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Car Dealer Practices for Buying and Servicing Your Car During the Coronavirus Pandemic

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread and businesses everywhere temporarily shut down, drivers are wondering whether they can get their cars serviced or buy a new car in this unpredictable time. Automakers, dealerships and service centers are offering special promotions and modifying their businesses to deal with this unprecedented health crisis to ensure that customers can get the car service they need.

If you were shopping for a car before COVID-19 hit the U.S., don’t worry. You don’t have to wait for the pandemic to be over to get your new ride from a car dealer or to get your car serviced. Here are some practices from dealers and service centers that can help you get the services you need while keeping your risk of contracting a nasty virus to a minimum. Keep in mind, online shopping is a great alternative to in-person shopping if you’re worried about coronavirus.

CarMax

National used car dealer chain CarMax has released a detailed plan for its response to COVID-19. This includes 19 store closures, as of this writing, in California, Nevada and Pennsylvania. A few temporary precautions that apply to most of the stores that are remaining open include a new no-handshake policy, enhanced cleaning measures for the dealerships, prohibiting business air and train travel for its associates and the basic measures you’d expect, such as urging employees to stay home if they’re sick.

CarMax is offering home delivery at several locations. Where available, customers can do the whole car-buying experience online and have their new car delivered to their door by a CarMax associate. Drivers with loans through CarMax Auto Finance who have been affected by the economic impact of coronavirus can contact the customer service team at 800-925-3612 to discuss options.

AutoNation

Automotive retailer AutoNation has confirmed that its service departments are staying open for customers who need service during the pandemic. It’s also offering delivery on all new and pre-owned vehicles purchased from AutoNation so customers can minimize their physical contact with brick-and-mortar dealerships. If you need a hand with the car-buying process, AutoNation can assist you online and over the phone. AutoNation is also offering to sanitize customers’ cars with its PrecisionCare cleaning system, which is EPA-registered to kill 44 organisms, including coronaviruses. Here are some ways you can disinfect your own car from home.

Asbury Automotive Group

Asbury Automotive lets you buy new and used cars completely online using what it calls Push Start. It’s a 4-step process that begins with selecting upgrades for your purchase, such as an extended warranty, GAP coverage, etc. Then you can add your trade-in, if applicable. Asbury uses the Kelley Blue Book trade evaluation tool, so you know that you’re getting the most for your trade-in. After that, you choose your payment option: cash, finance or lease. Finally, assuming you pass the instant-decision engine on the credit application, you submit your billing and delivery information, and your car purchase is done. You can have your new ride delivered to your door or you can go to the dealership to pick it up.

Sonic Automotive

Sonic Automotive CEO David Bruton Smith has released a reassuring note about the auto retailer’s response to the coronavirus. The retailer is offering a no-contact option for sales and service, letting you bring in your car for service without coming into contact with any of the staff. If you’re shopping for a new car through Sonic Automotive, you can be reassured of each car’s cleanliness with Sonic’s new sanitation methods, which pay particular attention to surfaces that drivers touch, such as the steering wheel and the door handles. If you go in for a test drive, you’ll have the option of taking your test drive alone. You’ll also be offered a fresh pair of disposable gloves for your test drive as an extra layer of caution. Here are some more options for no-contact car service and more on how it works.

Hendrick Automotive Group

Hendrick Automotive is taking measures similar to Sonic Automotive in response to COVID-19. Hendrick is thoroughly sanitizing its cars before and after test drives. Also, Hendrick locations are being cleaned more thoroughly and more frequently, and there are hand-sanitizing stations in common areas. Hendrick is offering to arrange at-home or virtual test drives and pick-up and drop-off for vehicle service and purchases.

Jiffy Lube

Car service chain Jiffy Lube has made a statement about "actively taking steps" to protect its customers and technicians from coronavirus, but it hasn’t provided specifics. It likely means something similar to what everyone else seems to be doing: more thorough and more frequent facility cleaning, urging associates to stay home if they’re sick, etc.

YourMechanic

YourMechanic hasn’t released any specific statements about coronavirus, but it’s a service that is useful during this time of quarantine. YourMechanic provides professional automotive service at your home seven days a week in more than 2,000 cities across the country. You can go through the YourMechanic website or mobile app and get a quote for the service you need or a diagnostic if you don’t know what your car needs, book an appointment at your location at a time that works for you and get your car fixed without leaving the house.

Looking for more info relating to you, your next vehicle, and the COVID-19 pandemic?  Check out more of Autotrader’s Coronavirus content.

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