IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT CORONAVIRUS, YOUR CAR AND CARTOPIA
As people's movements are restricted, the journeys they take are more important than ever.
During this very difficult time with so much uncertainty and disruption, we’re all having to make big changes to our everyday lives as we try and cope with the coronavirus situation.
At Cartopia, we know your car is an essential tool in keeping you safe and we’re doing everything we can to keep you moving, safely and responsibly.
In this article we will address how Cartopia is
Keeping You Moving
For many critical workers, their vehicles are now fundamental to their journey to and from work every day during the crisis, especially with public transport services now being advised against and reduced. This includes NHS staff, teachers, care workers, delivery drivers and people working in frontline retail, to name just a few.
As important to us all though, at the same time we have families, friends and loved ones that need our help and support, whether it’s a crucial trip to a supermarket or a pharmacy, or taking round some much needed supplies to someone in isolation unable to leave their home themselves.
So at Cartopia our ability to continue to support you and help keep your vehicles on the move, is vital.
Right now, our workshop in Mill Hill (GDK) and bodyshop in Edgware (BAP) remain open and operational.
We are still offering courtesy cars and wherever possible we will run a collection and drop back service to help you keep your movements to a minimum.
Keeping Everyone Safe
In line with medical advice, we continue to work to ensure every recommended precautionary measure is being taken to help prevent the risk of exposure.
This includes regular cleaning of our courtesy cars, workspaces and offices. Using seat covers, floor mats and wearing latex gloves when working on your vehicles, as well as when serving customers, handling payments and while on collection and delivery errands. We are making hand gels and soaps available to all our teams with regular handwashing and cleansing taking place in line with government guidelines.
Unfortunately due to the closure of our car wash neighbour we are unable to wash cars like usual. We recommend you visit an automated car wash after visiting us. The nearest is at Stirling Corner roundabout.
In line with government guidance, we insist keys and ID are exchanged and forms signed following strict social distancing protocols.
If you are showing any symptoms whatsoever, no matter how minor they may appear, or if you are self-isolating, please do not visit the garage. Instead please contact us to arrange collection of your vehicle and we are sorry but courtesy cars are not available in these circumstances.
Considered an essential service, it is our intention to be open as much as possible during the crisis, but we have to expect that, as our customers use their cars significantly less, so we will be needed much less also.
We also have to factor in our staff and the immense strain and pressure they are under to keep you mobile during the crisis.
As a result of this, Cartopia will only be open Monday to Thursday 8am to 5pm. We will now be closed on Fridays to bookings and walk ins, however we will be working behind the shutters to clear any backlog as best we can. We will be completely closed on Weekends as usual.
We will strictly be working “behind closed doors” meaning the offices will not be open to more than one customer at a time. We ask that wherever possible cars are left parked in our car park and the key posted through our letterbox. Any conversation you need to have can be conducted by phone or video chat.
To assist with this, we have implemented additional lines of communication.
Keeping In Touch
ZOOM – Meeting ID 433-912-3487
Sometimes it’s hard to explain things over the phone but with Zoom you can still talk to us face to face. We can share our screen and we can walk you through the condition of your car without the need for you to be in the garage.
We have been trialling this tech for the last week and it is proving to be an awesome tool.
You can use Zoom from your smartphone, tablet or computer. Visit your app store or from your PC go to https://zoom.us/download
WhatsApp – Save to your contacts 07308 61 66 44
If you want to send us a picture you’ve taken or a video you’ve filmed of your car; It could be a picture of a nail in a tyre to confirm whether we can repair it; It could be a picture of a warning light on your dash to ask if you should be worried about it; It could be a video of a noisy engine to determine if it needs to come in to the garage, we ask you add our number to your contacts and you can send us your media for us to look at.
You can use WhatsApp from your phone, tablet or computer. Visit your app store or from your PC go to https://www.whatsapp.com/download
Email – send to firstname.lastname@example.org
Please make a note of this email address. It is seen by virtually all members of staff on a daily basis and is the best way to get in touch if using email.
Send us your questions, pictures and videos or arrange a call back.
Phone - please make a note of our concierge number 020 33 842 999
Even when the garage is closed the lines of communication will stay open.
You can call our concierge number anytime on 020 33 842 999 or
Call the usual number 020 8959 6776 during opening times to make or amend a booking or to ask a question about your car.
Keeping You Informed
We are frequently asked Coronavirus Questions to do with your car, below are a list of them and our answers.
What will happen if I need to MOT my car?
The most common questions we are being asked are about MOT testing.
It is important to remember that an MOT is not just a legal requirement, it is a safety inspection for your car. It is advised therefore that if your MOT is running out within the next 4 weeks that you book it in to ensure the car is roadworthy.
The DVSA has not yet cancelled testing and that means that if your car is due its MOT in the coming weeks of lockdown you should still arrange to have the test carried out. Failing to do so could invalidate your insurance and leave you at risk of being fined.
Regardless of the insurance and legal implications, don’t miss your MOT a not only could your car be dangerous, failure to fix something small now often leads to having to fix something big later.
Brake pads are a fine example – if you fail the MOT on brake pads, you must change them. If you were to keep driving on pads that are illegal and unsafe, not only will your ability to stop be seriously hampered, you’ll also likely cause irrevocable damage to your brake discs, meaning the repair bill will double in price.
