How clean is your car? According to a study issued by Salford University, your motor is actually more than 50% dirtier than everyday items such as smartphones and keyboard.

Commissioned by online vehicle purchasing company, SellCar.co.uk, the study paints a worrying picture of the hygiene standards of our cars.

The Salford University experiment revealed that swabs gathered from around the handbrake and other nooks and crannies of cars contained bacteria carrying a higher density than common objects such as smartphone screens (2,144% more) and computer keyboards (55% more).

In contrast, motorists seem to think that their cars are one of the cleanest items they own, with less than a tenth correctly identifying it as a potential carrier of germs. Worrying, with the season of colds and flu just around the corner…

The research revealed that more than 80% of motorists only clean the inside of their cars once a month or even less, whilst almost two thirds give little thought to the germs that could be festering in their cars.

“When you think of all the unhygienic things you see people doing whilst driving – picking their noses, coughing all over the steering wheel and eating food – we really ought to be cleaning the insides our cars more… particularly the hand contact surfaces,” warned Dr Lisa Ackerley, “The Hygiene Doctor”.

“People may be amazed that germs can be passed from human to human via everyday surfaces. All sorts of bacteria and viruses can get into cars and, which can linger on the steering wheel, gear stick, seats and other surfaces allowing them to be passed on to passengers and other drivers of the car.”

Failing to take good care of your car can also have a big impact on its resale value.

“Cars that are not taken care of will depreciate at a record rate in comparison to those that are regularly maintained,” said Mark Rogers of SellCar.co.uk.

“It may start with a few germs and not clearing out the rubbish, but this can easily lead to odour lingering in the car that cannot be dispelled or rust accumulating on edges that will put off any prospective buyer and ultimately cause a car to devalue.”