How to choose a car repair shop during the COVID-19 pandemic

Things are a little different these days
by Drei Laurel | Sep 11, 2020
PHOTO: Leandre Grecia

It isn’t just actual driving and how we get around that’s drastically different these days—how we go about maintaining our vehicles has changed, too.

Gone are the days when one could just drop by any reputable car repair service for a quick fix. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s always better to be safe than sorry as businesses had to make a number of adjustments to their operations. As such, car owners have a few different things to look out for when trying to find a car repair shop. Here are a few boxes you may want to tick before making a decision:

1) Be sure to ask around first

Frankly, this is something you should do even without a deadly virus floating around. It’s even more important now, though, as feedback from other customers will be key to determining whether or not a car repair shop is making adjustments to adapt to the new normal.

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Are employees walking around without masks? Vehicles being handed back to owners without being disinfected first? You can find out just by asking or looking a business up on social media. Remember: These days, it isn’t just a shop’s quality of service we should worry about.

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2) Make sure social distancing is followed

You need to make sure of the following things before choosing an establishment: a) The use of masks is required for both customers and employees, b) temperature screenings are conducted upon entry, and c) social-distancing guidelines are followed inside the shop at all times.

During this pandemic, these establishments shouldn’t just be clean, but organized as well. Designated waiting areas where social distancing is followed, as well as proper drop-off and pickup points for vehicles should be in place. Physical interaction between customers and employees must be strictly limited, too. Which brings us to…

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3) Cashless payment is available

Health authorities have stressed time and time again that exchanging bills and coins is ill-advised during the COVID-19 pandemic. You want a shop that will accept payment via credit card, debit, or even via online bank transfer. If you can eliminate having to pay for servicing with cash, that’s one less way that you might potentially catch the virus.

4) It’s nearby

How close a repair shop is to your home may be the biggest factor to consider when choosing one. We say this not just because having one nearby is convenient, but because choosing an establishment that’s far away may mean having to take public transportation to pick up your vehicle once it’s fixed. Not everyone has the luxury of a second car and driver, you know.

5) Home service is a big plus

Since we’re on the topic of distance, it would be ideal if the repair shop can come to you instead of the other way around. Home-service car repair shops will likely charge extra for the convenience, but the added cost might be worth it if it eliminates the need to expose yourself to other customers and employees.

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6) Look for a responsive car repair establishment

Not knowing when your car will be out of the shop is a big enough hassle without a pandemic going on. Now that public modes of transportation are either severely limited or unsafe? Receiving responses to you inquiries as soon as possible is an even bigger deal. Keep an eye out for businesses that have a good reputation when it comes to customer service and response.

7) Ask about the shop’s disinfection process

So, your car has been repaired and the keys have been handed back to you. But is it safe to get behind the wheel again?

Be sure to look into what a repair shop’s disinfection process entails. For all you know,  the business considers a quick wipedown of the dashboard with a wet rag as ample disinfection. It’s also vital that you’re aware of what disinfectants or substances are used in the process, as some products may damage parts of your interior.

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PHOTO: Leandre Grecia
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