Ever wondered why the paint on red and black cars tends to fade faster than say green and blue? There is a scientific explanation. Racing red and glossy black are two of the most popular colour choices for luxury cars but without regular machine polishing, both tend to lose their lustre. Find out why black and red cars are more prone to fading and how the shine can be restored.
Why do red and black cars fade more quickly than others?
To understand why red and black paints fade more quickly than others we need to delve back into a school science lesson. If your eyes have already glazed over you may wish to skip the next few paragraphs.
You’ll remember from physics lessons that all colours absorb light from the sun. Red paint absorbs all the colours of the spectrum except red light which it reflects. Blue paint absorbs all the colours of the spectrum except for blue light which it reflects. The light which reflects hits the retina of our eyes, and unless you’re colour blind, that’s how you perceive colour.
The different colour lights on the spectrum have different wavelengths. Long wavelengths have less energy than short wavelengths.
Red has a very long wavelength and blue is very short. Because red paint absorbs blue light and others which are shorter in wavelength, the more energy it absorbs compared to other colours means the red pigment in the paint is eroded faster.
There is no such thing as black light So black paint absorbs all light – which is why black objects heat up very quickly – hence why black paint tends to fade quickly.
Remember the milky pink cars we used to see on the roads?
Most of us have probably seen a former red Astra or Fiesta on the road, which has turned a dirty salmon pink. Honda and Mazda models were also previously prone to suffering the same fate. This is because the quality of red pigment used by certain car manufacturers only improved from the late 1990s onwards, which explains why the red motors of today retain their vibrancy much better than the ones that were abundant on the roads until just recently.
As for black, well black cars tend to be among the hardest to look after and show the most flaws in their paintwork. There remains a long-held muse among the car buying public that “you’ll only ever own one black car”. Black cars show up every scratch and speck of dust and fine swirls in the paintwork can be particularly obvious.
So why do we still buy so many red and black cars?
Black and red are still among the most popular colour choices for car buyers. Black was the second most popular colour choice in the UK in 2019, just behind silver and a little ahead of red. The reasons for this remain compelling.
A glossy, jet black motor oozes class. Large luxury cars like Range Rovers and Bentleys tend to look best in understated colours which is why so many on the roads are black. Black is also psychologically perceived as denoting elegance, quality and status.
We view red as representing excitement, energy and power. As James May once remarked, if you’re pondering purchasing a Ferrari ”you can have one but only if it’s red.” Research has only shown that Tesla models in red do best at holding their value.
How machine polishing can restore faded car paint
Neglected paint can be unattractive and reduce the resale value of your car. In most cases, machine polishing is the only way to effectively restore a car back to its shiny black or flame red. An annual machine polish can be the best way to restore depth and clarity to the vehicle’s paintwork.
A machine polish exfoliates your car and removes contamination and damage to reveal a factory-finish shine once complete. The process involves a minuscule amount of paint being removed from the surface of the vehicle using different grades of abrasive polishes which are applied and worked into the surface using a specialist polishing machine.
Can you get good results from a DIY machine polish?
You can perform a DIY job and invest in a machine polisher yourself. But machine polishing is a labour-intensive process and would require setting a weekend aside to complete the job. In truth, machine polishing is usually best only performed by an amateur if they’re super confident in their abilities to achieve a good result and to do so safely.