It is no longer news from a faraway land. Not something that happened to somebody else. Coronavirus (COVID-19) has infiltrated most of the world and the majority of our communities. The global pandemic has brought with it a lot of questions and no small amount of anxiety: How can I keep my family safe? How do I provide for them if I can’t go to work? When will my kids go back to school? How long will this last? At a time like this, the last thing you need to worry about is your car.
To align with the recommendations by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to maintain “social distancing”, the governor of Maryland and those of many other states have ordered the closure of nonessential businesses. While it is recognized on the one hand that it is essential that people avoid personal contact to prevent the spread of the virus, it is obvious on the other hand that certain businesses need to remain open and available in order to allow our communities to subsist. Grocery stores, gas stations, banks, health care facilities, and state parks are examples of “essential” services that remain open.
Because it is necessary for workers in essential service businesses’ to make it to work, auto repair shops are on the list as well. But whether or not you are employed in an essential industry, you still need to buy food, take your dog to the vet, or care for a loved one. Your car needs to work properly. Especially in an emergency.
Even if you did not need to leave your house for a month because you have all the toilet paper you will ever need, your car does. It is not good for a car to sit around for very long. If you park your vehicle for an extended period, you run the risk of your battery losing charge, your tires developing flat spots, the wiper blades and engine drive belts drying out, and mice making their homes in your engine compartment. Your brake rotors and other brake system components will begin to corrode. And your interior can become musty.
Keeping your car well maintained
Your car still needs attention, even in the midst of a global pandemic. It needs to be driven occasionally. And it needs to be maintained. Some of the routine maintenance listed in your vehicle owner’s manual or maintenance schedule can be done right in your driveway. You can check the wiper blades and windshield washer solvent. You can check and change your air filter. You can check your engine oil level. If you have the proper equipment and training, you might be able to change your oil and oil filter yourself.
For many drivers, doing repairs in the driveway is not an option – at least, not a safe and sound one. Fortunately, auto repair facilities are still available to help you with your car care needs. Many shops offer a complimentary courtesy check (such as the Columbia Auto Care 21-Point Inspection) when you have your oil and oil filter replaced. A courtesy check usually includes inspection of the routine maintenance points required for your car, as well as all of its major systems, including:
- Check and correct the pressure your tires and inspect for damage/wear
- Inspect your brake pads and other brake system components
- Inspect the steering and suspension systems
- Check the level and condition of your power steering fluid and top off if necessary
- Look for leaks or damage to the exhaust system
- Inspect the fuel lines and brake lines for leaks, damage, and corrosion
- Check the level and condition of your engine coolant and top off if necessary
- Inspect the drive belt(s) for signs of wear or cracking
- Check your transmission fluid and top off if necessary
- Make sure your battery is not leaking, swollen, or corroded and check its age
- Inspect your wiper blades and top off windshield washer fluid Inspect the engine air filter and cabin air filter
- Visually inspect for any fluid leaks And much more…
What shops are doing in light of COVID-19
Of course, the presence of the COVID-19 virus in our communities means that additional safety measures need to be in place to prevent the spread of the disease. Any shop that remains open should honor the principles of social distancing and take steps to keep their customers and employees safe.
For instance, auto repair shops should reduce the amount of person-to-person contact needed for the repair process. Appointments can be made in advance by phone or online. Estimates can be sent via email. Copies of repair orders can be delivered by mail, email, or placed inside the vehicle.
Where personal contact is necessary, waiting rooms can be disinfected frequently. So can the touchpad where customers swipe their credit cards. Other common touchpoints can be sanitized as well: steering wheels, door handles, shift knobs, key fobs, and the like. Employees can use personal protective equipment, such as gloves that can be changed out between vehicles.
At Columbia Auto Care & Car Wash we place the highest priority on your safety.
What you can do
First and foremost, you can take care of yourself, your family, and your community by heeding calls for social distancing whenever possible. Keep your travels and interaction with the public to a minimum. If your car needs attention, you can also help by scheduling an appointment in advance, rather than just showing up at the shop. This will help us to assist you with minimal contact.
Beyond that, you should follow the recommendations of the CDC:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and throw the tissue in the trash
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects
In these uncertain times, you should not need to worry about your car. If it comes down to it, the oil in your engine is capable of withstanding an extended interval. Your wiper blades can swipe a few more times. Your tires can probably make it a few more miles.
But you also do not need to put off repairs. If your car requires brake service, schedule an appointment. If you want your oil changed and a 21-point inspection, you can remain inside your vehicle during the service. Or you can get out and get some fresh air while you get your tires changed. You can even drive through the carwash to keep your ride looking like new. Columbia Auto Care & Car Wash is still here to help you keep your car in top shape.
Columbia Auto Care & Car Wash | Author: Mike Ales | Copyright
This article is intended only as a general guidance document and relying on its material is at your sole risk. By using this general guidance document, you agree to defend, indemnify and hold harmless Columbia Auto Care & Car Wash and its affiliates from and against any and all claims, damages, costs, and expenses, including attorneys’ fees, arising from or related to your use of this guidance document. To the extent fully permissible under applicable law, Columbia Auto Care & Car Wash makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, as to the information, content, or materials included in this document. This reservation of rights is intended to be only as broad and inclusive as is permitted by the laws of your State of residence.