The DVSA has suspended testing of all heavy goods vehicles (HGV), trailers and public service vehicles (PSV) for up to three months but said it is keeping testing of other vehicles under review. It is currently unclear what direction our Government and the DVSA will take concerning delaying testing but it is possible that MOT testing may be restricted.
An example of this is In Northern Ireland where MOT testing has actually been suspended since January 2020. Not because of a pandemic but because some buffoon chose the cheapest ramps available to install in the 15 national MOT test centres in the country, only to find out they all had cracks in them that could lead to a car falling on someone’s head.
As a result, cars over 4 years old have been given a 4 month reprieve to get their MOT while the NIDVSA sort out their mess.
Whilst it is possible the coronavirus outbreak could lead the DVSA to suspend testing, for your own sake and that of your car you should carry on as normal but please see our guide to keeping in touch and visiting the garage.
If you're not sure when your MOT expires, please get in touch.
What if my car has broken down or won’t start?
Now more than ever we recommend joining a breakdown recovery service like the AA or RAC.
Considered an essential service they will still be running during any period of government enforced lockdown, however services are expected to be reduced. This shouldn’t cause too many delays as demand is also expected to be significantly less than usual as well.
It is always our advice to be a member of one of these services as most garages including ourselves do not offer any form of home-start or recovery service.
We would also advise to take out a breakdown warranty as well. We are seeing more and more people getting their cars repaired after a call out and only paying a small fraction of the repair cost, in the case of the AA, only £35 of the first £500.
Some of our customers will have an Autoguard Warranty provided by us. For you, if you don’t know the number, please call the concierge line anytime and we will put you in touch with the breakdown service to get your car to the garage (or your nearest one if not us).
Don’t forget though, if you have an Autoguard Warranty your car doesn’t have to have broken down for a repair to be covered.
At this most unusual and confusing time, we are all considering our finances more and more and having recovery and one of these policies could be the answer you’ve been looking for to keep your costs down and your car on the road.
Please check to make sure you have breakdown cover at the very least. If you don’t you should get it.
To join the AA go to https://www.theaa.com/
To join the RAC go to https://www.rac.co.uk/
For information about Autoguard please call the concierge number on 020 33 842 999
Once you’ve made the call to your breakdown service, if your car cannot be repaired at the roadside please get the car relayed to the garage. We would ask that you only accompany the vehicle if absolutely necessary and advise against riding in the cab with the patrol person if at all possible.
As with all our customers, we are happy to loan you a car subject to availability and where no symptoms are present. We are also able to return the car to your home once the repair work has been completed.
Do I still need to get my car serviced?
Right now the economy faces its biggest challenge since the second world war and so it’s all about looking after the pennies, so you be surprised to learn the answer here is a resounding yes, you should still service your car.
Without sounding flippant, your car doesn’t know about coronavirus. As far as it’s concerned everything is just hunky dory. If it was due a service before the outbreak, unless you do it, it will still be due a service during and after it.
As far as the car is concerned the oil still needs changing, the filters are still full of filth and it still needs to be properly checked to make sure it will last you another year at least.
As you’re not going to be using the car as much, as it is not a legal requirement like an MOT you may decide that waiting until the lockdown is over before getting it done is more prudent, however this may not actually be the case.
There is a chance we will see massive delays as backlogs are cleared and people race to get the cars booked in. Not only those cars who require general maintenance during the lockdown, but those who are due after it as well.
Any delay to vehicle servicing can prove costly. We have seen over the years all sorts of big problems that are expensive to fix, that had they been caught during a service, when they were small problems or problems waiting to happen, could have saved the customer a ton of money and aggravation.
Another reason to do the service is that it will effect the future value of the car. Although it is unlikely a buyer will hold it agaist you that you were late or missed a service during the coronavirus outbreak, it won't harm your chances of getting the best price for it when you do come to sell if it was serviced ever year on time.
Another reason to get it done now is that some industry experts are suggesting we may see sharp price increases as suppliers and manufacturers attempt to claw back lost earnings but the worst case scenario remains, your car may need a service because something is wrong with it that will go unnoticed and could cause major damage.
To avoid issues with your car and while you’re not using it, get it serviced if its due.
What about my Morris Minor?
Many of you know Nick, our longest serving member of the team and total Morris Minor aficionado.
Nick has been working on some of your cars for almost 40 years and when it comes to Morris Minors, Wolseleys, Austins and old Jaguars, you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone with as much knowledge, experience and expertise as Nick.
Nick is totally devoted to his craft and loves keeping your cars on the road but at this time, if he is to be of any use to you in the future he needs to look after himself right now. At the ripe old age of 70 and with breathing difficulties caused by decades of breathing in burning acetylene and molten steel, Nick has made the very sensible move to go into self-isolation until advise from the government changes and it is safe for him to return to work.
As a result of this all work to Morris Minors is suspended until further notice while we wait for the safe return of our awesome Nick.
Any other questions?
If you have any questions about your car or any of our services that have not been answered here, please get in touch by any of the means above.
And most of all, stay home and stay safe.
CEO & Founder