Here we go again. The Movement Control Order is back in full effect for most Malaysians today. Officially, this stay-at-home directive is to last for the next 14 days but if last year's experience has taught us anything, it's that an extension is probable if we are to effectively curb the spread of Covid-19 in the local community. Frustrating as it may be, we all have to do our part in this fight against the pandemic. Fortunately, we're no longer in the early 1900s, and there are plenty of things car enthusiasts can do from the comfort of our living rooms as we patiently wait for things to improve on the front line.
1. Wash your own car
Keeping our cars clean is something many owners do regularly, but few choose to get their hands dirty themselves. This is particularly prevalent in urban environments where dwellers of high-rise buildings find it much more convenient to drive through the nearest 'RM15 wash+vacuum' service than to drive out to and potentially queue for the communal wash bay.
Washing your car with your own two hands can be somewhat rewarding and therapeutic, though. Finicky owners should be able to relate, as doing so reveals many hidden aspects and imperfections that might otherwise go unnoticed; things like which vent in the front grille actually lets air in and which doesn't, plus dents and stone chips you'll not likely spot unless you're low down trying to get grime off the wheels or side skirts.
The icing on the cake, however, is admiring the finished product with the knowledge that it's all your own doing, especially if you went the extra mile with a proper polish.
2. Go for a virtual drive
Whether it's on the neon-decorated roads of Cyberpunk 2077's Night City or a proper race track that's as real yet fictional as Hanoi's scrapped F1 street circuit, driving your heart out, well beyond the permitted 10km radius, is not an issue if you're doing it virtually. Video games have proven to be one of the most effective forms of escapism during lockdown and the good news for car lovers is that games with an entertaining driving element are abundant across all platforms.
3. Configure your dream car
Car showrooms may be closed for the time being, but if you're in the market for something premium that can be made-to-order, something like a brand-new Porsche Taycan Turbo S or an Aston Martin DBX for instance, you can still play kid in a candy store by going to town with their respective online configurators. If you have the money, there's no such thing as a colour too gaudy or a rim with too many spokes. It's a pity that we can't have the same degree of customisation for more mainstream cars, but such are the privileges reserved for the wealthy. Toying around with the configurators is as far as many of us can get to living the dream, though.
Click HERE to have a go at what you think Sebastian Vettel's company car should look like.
4. Stock up on auto parts and essentials online
Locally-operating e-commerce sites like Lazada and Shopee, as well as global platforms such as eBay and Amazon are home to some of the best deals you can find for your car. The internet is a treasure trove for obscure car parts - things that your regular mechanic may struggle to source from their supplier or neighbourhood chop shop - and often at a bargain, at that.
Buying basic supplies like engine oils and other lubricants online also eliminates the risk of falling victim to counterfeit products, which are rampant in the Malaysian aftermarket landscape. It's one of the reasons why even corporations as big as Shell peddle their latest range of products in the same marketplace where you'll find RM5 tees.
Screencap courtesy of Shopee.
5. Pick up a new hobby
Read a book, learn how to cook your favourite meal, do some gardening... surely having something else to do apart from just thinking about cars is a healthier way to pass the time during the MCO. Who knows; if you pick up a paintbrush today, you might just strive to be half as good as local artist Karwai Chan (right) by the time the pandemic is over.
Variety is the spice of life after all. That said, we can't wait for normality to make a comeback either. The idea of going for a long, interstate drive without having to worry about masks, QR codes or border patrols may seem like a pipe dream for now. But there are no restrictions against dreaming as far as we know.
We'll do our best to keep you entertained throughout this period, so keep an eye on this space as always. In the meantime, we think your car could use a good scrub...