How can I avoid getting a car wash every week?
October 5, 2006 7:40 PM   Subscribe

NewCarFilter: What colors are easiest to keep clean?

I'm going to be purchasing a new Mazda3 Sedan in December, and I'm actually keen on a few of the colors. The deciding factor in which I pick (between White, Galaxy Gray, Sunlight Silver, and Aurora Blue) might just be the one that's easiest to maintain.

I've always considered black to be the hardest to keep clean and silver the easiest, but I've also heard that white is very easy to keep clean.

Is there any truth to any or all of this? What are your experiences with your color?
posted by Ekim Neems to Travel & Transportation (23 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I think white and silver are easy. The easiest color by farI have ever had was a champagne gold-like color.

Generally, darker colors seem to show dirt worse. They also tend to show scratches worse as well, because the metal is of a much lighter color than the paint.

Good luck with the new car.
posted by 4ster at 7:46 PM on October 5, 2006

My parents have had a long string of either light-blueish or silver vehicles, and those have always seemed to look much cleaner than any other color. I'm not sure about white since I've never owned a white car myself, but it seems to me that a lot of the white cars out there always look dirty.

I have a black car, and about two days after washing it, it looks terrible again. Hardly even makes sense to wash the dang thing at that rate. :P

So FWIW, I'd suggest going with either the grey, silver, or blue, as long as it's a fairly light shade.
posted by flod logic at 7:53 PM on October 5, 2006

BTW - the Mazda dealership where I bought my car (nowhere near you) offers free car washes for life. Free car washes make the car pretty easy to keep clean, regardless of colour.
posted by crazycanuck at 8:15 PM on October 5, 2006

White cars are REALLY easy to keep looking clean. Same with silver, though any panel work (fixing scratches, respraying, repairs after dings etc) on metallic paint finishes tends to be more expensive than it is on non-metallic paint finishes. White cars also tend to have better re-sale value (in Australia, anyway). I'm not sure whether or not this has anything to do with how easy it is to maintain their good looks, but it seems to me that it might.
posted by bunglin jones at 8:27 PM on October 5, 2006

I had a black one, and yes, it was tough to keep clean. That's about all I can say on the matter though, aside from enjoy your 3! They're wonderful cars. Unfortunately I had to sell mine when I moved to do my PhD, but I miss it quite a lot.
posted by synecdoche at 8:35 PM on October 5, 2006

i have a navy blue car and it doesn't like to stay freshly washed either. it's also covered in little scratches. on the other hand, in my opinion, whenever it starts to look too filthy the rain comes along and spiffs it right up.

in conclusion, another vote for sunshine silver.
posted by amethysts at 9:06 PM on October 5, 2006

We've owned a champagne colored car for 6 years now and I don't think I've ever washed it ;) It just never looks dirty.

White cars are by far the most popular color choice but I don't know why.
posted by LadyBonita at 10:32 PM on October 5, 2006

Silver or Gray are probably the best since from my own experience black cars tend look get dirty quickly, because they lose their shine. White cars are relatively easy to keep clean, but scratches and dings tend to be very visible on them. When I decide to buy my next car it's probably going to be gray or a light blue shade.
posted by tradeyourselfin at 11:30 PM on October 5, 2006

May I ask: how does a colour like Ferrari red fare?
posted by madman at 12:43 AM on October 6, 2006

I hear that the metallic orange you see a lot these days does pretty well at not showing dirt.
posted by kindall at 12:47 AM on October 6, 2006

I've owned 3 cars in my life: a white one, a black one, and a red one. The white and black ones? Filthy, constantly needing to be washed. The red one? I've washed it twice in a year.

I'm not sure where this "white is super easy to keep clean" is coming from. I guess it depends on where you are, but this was definitely not the case during Canadian winter.
posted by antifuse at 1:39 AM on October 6, 2006

As antifuse just implied, your region can have a lot to do with how your car looks. In places where winter roads are sanded instead of salted, white cars are impossible to keep clean. And when I lived in Oklahoma, the red dirt showed up quite well on white cars and my black car stayed looking fairly clean. I think a color like blue or green is your best bet overall because no one knows exactly what shade it is supposed to be!
posted by wallaby at 3:28 AM on October 6, 2006

Am I going insane? Why would dirt show up more easily on black than white? Most dirt is dark.
posted by wackybrit at 3:41 AM on October 6, 2006

wackybrit, have you ever seen a car that has a haze of dirt on it, the kind thick enough that you can write in it? People used to write "wash me" on my cousin's (dark) car. Those tend to be dark cars--that kind of haze isn't as prominant on our white car.
posted by needs more cowbell at 3:54 AM on October 6, 2006

Another vote for silver - although mine is termed "magnetic silver" in the dealer catalogue and proved to be magnetic to other cars for the first couple of years. Metallic paint is going to cost you extra if you need any kind of bodywork done, even if less idiots run into you than I've encountered.

I rarely clean it as it just seems to encourage collisions, and it just goes from sparkly silver to a pale grey colour that still manages to look decent.

However, be aware that silver (or grey cars) are like stealth camoflage in bad weather and that no-one will see you unless you have all your lights on and a small brass band handy. Consider hiring a man to run in front of you with a red flag.
posted by ninazer0 at 3:58 AM on October 6, 2006 [1 favorite]

My husband has a silver 3 and it looks pretty good most of the time - neither sparkly clean or grossy dirty. He loves his car, BTW, and so do I when I get to drive it - it's really fun - so hopefully you will be happy with your choice.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 4:10 AM on October 6, 2006

I have a red car and it never looks clean - it's not as bad as a charcoal-silver car I've had, or our purple Scion, but it just always looks dusty. My husband has the same car in silver and you can't tell it's dirty until the windows are filthy.
posted by Lyn Never at 5:27 AM on October 6, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone. I'm thinking I'll go with the dark gray or the silver at this point, even if the white does jump out at me the most. It looks like there are a lot of varying opinions, so I wonder if it does indeed have a lot to do with weather/region.
posted by Ekim Neems at 6:13 AM on October 6, 2006

Am I going insane? Why would dirt show up more easily on black than white? Most dirt is dark

It does depend on where you live...if it snows where you live, then for a good part of the year you'll get salt spray on your car. Didn't stop me from buying a metallic red car in MN, but I wash it all the time in the winter.
posted by cabingirl at 6:51 AM on October 6, 2006

Note that gray, silver, or blue are considered the most dangerous colors because they're the hardest to see in marginal conditions. And bright orange, the safest.
My car is blue though, 'cause it's my favorite color.
posted by Rash at 10:13 AM on October 6, 2006

White cars are by far the most popular color choice

Nope, silver. In the overall US, anyway.
posted by pmurray63 at 3:07 PM on October 6, 2006

(You have good taste in cars - I have the 3 in black, and yes, it looks AWESOME for about an hour after I wash it.) I would recommend the white, just because I think it makes the car look more like a 3-series BMW and less like Yet Another Civic (no offense to your husband, Sweetie Darling).
posted by cebailey at 8:31 AM on October 9, 2006

I once knew a guy who had several vehicles at any given time, and he refused to own a white car because "that's what color rentals are." (I countered with "I always seem to get a red one" but his mind was made up.)
posted by Rash at 10:01 AM on October 9, 2006

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