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Mechanic offers 'no-touch' repair service amid coronavirus outbreak

Deemed an 'essential' business, Finn Tire & Automotive in Bedford Heights is taking care to limit contact with customers and cars.

BEDFORD HEIGHTS, Ohio — Finn Tire & Automotive in Bedford Heights is offering customers a “no touch” repair service aimed at limiting contact between its employees and customers and their cars.

Owner Brian Ettinger said he began creating a protocol several weeks ago, as fears about the spread of the coronavirus were growing and before Gov. Mike DeWine ordered many businesses to close and people to stay home.

The governor’s order, which went into effect Monday night, allows certain businesses deemed “essential” for the health and safety of people to remain open. Such businesses include grocery stores, gas stations, transportation companies and auto repair shops. People are allowed to travel to and from work and to stores and doctor appointments, among other places.  

Ettinger said that as more people began working from home, they were dropping their cars off for service.

“So, a lot of people where the husband and wife might be working from home they think it is a good time for them to be without a vehicle,” he said. “We are thoroughly disinfecting cars when they are dropped off. From the keys to the car itself.”

The process, which he demonstrated for 3News on Sunday, includes using several disinfectants recommended by health professionals and that are also safe on certain interior car surfaces. His mechanics clean everything before and after service to protect employees and customers. And they keep the car’s steering wheel and driver’s seat covered in plastic during service. Those materials are then put in the dumpster after service.

Here’s how Ettinger described the work: “We disinfect the keys, key fobs, remotes. Then we go to the car and work on the outside handle and then work on the touch points on the door. The parts on the door you open and close with. Then we go to the inside door handles, window handles, locks, steering wheel, turn signal lever, wiper switch, headline switch.”

Ettinger said he continues to take new precautions. Customers can no longer come inside the front office or garage. They continue to offer drop off services and will even pick up cars, which they will disinfect before driving.

“If you have an issue with your car, it can be addressed and as long as we can be open safely for our customers and employees, we will be open,” he said. “If someone does have a car issue, they might not be able to wait.”

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