Since this pandemic took hold, we’ve been reminded how crucial our access to transport is. To deliver essential goods and services, to keep our communities operating and to give us the personal freedom to access important destinations.
Even when restrictions are at their strictest, many of us still require safe, reliable transport to access essential services like food, healthcare, employment and education. For the majority of us, this is via a personal vehicle.
And now non-essential travel has been OK’d in most parts of Australia, overall we’re driving our cars more than we have over the past couple of months… Slowly, people. #keepflatteningthecurve
It’s important to keep your car well maintained, no matter how often you’re using it. That includes regular services and fixing problems before they become big issues.
In fact, the Australian Automotive Dealers Association (AADA) said due to the decline in bookings, now might be the perfect time to book in that overdue service. We’re sure your local mechanic or dealership would love the support.
At PD Insurance, we want you to stay safe, so we’ve put together some ins and outs of fixing your car during COVID-19.
Auto Services Still Available During COVID-19
If you need it, and you’re not in lockdown or quarantine, you can still book in for servicing, repairs, recalls and warranty fixes (at time of writing). These are considered essential services.
However, despite state governments hitting play on the three-stage plan to relax restrictions, it’s important to only make a booking if you’re well and not showing any symptoms relating to coronavirus.
If you’re unsure, call the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080 to get advice on your symptoms first.
Advice changes from day to day, so best to check what’s relevant to you before you book.
Servicing, maintaining and fixing your car during COVID
Let’s get more specific on these motoring services and their accessibility:
- Mechanic workshops: Dealership service departments and independent garages remain open, although may be operating with skeleton staff to reduce costs during this crisis.
- Mobile mechanics: Mobile mechanics and specialist technicians (auto electricians, battery techs, diesel specialists, etc) remain open.
- Roadside assistance and towing: Access to these services remains open, though you may find some insurers are prioritising health care workers.
- Getting parts: The supply of parts to Australia doesn’t seem to be affected at this time, but it can’t hurt to ask if there are any expected delays on certain parts.
Consumables and car parts access during COVID
Retailers that supply car parts and consumables to the public have always remained open. As have petrol stations – after all, we need to get our fuel from somewhere.
Just remember to be careful to use disposable gloves or a paper towel when handling the bowser pump. Ditto if touching car parts and so on, as you don’t know who’s been there before you.
Best to wear a mask, avoid touching your face, carry hand sanitizer on you and use it regularly.
When it comes to car parts, you might want to choose a click and collect option instead, or have it delivered to you. Several outlets have implemented a range of ordering/delivering options to encourage trade.
Heading out for a drive? Read more of our tips on how to avoid COVID-19 when on the road.
What Happens if You Need to Make a Car Insurance Claim?
If you’ve been unfortunate and need to make a claim, rest assured that, just like us, our preferred repairers are operating according to the government’s advice. They’ve incorporated necessary measures to protect the community and their staff.
You can still contact us to make a claim and get your car repaired, should something happen to it. We’re available 24/7 via our website and 9-5pm Monday to Friday on the phone and email.
Our roadside assistance service is available around the clock if you find yourself unable to drive your car after an accident or for another reason. If you’re a comprehensive car insurance customer of ours you pay only $89/year for roadside assistance membership (as at May 2020).
Reviewing your car insurance? You might like to check out our a range of discounts, including one for Australians who are the exclusive drivers of their car.
Choosing a Mechanic or Auto Retailer During COVID
When choosing a car dealership, mechanic or auto retailer, we recommend you look for businesses that are open and transparent about their response to COVID-19. Take the time to research who’s doing what, and ensure your own safety.
Check their website to see what precautions their business is taking. They should be clearly stated, and include measures like:
- An in-store safety and cleanliness plan: How are they disinfecting their store? How are they disinfecting your car (and keys)? Are they washing their hands before getting into your car and afterwards?
- Customer-facing safety precautions: How are they enforcing social distancing measures? Are they restricting the number of bookings or people on premises at one time?
- Changes to payment options: Can you pay online, click and collect or tap and go?
- Delivery precautions: Are they offering contactless delivery with a safe drop? How quick are they getting their delivery to you? Are there delays or other issues due to staffing shortages or another pandemic-related reason?
Our best advice is to use your common sense and continue with your social distancing and cleanliness practices wherever you are.
Interested in COVID car sales? Or need to sell your vehicle? Read this next blog for more information on buying and selling cars during this crisis.
Over to You – Fixing a Car During COVID
Have you booked in a regular service or repair on your car during this crisis? What was your experience? We’d love to know.