I have a confession. I can feel uneasy about where I leave my car and who I leave my car to. Just when I start to think I am being a little too eccentric about my behavior, I see another example (car damage) that reminds me of why I should be cautious.
We live in a world where car enthusiasts are in the minority. Empathy, accountability, and more specifically overall respect for other people’s property is severely lacking. For these reasons, if you have a car which you feel certain emotions about, I believe some discomfort when leaving your car somewhere is normal. I have some suggestions to help reduce the chances of strangers damaging your car.
“Rodney, there is a parking spot right here, right. What about here, right in front of the store. Why are you going way in the back! You are ridiculous.”
The easier it is to get into a major store, the more susceptible your car is to being damaged. If you take one piece of advice from this article, heed those words. If you are parking at the very front of your popular supermarket, that is just asking for your car to be put into the firing line of rolling shopping carts and people (on the move) who are giving absolutely NO thought or concern about dinging your car or sideswiping you.
When you park away from the general populace – you are less likely to have someone parked next to you. If someone does park next to you, they will tend to be less accident-prone, more considerate, and likely like-minded. When I say like-minded, that person may be parking next to you to avoid inconsiderate people as well.
My Safer Parking Area Suggestions:
- Back End of Parking Lots
- (Mall Complexes) Parking Lots Adjacent To Smaller Specialty Stores
- Slanted Parking Spaces Slanted At An Angle Away From A Store (On Exit Pathways)
- Far Right Edge Of A Parking Lot Section (pictured below)
Parking under a tree?
Does parking under a tree lead to more bonded contamination that is more harmful to your car in the long run and difficult to remove over time (particularly sap)? Yes, absolutely! Do I park under trees at times? Yes! If I am looking for a parking spot, I am looking for the best location to isolate me from the most inconsiderate drivers and passengers. Sometimes that means parking under a tree. Weighing the consequences: making it a priority to wash my car within that week versus the increased probability of scuffs and scratches from a careless person. I will wash my car a little more to deal with whatever contamination a tree will bring me. I will admit I tend to not leave my car in these types of locations for long periods of time.
I am a fan of going to low volume shops. I market my detailing business as a low volume operation, for a reason. I believe many of us have an inherent understanding that these kinds of operations are more care guy/girl-friendly. I used to go to a large company auto maintenance shop. After noticing a small dent, that from my intimate knowledge of my car, I treated that as a sign it was time to find a new shop. The place I go to now, the serviceman noticed a mechanical problem that needed to be addressed, in addition to other indications that I am not being treated like a number.
I also like to wash my car, and sometimes detail my engine bay, prior to taking my car into a maintenance and/or repair shop. I like to provide visual cues to strangers touching my car that I care about the appearance of my property.
I do not want to say all valet services are untrustworthy but I will offer my experiences. I went on a road trip to see a friend on his birthday. Upon arrival, the parking lot was blocked off, unnecessarily. This definitely caught me off guard. Trying not to add any additional inconvenience to my day, I handed my keys to a crew member who was parking cars. I was somewhat uncomfortable throughout the day knowing the valet crew parked my car in the garage. My only experience with a valet, I find out my car was damaged. Very, fortunately, I developed a habit of doing an inspection of my car before leaving. They would have let me drive off with obvious signs of damage (pictured below), giving cause to not accept responsibility. After filing a report with them and providing options of my preferred auto body shops, they begrudgingly accepted responsibility for their actions. I was told after reviewing the video they could neither confirm nor deny an accident, therefore they will “do the right thing” (eye roll).
Personally, that was enough for me, unless I am in truly dire straits, to not put myself in that situation again. But I will share more information. At the auto body shop, I asked the manager “how often does this happen?” His response, “quite often; at least once a month.” When I was at a business gathering, I struck up a conversation with someone who worked as a valet. A few minutes in, his inhibitions dropped enough to tell me about his joy riding adventures with other people’s luxury cars. I am not trying to tell you that a valet operation is inherently bad or unethical. My message is if you have a car you care about, please use your best judgment.
Finally, I am learning to find that balance of enjoying the experience of owning my car while still embracing my traits that the general population considers strange. I hope you can find this balance.