for white cars. However, that may be because white cars are more common than red cars.

That being said, many factors cause red cars to get more tickets, including the fact that red draws the eye, gets your attention, raises blood pressure, and is associated with energy, excitement, and intensity.

Red cars also correlate with a certain driving style — i.e., sports cars and performance sedans. In other words, sports cars and performance sedans tend to be driven faster and more aggressively than family cars. That being said, driving with a bit more caution will likely decrease the number of times you get pulled over by the police.

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