If you bought an HDB flat, how often would you stand in the corridor admiring your apartment?
You’d probably use the corridor just as a lift lobby connection.
The same goes for a new car.
You like its exterior styling, yes, but ultimately you’re going to spend most of your time inside the cabin, doing the motoring that the motorcar is designed to do.
And it would motor for up to 10 years if you keep it till the COE expires.
Assuming you clock an average of 50km per day, the car would have travelled over 180,000km in those 10 years.
Most motorists don’t keep their cars that entire period, admittedly, but a mileage of 20,000km per year is typical for most cars in Singapore.
This is why the usual warranty coverage for a new car is three years or 60,000km.
Put another way, the typical driver here spends up to an hour or two behind the wheel each day.
This is why cleaning your car interior is very important.
Imagine how many times the doors of your car are opened and closed over those 20,000km.
The windows, too, would be lowered and raised countless times.
The seats are occupied, vacated and re-occupied ad infinitum.
The dashboard, switchgear and cabin fittings are used and reused over and over again.
It’s a real torture test for the interior.
Using the following pointers when cleaning your car interior, you can help the cabin survive all that punishment.
It won’t feel brand new forever, but at least it would still look good long after the new car smell has gone.
1) CLEAN THE CABIN
Periodically cleaning your car interior is a must for car owners.
Apart from aesthetics, it will prevent pests, too.
There are countless products that clean, preserve and dress your room on wheels.
If you don’t own a car vacuum, you can always remove your floor mats and shake them out.
Or, whack them against a wall or pillar.
If you’re too busy or lazy to do it yourself, at least send your ride for professional grooming every quarter or so.
2) APPLY “SUNBLOCK”
Keeping your car interior clean is great, but what happens when it keeps getting baked?
Parked under the harsh Singapore sun, the car’s cabin can get as hot as 80 deg C, accelerating interior wear and tear.
Beat the heat by having professionals install quality solar film, like 3M’s Crystalline.
3) DEFEND THE DASH
Spread a nice mat or a velour cover over the dashboard to protect it from sunlight, dust and dirt.
Custom-cut covers fit better than universal ones.
Employ lambswool or velvet for a touch of cockpit luxury.
“Buff” the dash periodically or use an interior detailer to help it and other plastic trimmings resist UV rays.
4) WEAR “SUNGLASSES”
Supplement the solar window film with collapsible sunshades, including a large “accordion” affair for the front windscreen when parked in the open.
Various designs, some cuter than others, are available at the usual auto shops.
5) SHIRT HAPPENS
Changeable and washable seat covers extend the lifespan of upholstery, especially the fabric type.
If you’re cheap or eco-conscious, just let the seat wear that unwanted T-shirt.
Just remember to change it regularly as part of your car interior cleaning regime.
6) PLASTIC FANTASTIC
The oldest trick in the book and arguably the dumbest, too.
This calls for all those pre-delivery plastic sheets inside the car to stay on until they become dirty.
Only then do you take them out, “exposing” the cabin.
7) RUG REHAB
Keep the footwells healthy and your feet happy with a good set of car carpets, colour-coded or otherwise.
These maintain the floorboards’ original condition and can be easily replaced when they’re worn out.
8) WIPE IT QUICK
Keeping your car interior clean means removing wet mishaps as soon as possible, using a commercial cleaner and a cleaning cloth.
Coffee, chocolate, soft drinks and pen ink could leave ugly, permanent stains behind.