Proton, having previously shared some tips on basic car maintenance during this movement control order (MCO) phase, has once again taken the liberty to inform the public on ways to maintain good hygiene and protect oneself from viruses.

While we applaud the majority of those who have dutifully heeded the government’s MCO advisory, there will be instances where a select few would have to step outside to replenish groceries or tend to other emergency situations. While scientists are scrambling to find a cure, the best way for us to contribute in this fight is by keeping ourselves clean, and that means disinfecting our hands and every surface we touch.

For example, Proton says surfaces such as the steering wheel, gear knob, door handles (both inside and outside), push-start button, and key fob should be regularly disinfected, because these things are touched most frequently when driving. Studies have shown that SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for causing the Covid-19 disease, can live on plastic and stainless-steel surfaces for up to three days.

If your car comes with a touchscreen head unit, that too will have to be cleaned. Proton suggests using a soft cloth that has been lightly misted with antibacterial spray, but stated that one shouldn’t overdo it. Cars fitted with a regular head unit should also be disinfected once in a while.

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Car seats should be cleaned as well. For leather seats, the automaker suggests using appropriate cleaning compounds rather than using regular disinfectants, because those contain harsh chemicals that could dehydrate the leather, thus making it more prone to cracking, or even cause discolouration. For fabric seats, we recommend spritzing antibacterial spray.

By this point, most people would already be frequently washing their hands, but also remember to touch your face less. If possible, don’t touch your face at all, especially when you’re out. Proton would also like to remind car owners to start using voice command or gesture control more frequently, as well as making use of the foot sensor to open the tailgate. It goes without saying that these are only applicable to cars that actually come with said features.

Lastly, Proton recommends that you thoroughly clean the insides of your car by vacuuming loose dirt or small bits of food, which would otherwise attract pests. It also urged car owners to invest in an air purifier (integrated in the X70’s air-con system) that removes airborne bacteria and harmful gases.

“As we face an extended MCO period, Proton hopes that everyone practices good hygiene and most importantly, stays home. However, should you be required to leave home, please take note of these tips and drive safe! In these trying times, we have to stay safe and strong, Malaysia!,” Proton said in a statement.