At Community Tire Pros' six locations, Mr. Fleishmann said, customers seem "impressed" with the safety procedures the dealership has put in place. He said they haven't had as many customers seeking touchless service as they expected, even after heavily advertising it.
"We are doing it all, including sanitizing the vehicle before it is returned to the customer. This process adds 30 minutes to each transaction, and many (customers) request we wipe things down rather than allow for the extra time to sanitize."
Tire dealers have been using a lot of different methods to take payments and relay information to customers. Some shops are utilizing new technology designed for the aftermarket while others are taking payments over the phones.
Greg Mynaugh, president of United Tire & Service L.L.C., said a touchless payment option is provided at United Tire's 13 locations throughout Pennsylvania.
"Customers appreciate text to pay, but only a small percentage use this," Mr. Mynaugh said. "And they like the digital inspections that we use via Bolt On Technology."
Barry Steinberg, CEO of Direct Tire & Auto Service in Watertown, Mass. with locations throughout the greater Boston area, said dealerships aren't allowing customers in the showroom. Instead, customers drop off their keys, and payment is done via text or over the phone.
"(We are) absolutely doing most of our selling on the phone for tires," Mr. Steinberg said. "We send videos for all multi-point inspections, which our clients love the transparency and complete explanation by our technicians."
Scott Shubin, president of Goodguys Tires & Auto Repair, which operates nine retail locations in and around Fresno, Calif., said Goodguys has tried to get out in front of its competitors and "embrace the new protocols."
"We've added a 'touchless' option for customers," Mr. Shubin said, adding his dealership offers pick up and delivery, online payment for tires and phone payment for other services. "All of our employees wear masks, gloves, and we cover the steering wheel, seat and floorboard of the customer's vehicle.
"It's gone well so far."