Getting rid of smoking smells

What are people's experiences with getting rid of smoking smells in cars' interiors? I have found an almost ideal used car that I want to buy (2000 BMW 323it, manual, sport pkg, black with tan leather, 55
kmiles) but it stinks. I'm very hesitant to get it as I'm not sure I could get completely rid of the smell.
The car is at a dealer. Would it make sense to make an offer conditional to them having the car professionally cleaned so that it's acceptable to me?
Thanks for all the input!
Ignasi.
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The only way to remove smoking smells from a car is to buy a new one and never allow anybody to smoke in it. Your used BMW is far from ideal. Keep looking. -Dave
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Ignasi. wrote:

It will be professionally "masked" which will wear off in - oh, a day or so, give or take.
Run from that permanently ruined POS.
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The car you have described is suitable for purchase by a heavy smoker only.
It is not ideal for you, much as you might hope so. You have our condolences.
-Russ.
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On Thu, 30 Mar 2006, Ignasi. wrote:

You're right. You can't. Don't buy it.

No, because all such a cleaning will do is temporarily mask the odour. It *WILL* come back.
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Chances are, they've already tried cleaning out the smoke smell, and the way it is now is the best it will get.
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Timothy J. Lee wrote:

heavily of smoke when I bought it. I tried every trick in the book. (i.e. febreeze, air fresheners, washing every surface including carpet, seats and headliner)
Each thing that I tried helped a little bit. But the thing that really worked was time. After about 6 months of all of the above , and leaving the windows open as much as I could, the smell finally went away.
So, the answer is: If its a really good deal and you can wait six months for the smell to receed: go for it.
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6 months of killer migraine headaches? No thanks.
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I think in 6 months you probably just didn't notice it anymore. Ask any passenger if they still smell it.
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Or you could spend 6 months trying to find a similar deal that doesn't stink so badly, and probably be successful.
-Russ.
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Ignasi. wrote:

The smell has permeated plastic, fabric, porous metal, the air conditioning ducts, everywhere. Unless you can put up with the odor, just look for one where the owner took better care of the car.
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I doubt this is possible, but you never know. Why don't you tell the car dealer that he has a sale, but only if he can get rid of the smoke smell to your satisfaction. What's the worst that can happen if you try that tactic?
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The cleaning will last just long enough for the paperwork to sign, and then he'll be stuck with a permanently stinky car. -Dave
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Ignasi. wrote:

Hell, it's been nigh on 35 years, but my first car was a former 'smoker's den'. I remember hitting it with a spray cleaner (409?) at the time and seeing tobacco-colored drops forming on the windows and headliner. I got it cleaned up pretty well, but I frankly don't remember how well. I wasn't nearly as sensitive to smoke then as I am now. While I never smoked myself, I hung around in bars & stuff. I think a thorough cleaning and treatment with good leather cleaners - and some time for it to dissipate - will probably do the job.

I doubt they'd take a conditional offer, but they may knock off an amount to pay for *several* good cleanings, including maybe one in advance (if they haven't already done one - it's possible they haven't, if it 'looked good' when they got it in) to see if it will work at all. I'd certainly ask, if you really want this one. -- C.R. Krieger (Been there, done that)
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car, the other had a pristine ask tray. We took the pristine one, even though the dealer was willing to knock a couple thousand off the smoker's car. If you can stand it, I and my wife can't, go for it.
BTW, it may have been a mistake, now we own two green Subarus (Subari?). I like the cars but I keep getting the keys mixed up.
Doug
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Surely time would cure it.. every couple of weeks a big shampoo and after a 3 or 4 months it would go.. After all smoke comes out of clothes... you can get rid of it in houses, they're far more "permiable" to smells.. I think so long as you're thorough.. you'd get rid of it eventually..
But I do agree with some other statements here... it will take a long time to get rid of totally.. and you could find a car without this...
The other thing.. that perhaps no one has thought of.. is that.. a smokey car like this .. will make your clothes smell of it too.. so it will travel.. bear that in mind!
Best option would be to soak the thing in as much cleaner as possible then dry it thoroughly, but and leave the cleaner in it for hours to work it's way through.. use stain removers.. you can get some good expanding foam ones.. they work nicely.. spray and rub them in really firmly.. then rinse out generously.. and some serious detergents.. lots of airfreshners.. clean absolutely everything.. things like the roof padding especially. .and carpets.. the leather will come up easy..
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After all this cleaning work and wait for months for the smell to go advice I cannot help thinking that it will take less effort and time to find a better non-smokers car to buy. Should be plenty of circa year 2000 examples around.
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Exactly right.
Underneat the carpets, behind a barrier of the plasticized layer behind the carpet itself you'll find bonded foam underpadding. It takes a *long* time to impregnate this with a smell, and a similarly long time to get rid of it. Pulling it out to clean is possible, but very complicated and time consuming... seats, center consoles, various trim bits all come out, then remove the carpeting, and the cleaning and drying process is difficult and takes a long time also as the foam is very thick in spots. Dry it incorrectly and you'll have a brand new smell a few weeks later, that's as bad as smoke in it's way.
Having to do that job would easly make any costs savings in buying the car insubstantial.
-Russ.
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Only time will make it go away. A good cleaning of most surfaces and leaving the windows open as much as possible WILL get rid of the smell. It will take time.
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