Your car service or repair: what you need to be asking

For most of us, the easing of travel restrictions signals a return to a normal of sorts, and for many that means a return to gain employment for that car which has been in the driveway since early March. That in turn will turn our attention to our annual car service which we may have put off over the crisis.

While cars have been sitting idle, workshops and service centres across the world have been changing their practices to keep step with Covid 19 protocols surrounding how your car is cleaned after servicing or repair. Indeed, some insurers have put the sanitisation of serviced and repaired vehicles at the top of their priority lists.

So what exactly do you need to be asking as you hand over your car to your local garage?

You should check with your workshop or service centre that their car cleaning teams are wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) as well as using disposable gloves. You might also enquire as to processes when it comes to washing hands in between cleaning shifts.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US even recommend that vehicle cleaning teams use disposable gowns.

Scientists are still learning a lot about COVID-19, but the likes of the World Health Organisation (WHO) indicate that the virus can live on surfaces for several hours and even days. You want your workshop or service centre to use a product that kills viruses and germs on surfaces, and a solution that contains 70% alcohol is typically fit for this purpose.

But even here, it’s important to bear in mind that many products contain additional substances, such as glycerin, which can damage the interior of your car.

You should also ask your service centre or workshop to make sure that they are using an approved product. There are already many antimicrobial products for use against SARS-CoV-2 that are in circulation around the world and which can be used to disinfect vehicles.

There is a general absence of legislation surrounding sanitising products, with many foggers and spray cans out there not fully disclosing all their ingredients.

Expect this to change.

In reality, it’s not easy for Joe Public to ascertain the safety levels prevailing in any workshop, or indeed even to ask questions about something he or she typically knows precious little about. This is about trust, and this is a time where a body like the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (or SIMI for short) comes into its own as a mark of trust. They’ve been doing good work to ensure their members are equipped to deal with the threat of Covid in a customer-friendly way. Best to look out for their symbol whenever you hand over your car for some work.

For our part, at Mr Windscreen we’ve produced this infographic to make clear the practices we’ve adopted at our centres across Ireland to keep you safe. Should you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Back to work … but not back to normal

Like all businesses providing essential services, at Mr Windscreen we are delighted to be able to open our doors again. Over the past 2 months our activity has been limited to ensuring emergency services and frontline needs for windscreen replacement and repair were looked after. Now we can serve all motorists.

Of course, it’s not business as usual – no one quite knows when we’ll be using that term again. For the past two weeks the team has been investing countless hours to ensure we can provide our services in a which manner that is entirely safe yet efficient for our customers, and, which, of course, complies fully with Covid-19 protocols.

To this end, we have introduced training for all technicians covering:

  • – pp’ing customers signatures
  • – cleaning the inside of the vehicle before and after
  • – mask wearing during the repair
  • – wearing eye goggles
  • – using gloves
  • – using hand sanitiser
  • – using anti-bacterial wipes
  • – providing full face protection masks where available – some based on CIF guidelines

We have based our actions on the guidelines issued by the Society of the Motor Industry.

Out of sight of our customers, our central back-end operation has been overhauled, with every workstation reconfigured to ensure staff are in excess of 2 metres apart.

We are pleased to welcome you, our customer, to a reassuringly safe environment in which to avail of our services. At Mr Windscreen, we are conscious of the important role we play in our society – you see it in our slogan “We keep it moving across Ireland”

Rest assured we’ll be working flat out to do just that from this week on!

Wipers and more: caring for a ‘cocooned’ car

Chances are you’re using the car a lot less during the lockdown – and if your parents are over 70 they shouldn’t be using theirs at all during their ‘cocooning’. While that means lower fuel bills and less wear and tear, there can be downsides to leaving a car unused for a long period of time.

Let’s start with our windscreen wipers – where else? Rubber from the windscreen wiper blades can end up sticking to the windscreen, if not used for an extended period. A simple tip to prevent this is to put some plastic wrap under the blades.

The battery is what most people will think of, and with good reason. Avoid a drained battery by disconnecting it – the negative terminal first, then the positive terminal, never allowing the two terminals to touch. Rubbing petroleum jelly on the terminals to prevent rust is also a good tip.

Park indoors if you can or consider using a car cover (something we rarely do in this country!). However, do not deploy a cover if parking in a garage, as any moisture inside will evaporate slower.

Here’s an unusual one – it makes sense to keep a full tank of fuel in an idle car, as it can prevent rust forming on the inside by keeping moisture from entering the tank.

If the vehicle is standing idle for a long period, flat spots may occur on the wheels. Prevent this by jacking the wheels off the ground or positioning your car on blocks of wood, keeping the tyres off the ground. And check your tyre pressures once the lockdown is over!

Cover the air intakes and exhaust with cloths to prevent insects from getting in. (Leave a note on the steering wheel to remind yourself to remove them).

Finally, it’s a good idea to clean your car before storing it away, as dirt can cause lasting damage.

Keep safe!