The Best Car Colors For Hot Climates

Traffic on Freeway at Sunset
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People who are visiting or relocating to hotter climates have lots of questions about their cars. Should you sell your dark blue car because it will be like an oven in a place like Phoenix? Should you buy or rent a car with a leather interior? Does everyone in the desert drive a white car with a tan interior?

There have been many studies done and opinions proffered by car experts, and you can find statistics proving whichever side you are favoring. Some studies show that dark exterior cars are definitely hotter, and some show that they really aren't. Some research indicates that dark car exteriors are what makes or breaks the temperature inside the car, and others claim that it doesn't matter since they all have steering wheels, dashboards, and other heat conductors.

Here are some conclusions:

  • A car with a darker exterior color will get hotter on the inside somewhat faster than a light colored vehicle standing out in the desert summer sun. After a while, they both approximate the same temperature—hot.
  • A vehicle with a darker interior color may get hotter on the inside somewhat faster than a vehicle with a light color interior.
  • A vehicle with a leather interior that has been sitting in the desert summer sun will burn your thighs (even through pants) every time, no matter what color the leather seats are.
  • Cracking the windows probably does little to prevent temperatures from rising in the car, but many people do it. That, and leaving your vents open, at least provides a little more ventilation. As an aside, You may hear some people comment about cracking the windows so the windshield doesn't blow out

But what do you do with your dark blue car with a leather interior? Don't rush to sell it unless you want to. There are plenty of ways to minimize the effects of summer heat on the temperature of your car. If you have to park your car outside in the sun all day while you work, the interior temperature of your car, no matter what color it is, will be take-your-breath-away hot. It's recommended to get the car you like. If you have always wanted a dark cherry Cadillac, go for it. 

Realistically, when it is 115º outside, your car will get unbearably hot if left out in the sun. No matter what the color of the exterior or interior of your vehicle, there are ways to minimize the impact of the heat in the summer, with some of the tips common sense:

  • Park in the shade
  • Use a windshield shade
  • Consider tinting your windows
  • Cover your steering wheel (even with a towel)
  • Cover your dashboard

Did you know that in one hour, the temperature inside a vehicle in the summer sun in the Phoenix area can rise more than 50 degrees F? Too many children (and pets) die, or are permanently brain damaged from the consequences of their body temperature rapidly rising when left in a car. It only takes minutes for the temperature inside a car to get high enough to kill your child or your pet. Do not ever leave children or pets inside your vehicle in the heat—not even with the windows cracked.

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