14 Laojiao Hacks For New Singaporean Drivers Who Just Passed Their TP

Hacks for the Singaporean driver

You’ve looked over your shoulders a billion times to check your blindspots, played the balancing game on a slope, turned full-lock left and right an umpteen times – congratulations, you’ve finally done it. You’ve scored enough points to be deemed a safe driver on the roads. 

But as you skip out of the test centre knowing that you’ll never have to face those grumpy instructors ever again, you realise you’re just one lone car against the world. You’ve heard how Singaporean drivers have zero chill on the road, and sad to say, it’s true. Being a new driver can be daunting, but here are 14 pro-tips from a laojiao that will help ease you into the driver’s seat.

1. Further the reach of your remote by placing its sensor on your chin

For those of you non-iPhone users, this hack + good hearing can save you from walking around the multi-storey car park aimlessly looking for your ‘lost’ vehicle. Place your car key in the hollow of the base of your chin and click away. This will increase the range of your car’s remote radius by at least two times letting you find your car via the very helpful ‘beeps’.

The science behind this is that the radio waves emitted from the remote bounce off the back of your skull just like how those massive telco satellite dishes work to amplify signals. And here’s proof that it works!

2. Apple Maps can store where you parked your car

You don’t have to blessed with a photographic memory or jot down the lot, floor and adjacent car plate numbers to remember where you parked your car – this function on the iPhone has got you covered. Just make sure the function is activated: Go to Settings, then to Maps, then check this option: 


Open Apple Maps before leaving to make sure the pin of your parked car appears on the map. You can also get Maps to notify you with a Parked Car reminder on your home screen. 

Source, Source

The question can now be put to rest — just check your iPhone.

3. Nail polish to cover up scratches


A friend of mine scratched her dad’s car while parking and thought of this ingenious solution which worked like a charm, even though temporal. Just be sure to get a colour that’s the closest match to that of your car paint. Or you can always use a clear varnish, like in this video:

Even a tiny scratch can expose the car’s metal to the elements of nature causing rust to form, so before you sneakily bring the car out for a paint touch-up, use this temporary fix to siam the wrath of your parents.

4. Know your ERP charges before leaving home


A time difference of 5-minutes can save you anywhere from $0.50 to $4 when you’re passing through an ERP gantry. Knowing the rates of different gantries at different timings can really save you from situations where you’ve insufficient funds in your cash card, or from stalling on the shoulder of the road waiting for the peak hour charge to pass.

Apps like Gothere.sg or Google Maps provide you with all the ERP gantry rates to expect along your journey. You can also refer to this list here.

5. Stick to the middle lane


The first time I drove on the highway, I was so afraid of missing my exit that I didn’t accelerate beyond 60 km/h. That’s when I realised that that keeping to the middle lane is the smartest thing to do.

You’ll find it so much easier to exit from highways instead of trying to cut two or more lanes from the fast lane. This is especially helpful when your GPS lags and suddenly tells you to exit with less than 100m to do so.

6. Use wooden pegs instead of artificial scents

Everybody wants a nice-smelling car, but certain artificial air fresheners are made with ingredients are carcinogenic and actually pose a health risk.

We present you with this cheaper and safer DIY alternative:


Add a couple of drops of your favourite essential oil onto a wooden peg and clip it to the vent. It’ll act as a natural diffuser and save you from an artificial scent storm every time you turn up the AC. It also works a lot more effectively to calm motion sickness. #justsaying

7. Lose some weight


It’s a vehicle. Not a portable storeroom. By filling the trunk and passenger seats with everything you ever owned, you will find yourself visiting the petrol station more often than you’d like. That means emptying your bank account so that you can keep you car moving. 

By decreasing the load from your car, it’ll take lesser effort for it to get you from one place to another and in turn, it guzzles lesser fuel. This means fewer trips to the kiosks and more money in your wallet.

8. Car boots can help you judge distance

Keep your car hood to the red line

If you are not sure what a safe distance to keep from the vehicle in front of you is, the best judge would be to line the hood of your car to the boot of the car in front of you. This way, you’ll have sufficient space and time to react should an inconsiderate driver suddenly slam on his brakes or when that kanchiong driver mercilessly cuts into your lane.

9. Your glove box doubles up as a drink cooler


Disclaimer: This only applies to certain car models. 

More like a bonus that cool air from the aircon vent is also circulated within the glove box. A feature I chanced upon by accident when fumbling around for parking coupons only to realise they were chilled. Open up your glove box the next time you get into your car, and see if you have this nifty little add-on. And just for safety’s sake, don’t stock it with alchohol.

