Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

IR Reflective auto paint?

Does anyone know where to get “Infrared Reflective Paint” auto paint, or if it’s even available for cars?

If not, I can go with just plain white I guess (don’t care about the aesthetics too much). This is to paint on my crappy-looking but beloved little Chevy Metro I’m about to drive across the country. (by the way, any advice for desert driving welcome! Santa Fe, Flagstaff, Joshua Tree…)

Many thanks!

White is it…Santa Fe to Flagg is not really desert. You will be at high elevation and encounter afternoon thunderstorms…No blistering heat until you drop below 3000 feet. Then, plan on traveling at night.

Plan your entering the Southern CA area well. Pay attention to what time you will be entering the “abyss”.

Paint color has much less effect on heat inside the car than the amount of sun coming in the windows. If this is a big issue to you, consider window tinting to the max legal level.

You can also buy those small stick-on window shades that are legal in msot areas. They keep out the sun directly shining through your windows.

  1. Since the paint is on the outside of the car most of the heat it picks up immediately gets conducted away, especially when the car is moving. That’s why what gets through the window is much more important. Look for white window shades.

  2. IR reflective paint wouldn’t help much anyway if it’s visibly dark. That’s because the visible light would still get absorbed and converted to heat.

  3. Back in the early 80s I drove a 75 CVCC Civic across the southern US. If keeping cool is your priority drive from an hour before sundown to an hour after sunup.

“Infrared reflective paint” to combat heat?

Infrared is only a thin slice of electromagnetic energy at the frequency just outside of the visable spectrum. The entire spectrum creates heat.

Color is those portions of the visable spectrum reflected by the surface rather than absorbed. We’re talking energy here. What you want to do is reflect as much as possible rather than let it be absorbed and convertered to heat energy.

White is as close as you can get to the entire visable spectrum being reflected. Black is as close as you can get to the entire spectrum being absorbed and converted to heat energy.

Paint the car white. And look for blinds, shades, and’or aftermarket tint for the windows.

Thanks to everyone for responding! All your tips have been very helpful.

If you want to try something off the wall, get a can of spray adhesive and a roll of Reynolds wrap and do the roof…that’ll reflect IR, visible, you name it!

Now that is something Red-Green would approve of.

It’ll protect the paint too!

Well, at least until the trucker you just blinded with the reflecting sun rolls up your trunk.

How about mirror tinted windows, like “Cool Hand Luke”

There is an column in the most recent Car & Driver magazine. I think it was Patrick Bedard’s column. It is apparently too new to be on their web site. It seems California was getting ready to mandate IR reflective paint on cars to help reduce interior heat and thus save fuel due to reduced AC usage. They have delayed that regulation for now, but they are apparently going forward with a similar regulation for IR reflective window glass because the windows are really the big heat gain for the interior and the paint makes almost no difference.