3/26/2020 – Coronavirus (COVID-19) is taking the world by storm and putting Americans in unprecedented situations. All states in the U.S. are implementing orders to try to reduce human-to-human contact and flatten the curve of COVID-19 cases. In Ohio, Governor, Mike DeWine, has responded by implementing a stay-at-home order. So what does that mean if your car needs to be repaired? What if you are in an accident and your vehicle is inoperable? Luckily, automotive repair is considered an essential business and will remain available during the COVID-19 crisis.
Collision Repair Centers and Automotive Repair Shops that remain open should be taking steps to increase the safety and protect the health of their customers and employees. At D&S Automotive, we are sanitizing common touch points on the vehicles before the repair begins and after the repair is completed. There is special focus put towards steering wheels, door handles, keys, shift knobs, etc. In addition, workers should be using gloves when handling keys and performing repairs for extra precaution. It doesn’t stop there. Front office areas need to be cleaned and sanitized often. Areas such as front door handles, counter tops, and credit card machines are most at risk.
Furthermore, many body shops offer online estimates. Remember, the goal is to minimize contact, and being able to submit photos of your vehicle from home to get an estimate of the repair cost will do just that. Our advice is to skip in-person estimates during this time and find a body shop that offers an online estimate tool. Taking things further, D&S Automotive and some other repair shops are offering complimentary pick up and drop off of vehicles so you never need to leave your home. Worried about someone being inside your vehicle? Ask about night drop off services.
While auto body repair typically does involve human interaction, during these times it does not need to. Adjustments such as payment over-the-phone, virtually-written estimates and reduced paper transactions can all essentially rule out contact completely.
But what if you do not need a repair? Your car is drive-able but you plan to keep it idle during this time, as you will be driving more infrequently than usual. It is sometimes harmful to keep your car idle for too long of a period. Be sure to keep an eye on some trouble spots and if you can, keep your car moving. It is recommended to drive your car for at least twenty minutes once every two weeks to avoid any unforeseen consequences of keeping it idle. If you are unable to do so, be sure to check your tires, brakes, battery, paint and fluids occasionally.
If you do need an auto repair or maintenance during COVID-19, we recommend that you call the shop ahead of time to confirm they are open. Ask them what they are doing to reduce the risks. Most shops will work with you to create a repair plan that you are comfortable with. Also, plan to wait outside or arrange transportation so that you do not need to wait in the waiting room, as many shops have closed their waiting rooms to increase safety. Lastly, even if the shop sanitizes, sterilize it yourself too, after pick up. A second round won’t hurt!
In all, D&S Automotive wishes everyone safety and health during this time. We will get through this together, as a community. Stay positive and do not hesitate to reach out to us if you do have an emergency automotive need. We are happy to help.