10. Fan your car if it gets too hot


Leave your car in Singapore’s weather for half an hour, and it’ll transform into an oven. To prevent any part of your exposed body from getting surface burns from the seat or steering wheel of your car, here’s how you can speed up the cool-down process:

Wind down the window of the driver’s seat, blast the AC, and repeatedly open and close the passenger door. This repetition forces the hot air out of your car, potentially lowering the temperature of it by 10 degrees.

Bonus tip: Always crack the windows open a little when you first get into the car to release the toxic fumes built up from the heat. Your lungs will be ever grateful.

11. Pump your tires


This logic applies to bicycles as well. The fuller your tyre, the lesser effort it takes to move your vehicle moves. This also means less petrol being consumed in the process, and you’ll get to save enough to buy yourself another plate of your favourite curry rice.

There are free air-pump stations in every petrol kiosk for you for fill your tyres, so make it a habit to do that whenever you juice up for the road. 

Generally, the recommended tyre pressure is between 30 – 35 PSI, but do check your car manual to be sure.

12. Don’t keep changing lanes in a jam


Changing your lane when you’re stuck in a 7km/h moving doesn’t mean you’re getting ahead. News flash: you’re still stuck.Persistently changing lanes also increases the likelihood of grazing the vehicles around you and increases your chances of hitting unsuspecting motorists squeezing by. 

You never know which lane is the one that leads you out of the jam first, so it’s a smarter option to stay in yours.

13. Know your discounts


Reality is, the one thing that burns through our wallets faster than the next food fad, is petrol. And with the number of debit, credit, membership cards we have, knowing the privileges you’re entitled to when it comes to petrol can save you a great deal of money. If your cards are on the premium end, your discounts could potentially be more than 20% and that’s A LOT.

Here’s a table of the petrol discounts you’re privy to if you own one or two of the respective cards:

Credit Cards with Highest Savings for Petrol at Esso

Credit Card Issuer and Type of Credit Card

Direct Discount

DBS Esso MasterCard


Citi Cash Back Card

OCBC Plus! Visa Card
OCBC 365 Card


Credit Cards with Highest Savings for Petrol at Shell

Credit Card Issuer and Type of Credit Card

Direct Discount

Citi Cash Back Card


UOB One Card


HSBC Cards


Credit Cards with Highest Savings for Petrol at Caltex

Credit Card Issuer and Type of Credit Card

Direct Discount

Standard Chartered, OCBC, AA, ANZ, HSBC, SAFRA Cards


Credit Cards with Highest Savings for Petrol at SPC

Credit Card Issuer and Type of Credit Card

Direct Discount

POSB Everyday Card


UOB Credit Cards


Information adapted from Source

14. Know what goes into your car


You are what you eat. And in the same way,  maintaining a car is the same.  The grade of petrol you fuel up with determines how efficiently your car engine will run – both short-term and in the long-run. Some forms of petrol like Shell’s V-Power Nitro+ uses a Friction Modification Technology which works just like lube to make sure your engine runs smoothly. 

And when weird warning lights on your dashboard start going off and you have no idea what to do, don’t just walk in a petrol kiosk and try to geh kiang by DIY-ing the problem away. Just bring it in to the professionals, STAT.

Caring for your car with Autobacs


It’s hard enough affording a car in Singapore, nobody wants their car maintenance over the next 10 years to be harder and more costly. You might be a handyman of sorts around the house, but dealing with your car’s performance is a whole different ball game. 

Regular check-ups and periodic servicing are great ways to ensure that your car runs smoothly for the remainder of your COE – you wouldn’t want a situation where your car suddenly breaks down in the middle of the PIE.

Established since 1948 as a dealer in automotive parts, Autobacs has grown to over 530 stores in Japan alone. On their shelves are over 10,000 automotive accessories which include everything from interior enhancements to maintenance goods. That means that any automotive need that you have can possibly be met by Autobacs on the very same day you bring your car to them. 


Autobacs also keeps your vehicle in prime condition with its array of maintenance services — be it fluid replacements, wheel alignment or engine oil treatment, the crew at Autobacs have got you covered.

They even have a section just for audiophiles with a wide range of bass and subwoofer systems Source

Partnering with Idemitsu — Japan’s leading engine lubricant brand, Autobacs offers their engine oil change package at just $108. Other than an oil change, it also includes a free change of oil filter and even a free 33-point check for your car. FYI, Idemitsu was also the appointed oil technician for the Mazda MX-5 in a 24-hour endurance race. 

With the servicing packages from Autobacs, this means that you don’t have to shell out your holiday plans just to make sure that your car is running at its optimum. From now till 31 May 2017, they also promise a 50% cashback if any you’re able to find a cheaper deal out there!

As much as the look and the sound of your vehicle are important, get your engine pistons firing with an appointment at Autobacs.

Find out more about Autobacs here!

This post was brought to you by Autobacs.

Mandon Lee

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