Smokers – Your Habit Will Ruin Your Car’s Value

With Stoptober campaign in full swing, smokers might be shocked to hear that their habit will drag down the value of their vehicle.

Knock Down Price

Philip Nothard, of vehicle valuation specialist cap hpi, said: “The first thing a car dealer will do when looking at a car being sold by a smoker is knock down the price of the part exchange. That’s simply down to the fact that a car for part-ex has to be made fit for re-sale and this becomes considerably more difficult and expensive when that car was previously driven by a smoker.”


The two main impacts smoking has on a vehicle are physical damage to the interior and smell – something many smokers are oblivious to or think can be resolved by using an air freshener.

Major Problem

Nothard added: “In the majority of case there is often no obvious damage, however, the smell of smoke is a major problem for motor dealers. Smoke becomes ingrained in the fabric of the car and climate control, requiring a professional valet and a special ‘bomb’ to clean the air conditioning. What many people don’t realise is that when tobacco is smoked in the enclosed environment of a car, air concentrations of tobacco smoke pollutants can become extremely high. Many of these pollutants attach to surfaces and build up in the internal systems from where they can be released back into the air over days and weeks after smoking. Opening the windows to let the smoke out is not the answer.”


Cleaning up the car can cost anything up to £150 and is still no guarantee that the vehicle will smell sufficiently fresh. In severe cases, the internal fabric and head cloth may have to be stripped out too – a process which can run into hundreds or thousands of pounds depending on the extent of the smell and the type of vehicle.

Nasty Impact

Concluded Nothard: “Some dealers tell us they won’t even buy cars from smokers because of the time and expense of getting the cleaned up car properly clean and ridding the interior of unpleasant odours. Everyone knows that smoking is bad for our health but few people realise that it can also have a surprisingly nasty impact on car values too. Unless consumers want to see the residual value of their vehicles literally go up in smoke I’d urge them to try to quit or at the very least refrain from smoking inside the car when driving.”