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Car Colors For Hot Climates

Dark Cars or Light Cars: Does it Make a Difference?

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People who are 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 Phoenix? Should you buy a car with leather interior? Does everyone in Phoenix drive a white car with a tan interior?

There have been many studies done and opinions proffered by car experts, and I assure you that 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, dash boards and other heat conductors.

I haven't any empirical evidence of my own to share with you, but having read about 20 articles on the topic, here are my conclusions:

  1. A car with a darker exterior color will get hotter on the inside somewhat faster that a light colored vehicle standing out in the Phoenix summer sun. After a while, they both approximate the same temperature: hot.
  2. A vehicle with a darker interior color may get hotter on the inside somewhat faster that a vehicle with a light color interior.
  3. A vehicle with a leather interior that has been sitting in the Phoenix summer sun will burn your thighs (even through pants!) every time, no matter what color the leather seats are.
  4. 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. Here is what I think about that issue.
So there you have it. But what do you do with your dark blue car with leather interior? Should you immediately sell it because you are moving to the desert? Not unless you want to. There are plenty of ways to minimize the affects of summer heat on the temperature of your car. Frankly, 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. I recommend getting the car you like. If you have always wanted a dark cherry Cadillac, go for it. I happen to love leather interiors, but I know what to do to prevent butt-burn in the summer.

Let's face it -- when it is 115º outside in Phoenix, 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, here are some tips to help you minimize the impact of the heat in the summer.

Did you know that in one hour, the temperature inside a vehicle in the summer sun in the Phoenix area can rise more than 50ºF? Too many children (and pets) die, or are permanently brain damaged from the consequences of their body temperature rapidly rising. 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. Never. Not for a minute. I'm not joking.

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