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On-Demand Contactless Car Repairs Gaining Popularity During Pandemic

CHICAGO (CBS) -- On demand everything; the pandemic is deepening the desire for people to have goods and services at their fingertips; from personal grocery shoppers to dog walkers. Now auto mechanics are on call in an instant.

CBS 2 Morning Insider Lauren Victory takes us inside another contactless trend that's growing during the pandemic.

COVID-19 might mean fewer people on the road, but anyone who merely owns a car is still cruising for a bruising. Eventually something in a vehicle will need attention.

As winter approaches, more batteries will die. Inspections can't be skipped, and oil changes are inevitable.

So it was for a trip to the mechanic, but not anymore.

"I didn't have to go out in public and sit in an auto repair shop," said YourMechanic customer Allison Moore.

Instead, Moore stayed in the safety of her Elmhurst garage, on her own schedule.

When the vaccine comes and things go back to normal, she expects she might continue using a service like this again.

"Quite possibly. It was really convenient," she said.

On-demand technicians might seem like a new-fangled idea, but the company behind this mobile service started in 2011, almost a decade ago.

Asked how he's seen the business change since the pandemic began, YourMechanic CEO Anthony Rodio said, "it's been a challenge."

Rodio didn't filter out the struggles from the success.

"Uber and Lyft are big customers of ours, rental car companies are customers of ours, and as people aren't traveling in ridesharing as much, that's impacted the business in a negative way," he said.

Yet calls from Chicago are on the rise, especially now as the virus surges and temperatures plummet.

"The last thing you want to do is get in your car if it's raining or snowing, and not have your wipers be working," Rodio said. "Sort of the craziest thing we see in cold weather, seen it a few times, is animals will nest inside your car if you leave it outside."

They're problems that can be fixed by simply leaving keys on the hood. YourMechanic tweaked payment methods and other processes so service can be completely contactless.

Though having a 13-year industry expert delivered right to her door was an educational opportunity Moore, a first-time car owner, didn't want to miss.

YourMechanic claims to have comparable or lower costs than a regular auto shop, because the company doesn't operate out of a physical building. Mobile mechanics are able to jack up cars to check brakes and more, but you'll still need to go the shop for fixes to your transmission and other major parts.

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