Navigating The Road Ahead During the COVID-19 Crisis: Your Car Questions Answered

Photo Credits: CGN089/Delpixel/WAYHOME studio/

[UPDATE 7/08/20: CarProUSA Certified dealerships are back open this summer and continuing to adhere to social distancing as well as taking careful steps to disinfect cars and dealership showrooms and service areas. They are also continuing to offer online car-buying services and home deliveries. The new challenge facing the industry is a shortage of vehicles that is now underway since factories were closed for several months.]

We've all been living on a roller coaster for the past five months, with COVID-19 severely impacting our daily lives. It's left us all trying to adjust to the new normal. (If you’re like us, you’ll never again take for granted the freedom to get in your car and head to your local grocery store to pick up a few things.) It's clear that the Coronavirus is not simply going to go away. We are currently seeing this as we head into July with a substantial spike in COVID-19 cases. Once again, people are being asked to stay home, wear masks in public and practice social distancing as well as observe CDC guidelines.

The auto industry and the way people shop for vehicles has been impacted by COVID-19 in many ways. As Car Pro Show host Jerry Reynolds reports this week, COVID took its toll on second quarter auto sales. He says "the biggest issue was assembly plants started closing in March and by the end of May." As Reynolds predicted, "dealership inventories were extremely low, and that played a big part of the sales drop from June 2019. " Read More Here

Here's an updated look at some most frequently asked questions related to vehicles during the COVID-19 crises:

Are Dealers Currently Facing Inventory Shortages?

Yes, Car Pro Show host Jerry Reynolds' prediction in May came true. Reynolds says the shortages are the result of factories being closed for two months, which means dealers didn't get new vehicle to sell. It also means buyers are having more trouble finding particular makes and models, especially the popular ones. Automakers have resumed production and added shifts to try to meet demand.

Is COVID-19 Impacting Used Car Sales and Trade-In Values?

Yes. Reynolds says the used car market is sky high, and every dealer is telling him they’d much rather give too much for a trade-in than go to auction. This is a good thing if you have a trade-in because you'll get more for it. It's not as great if you are looking to buy used - in fact you might find better deals buying new with all the incentives related to COVID-19, though they are hard to predict and change month to month. Search for current incentives by automaker here.

Is This a Good Time To Buy a New Vehicle?

Yes. Many automakers continue to offer special incentives for new car buyers in the way of lower interest rates and deferred payments. Some are also providing some peace of mind to buyers concerned about job loss due to COVID as well. Ford for one recently launched Ford Promise which allows eligible buyers to return their new vehicle (eligible models only) within a year of purchase due to proven job loss. You'll definitely need to read the fine print however to understand the program completely. Hyundai's Assurance Job Loss Protection program offers up to six months of payment relief for eligible new vehicle owners who lose their jobs. Genesis offers a similar six-month payment relief program called Genesis Cares Job Loss Protection for eligible customers. Check with dealers to find out what incentives, programs and payment assistance is offered with each particular brand.

Can I Get Help With Car Payments?

Yes. If you’ve been impacted by job loss during COVID-19 and need help making car payments, automakers will discuss relief payment options with you. Click here for a list of automaker assistance information and deferred payment offers.

Are Automakers Offering To Extend Expiring Warranties?

Yes, some have already extended those offers, many of those involve warranties that were set to expire in May. For example, on May 13, Audi announced it would provide a three-month warranty extension on its New Vehicle Limited Warranty as well as its Certified pre-owned Limited Warranty set to expire in March through the end of May, 2020. VW is extending its New Vehicle Limited Warranty and its Certified Pre-Owned Limited Warranty by an additional three months on all vehicles for which coverage would have ended between March 1 and May 31, 2020. Porsche, Hyundai and Kia are also offering previously announced extensions. Check with your automaker to see what extensions may be offered.

How Can I Protect My Vehicle From COVID-19?

Nothing is 100% sure-proof when it comes to killing the coronavirus, but there are steps you can take to mitigate the threat. They involve carefully disinfecting your vehicle after each use (using disinfects and soft cloths that won’t harm its interior.) You can find additional tips on disinfecting your vehicle here.

Use Disinfectant Wipes/Spray on: steering wheel, exterior and interior door handles, gear shifter, climate controls, knobs and buttons, rearview mirror, dashboard, key fob, seat belts, use microfiber clothes on touchscreens.

What Else Can Do To Stay Safe In My Car?

Continue to limit the number of people in your vehicle to maintain social distancing and have everyone in the car wear a mask. Have passengers ride in the back seat if possible. Experts at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health suggest opening the car windows some and also make sure your car isn't recirculating air. You want the car vents to bring in fresh air from outside. Read the Harvard article here. Also, never ride with someone who is ill or may have been exposed to the virus. Plus keep sanitizing wipes in your vehicle to wipe surfaces down often. Also, if you can, avoid ride shares or public transportation. If you can't avoid it follow all CDC safety guidelines.

Don't forget to be careful, too, when filling up at the pump. Wear a glove when you are handling the gas pump and your fuel door. Sanitize your hands afterwards.

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