How many surfaces do you touch everyday? I bet a bunch. Research suggests we can touch up to thirty different things in a minute (I bet the number is even higher if you have kids or pets who keep trying to break things you have to take away).
Anyway, that’s BAD NEWS, because the coronavirus is like a horror movie monster. Just when you think it can’t possibly still be alive, it sneaks up behind you and scares you to death. This virus spreads easily and can survive on plastic or stainless steel surfaces for three days.
I’m not gonna bore you with an essay about all the substances and materials used to make your car, but you should know plastic is one of them. This is especially true in older vehicles where plastic is a big component of the interior: cockpit, dashboard, and door space to name a few.
Next question: how many people drive and ride in your car? The bigger that number, the higher your risk, and the more cautious you need to be. This is a hundred times as important when you or a loved one are an essential employee, spending a ton of your time working with the public.
All of that said, don’t panic. We’re all anxious enough without me adding more stress to the mix (which is why I sneaked a few jokes in this post). Yes, you should be careful. No, there’s no real reason to worry. Focus on what you can do. Don’t be worry-wart about the stuff you can’t affect.
First: wash your hands before and after every car ride. As long as you’re thorough — scrubbing every square inch of your hands, fingers, nails (front and back!) — this will kill the virus before it has a chance to spread. Use hot water and wash with the attention-to-detail of a grooming cat.
Second: think about all the touch points in your car. Those include door handles (in and out), seat belts, gear shift, turn signals, steering wheel, and ignition. If you have any Lysol or Clorox at home, those work great for disinfecting. FYI: it’s super easy to make your own disinfectant.
You’ll need water. Feel free to use a gallon or a quart, depending on what containers you have available. Add a ⅓ cup of bleach per gallon or two tablespoons per quart. You can even add it to an empty spray bottle. Use an old towel to clean surfaces. Throw them in the washer and reuse!
Third: assign one person to be responsible for all trips to the gas station or grocery store. I know this isn’t always possible; but if it is, do it. The fewer people driving, the less germs can thrive. You should also vacuum your car every week or two. Germs can collect in dust, too. Get rid of it!
Oh, I almost forgot! One more helpful hint. A lot of drivers have heard of the cabin air filter but don’t have a clue about its purpose. Let me fill you in. There’s a clue in the name. It filters the air coming through your car’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system.
Cooties in the form of dust, pollen, smog, mold spores, and other pollutants sneak in like a world-class thief when you aren’t paying attention. You should at least once a year. This is also a good move for anybody who has allergies. It could even save you from a pricier repair later.
If the air is dirty, it takes more work for your A/C and motor to do their jobs. While it’s pretty easy to get it done DIY style (here’s a video that might help), you may be better off letting a mechanic do it for you. Find one close to you in our auto shop directory. Trust me, they’re female friendly!