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September 7, 2020

4 Tips to Consider When Servicing Your Car in the "New Normal"

Just about every car brand has talked about car servicing in “the new normal.” Talking about disinfection, sanitization, proper social distancing measures, and all that has become so common place that to discuss again here would be like beating a dead horse.

Instead, when we had our long-term CX-5 serviced for its periodic maintenance service, we simply talked to Rod Abanes, the service manager of Mazda Makati on four tips he can share to every car owner who might be heading to a dealership for service.

#1. Book Your Appointment and Stick to It

Every carmaker and/or dealer has come up with their own convenient way of booking a service appointment, so use it. In Mazda Makati’s case, they embraced Facebook Messenger allowing customers to book a preferred time and date of service.

Regardless of whether the appointment was booked through an app, social media, or through the phone, always remember to stick to your schedule. If your appointment is set for 10 AM, don’t arrive at 8 AM and expect to be serviced ahead. Naturally, don’t arrive as 12 NN. With social distancing measures in place (including at the work shop), dealers can only accommodate a limited number of cars at any given time.

#2. Remove All Your Personal Belongings

This one can’t be stressed enough. With disinfection protocols in place (you actually see service advisors wiping down your car’s exterior and interior touch points even prior to check listing), you don’t want to leave loose things that can potentially harbor nasty germs.

While dealer personnel are tested regularly for COVID-19, it pays to be extra cautious. Remove things that aren’t necessary for your car’s trip to the shop. Keep any cables, coins, umbrellas, or sunglasses with you instead of leaving them in your car.

#3. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask About Health Protocols

Here’s one thing most people take for granted: the minimum health and safety protocols. While face masks are now mandatory, face shields are not. Before heading out to have your car serviced, ask before hand if there are local ordinances and/or specific dealer protocols that you should be aware of.

If face shields are required, bring and use them; don’t be a dick about it. If you’re told that you can’t stay at the dealership to wait for your car, respect that and don’t make a fuss about it. Remember, it’s not just for your own safety and convenience, but for those around you as well. Oh, regardless of the policy, it’s good practice to bring a small bottle of alcohol or hand sanitizer with you at all times.

#4. To Sanitize or Not to Sanitize

Most, if not all dealerships will ask if you’d be willing to have your vehicle sanitized after the service. The service will commonly have a nominal fee, and will add an extra 10 to 15 minutes to your total time at the dealership. Is it worth it? Personally, that depends.

If you’re heading somewhere else right after your vehicle is serviced (i.e. supermarket, etc.), then sure. Why not? Though the mist treatment removes bacteria, mold, and fungi—notice they don’t make any claim about viruses? But they do contain ingredients that are effective in reducing the spread of certain viruses. It’s a thin layer of protection, but it’s better than nothing. However, if you’re heading straight home, you can opt to do the disinfection yourself for as long as you have the right cleaners for the job (that’s what I did). Oh, and please make sure that all clothes you wore go straight to the wash.

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