Drivers who are hesitant to leave their car with a valet have good reason to worry, according to Santa Monica-based Edmunds.com, a premier online resource for auto enthusiasts.

In its article “Confessions of a Parking Valet: True Tales of Mishaps and Mischief,” Edmunds.com exposes the truth about what goes on at a typical valet station and gives advice on how to make sure your car is cool. The article features surprising stories from a real-life parking valet who offers candid advice to drivers.

“Seeing things from the perspective of the parking valet gives consumers useful insight on how to handle future situations and protect their vehicles,” said Edmunds.com Senior Consumer Advice Editor Philip Reed. “For example, readers will learn that evening shifts are the toughest and usually provide the worst tips, so it might be beneficial to tip a little extra during that time frame to ensure your car gets treated well.”

Highlights from the advice of the anonymous valet also include:

n If you tip a little when you drop off your car, the valet will most likely treat the car better and bring it back promptly in the hope that a second — and more generous — tip awaits them.

n If you notice any damage to your car or think that anything is missing, talk to the valet manager and request a copy of the incident report and the contact information of their insurance company. Any “release of liability” language on your valet ticket may not hold up in court.

n In situations where the valet will be parking your car on the street, be aware that if he parks it illegally or doesn’t feed the meter, you will be left with the ticket.

n Remember to explain a car’s quirks such as complex security systems, start buttons, remote “smart key” features or aftermarket modifications like gullwing doors.

n If you’re rude, demeaning or demanding, or you’ve stiffed him on tips in the past, your valet probably won’t show annoyance but still may take revenge. They may take a long time to bring your car up, change settings on seats, mirrors, radio and climate control, lower tire pressure or even intentionally ding the door or scrape the paint in a place where it’s not easily noticed.

“By and large, the golden rule seems to apply,” said Reed. “Treat the valet as you wish your car to be treated.”

Daily Press

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