Sure-fire ways of devaluing your car REVEALED

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Sure-fire ways to devalue your car: Buyers expect to pay 15% less for used vehicles that have been smoked in, towed caravans or carried pets

  • Nine in 10 buyers say they are less likely to consider a vehicle that had been smoked in over one that hasn’t, What Car? has found
  • Three in five are less likely to want a car previously used to tow a caravan
  • Half of drivers would avoid a used car that has been used to transport pets
  • Some 17% don’t want motors that have had young children in the back

For those looking to get as much money for their current car when it’s time to sell, a list of sure-fire things to avoid has been highlighted by drivers currently in the market for a second-hand motor.

Almost nine in 10 said they are less likely to consider a vehicle that had been smoked in over an identical model that hasn’t.

Meanwhile, three in five are less likely to want a model that had been used to tow a caravan or trailer, half would avoid cars previously used to transport pets and 17 per cent don’t want motors that have had young children in the back.

The survey of 2,668 car buyers conducted by What Car? revealed that motorists would expect to pay up to 15 per cent less for a second-hand vehicle for the reasons listed.

Smoking is not just bad for your health – it’s awful for the residual value of your car: In-market vehicle buyers say they would expect to pay 15% less for a used motor that’s been smoked in

Smoking and pet ownership were the biggest problems for used buyers, with 85 per cent of buyers expecting to pay less for cars that had been smoked in compared to an otherwise identical vehicle, and 65 per cent expecting to pay less for cars that had transported pets, the report revealed.

When asked how much less they’d expect to pay for a vehicle that was owned by someone who frequently lit up at the wheel, two in five – the largest proportion – said they would expect to see the list price reduced by 15 per cent or more compared to one that hadn’t been smoked in.

More than a quarter said they would expect to pay between 5 and 10 per cent less for a vehicle that still smells of cigarettes and one in five would offer between 10 and 15 per cent less than they would for a motor with a pristine interior.

When asked how much less they would expect to pay for a vehicle that had transported pets, the biggest proportion of the drivers polled – 38 per cent – said they would anticipate handing over between 5 and 10 per cent less compared to an otherwise identical model.

Buyers were slightly more tolerant of young children and towing.

Over 60% of second-hand car buyers expect to pay less for a used vehicle if they know it has been used to tow a caravan or trailer in the past

Over 60% of second-hand car buyers expect to pay less for a used vehicle if they know it has been used to tow a caravan or trailer in the past 

Concerns around cleanliness and extra wear and tear from transporting young children and pets in a car could also impact residual values, the poll found

Concerns around cleanliness and extra wear and tear from transporting young children and pets in a car could also impact residual values, the poll found

Three in five buyers would want to pay less for a car had been used for towing, presumably due to the perceived additional stresses put on the vehicle by hitching a caravan or trailer to it for long periods.

More than two in five (42 per cent) of motorists told What Car? they think they are within their right to expect to pay less for a car that had transported kids in the rear seats over concerns about additional wear and cleanliness.

Steve Huntingford, editor, What Car?, said: ‘Mileage, service history and overall condition are usually the big factors that determine a used car’s price, but as our research shows, habits of previous owners can have a significant impact on the perceived value of a used car.’

The study comes as market data for June showed that the average price of a second-hand car has risen year-on-year for the 27th consecutive, reaching a whopping £17,252.

This is £4,500 higher than the average used car price in June 2019, which shows the astronomical increase in values since the pandemic.

Auto Trader, which calculated average second-hand prices from 900,000 cars listed on its website last month, said drivers should not expect to see values to go into reverse any time soon.

This is because the ‘same market dynamics that helped fuel the record acceleration in growth are still at play,’ with the car sales platform referencing the ongoing shortage of new models that is keeping demand for second-hand vehicles at record levels.

‘Although the huge growth in used car prices we’ve been tracking over the last few years may continue to soften over the coming months, there’s certainly no indication in current data that prices are set to tumble,’ explained Richard Walker, Auto Trader’s director of data and insights. 

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