Tips for Getting Your Car Repaired During the Covid 19 Pandemic

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Although the NHS vaccination programme is working its way through the UK’s population and the country should be out of lockdown towards the end of June, we all still need to be careful so that we help the UK defeat the virus.

You can get your car repaired during the pandemic

Garages in the UK can still perform services, MOTs and repairs as this work is considered to be essential for the safety of drivers and their vehicles. An MOT is deemed to be essential if the driver believes that not having this check might affect the safety of the driver and other road users.


If you head to a garage, remember “Hands, Face, Space”

Even when lockdown is officially over, we still need to be cautious and maintain social distancing. If you suspect you might have covid 19 or you’ve had a positive test, then you must continue to isolate, which means you can’t take your car to a garage for repairs, even if they’re “essential”, as you shouldn’t be driving.

If you don’t have any covid 19 symptoms or if you’ve had a negative covid 19 test then you can take your car to a garage, as tradespeople can work on your vehicle. Dropping off and picking up your car will be different, though.

If I’m not able to get my car serviced as normal, will it affect my warranty?

If your warranties depend on a service schedule, then you might be affected, but it’s unlikely as most providers and manufacturers have been very flexible due to the pandemic.

A variable servicing agreement

If your car is on a variable servicing agreement then your service intervals are based on your mileage. Most people have driven fewer miles during the pandemic, especially people who have been working from home, so you won’t be racking up those miles on your odometer. Fewer miles mean your service interval will be extended until you hit that magic number and until then, your warranty will be quite safe.

A fixed servicing interval

Fixed servicing intervals might be a bit trickier to work out and if it’s something you’re worried about then you should contact your manufacturer to find out what their covid 19 policies for services are.

Having said that, most manufacturers add a bit of wiggle room into their fixed intervals, usually an extra month or 1,000 miles on the clock, so you might find this helpful if you have to reschedule a service due to illness or self-isolating.

In general, if you’re on a fixed servicing schedule, your warranty can’t be withdrawn simply because you missed a service. The Motor Ombudsman has stated that a manufacturer or business can only withdraw your warranty if a fault on your car has been caused by a lack of care on your part.

I need a car repair and I’m taking my vehicle to a garage; what should I do to stay safe?

If you’re planning to take your car for a service, MOT or repair, then you can do so, but you must follow several rules in order to comply with covid regulations. 

Call well ahead of your intended appointment

You should call well ahead of your work to find out if the garage is working on restricted hours and what its individual arrangements are. Some garages will want to pick up your car themselves rather than have you drive it to them. Another option is to talk to the garage to see if the work you’re looking to be done is absolutely essential or if it can wait until lockdown is over and covid 19 restrictions are no longer in place.

Some garages will be working with fewer staff so that team members can maintain social distancing, so if the work isn’t vital, you’ll be doing the garage and fellow drivers with more urgent issues a big favour.

Leave the garage premises while the work is being carried out

If you’re dropping off and picking up your vehicle yourself, then you should plan to leave the premises as soon as you’ve done the handover. If this isn’t possible for some reason, then make sure you have your mask and hand sanitiser with you and maintain strict social distancing from other customers and staff members. If there’s an outdoor waiting area, then use this instead of sitting inside while your car repair is carried out.

Sterilise the vehicle inside and out

If you sterilise your vehicle as thoroughly as possible before your drop it off and when you pick it up then you’ll be helping to keep everyone, including yourself, safe.

Coronavirus can survive on various surfaces for anything up to three days and although surface-to-person transmission of covid 19 is very low, it’s still worth the effort to clean your car to reduce everyone’s risk.

It seems that the virus can survive a little longer on smooth surfaces like plastic, glass and metal, so thoroughly cleaning these parts of your car – inside and outside – with detergent is important. The virus is less able to survive on fabrics and leather, so a quick wipe-down is probably enough. If no-one in your household has covid 19 symptoms then your car interior is most likely quite safe.

A thorough detailing before you get your car repaired

There’s a surprising number of surfaces that you’ll need to clean before your car heads to the garage – we often don’t think about all the things we touch in the course of a day. When you’re cleaning your car, focus on all the contact surfaces, including:

  • Your steering wheel
  • Your seat belts and clips
  • Your gear stick 
  • Your arm rests
  • Any non-fabric seats
  • Door handles, and
  • Buttons.

Lots of car manufacturers use antimicrobial materials for high-contact areas, so a good clean with a regular detergent is enough.

Once you’ve cleaned the car inside and out, let it dry in sunshine (or at least daylight) as UV light can help to destroy viral particles.

Remember hands and face

Use hand sanitiser before and after drop-off and pick-up and try to avoid touching your face and eyes until you’ve washed or sanitised your hands.

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