Car Paint Colors & Temperatures

DzlToy

Explorer
Car Paint Color Temperatures Test
  • Test conducted November 22nd, 2019 at 2:30 pm
  • 76 degrees Fahrenheit, direct sun, no clouds
  • Jacksonville, Florida at a Ford dealership
  • New/clean cars, not driven, sitting on dealer lot in the sun
  • A hand-held thermometer "laser gun" was used to scan several areas on each car hood that were in direct sunlight. The gun was held 2" away from each hood and the highest temperature was recorded.
  • Each vehicle was scanned three times with the temperature gun and each reading was exactly the same as the previous one for that car.
  • Test was completed within a 20 minute window.
=======================================
86F or 30C White Aluminum
88F or 31C Bare Aluminum
92F or 33C
White (Plain)
98F or 37C White (Pearl)
102F or 39C Champagne
110F or 43C Champagne (Darker)
114F or 45C Blue (Bright)
121F or 49C Silver
124F or 51C Silver (Darker)
126F or 52C Red
127F or 53C Black Line-X coating in a truck bed
128F or 53C Metallic Red
128F or 53C Green (Bright)
130F or 54C Silver Spruce Metallic - Ford colour/ER LTi
139F or 59C Metallic Grey (Dark)
144F or 62C Black (Plain)

Bare aluminum was tested and the list has been updated. Yes everyone "knows" that a dark colour is hotter, but some say that dark colours radiate heat back out just as fast. Example: black traditional clothing is worn in Middle Eastern countries. If it were considerably hotter, why doesn't everyone just wear white, especially in the hot desert?

The test was performed to obtain metrics and quantitative data, a week before Thanksgiving in Northern Florida. Consider the impact in a desert environment such as the Southwestern US or Western Australia.

Radiant barrier coatings and lots of insulation are your friends.
 
Last edited:

DzlToy

Explorer
The test was conducted to confirm that white is the best colour to minimise heat gain and see what effect other colours had.

Interior temperatures can be affected by insulation, glazing, reflective films or shades in windows, a sunroof or side window being slightly open, colour of interior, materials used on seats and dash, etc. A black car in the sun, is a black car in the sun, when it comes to sheet metal. This may or may not be helpful data for your project.

For use in a van conversion, composite camper box or other "insulated" space, the interior temperature of a Ford Fiesta, tells you nothing. As most cars remain locked on a dealer lot until a test drive is requested, it was easier, more efficient and more informative to test the exterior paint colours in rapid succession.

Cliff's Notes: if you live in Phoenix, do not put your hand on the hood of a dark coloured car :D
 

Stupidkid

New member
I guess the specific increase is interesting, but doesnt everyone know a darker color is hotter?

A similar debate exists in motorcycle helmets - people point to white helmets being cooler, yet due to the foam interior and compsite shell, it really makes no difference.

Despite differences in insulation, i would be interested in seeing the impact to internal temp?
 

jadmt

Well-known member
I guess the specific increase is interesting, but doesnt everyone know a darker color is hotter?

A similar debate exists in motorcycle helmets - people point to white helmets being cooler, yet due to the foam interior and compsite shell, it really makes no difference.

Despite differences in insulation, i would be interested in seeing the impact to internal temp?
as one who has 750,000 miles on motorcycles every one with a helmet of mostly white but some black or dark gray. I found a difference but when it is really hot did not matter which color as your head put off enough heat on the inside to make them like an oven inside or more like a sauna . I was a Motor for 12 years so rode 10 hours a day in all temps.
 

UHAULER

Explorer
as one who has 750,000 miles on motorcycles every one with a helmet of mostly white but some black or dark gray. I found a difference but when it is really hot did not matter which color as your head put off enough heat on the inside to make them like an oven inside or more like a sauna . I was a Motor for 12 years so rode 10 hours a day in all temps.
You guys are hardcore. I had a dirtbike buddy who became a CHP officer and eventually a Motor.
 

