by Lori Straus
With regular updates from the government, it’s sometimes hard to know who’s open and who isn’t. Vehicle repair shops have been deemed an essential workplace in Ontario, so you can still have your car repaired during the pandemic. However, it is far from business as usual for car service. Before you take your vehicle in for maintenance or repair, please follow the below guidelines.
Visit the Repair Shop’s Website
Your repair shop may have already updated their website, detailing the new procedures they have put in place to deal with COVID-19. Please follow them to the letter. They developed their new procedures based on what the law requires them to do and what they feel will best protect their employees and those employees’ families.
If the work you need to be done is elective, like changing your winter tires, ask the garage if they would like you to reschedule your appointment. This not only leaves their repair facilities open for essential workers who need their cars serviced during the pandemic so they can return to work quickly, it also reduces contact for their employees. But do ask: They may have procedures set up that allow them to accept elective appointments, which could help them stay financially afloat.
But please rebook if you have any symptoms of COVID-19, no matter how minor.
If the garage says it’s okay to bring your vehicle in, ask these questions before you go:
- Should you disinfect your car before you drop it off? If so, with what products? (Not all household disinfectants are safe for vehicles.)
- What sanitizing and disinfecting practices have they put in place?
- How do they ensure physical distancing?
- Where can you wait while your vehicle is being repaired, and is it safe to wait there?
- Should you bring your own food and drink with you to consume while you wait?
- If your car must stay overnight, how would they like you to get home? Their shuttle service is likely closed for the time being.
Car Service Approved? Respect All Procedures
Operating a customer-facing business during the pandemic is a mixed blessing: it means the business can earn money, but it places its employees at risk of contracting the virus. Book your appointment (don’t just show up) and come on time so you don’t risk cross-over with the next customer.
And please respect all procedures the garage has in place and follow them closely.
Do You Need a New Vehicle?
If your car is damaged enough that you need a new vehicle, call your dealership to ask how they’re operating right now. Showrooms must be closed to the public, so dealerships cannot even allow a single customer in to meet with one sales rep while standing at least 2m away from one another. But dealerships are developing ways to work under these extraordinary circumstances. You won’t be allowed a test drive, for example, but that doesn’t mean you are not allowed to buy a vehicle. Call and find out what your favourite dealership is doing.