Cars in Singapore live a hard life.
Our island isn’t large, so many cars end up being driven less than 20km per trip. Such short distances don’t allow engines (and the engine oil) to reach their optimal temperatures.
Many drives also consist mostly of stop-and-go routines. Again, this is bad for engines. It also contributes to poorer fuel economy.
Then there’s our climate.
No thanks to global warming, temperatures of 35 and 36 degrees C have become the norm. Let’s not even get started on the humidity.
Most of us avoid the sun whenever we can. It’s so hot that even crossing the road at noon (which my colleagues and I do daily) makes you feel like melting.
Now imagine what your car must endure when it’s not in a sheltered carpark.
Here are several things you can do to protect your beloved ride.
1) WAX OR SEAL YOUR PAINT REGULARLY.
Our torrid and wet weather will wear down even the strongest car wax. Part of your car grooming process should be a weekly wash and wax session.
Without a coat of wax or sealant, your clear coat will wear out. When that’s gone, the paint itself will be exposed to the elements. If this happens, polishing cannot help.
Even a spray wax is better than nothing. Your paintwork will thank you if it could!
Or, consider having a ceramic coat professionally applied. Ceramic coats last much longer than waxes or sealants. Many of them only need to be topped up annually.
That would greatly simplify your car grooming process.
2) USE AN INTERIOR CLEANER AND/OR PROTECTANT.
Car grooming isn’t just about the vehicle’s exterior. Don’t leave the interior unprotected!
If your car has good quality window film installed, half the battle has been won. Quality automotive tint blocks UV rays that can age leather. It also blocks IR rays to keep the interior cooler.
But this won’t be enough to stop your dashboard from melting over time. You don’t want it turning into a gooey substance.
An interior protectant must be part of your car grooming kit. These usually come in sprays or wipes that can be used on plastic surfaces. Apply it to the dashboard, steering boss and door panels.
3) PAMPER YOUR LEATHER
Now that you’ve taken care of the plastics, it’s time to focus on the leather upholstery.
Invest in a leather cleaner and leather conditioner. Of course, you use the former before the latter. Some brands offer 2-in-1 formulas. This is an option for those who prefer a more convenient process.
Depending on how exposed your car is every day, we recommend detailing your upholstery every three to six months.
4) SHINE THOSE WHEELS AND TYRES!
If you don’t clean your wheels and tyres during the car grooming process, two things will happen.
One, road grime and brake dust will get “baked” onto the wheels. Apart from ruining their looks, these contaminants will take even more effort to remove later.
Two, your tyres will turn brown and tyre shine products won’t last long on them.
Remember, dirty wheels and tyres on a clean car is akin to wearing a tailored suit with ratty sneakers.
Before washing your car, spray a dedicated cleaner on your wheels and tyres. Let it sit for a minute, then scrub with a brush before rinsing thoroughly.
Shiny wheels complete the look of your car. Once your tyres are dry, apply tyre shine.
Tyre shine products come in several forms. Sprays are the most convenient, but some owners prefer gels or liquids that must be manually applied.