Car Abuse Britain

A Sorry Tale Of Pets, Puffing, Chavs And Prangs

If you inflict smoking, pets and prang-ridden parking upon your car, you could be wiping as much as 15% off its value to a potential buyer. Dents, stains, smells and bad ‘chavtomisation’ can make a car almost impossible to sell at its true value if owners don’t take simple steps to please the eyes and nose of a buyer.

That’s the advice following new research from Network Q, the UK’s number one used car retailer, whose cars have to pass a rigourous 114-point test before they are suitable for resale.

According to Network Q’s 440 retailers, the five most common forms of ‘car abuse’ that they encounter through the 114-point check are:

1. Reckless driving - One in three used cars suffer the consequences of bad parking and careless driving. In the long run ignoring even the most minor of bumps can have a damaging effect on the value of the car costing £150 per panel.

2. Smoking damage - Affects 1 in 5 used cars. Non-smokers simply cannot be persuaded to purchase a car where there are traces of smoke present. Abuse of the most terrible kind because without professional valeting it is almost impossible to eradicate. Beware of the seller who fragrances a car to hide the ashtray aroma. Combined with burnt upholstery and discoloured interiors, it can cost hundreds of pounds to permanently repair.

3. Pets and pooches - The dog is not the best friend to 1 in 10 cars. Turning a car into a mobile dog basket can make it unsellable. Doggy smells, gnawed or ripped interiors and much worse are driving away potential buyers and cost as much as £500 to repair.

4. Chavtomisation - Network Q retailers estimate 1 in 40 cars are abused by dodgy chav customisation from go-faster stripes and Burberry style seat covers to a turbo engine. The addition of non-approved body kits, DIY paint and slap dash repair jobs on a car can have a significant impact costing anything from £200 - £2000 to put right for a new owner.

5. Spills, stains and bellyaches - Network Q estimate 1 in 50 cars suffer from families being carefree with food and drink. Spilt drinks, especially milk and alcohol, or dried sick can prove to be a disaster – seats and carpets can be washed or even replaced with no guarantees of success.

Stuart Sims of Network Q explains, ‘You have to prepare a house for sale and it’s the same with a car. People don’t want a car that has been abused by a careless owner. Car buyers need peace of mind that it has been checked and tested for these so they don’t get any nasty surprises when they get it home.’

‘There are simple measures owners can take to ensure that their car retains its value and is looked after properly. For example a simple valet of £75 could be the difference between making a sale or not,’ added Sims.

24 February 2005 Staff

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