Car and tyre services are just another place where there is a high risk of virus contraction. Frequent contact with various customers simply makes it easier for the virus to spread. But – this does not mean that you have to shut your business. Instead – consider working as you can get money for various expenses, like taxes, rent fees, etc.
Even if you shut your business for the time of the epidemic – taxes won’t pay themselves, right? So, if you decide to work, you can still work, but just do it in a safe manner. That’s why we prepared a short guide on how to care for your safety while working as a car mechanic.
The epidemic is just a fact. For the good of us all simply prepare for it. If you haven’t done that already, make sure there are stocks of:
- disposable gloves
- protective masks
- disinfectant (you can put it in smaller bottles, like the ones with a feeder)
We know that these things might be more expensive than before the epidemic. However, it would be a good idea to get them – unless you have a stock already.
Where to do your shopping?
First up – do it online.
Try to stay away from public places, especially crowded ones like pharmacies or grocery stores. You can switch to online shopping.
How about workshop equipment? Parts, tools and other things should be sorted online too. It would be better to avoid part shops (they are shut anyways). You can also avoid meeting sales representatives of various companies.
If you have to go outside, to a more crowded space, remember a few basic things:
- use cashless payments (card, mobile payments)
- keep distance from other people (at least 2 meters)
- avoid talking face-to-face
And one more thing. Try doing it as rarely as possible.
Online things delivery
So – you bought tools and parts online but you have to pick them up somehow. Obviously, it would be a good idea get things at self-service parcel pick-up station. But – in case of car parts, this might be problematic. So, in most cases you would have to sort them from the carrier. Don’t worry though – there is a way to do that safely too.
When a carrier/sales representative comes
Remember to keep the basic safety rules
- put your disposbable gloves and mask on
- take parcels in the open – for instance, in the space before your garage
- do not shake hands with people – just a regular “hi” and “good morning” suffices
- keep a safe distance from the other person – at least 1.5-2 meters from the other person
- pay for all the goods in advance (bank transfer)
Disinfecting the goods would be a good idea too (even if you use a mixture of soap and hot water). Obviously you have to do it with gloves on. You can also consider putting these away for 24 hours – that won’t hurt too.
So, picking the stuff up is done. Now, what should you do if a customer comes up to your garage?
Safe work at tyre/car service
You need to consider the basic safety guidelines. It is a bit similar to a situation when you are picking the goods up from the carrier. Obviously, it is not too comfortable but you have to consider doing it – for the good of us all.
Client comes up to your garage
First up – avoid shaking hands. Really – just a regular “hi” or “good morning” is enough these days. Nobody in their right mind would ever get offended by that.
Talking to the client
While talking, keep a safe distance of 1.5-2 meters from the other person. Don’t worry, you will be able to hear one another. And just to stay on the safe side, put your disposable mask on.
Picking the car up from the client
If you got the lift/repair pit free and know what is the problem with the car, you can start working on it immediately. Consider asking the client to drive there themselves. You can be “guiding” them. Avoid sitting in someone else’s car.
And when the car is in the service, try to stay away from its interior.
The passenger compartment is a huge source of germs. Just think how many parts you touch in your car everyday:
- door handle (inside and outside)
- steering wheel
- radio joystick/buttons
- the gearbox
- handbrake handle
- card slot/ the ignition area
- power windows buttons
And keys, remote controls or even cars. And the upholstery, various arm rests, handles – thousands of parts that you touch upon daily. All of these may carry a virus. Very few people care about disinfecting the car inside – even if the vehicle seems perfectly clean, this does not mean there is no virus inside.
To put it shortly – avoid sitting in someone else’s car. But – if you really have to, keep these safety rules in mind:
- put NEW gloves on (that’s a MUST)
- put a mask on
This pertains to the whole car pick-up drill:
before you touch the key/card – put gloves on
before you touch the documents (service books, vehicle registration book, etc) – put gloves on.
And if you do any repairs inside the car?
Various car service procedures require entering the interior. Take even the most basic examples, like opening the hood or connecting the diagnostic device. It won’t hurt to have disposable gloves and mask on. When done with the work, put the mask and gloves away. Also, disinfect any parts of the body that might have gotten in close contact with infected surfaces.
Some mechanics do an ozone treatment of the car’s interior. They put the device inside the car, turn the engine on and turn heating on the closed circuit. The device works for 20 minutes, clearing the air of various germs.
Would that help? Theoretically speaking, it should. You may consider doing that procedure to any car that comes up to your garage. Obviously, you should remember about having the protective gloves and mask on.
Car’s body – another hub of germs
Even if you work outside the car, any of the parts that somebody might have touched with fingers can carry a virus on. Just a few examples:
- door handle (outside)
- luggage compartment handle
- door locks
Try to touch as few car parts as possible. And don’t forget to have gloves on all the time.
