With the annual quit smoking campaign Stoptober about to begin, vehicle data and valuation specialist hpi has issued a warning to motorists over how smoking can seriously damage their car’s health, estimating that a car driven by a heavy smoker could easily lose up to £2000 at trade-in. Our motoring journalist, Tim Barnes-Clay, reports.
On the issue of how smoking in cars can drag down the resale price of a vehicle, Fernando Garcia, consumer director at hpi said: “Smoking in cars is bad news as far as re-sale health is concerned. 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 often unaware of or think can be resolved by using an air freshener.
Added Fernando Garcia: “In the majority of cases 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 system, requiring a professional valet and a specialist tool 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. Adding to the list of costs which drag the re-sale price down include repairing any marks, stains and cigarette burns to dash and upholstery.
Concluded Fernando Garcia: “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.”
Stoptober, the 28-day national stop smoking challenge runs until the end of October.