Are garages and breakdown recovery services still operating during the coronavirus outbreak?

What should you do if your car breaks down or gets a puncture during the coronavirus crisis? Here's what you need to know...

Breakdown survey 2019

While many people won’t be venturing out of their home at present, a large number of key workers still need to get to work, and others may need to drive to collect food or essential medical supplies. 

If your car suffers a breakdown or gets a punctured tyre at present, you can still call out a breakdown service provider, who will either be able to repair your car or take it to a garage. 

Recovery services, including the AA and RAC, have said that they are still operating their call-out services, and that their patrols are following Government guidelines: keeping two metres from customers, wearing latex protective gloves and wiping down any surfaces they touch with hand sanitiser or wipes. 

A spokesperson for the RAC commented: "We saw a significant reduction in breakdowns on Tuesday 24 March, following the restrictions announced by the Prime Minister, but we’re still rescuing customers who need breakdown assistance for their essential journeys – at home or at the roadside – 24/7. We’re also attending emergency service vehicles, delivery lorries and other critical service vehicles that break down as normal."

In the event of a breakdown, anyone without any Covid-19 symptoms, or who isn’t self-isolating, can contact their recovery operator in the usual way: by phone or via an app. If you do have symptoms, you should call and let the phone operator know straight away so that the necessary precautions can be taken while recovering your vehicle. 

Citroen, DS, Peugeot and Vauxhall are all offering free breakdown cover for NHS staff at this time, with no age limit on the vehicles covered.

Breakdown survey 2019

Getting your car fixed may not be as easy as it was before the coronavirus outbreak, because some garages have closed to protect staff and customers. 

However, only car showrooms have been ordered to close by the Government; garages and service departments are allowed to stay open to keep vehicles in good working order, so we’d advise looking online to see which local garages are open. You can then ask them up-front what measures they’re taking to prevent the spread of infection. 

The garage may be able to send someone to collect your car if you leave the keys in a secure place. Don’t forget to wipe down the keys and all frequently touched surfaces of the car, including its door handles, steering wheel and infotainment touchscreen, before the car is collected and when it’s returned. 

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Read more: all the latest coronavirus advice for drivers >>