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Keeping Customers Safe While Their Cars Are In For Service During COVID-19

Automotive repair shops are considered essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Shops staying open must modify their operations to conform with all CDC recommendations to keep their shops clean and virus-free.

Beyond this basic level of cleanliness, your shop needs to institute practices that show your customers that they can have their vehicles serviced with minimal risk of having the virus transmitted to them after they get it back. Here are some tips on keeping your customers safe throughout the servicing process:

Cleaning and hygiene procedures for your customers’ cars

The interior of a vehicle is made up of a variety of different interior surfaces:

  • Plastic
  • Vinyl
  • Leather
  • Rubber
  • Metal
  • Cloth
  • Carpet

The coronavirus can live on these surfaces for periods of a few hours to a few days. Cleaning and disinfecting should be done twice: before the car enters the shop (to protect you) and before the car leaves the shop (to protect your customer). Sanitize all touch points, including:

  1. Steering wheel
  2. Gear shift
  3. Parking brake
  4. Dashboard and console surfaces and controls
  5. Rear-view mirror
  6. Seat and mirror adjusters
  7. Inside door handles and armrests
  8. Consoles and cup holders
  9. Keys and fobs
  10. Outside door and hatch handles, too!

Business processes to minimize transmission and spread of the virus

In addition to frequent deep-cleaning and sanitizing procedures inside your shop, there are process changes you can institute to minimize transmission of the coronavirus to your customers:

  • All staff wear masks and gloves
  • Remove magazines from waiting area
  • Suspend complimentary coffee and other shared food services
  • Stagger staff breaks and lunch periods
  • Close children’s play areas
  • Erect a plexiglass barrier if your office remains open to customers
  • Allow one customer at a time into office
  • Mark your floors with tape to encourage six-foot social distancing
  • Eliminate face-to-face contact between techs and customers
  • Close your waiting area if social distancing is not practical
  • Add a banner to your website’s home page listing your COVID-19 safety procedures
  • Display posters inside and outside your shop, detailing those safety procedures
  • Add “touchless” customer contact where customers do not enter the shop, including:
    • Customers drop off and pickup cars outside shop
    • Online check-in process to gather all necessary information
    • Repair estimates sent via email or text
    • Payments made by card by phone or email
    • Free pickup and delivery services for the most vulnerable and fearful
  • Add “contact-free” services where customer can remain inside car while work is done:
    • Battery, air filter, wiper blade, or external bulb replacement
    • Fluid checks and topping off
    • Tire pressure check

Protecting your customers is your top priority

Your customers are looking to you to provide the safest possible environment for them and for their vehicles. By doing everything possible and letting them know about it, you will put them at ease about having their cars worked on during this difficult time.

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