STRESSED-OUT motorists feeling the effects of months of coronavirus lockdown are turning to videos of people cleaning cars to soothe their woes.
With the UK just starting to emerge from the Government’s strict stay-at-home regulations, many car enthusiasts have been left twiddling their thumbs instead of their gear sticks since the end of March.
But a new online phenomena has emerged as the unlikely way they’ve managed to get both their petrol fix AND relax at the same time.
ASMR – Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response – has been around for a decade and involves listening to sounds that trigger ‘brain tingles’.
These are a sensation that starts at the scalp and moves down the back of the neck. While extremely quiet whispering, turning the pages of books and typing on computer keyboards are well known ASMR favourites, a new niche of car cleaning noises has emerged.
So-called ‘ASMR-tists’ are filming themselves foam-washing exteriors, polishing and wiping down dashboards, deep cleaning air conditioning vents, sprucing up gearboxes and making cup holders sparkle.
And they've won the approval of thousands of viewers.
YouTube channel No Tapping ASMR is much praised for its relaxing, no-talking car cleaning videos that provide the soothing backdrop for calm meditation and even sleep.
One viewer, Rajat Panwar, commented: “You are the best finally found you thank God cleaning videos, thanks a lot”
Another fan, Clem Rose, said: “This helps with my studies. Thanks.”
Elsewhere the Chromatic Auto Detailing channel has delighted viewers with a BMW E36 foam wash. Posted just a month ago, it has had around 140,000 views already.
“There’s something very satisfying in the sounds of detailing,” enthused YouTube user Branko Mihaljevic.
“When you were cleaning the ragtop I was so excited,” said fellow fan William Atmur.
Mark Tongue, director at UK firm Select Car Leasing, says the unlikely trend shows how much some car fans love everything to do with motoring.
He says there’s nothing strange about finding something to ease the stresses and strains of the modern world in these unprecedented times.
“Most car enthusiasts love the sound or a purring engine of the squeal of tyres off the starting grid, but these ASMR videos provide a whole new genre that is hitting the spot for many,” he added. It’s hard to deny that the sound of these seemingly mundane tasks being carried out with no background noise is mesmerising and indeed relaxing.
“The fact that car fans love to keep their pride and joy in immaculate conditions is no doubt a big part of the attraction.
“But anything that helps people escape anxiety and chill out has to be welcomed as something good, particularly during these unusual times.”