Do Black Cars Get Hotter Than White Cars In Hot Days?

Do black cars get hotter than light-colored vehicles during the summer days? Well, you will know about it if you’ve ever owned a black car. How does it feel when you open the car’s door after it’s parked in the sun on a hot day? It must feel like you are setting foot into a sauna, right?

Is it actually true that black vehicles feel much hotter than other cars? Or, it is just a myth? What does the science say? Let’s get to the bottom of these queries.

Do Black Cars Get Hotter? A Scientific Study

If you park a car under direct sunlight, it will heat up faster and retain the heat for a longer time than a car parked in a garage or under a shade. The thing is if you keep two vehicles – one black and the other white – under the sunlight, the first one will get much hotter and take more time to cool down.

Why are black cars hotter?

The Berkeley Lab Environmental Energy Technologies Division discovered in a 2011 study that light-colored automobiles reflect almost 60% of sunlight compared to dark-colored ones.

black car vs white car temperature

Light-colored cars will be cooler. (Photo: hqwalls)

The researchers used a silver and a black Honda Civic for this study. They found that the light pain color improves the efficiency of the car by increasing fuel economy by 2% and lowering the carbon emissions by almost 2%.

Black cars tend to be hotter than lighter-colored cars for two main reasons: First, black surfaces absorb more sunlight and convert that light into heat, which can make the interior of the car feel hotter. Second, black cars radiate heat more effectively than lighter-colored cars, which means that the heat absorbed by the car’s surface is more likely to be released into the air around it, rather than being reflected back.

The amount of heat absorbed and radiated by a car’s surface depends on a number of factors, including the color of the paint, the material of the car’s body, and the angle of the sun. However, in general, darker colors tend to absorb more heat than lighter colors, and this can make black cars feel hotter than cars with lighter paint jobs, especially on hot and sunny days.

Black Car Vs White Car Temperature

Are black cars hotter than light-colored cars? Yes. How much hotter do black cars get? Well, it depends on the weather conditions.

The Mythbusters experiment can be a good example when comparing the temperature in white cars vs black cars. They pitted a white car against a black one and put a thermometer inside them. After a certain time, the white car’s temperature reached 125°F and the black car’s temperature was 10 degrees more than that.

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The Barkeley Lab Environmental Energy Technologies Division also did the same experiment on a hot day in Sacramento, California. They left the cars in the sun for an hour and then found the black’s interior 10 degrees hotter.

The Autoradar also did the test on a Georgia summer day. After a few hours, the temperature inside the black vehicle was 17 degrees more than the white one. Also, it took more time to cool down after turning on the air conditioner.

Do black cars get hotter? Definitely yes as the findings of these experiments suggest so. The temperature difference is nothing to be worried about because the AC will cool down the car anyway.

But, it could be uncomfortable if you live in an area with high humidity. Click here for a short trip that will be the most torturous as the AC won’t have enough time to cool the air. Also, a light-colored vehicle will save on fuel and release less harmful gases than a black vehicle.

do black cars get hotter
You can still keep the black car in hot weather. (Photo: khodrocar)

What To Do With Your Black Car?

These studies may convince you to trade in your old black car for a white one. Well, it might be unnecessary. There are several methods you can do to keep your interior black car cooler and more comfortable when parking on a hot day: 

  • Use a sunshade: A sunshade can help block out the sun’s rays and keep the interior of your car cooler. Place it on the windshield and rear window before you park.
  • Park in the shade: When possible, park your car in a shaded area, such as under a tree or in a covered parking structure.
  • Crack the windows: Leaving your windows slightly open can help reduce the temperature inside your car by allowing hot air to escape.
  • Use a windshield reflector: A windshield reflector can help block out the sun’s rays and keep the interior of your car cooler. Place it on the windshield and rear window before you park.
  • Cover your seats: If your car has leather seats, consider covering them with a towel or seat cover to prevent them from getting too hot and sticking to your skin.
  • Use a remote starter: If your car has a remote starter, use it to start your car and run the air conditioning before you get in. This will help cool down the interior before you start driving.