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Regarding car safety in hot weather, buying a vehicle with light-colored seats is tempting, as most people believe it keeps a car’s interior cooler than darker-colored ones. However, it’s not really true. Both colors increase the internal temps so high that it could cause death for children or pets left alone in the vehicle under certain conditions.

Instead, you’re better off finding accessories to cool your car no matter which color the interior is. However, let’s look at how each color affects the interior and what makes the darker ones more beneficial. 

Do black car seats retain more heat than light seats?

Audi car seat color and material samples seen at a dealership in Baden-Wuerttemberg, Villingen-Schwenningen
Audi car seat color and material samples | Silas Stein/picture alliance via Getty Images

The answer to this question is yes, but it’s not by very much. According to a Consumer Reports test, the darker interior vehicles retain a minimal amount of heat more than the lighter vehicle. The editing team took a car representing dark and light seats and placed them outside. 

Both vehicles began the test with the insides measuring 78 degrees. When the team checked an hour later, both cars measured over 100 degrees. The dark-colored interior barely read more than the lighter one. In this case, what’s concerning is not the color of the seats, but the fact that the interior gets really hot, so be aware of children and pets when driving them around in the vehicle. Please don’t leave them unattended in the car.

Choosing the interior colors should primarily be about your preference and not the myth that darker colors retain more heat than lighter ones. You can always purchase items to help keep the interior cool, no matter your choice.

What advantage do black seats have over a lighter car interior?

The main reason why darker interiors are better than lighter ones is that they hide dirt, grime, and stains more than light-colored ones do. If you have gray, beige, or tan-colored seats, they will show anything, increasing the need to keep them clean. 

Black seats are less likely to show wear and tear as well. If you’re on the road and spill something on the lighter-colored seats, you need to pull over and try to wipe it up as soon as possible to minimize the stain. 

With darker seats, you don’t have to worry as much. You can wait to get home before cleaning it up because the stain won’t be as visible on dark material. You’ll find that the same is true for both leather and cloth seats. 

Why else should you choose a darker interior car color?

Dark interiors give off a more sporty vehicle look, while lighter interiors indicate more luxuriousness, adding to the plush feel of the interior. When purchasing a car, you could end up paying more to get lighter interior materials. Darker seats, especially cloth ones, are more likely to come at a cheaper price overall, according to Automoblog

Black or other dark-colored interiors tend to match almost any exterior color a vehicle comes with. Some combinations are even more appealing than others. For example, a yellow exterior and a black interior will be incredibly sharp.  

Automoblog even polled some of its Twitter followers to see what color they preferred for their vehicle’s interiors. Out of all the respondents to this particular poll, 51% chose the color black over tan, white, and red. 

When it comes to your vehicle’s interior, dark-colored materials don’t absorb much more heat than lighter ones. So, when choosing a car to purchase, don’t immediately rule out black seats because they offer more advantages than light-colored ones. 


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