Trucks

Is This Really the Worst Truck Color You Can Buy?

Elegance. Power. Strength. Mystery. Absence of color. The color black signifies all these things, and more. It’s a classic truck color, and its popularity as the third top color for pickups bears this out.

The impact that a black truck can have hasn’t been lost on manufacturers, either. Offerings such as the Ford Ranger with the Black Appearance Package, the Honda Ridgeline Black Edition, and the Ram 1500 Black Edition prove that this color has great appeal among buyers.

But some significant drawbacks are tied to the exciting, badass aura of this truck color. And because choosing a color is a big decision among the many that you’ll make when buying a truck, it’s good to know what you’re committing to. You may love the look of a blacked-out truck. But you’ll probably want to balance that emotion with practicality and think through this color’s downsides carefully.

It’s sexy, subtle, but not so safe

According to the VEHQ.com website, a strong correlation exists between vehicle color and safety. Lighter truck colors such as white, yellow, and beige are easier to see in low-light conditions such as at night and in fog, rain, and snow. These colors, therefore, have higher visibility ratings.

Conversely, black is considered to be the least safe color. Black vehicles are difficult to see at night and in inclement weather. These trucks also tend to blend in with the black surfaces of many roads. Other colors that have similar low visibility ratings are blue, red, and green.

The accident stats speak for themselves. A 2007 study completed at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia reported that black vehicles are 12 percent more likely to get in crashes than white vehicles in normal daylight conditions. At dawn or dusk, the crash risk for black vehicles increases to 47% percent as compared to white vehicles.

You love this truck color, but so do thieves

Black, along with white and silver, are mainstream colors that have high resale value. For that reason, insurance companies caution that these are the colors that thieves can’t resist. So making sure that you theft-proof your Onyx Black GMC Sierra with a warning device, tracking device, or security system is a smart move.

The one important upside here is that black is a color that many other drivers want. If and when you do decide to sell or trade-in your truck, your resale value should be quite good.

It’s getting hot in here

A black truck can literally be a hot truck. The black paint pulls in a disproportionate amount of the sun’s rays. It doesn’t mean that the paint will fade faster than another. But your truck’s exterior surfaces — including those midnight accents — will be painfully hot to the touch. 

The interior of the truck takes a beating from the sun, too. Doug DeMuro of Auto Trader ran a comparison test to check the amount of heat inside the cabins of a white vehicle and a black one.

After letting the vehicles bake in the sweltering Georgia summer sun for a few hours, the temperature inside the white vehicle measured 113 degrees. The temperature of the black car’s cabin was a blistering 130 degrees.

When it’s hot outside, expect to run the air conditioner more to keep your murdered-out truck comfortable. Cranking up the A/C to cool a stifling pickup cabin has a consequence that goes beyond the initial swelter. It can negatively affect your fuel economy as well.

Also, you should expect it to take longer to cool the cabin. The Auto Trader test showed that a black vehicle cools down less quickly than a white one after running the air conditioning for a short time. The white car was seven degrees cooler than the black one after 10 minutes.

On the other hand, a black truck stays a smidge cozier in sunny, cold weather than other truck colors. However, it’s not a huge advantage. Common sense will tell you that the heat a black truck attracts is not going to make it so much warmer that you won’t need to run your heater at all.

Keeping it beautiful is hard work but might be worth it

There’s nothing more striking than a gleaming black truck. But owners of these trucks will tell you that, if you go with black, the upkeep is almost constant. 

Auto detailers warn that black paint is the hardest to keep clean. It attracts dust almost immediately after the truck is washed. The color black also exaggerates even the tiniest paint flaws.

You may be washing, waxing, and buffing your black pickup a good deal more than if you chose another color. But for some owners, the glossy appeal of this truck color is well worth its downsides, including the extra elbow grease needed to maintain it.

If you love this look, as we do, and you’re ready to take on both the caution and the commitment it requires, then maybe it’s time to check out that Toyota Tundra in Midnight Black Metallic or that new all-black Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD Carhartt Edition.