National No Smoking Day falls on 9 March and serves as a reminder of the new law, which bans smoking in vehicles carrying children. Not only is this a timely health warning, but motor industry valuation specialist, cap, warns that smoking in the car can also damage the resale value of vehicles. With this in mind, cap urges car owners to stub out the cigarette for a healthier body and bank balance.
As of 1 October 2015, smoking at the wheel was banned when transporting children. And if drivers need another reason to quit, they should also be aware of the damage their habit can do to their vehicle and its resale price.
Even if there is no obvious damage, 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. This 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 cost hundreds of pounds.
“If you’re a smoker, the first thing a dealer will do is knock back the price of your part exchange,” explains Philip Nothard, cap consumer and retail editor. “That’s because a car for part-ex has to be made fit for re-sale – a process which is considerably more difficult and expensive when that car was previously driven by a smoker.
“For instance, a Ford Mondeo, 2011 11 with 50,000 miles on the clock from a non-smoking owner is valued at £6,600, but if it’s been smoked in, the value drops to £6175. That’s a loss of £425. Similarly, a Mercedes E class, 2012 61 at 40,000 miles is valued at £12,650 from a non-smoker, but smoke inside and it drops by £700 to £11,950.
“The March plate change brings an influx of cars into the market, so buyers can afford to be choosy. Faced with a fresh, clean interior with no stains, versus a vehicle smelling of stale smoke, buyers will choose the former, every time. Some dealers tell us they won’t even buy vehicles from smokers, because of the time and expense of getting the car properly clean and free of lingering smells. National No Smoking Day gives car owners a good incentive to stop smoking in the car, for their health and to preserve their vehicle, ready for resale.”