Smokers could lose £2,000 on car trade-in value

Heavy smokers could be in for a nasty surprise when they decide to sell their car. Their habit could see them up to £2,000 out of pocket, says Cap HPI. Its warning coincides with the 2019 ‘Stoptober’ anti-smoking campaign.

Cigarette burns are a big issue, but smoking in your car can also stain certain surfaces with ash or smoke, particularly if there’s a lot of light colours in your cabin.

Another issue with smoking in your car is the smell. It’s not necessarily the smoke in the air, it’s all the bits of the car it goes into. It’s absorbed by your seats, it circulates around your climate system. Traces of a cigarette smoked in a car’s cabin can be noticeable for days, or even weeks afterwards.

Those who don’t actually smoke in their car can still leave a nasty smell. If you’re a heavy smoker, you can bring the smell in with you. Smokers are often oblivious to the smell of it from overexposure, so can’t tell if their car has been affected.

Whether you’re a smoker or not, it’s a good idea to get the car thoroughly cleaned before selling it. A reasonable valet should set you back around £150 by Cap’s estimations. A deeper clean may be required, however, to eliminate smokey scents and stains.

“Smoking in cars is bad news as far as re-sale health is concerned,” said Fernando Garcia, consumer director at HPI.

“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.

“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.

“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.”