As I drive my Chev, I often like to stroke the metal of the door. I find the cool steel and the gentle curve to be very comforting. The touch and feel of your car can make or break your driving experience. The moment you sit in a luxury vehicle you can feel the difference in the quality of materials. They feel solid, they are quality, they give you a quiet confidence.
Driving is a tactile experience. The feel of the steering wheel, the gear stick, the dash, the switches, the knobs. Surfaces that get hot or slippery can cause you to accommodate them rather than focus on driving safely. While we don’t always have the choice of a car with good quality finishes, we can make some changes to our vehicle to not only improve the feel but also to make the driving experience safer.
As always the first step is to clean your car. A spilt sticky drink, a collection of animal hair or a layer of mud on the carpet can all reduce your driving experience. I always keep a packet of wet wipes in the door to easily wipe down a surface. Each week I clean the interior with a quick vacuum and wipe down. Every time I get out of the car I take out any rubbish that is littering the interior.
Once you have a clean car, you need to control the interior climate. A car left parked in the hot sun can be dangerous to drive as you squirm on a hot seat, avoid gripping a burning steering wheel or gingerly bump a flaming hot gear stick. The simplest way is to put up a windscreen shade. It will keep your car cool and will protect your upholstery. I also like the privacy it offers concealing your bags and other items that might inspire a thief to break in.
Next pick a material that you like for seat covers. I like good quality sheepskin but the seat covers pictured above are home made crochet. The sheepskin not only feels nice and protects my upholstery but also on hot sunny days it is much cooler to the touch than the bare leather or vinyl option. If you wear skirts or dresses you will appreciate a cool soft fabric under your thighs.
Many people choose a steering wheel cover to stop the burn on hot days. I don’t like steering wheel covers. I think they are a distraction and dangerous. Far too many times you will find the cover slip when you go to turn the wheel and your grip on the steering will be lost. If you are worried about a hot steering wheel grab a reflective steering wheel cover or even a simple towel to leave over the wheel while your car is parked and take it off when you are ready to drive.
The final option that I choose to accessorise to improve the touch and feel of my car is the gear stick. A metal knob will get very hot in the sun. My Ford ute had one and I would leave a stubbie cooler over it while the car was parked then pull it off to drive. You can easily change the gear stick knob and there are plenty of novelty options to choose from. Make sure that it fits neatly into your hand and that it doesn’t have any awkward bits to catch on handbags, cords or clothing.
Your car is a complete experience. Stroke it, touch it, caress it. Find the fabrics and the finishes that you enjoy and indulge yourself. Make sure they fit well and don’t slip so they are safe, and don’t be afraid to experiment. One day soon I will find good quality velvet seat covers and I look forward to reporting back on how they feel.