Most states nationwide in the United States have issued stay-at-home orders and mandated social distancing measures as part of the worldwide efforts to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19. Many states have been told to shelter in place for almost a month now, with many mandated stay-at-home orders going into effect in mid-to-late March. What happens if you need your car serviced during COVID-19?
As the nation begins to adapt to these measures, people are attempting to live their lives with as much normalcy as possible while still doing everything they can to protect themselves and those around them from catching the coronavirus. There is a very fine balance to be struck between doing what is safe and maintaining any sense of normalcy, and there remains widespread confusion among even the most conscientious citizens regarding where it is “okay” to go and what it is “okay” to do during this time. 
Many drivers are left wondering if it’s okay to take their car in for service and repairs through this pandemic—or even if it’s safe to buy a new car during this time. This guide offers some much-needed clarification for car owners nationwide. Keep reading to learn 2 car-related things it’s okay to do while on shelter-in-place during COVID-19, and 2 things you should wait to do until the pandemic slows down significantly and stay-at-home orders are lifted. 

What’s Okay During COVID-19 

Getting Your Car’s Oil Changed 

Although it might seem insignificant and not as time-sensitive or as necessary as other more major repairs, getting your car’s oil changed or taking your car in for any other scheduled maintenance services 
Taking good care of your car keeps your car in good condition and keeps it running like it’s supposed to run. This, in turn, helps keep you, your passengers, and other drivers on the road safe. It’s better to get your car serviced now than to wait until your car is unsafe to drive. 
Fortunately, any business that offers auto services and repairs is considered essential and should still be open for business during this time. That includes the service centers at most car dealerships. However, some service centers are offering limited hours during this time, so make sure to call and make an appointment before heading in to get your car serviced during COVID-19. 

Getting Your Car Repaired 

In addition to taking your car in for its scheduled maintenance services, it is also okay to get your car repaired during COVID-19. Again, if your car is in need of repair, it is safer to get it fixed ASAP than to risk driving it in an unsafe condition and endangering your life and the lives of others on the road.

tech looks under the hood of a nissan

Nissan car serviced during COVID-19

The only exception to this rule of thumb is if you are looking to get a minor, cosmetic-only repair on your car. For example, if you have a small dent in your bumper that affects only the appearance of your car, it’s safer to wait until non-essential businesses open up to take it in to get repaired. 

What’s Not Okay During COVID-19 

Getting Cosmetic Upgrades 

While the auto service center at your local dealership may be open for all services—including purely cosmetic services—during this time, now is not the time to schedule a cosmetic upgrade for your car. 
Part of protecting yourself and others from COVID-19 is reducing your exposure to other people and thereby reducing your potential exposure to the virus. Limiting your exposure to other people decreases your chances of catching the virus and spreading it to others. 
That’s why it’s important to stay home unless it is necessary for you to go out. Getting your car repaired or serviced is considered essential, but getting new rims or a new audio system installed is definitely non-essential and can wait until stay-at-home orders are lifted. 

Buying a New Car 

Even though the sales branches of most car dealerships are currently closed anyway, it is worth noting that buying a new car is not considered essential during this time. If you’re just in the market for a new car because you’re tired of driving your old one or want to upgrade, now is not the time to make that purchase. 
If you need to buy a new car for essential purposes, however, that’s a different story. For example, if you do not currently have a car and need to buy a new car in order to have transportation to and from your essential workplace, that’s okay. Fortunately, many car dealerships are offering special socially distanced options for buying a car online and picking it up in person. If you absolutely need to buy a new car sooner rather than later, check in with your local car dealership to see what options they are offering for buying a car during COVID-19.