6 Things You Need to Know Before Valet Parking Your Car

valetparkingNothing beats the convenience of using a valet service to park your car especially in inclement weather or when you are in a rush. But we’ve all heard the real life horror stories and seen unforgettable movie scenes that involve personal possessions gone missing, car damage and crazy joyrides. Here are a few simple steps you can take to make your next valet service a smooth experience.

  1. Secure your belongings. Take valuable items out of your car before your next outing. Any items of value that you must leave in your car should be locked up. Many cars come with a valet key. A valet key typically can open the driver’s side door and start the ignition but limits access to the trunk and glove box allowing owners an option to lock up their valuables. If you don’t have a valet key, consider storing a lock box in your trunk.
  1. Take an odometer reading. Check your odometer before you valet your car. Make a note of it by writing it down or texting it to yourself. Some people reset their trip odometer to 0, however since the driver can reset the trip odometer after a joyride just as you did, keeping track of the actual odometer is the better choice.
  1. Check car damage. Familiarize yourself with any damage your car already has like scratches, dents and dings. Some valet services do a damage check before they valet your car as a liability precaution but to be on the safe side do your own.
  1. Check closing time and confirm you have what you need. Before you walk away from your car, confirm the closing time with the valet. The convenience of using a valet service would be null and void if you returned and weren’t able to get your car because they were closed. Another thing to check before you leave your car is to make sure you have any items you may need during the time your car is parked.
  1. Vehicle inspection. Make sure you look over your car once the valet returns it to you. Walk around the vehicle and inspect for any damage, check the odometer and confirm all your belongings are still safely tucked away. Make sure you address any problems before you pull away.
  1. Tip your valet. Tipping can go a long way especially if it’s somewhere you frequently visit. Remember that even though valet parking may be a complimentary service, a tip is still expected. There are many different opinions on how much you should tip but it seems the standard amount for valet service is $2-$5. Some suggest if you want exceptional service consider tipping above the standard amount when you drop your car off.

Keep in mind you are entrusting one of your most valuable possessions with a complete stranger when you hand your car off to a valet. Protect yourself and your vehicle by taking a little extra time to lock things away and inspecting your car regularly. If you have other helpful suggestions for using a valet service, please share in our comments section.