Take them out from the car. Try not to touch any of the car’s surfaces. When you put them back – take your working gloves off and put NEW disposable ones. Don’t forget to disinfect your working gloves.
Working under the hood
Open the hood once and do not close it until you are done with all the repairs. That’s all about having as little contact with various parts as possible – take the hood opening handle.
And if the car is already on the lift? Well, the procedure depends on what you are planning to do now. In general, avoid driving the car off the lift/pit until you are done with all the repairs.
There are several parts that have the virus on under the hood. Examples:
- hood opening handle
- reservoir caps: oil, coolant, windscreen washer, brake fluid, power steering fluid
Anything you do with the car, be it inside/outside or even under the hood – do it with your gloves on.
How to take care of your business?
Just a few tips on how to take proper care of your company’s premises.
Obviously, keeping it perfectly clear can be challenging. With this epidemic situation at the moment, it is important to stop the virus from spreading. Make sure all the surfaces that somebody touched with their bare hands are properly disinfected. This especially pertains to:
- payment terminals.
Make sure to disinfect various common spaces at least twice a day. This pertains to spaces like toilets, cloakroom or all the rooms where clients are at.
How to disinfect various spaces?
It would be best to use the products designed for that purpose. If you don’t have these already, consider use any product that contains at least 60% of alcohol.
How to take money?
It would be best to take cashless payments. For instance – with a card (if you got a terminal) or a bank transfer. If you have to take cash, be as careful as possible:
- Get a box for money
- Put your gloves on
- Take the money from the client – count them in a way that the client sees.
- Put the cash in the box.
Got a waiting room for your customers? Better shut it for now. You can consider moving it to the open air.
That’s what we do at our company. We have limited danger zone, providing separate spaces for the goods pick-up. We handle the goods only in the open, which minimizes the risk of virus transmission.
All the tools/workshop equipment should be disinfected on a regular basis. This pertains to the following surfaces like:
- impact wrenches: handles and buttons
- wheel balancers: buttons
- lifts: buttons
- car jacks: handles
Obviously, you touch most of these surfaces with gloves on – at least you should. But! What if someone forgets and takes the air jack without gloves on? This means a huge risk of virus spreading.
And one more thing. Be sure to clean the screens of diagnostic computers – they could be a great source of germs. This also pertains to tablets, smartphones or other devices (with keyboard and mouse included).
Personal safety products
We already mentioned it above – but it won’t hurt to repeat it. Make sure that you and the employees of your company are equipped with
- protective masks
Make sure there are handwashing instructions hung all around your premises.
Why do we keep repeating it? Viruses are “afraid” of hot water and soap. This is why it is so important to wash hands in a proper manner. And do it on a regular basis. In particular, after every situation that could be potentially dangerous. This is the only way to protect yourself against viruses.
After every use, put the gloves away to the garbage.
How about the masks?
Is it a good idea to wear them? Well, we think yes. Obviously, they are for those affected with the virus. But – are you 100% sure that you are not? Thing is, doing a virus test at home is impossible. If you want to be sure you are free from the disease, you should go to a doctor.
And one more thing. Around 80% of those affected with the virus experience mild symptoms only (or even go through the disease WITHOUT any symptoms). But – they can still spread the virus.
So – if you got ANY contact with people from the outside (clients, sales representatives, mailmen – anyone) put the mask on. For the good of us all. Also yours. And your family’s. It won’t hurt but it can keep someone safe from harm.
Will alcohol protect against coronavirus?
Well, alcohol is a great disinfectant. Trouble is, the amount of
alcohol in vodka or whiskey is just too low. Only the products that have
at least 60% of alcohol – like rectified spirit – can be used for this
And one more thing. Alcohol can be a great disinfectant but drinking
it won’t protect you against viruses. To make things worse, even little
amount of alcohol affects your body’s immunity – you get more prone to
IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER!
The situation is serious, to say the least. But – you should not panic. Take care of yourselves – of your health and overall condition. If you have less clients at your service that’s even better – use this time to take some rest.
Be particularly careful when it comes to the elderly. In general, they are much more prone to the current virus than the young people.
Are you at risk?
Various sources claim that coronavirus death rate is around 2-3%. The risk is the highest for the elderly and people with comorbidities
As we mentioned above, up to 80% of the affected would go through the disease symptom-free. So – TAKE CARE OF YOURSELVES.
And if you notice any of these symptoms
- high fever (over 37 degrees Celsius)
- trouble breathing
Take your doctor’s advice. Do it over the phone -that’s the safest way now. don’t forget that hospital waiting rooms are just crowded now so you can contract various diseases there – trouble is, these symptoms can be due to other diseases too. Or spread the virus further.
Simply remember about the safety rules:
- Wash your hands and disinfect any tool that you touch
- Be especially careful when in contact with people that come from the outside
- Take cashless payments