The auto repair and maintenance industry faced a steep decline in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
COVID-19 caused many people to change their daily habits and routines. They don’t go out as often, avoid public places, and put off things like car repairs.
Even though you may put off car repairs and regular maintenance for the past 9 months or longer, it’s not the wisest choice if you want to keep your car running for years to come.
Why Car Maintenance Is Important
Regular maintenance is important for many reasons. The first is that your car runs in top condition on a consistent basis.
Something as simple as tire pressure can make your car more or less fuel-efficient. You can be sure that your tire pressure isn’t where it should be because it naturally fluctuates with the change of seasons. The drastic changes in air temperature in the fall and spring months cause your tire pressure to drop.
Lower tire pressure can lead to increased wear and tear. That can eventually lead to a tire blowout, causing a dangerous situation on the road.
There may be minor issues with your car that you’re not aware of. They can turn into major problems because you didn’t take care of the issue earlier.
Americans drove less in 2020. In April, Americans drove 40% less than normal because of COVID-19 containment measures across the country.
Are you still working from home? You’re driving much less and think that because you don’t have the miles on your car, you don’t need to maintain it.
Your car battery is hard at work, even when you’re working at home. Your car is managed by computers within the car, and they can use up the car battery even when you’re not driving.
If you don’t drive for weeks, then you could drain your car battery. You’ll want to have this checked if you’re having battery issues.
At the very least, start your car and let it run for 5-10 minutes each week.
Another issue rests with your brake pads. If your car sits outside, your brake pads can rust and wear down without much usage. This is something that you need to take care of right away.
How to Find a Good Car Repair Shop
Is it possible to get your car repaired during the pandemic? States consider car repair services as essential, meaning that they can stay open when everything else shuts down.
That doesn’t mean that it’s business as usual for car dealerships and service providers. Repair shops are still open and serving customers during COIVD-19. You have to be clear as to what changes they made and how that will impact your visit.
Know Your Own Level of Risk
Everyone has a different level of risk when it comes to the pandemic. Some people go out without masks and don’t think that it’s a major issue. Others are hunkered down at home and leave the house only when they must.
You have to know what you’re comfortable with before you decide what car repair service to use. Ask yourself if you’re willing to take your car to a place where staff and employees don’t take proper precautions.
If you purchased your car recently, you may want to take it to the dealership or a service repair shop that works with your specific manufacturer. For example, the dealer on this site works with Buicks and GMC vehicles.
Learning the COVID-19 Protocols
There are state laws that say how many people can be in a business at one time. People are required to wear masks while inside businesses and other public spaces.
Beyond that, you’ll find that each business has its own rules and protocols to keep customers safe.
Many repair shops don’t have an open waiting room while they work on your car. You’d have to find a ride home or someplace nearby where you can hang out.
Car repair shops may have reduced hours and fewer staff members to maintain a safe distance to keep employees safe. That means that they don’t have the capacity to work on as many cars.
You may have an extended wait to get your car repaired at the shop or schedule an appointment.
You’ll want to ask about the service shop’s procedure to drop-off and pick-up your car. They’re likely to have a process in place to minimize contact.
It’s important to ask if employees have to be inside your car and what repair shops are doing to protect you and the employees. Do employees use hand sanitizer? Do they use plastic on surfaces that are touched?
You should keep plenty of wipes on hand and wipe down your car as you drop off your car and when you pick it up.
Finally, you need to ask about payments. Ask the repair shop if they take payments over the phone or online.
Car Repairs During the Coronavirus Pandemic
There are a lot of things that you can put off or do less frequently, but car repairs shouldn’t be among them. Even if you drive much less than before the pandemic, your car needs to be serviced.
You can have issues with your car that turn into major problems, costing you more money in the long run. Most repair shops do have protocols in place to keep you safe while your car is getting repaired.
You need to check to see what level of risk you’re willing to accept and call different shops to see what protocols they have in place. You also have to make sure that they’re skilled and qualified to work on your car.
Do you want to work on your car yourself? Check out the Auto Repair Manuals section to find out more about repairing your particular car.