Don’t quarantine your car, mechanics make desperate plea

Friday, April 17th, 2020 12:00 |
Mechanics make desperate plea.

Steve Umidha @steveumidha

Automobile mechanics are asking vehicle owners not to quarantine their cars, as they face unprecedented plunge in demand for repair of “faulty” vehicles due to uncertainty caused by Covid-19 and the partial lockdown.

“We want them to come to our garages for minor to major check-ups. Business has been so low and we are worried if this situation continues we could struggle to fend for our families,” said Moses Opallo, a lead mechanic at ML Motors based on Nairobi’s Ngong Road.

Due to the government’s stay-at-home directive, most vehicle tyres have not left their parking lots  in weeks in lieu of gradual wear and tear, as they are enjoying extensive rest and recuperation or simply R&R.

As a result, this has had a huge impact on the mechanics’ daily source of living in earnings from car repairs.

Opallo, a veteran and renowned car mechanic  with years of experience, is as worried as most Kenyans today and the father of one is more deeply concerned with the future of his colleagues with whom he shares the same rented auto car garage space.

Shrinking orders

“We are about 23 mechanics, each with different roles ranging from electrical, mechanical, car body and general vehicle service specialists and we are all struggling to get orders, our phones have gone quiet,” narrates a distraught Opallo, who estimates a decline of more than 75 per cent in the number of vehicles driven through his yard for various patch-up services.

On a good day before the pandemic hit the country, Moses says a total of about 20 vehicles with various mechanical issues would be serviced at the yard on a daily basis.The garage is now repairing a paltry three vehicles daily mainly major repairs.

“You can clearly see how devastating it is for us,” he said in an interview, adding that the situation had been worsened by the recent partial lock-down of major affected cities by the Covid-19 which potentially locked long distance passenger vehicles plying those routes from entering or leaving the capital and as a result denying them a key component of their regular incomes.

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