What to do when you love your car and don't want a valet to touch it.

This topic has caused some angst among car owners who love their cars. 

Valet-parking-only events and stressed-out car owners who hate the idea of a stranger touching their car—not an uncommon thing.

Valet-parking-only events and stressed-out car owners who hate the idea of a stranger touching their car—not an uncommon thing.

So you have an event to attend. You know there is going to be valet parking with no nearby self-parking option. And nobody else has ever driven your car. You spent a lot of money on it. It's your baby. What are you going to do?

Here are your choices:

  1. Leave it at home. Use a limo service, or Uber or Lyft. Do a search on Twitter. You might find an Uber or Lyft discount code for first-time users.
     
  2. Take your junker car instead.
     
  3. Rent a car and drive it there. 
     
  4. Self-park in a safe place far away and take a taxi to the venue.
     
  5. Hand out a fat gratuity for them to allow you to park it up-front.

Here's how #5 works:

Pull-up and say to the doorman, or whoever is running the driveway:

"I need to park this myself in one of your up-front spaces. Is that possible?" While holding a twenty in your hand.

If they have the space, in most areas, this is going to work.

If they don't have space for your car, then you go to Plan B.

Is there another venue across the street where this technique might work? Or nearby? Even if it's a good distance away? 

You could park it up-front over there and take a taxi ride to your event.

Just because it's parked up-front, this doesn't mean the car is safe.

If you've got a nice car, like an exotic, or a vintage car from the sixties or something, people might be taking photos of it. Some of them will have photos taken with them leaning against the car. Scratches can happen.

When I was a valet worker, I almost accidentally t-boned a car that was parked up-front. I got out of a BMW too fast, and instead of the car shifting into park, it stayed in drive. I got out of the car in a hurry and the car began to roll towards the parked car. I was able to stop the collision. It was a close call though.

Another time somebody in a junky car backed into a space next to a McLaren. They were too close to the McLaren. I notified the people in charge of the driveway. A short time later a hotel employee approached the car and carelessly swung open the rear passenger door. It scraped paint off the McLaren. They drove away in their junky $300 car. The McLaren owner was never informed, and didn't notice the scratch.

The incident still sickens me.

So even if you get an up-front space, your car is not completely safe. Things can still go wrong.

I have seen stories where people bit the bullet and valet parked their baby for the first time. They couldn't relax and enjoy themselves. They were too worried about their car. And sometimes their fears were quite valid, because things did go badly. Nightmares sometimes do come true.

So if you are that worried about your car, my advice is leave it at home. Take a limo, get a taxi, or rent a car. You will enjoy your event more.