DzlToy

Explorer
Original list updated to include bare aluminum. White aluminum and white painted steel were the same temps as yesterday.
 

pluton

Adventurer
Why not measure the inside instead of the outside?
Measuring the inside temperature would require having 10 or 15 identical cars, all oriented the same way to the sun, whose only difference was the paint color. Impossible to find, even at a big dealer.
 

ricardo

Observer
Car Paint Color Temperatures Test
  • Test conducted November 22nd, 2019 at 2:30 pm
  • 76 degrees Fahrenheit, direct sun, no clouds
  • Jacksonville, Florida at a Ford dealership
  • New/clean cars, not driven, sitting on dealer lot in the sun
  • A hand-held thermometer "laser gun" was used to scan several areas on each car hood that were in direct sunlight. The gun was held 2" away from each hood and the highest temperature was recorded.
  • Each vehicle was scanned three times with the temperature gun and each reading was exactly the same as the previous one for that car.
  • Test was completed within a 20 minute window.
=======================================
86F or 30C White Aluminum
88F or 31C Bare Aluminum
92F or 33C
White (Plain)
98F or 37C White (Pearl)
102F or 39C Champagne
110F or 43C Champagne (Darker)
114F or 45C Blue (Bright)
121F or 49C Silver
124F or 51C Silver (Darker)
126F or 52C Red
127F or 53C Black Line-X coating in a truck bed
128F or 53C Metallic Red
128F or 53C Green (Bright)
130F or 54C Silver Spruce Metallic - Ford colour/ER LTi
139F or 59C Metallic Grey (Dark)
144F or 62C Black (Plain)

Bare aluminum was tested and the list has been updated. Yes everyone "knows" that a dark colour is hotter, but some say that dark colours radiate heat back out just as fast. Example: black traditional clothing is worn in Middle Eastern countries. If it were considerably hotter, why doesn't everyone just wear white, especially in the hot desert?

The test was performed to obtain metrics and quantitative data, a week before Thanksgiving in Northern Florida. Consider the impact in a desert environment such as the Southwestern US or Western Australia.

Radiant barrier coatings and lots of insulation are your friends.

Very nicelly Done


proper data recollection is the basis of a proper reference template

thanks for all the hard work..
 

aardvarcus

Adventurer
Awesome test! I have seen similar tests, but this is the most scientific by far.

Unfortunately when you are stuck on rare options, like a stick shift in a 4Runner, in decent condition with low miles sometimes you get stuck with the hottest color...
 

luthj

Engineer In Residence
Due to changes in emissivity between colors, you will not get correct temperature measurements (with an IR thermometer). The easy way to fix this is with a small square of painters tape. Shooting the temp this way will get you consistent results. You will want to do all the tests on the same vehicle type, in the same location on the body, as insulation inside will dramatically change skin temperatures.
 
No official stats or readings, just seat of the pants. Dark blue fiberglass camper shell in SoCal summer, very hot inside. White fiberglass camper shell in SoCal summer, not cool but very bearable. Night and day difference.
 

rayra

Expedition Leader


SoCal / Los Angeles / Mojave and high deserts. Oven.

So I built a solid deck to shade most of the roof. Added some tint. Giving serious thought to some E-rated clear on all the windows. And sticking some of that mylar bubble-warp radiant barrier above the headliner. The interior of the metal skins in the cargo area (side walls and floor) are lined with a couple layers of butyl rubber flashing akin to audiophiles' 'sound deadener'. I could put some radiant barrier material in there too, the next time I have things blown apart. Which will be next spring.
Thing got a lot more quiet and a little bit cooler. But sitting in the sun it's still an oven. But now the nice part is going down the road the AC overcomes things more quickly and can be run on the lowest setting going down the highway and it gets quite chill inside.

Now seriously considering painting the thing a light tan color. I'd already owned a black 4wd pickup decades ago. I knew better. But after looking for a 4wd GMT800 for over a year which met my cosmetic and mechanical condition and price criteria it was black and I didn't care anymore. And a few months later regretted the color choice all over again.
 
Top