Buying Used Car That's Been Smoked in - Bad Idea?

Updated on April 16, 2012
A.K. asks from Minneapolis, MN
13 answers

We are test driving a car that is everything we want (kind, price, miles, options) BUT I noticed what looks to be a cigarette ash burn in the side of the door by the window. The car doesn't smell like smoke, but I don't want to be surprised by an awful smell when its 90 degrees and shut up or something.

Has anyone who is a non smoker purchased a smoked-in car? Did you regret it?

The car is about 1,000 cheaper than most others we've looked at. plus I could use this as a reason to talk the car dealer down further....

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answers from Detroit on

lol. And I thought I have heard it ALL!! wow.

ETA* - I just opened an umbrella in the house and stuck a pink sock in with the whites just to see what happened. Risssssky!

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from Omaha on

I hate smoke smell. It gives me headaches and makes me nauseous. So if it was a car I would be driving on a daily basis then I would not buy it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

There are ways to get rid of stale smoke...temporarily. (Car dealers use certain chemicals.) BUT not long term. The smoke gets down into the cushioning of the seats and in the AC and it will not come out. I promise....


1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Personally no way would I even consider it. The smoke not only gets in the upolstery but also in the air vents. Try turning on the heat and a/c and see what happens.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Madison on

Nope wouldn't do it...the smell of smoke will never/ever leave that car and don't let anyone let you believe that it will. You'd have to replace all of the carpeting and fabric in the car to get rid of it.

And I do not believe you could talk them down further for this reason, probably why it is already a grand lower.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pocatello on

when I was in high school my parents bought me a car that was smoked in. They just figured the smell would come out with good cleaning and an air freshener. Nope the smell never went any! Yes if the windows were down and I had just freshly cleaned it then I couldn't smell anything. But even in the winter with the windows always up you could smell the faint cig smell. So I wouldn't buy it. You'll always smell it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

In my experience, when a certain car is less then all the others...there is a reason...and it's not a positive one.

I would pass on the car. You will always smell the smoke.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I would think you'd have better luck if the seats are leather. Cloth really seems to hold the smell. Leather? Not so much.



answers from Tampa on

I'm a tobacco researcher and a non-smoker. If the car smelled like cigs, I would definitely not buy it. Are the seats leather or cloth? If cloth, the smell and smoke particles that go along with cig smoke will linger in it. You can detail it, but with cloth upholstery it may or may not come out. If there is no noticeable smell, it may be fine. I would make sure it is checked (like carmax cars) and some kind of warranty provided. As with any used car, there are risks the older it is and the more mileage. FYI, smokers as a group tend to be less careful and more risk-takers, with cars and other things. Good luck.


answers from Austin on

I could not do it.. When it gets super hot outside.. that smell is going to come back with a vengeance.


answers from Houston on

We bought a car just like that. It didn't smell like smoke... until we drove it off the lot and then the smoke smell came back super strong a few days later and it never left.


answers from Dallas on

Now, why do you think this car is $1000 cheaper.... any ideas, hints, reasons that this deal is too good to be true??

NO the smell will never go away, NO I would never compromise stinky cigarette odor over saving $1000.



answers from Columbia on


If you're a regular non-smoker, or a regular prior smoker - Sure. You'll air it out to soothe your conscious, buy a hanging air freshener and probably never think about it again.

I'm a prior smoker, driving a used car previously owned by a 2 pack a day smoker.

If you are vehement against smoking, or have a super sensitive sniffer - then just avoid the chaos in your mind and don't.

But YOU rode in the car. How did it smell? If it smells too perfumy/fruity, then even I would pass as they're trying to cover something up.

It also sounds like you've decided ($1k less, perfect everything, and you might even get more off if you mention smoking).

Only you know your mind well enough. Are you going to be up nights worrying about the weather and if the car smells? Or are you going to forget about it by the weekend?

Good luck! :)

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