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

Although restrictions due to the coronavirus outbreak have been tightened with a lockdown in England and Scotland from 5 January 2021, some people will still need to venture out in their cars for essential journeys, such as to buy food and medicine or go to work. And for some, this is when car faults may become evident. 

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 continued to operate their call-out services throughout the crisis, with patrols following Government guidelines: keeping two metres from customers, wearing latex protective gloves and wiping down any surfaces they touch with hand sanitiser or wipes. 

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. 

The AA, RAC and a number of car makers, including Citroen, DS, Peugeot and Vauxhall, are all offering free breakdown cover for NHS staff at this time, in many instances 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 many garages closed earlier this year to protect staff and customers and they are still dealing with a backlog from this. However, garages and service departments are considered as essential retail outlets, so they are currently open, with Covid-safe measures in place. This will include steps to ensure social distancing is maintained and that cars are thoroughly disinfected before and after being worked on. 

Prior to having your car repaired or serviced, we'd advise you to discuss the measures put in place by the garage to ensure you are happy with them. 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. 

Although car showrooms were ordered to close by the Government in March, they are allowed to sell cars online using a click and collect service, so if you're thinking of changing your car you can still do so. 

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