5 Colors That Help Your Car’s Resale Value — and 8 That Hurt

The color of your car can have a big impact on how much money you can sell it for later. Consider these colors carefully.

5 Colors That Help Your Car’s Resale Value — and 8 That Hurt Photo by Lisa S. / Shutterstock.com

Here’s one more factor to consider before buying a car: whether its color boosts or dings its resale value.

The color of a car can impact how well it retains its value — and thus the car’s resale value — according to a new iSeeCars.com analysis.

The website crunched the numbers on some 2.1 million used car sales, looking at model year 2014 vehicles of all colors that sold between September 2016 and August of this year.

On average, those cars depreciated 33.1 percent in the first three years of ownership. But when iSeeCars.com broke them out by color, depreciation over the same time period ranged from as little as 27 percent for yellow vehicles to as much as 37.1 percent for gold vehicles.

5 car colors that help resale value

Yellow is one of five colors associated with below-average depreciation in the first three years of ownership:

  • Yellow: 27 percent depreciation
  • Orange: 30.6 percent
  • Green: 30.9 percent
  • White: 32.6 percent
  • Red: 32.7 percent

Yellow as well as orange and green are uncommon car colors — collectively comprising only 1.2 percent of all three-year-old cars. Phong Ly, CEO of iSeeCars.com, notes this could contribute to demand and thus help cars of these three colors maintain their value.

Even popular body styles have below-average depreciation rates among yellow vehicles. For example, in the first three years of ownership:

  • Yellow SUVs depreciate by an average of only 25.8 percent — compared with 30.9 percent for all SUVs.
  • Yellow pickup trucks depreciate by an average of only 10.8 percent — compared with 20.9 percent for all pickup trucks.

8 car colors that hurt resale value

Gold is one of eight colors associated with above-average depreciation in the first three years of ownership:

  • Gold: 37.1 percent depreciation
  • Purple: 36.7 percent
  • Beige: 36.6 percent
  • Silver: 34 percent
  • Black: 33.6 percent
  • Gray: 33.5 percent
  • Brown: 33.5 percent
  • Blue: 33.5 percent

What these numbers mean for you

Before weighing how the color of your next car will impact its resale value, account for whether you’re buying new or used. Not that we advocate buying brand-new vehicles — there’s a reason we list cars as No. 1 in “10 Things You Really Shouldn’t Buy New.”

As far as color is concerned, though, Ly explains:

“Consumers considering purchasing a new car may want to look for something in yellow, orange, or green, because they’ll get more value if they sell their car after a few years. However, consumers looking for a used car may want to consider something in gold, purple, or beige, because those cars will have already taken a larger proportion of the depreciation hit.”

If you’re in the market for a new car, whether used or brand-new, be sure to first check out:

What do you make of the potential impact of your car’s color on its resale value based on this analysis? Sound off below or on our Facebook page.

Karla Bowsher
Karla Bowsher
I’m a freelance journalist and former newspaper reporter who has covered both personal and public finance. I've worked for a top 50 major metro daily and a community newspaper as well as ... More


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