Smoking Can Seriously Damage the Wealth of Your Car

Automologist and ex-smoker, MAC, thinks not smoking will protect the value of your car, but gives you a solution if you absolutely have to. 

Back in the day, I drove a VW van. One of the alternative owner’s manuals that I had advised that the correct way to start a VW was to turn the ignition key, roll a cigarette, smoke it and only then place the vehicle in gear to start your drive. Yeah, I was a hippy once.

Fast forward forty-three years and this now confirmed non-smoker has some news for you. Smoking in your car will seriously undermine the value of your ride. The problem is so acute in Europe that many dealers will not touch a car if it had been driven by someone who regularly smokes in their car.

In the UK, some of the research I have done would indicate that this can reduce the value of a car by as much as GBP2,000. That is quite a lot, really. It would seem that most valuers will tell you that smoking does not just leave an unpleasant and lingering smell that many smokers are unaware of but can also damage your car.


Many smokers are of the belief that the air freshener they have bought will cover or eradicate the smell of the smoking but, news flash, it does not. So, smoking in your car is not just bad for your health, but also bad for the resale health of your vehicle.

One of the first things a dealer will do when he is looking at a part exchange deal is to try and knock down the price of the car from the customer. That is simply because he will want to be able to move the part-exchanged vehicle as fast as possible—oh, and make maximum profit. Now as fewer and fewer of us smoke, a car that smells like an ashtray has become very unappealing and so rehabilitating a car driven by a smoker has become expensive.

Long-term smoking in a car can coat sensitive electronics with all sorts of noxious deposits. In the majority of cases, though, the damage is the smell. It becomes ingrained in the very fabric of the car, particularly the air-con system, an area that has traditionally required a very expensive valet and specialist tools to clean out. Many of the foul-smelling noxious pollutants build up in these hard to reach places, releasing their smoky odour years after anyone has smoked in the car. Opening the windows is just not a solution.

There is one environmentally friendly way to improve a smoky car, and that is to use a product called Backtakleen, which has been proven to be just about the best in the market and will eradicate the smell of smokers. It will not, though, hide any of those tell-tale burns or staining. So, if you want to protect your investment, not smoking is probably the best way to go.

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