Be smart when using a valet service

January 22, 2014 12:00 AM

Using a valet can be incredibly convenient. Having someone park your car as you arrive at a location and then drive it right up to you as you're ready to leave is the ultimate service, but you still have to be aware of a few safety tips and tricks that can help keep your vehicle in tip-top shape, even as a stranger is behind the wheel. 

One way to stay ahead of the game is by tipping when the valet first shows up to drive away your car. Although tipping at the end is customary, providing at least the majority of the tip at the beginning may ensure your car receives special care. Because many valets are not professional drivers, a little extra attention could mean the difference between a perfectly preserved vehicle and the need for car repair

"The bulk of your tip should be focused at the beginning, when you drop off your car, because you cannot influence the care, or undo the lack of care your vehicle received by giving the tip only at the end when your car is returned to you," said Ed Ryder, a valet worker in Philadelphia, in a press release. 

Another idea to keep in mind is the security of your possessions. If you have a specific valet key - one that will turn on the car but won't open the glove compartment or trunk - you should use it. 

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