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TEXT | Anthony Lim
Photography | Anthony Lim and Low Fai Ming
exit 250

leave the rat
hat do speed cameras, traffic jams and ERP have in common? They suck the joy out of driving. But not to worry, open roads and carefree
driving await you just across the border. Keep in mind these eight life hacks that will make your next road trip that much more epic.

smart tag

1. Pass Go and collect $200 (not really)

Tired of waiting in line at every single Touch 'n Go toll booth? We feel you, and may have found the solution to your problem. Just like our much-loved ERP, our neighbour's Touch 'n Go system offers an equivalent of our In-vehicle Unit (IU) for those who'd rather spend their time driving than inhaling carcinogenic exhaust gases.

Enter the SmartTAG. This baby is an infrared device that lets you breeze through express lanes at up to four times the speed of normal cash lanes, according to the Touch 'n Go website.

One thing to note, though, is that the SmartTAG works just like our IU system, which means you'll still have to top up your Touch 'n Go card when it runs low.

We suggest storing a substantial amount beforehand so you can reach your final destination without any hiccups.



2. Plug in baby

Media connectivity isn't uncommon in modern cars. But what if yours didn't come from the 21st century? Well, there's still hope yet. You can still play your own tunes without having to listen to random, unfamiliar Malaysian radio stations.

Simply pair your smartphone to a Bluetooth receiver, which plugs into your car's 3.5mm auxiliary jack, and hit play. If, for some reason, you don't see an auxiliary jack, it's probably time to scrap your car. Just kidding, get yourself an FM transmitter.

These things also pair with your smartphone via Bluetooth but instead of streaming audio through an auxiliary cable, they broadcast your music over an open FM radio frequency. Tune your radio to match that frequency and enjoy.

Fair warning, though, if the car beside you is tuned in to the same frequency, it may receive your Man's Not Hot transmission and you might have to do some quick maths.

20 meters

3. Keep your eye on the prize

USB chargers are great for satisfying your insatiable hunger for dank memes. But why not get one that can also keep track of your car, especially if your Flintstones 'footmobile' doesn't come with a built-in GPS tracker?

Most USB chargers/vehicle trackers are able to charge multiple devices and will automatically transmit GPS information to a receiving mobile app that can be downloaded onto your smartphone.

This is especially useful not only for preventing your car from getting boosted, but also for locating your parked car in an unfamiliar area.

It is worth noting that although these trackers operate as they should at ground level, they don't work too well underground. So if you plan on parking in a shopping mall basement carpark, you might want to check out the next road trip life hack.

your car is ready


Share your location
4. Smartphones can do more than just take selfies

Participating in an unsolicited treasure hunt in an unfamiliar shopping mall carpark is extremely frustrating, especially if you have a tonne of stuff to lug around. To avoid that, just take a picture of your car with your lot number, carpark section number, or any prominent landmark in the vicinity.

If you're parked outdoors, you can always drop a pin in your smartphone's map app so you don't forget where you left your ride. Speaking of maps and unchartered territory, it's not a bad idea to download Waze, which is kind of like a potluck dinner but instead of food, users contribute information on current traffic conditions. They also report road blocks and speed traps. Just saying.

While you're at it, you might as well make sure your car stays exactly where you left it.

steering wheel

5. Alakazam alakazoo, my car ain't going anywhere with you

David Copperfield has got nothing on the number of disappearing car acts going on across the border. To ensure yours doesn't vanish in a puff of smoke while you're out shopping, try parking in-between two cars or between a car and a wall.

Turn your steering wheel full-lock to one side and make sure it stays there with an external steering wheel lock. This way, in the event of an unauthorised tow, your vehicle will collide with the one beside yours and stay there. Although not entirely impossible, this will make things more difficult and help deter car thieves from trying to steal your ride.

car keys

6. It's always better to have it and not need it, then to need it but not have it

Bring along a spare car key. In the unfortunate event that you return to your car and realise that your key is missing or if you accidentally lock yourself out of your ancient Mystery Machine, you'll be glad you brought along a backup.

Just make sure you don't leave it in your car, that would defeat the whole purpose of bringing one. And it goes without saying, don't keep it in the same place as your main key.


portable jump starters
7. Jesus took three days to resurrect, you'll only need three minutes

It's absolutely, unequivocally pointless to bring a set of jumper cables if your car is the sole vehicle going on a road trip.

The only people who will stop to help you jumpstart your dead battery are definitely not going to be Mother Theresa or Mahatma Gandhi. So you're better off leaving a portable jump starter in the trunk.

Portable jump starters are light, compact and will bring Lazarus back to life at the touch of a button, without you having to call for assistance or risk getting cheated by shady characters. Some can even double up as a power bank for your electronic devices.

pouring water

Drinking water
8. If you're always prepared, you'll never get caught with your pants down

No matter how new or well-maintained your car is, planning for times when it might conk out is probably one of the smartest things you can do on a road trip. Simple things like keeping a bottle of water in the car can be a lifesaver if your radiator starts throwing a tantrum.

And you're definitely going to need that water to hydrate yourself if you get caught with a punctured tyre in the middle of the North-South Highway under the mid-day sun. Unless you get a tyre repair kit.

We're not talking about any old repair kit, though, which is only a temporary fix and can cause more damage to your tyres over time.

The TireCare Revival Kit employs breakthrough nano fibre technology to fix without the hassle of having to remove your tyre or jack your car up. Simply deflate the tyre by removing its valve core, inject the TireCare Sealant via the valve, then inflate it with an included high-power air compressor and resume your journey.

revival kit

Unlike other repair kits, TireCare is a permanent fix, which means you don't have to spend time (and money) visiting a tyre workshop to repair the tyre further. TireCare has been formulated to be eco-friendly, is SGS-certified to be free of harmful substances, and does not damage your tyres, rims or tyre pressure monitoring system.

Tirecare revival kit
Tirecare revival kit

The TireCare Revival Kit is retailing at $188, has a five-year shelf life and is backed by a five-year warranty. Head over to the TireCare Singapore website or the MyCarForum Marketplace to find out more about the TireCare Revival Kit.

Any purchase made online or at any authorised dealer by 31st December 2017 also gets you a free one-year ordinary membership to the Automobile Association of Singapore, which includes 24/7 roadside assistance worth more than $100 during that period.