Clearing the Air on Valets

Clearing the Air on Valets

I made the mistake of posting on someone else's thread regarding this issue and did not feel comfortable continuing to post there.

With respect to valets, there are a lot of people that feel they should not all be thrown under the bus and condemned as malcontents practicing for Ferris Bueller's Day Off. I agree with this sentiment but somehow my agreement got lost in my other post.

Now for the controversial element of my post and I am more than happy to debate this point provided that NO ONE take offense from my posting it as no offense is intended.

I think it is unreasonable to turn a $100K plus, new to the market performance toy over to a valet making under $10 an hour and expect that they will not go for a joy ride once they are out of sight. I have turned the keys over to much more attractive cars to run the piss out of to valets but only after making sure it would be parked within eyesight and the keys returned to me before I went in. I do this because I fear in others what I know of myself and, at 17 years old, if someone threw me the keys to their Dino I would STRONGLY consider going for a ride. I'm not saying I would go for a ride but I was most certainly not an angle at that age.

The point I was trying to make is that I think twice and even three times before I place temptation in someone else's hands :)

TikiMan | May 21, 2013

I don't think anyone wants to throw valets under the bus.

On the other hand, any business that can't provide ample and secure self-parking, SHOULD be thrown under the bus!

Carefree | May 21, 2013

It is pretty well known that Valets have a reputation for taking expensive and exotic cars on joy rides. Why risk it? I have always self parked my private cars. Even if only 10% of valets can't be trusted I would not want to risk it!

jat | May 21, 2013

I think Reagan said it best: trust but verify. Let it be known the car can be monitored, and you won't have a problem.

SamO | May 21, 2013



I think your comment was taken as criticism ("how could you leave your keys with a valet???") but the truth is that you cannot fight human nature.

The Model S is the most interesting car in the world right now, and regardless if the valet makes $10 or it's your cousin staying at your house while you are out of town, EVERYONE is going to want to take your car out and see what she can do.

The good news is that the car is very stable accelerating unlike a Dino or Lambo with excellent traction control and anti-lock brakes. With regen engaged, it's almost impossible to spin the wheels or break free.

So everyone take a deep breath, and let the valet have a quick test drive. Who knows, maybe he'll be a customer for a Gen III in a few years.

If he's not in jail.

christurbeville | May 21, 2013

I have no beef with valets at places with no parking or dangerous parking areas. However there are just way too many places where all the good parking is conned off for valet and anyone wanting to self park is pushed to the far reaches. This is my problem with them. They are professional parking folks they should have to run a block to go get my car and if there happens to be a prime spot open up front and I want to self park then I shouldn't have to contend with a cone because the guy getting paid to park cars doesn't like to walk.
It's a money maker for the businesses no two ways about it but I think those of us with vehicles either difficult to park or exotic shouldn't be forced to hand over our keys. Nothing like watching two valets roll your M5 down a hill looking for how to put the SMG into park. I laughed for an hour at that.
@lolachampcar I can tell you're passionate about this;) Soon all we'll need to do is drive a stick and no one will be able to park it but us. Ultimate security!

Captain_Zap | May 21, 2013

I begged my spouse to use a valet just one time. We were running late.

My spouse relented. The Jag came back with a dent the size of a basketball on the rear quarter panel.

The valet said, "That was already there."
Uh, no. We just hand washed it...

The back of the claim ticket said any damage was not their responsibility. The restaurant said, "The valet is independent and not a part of the restaurant."

The insurance company was a bugger about it.

We haven't patronized a business that necessitates a valet ever since.

lolachampcar | May 21, 2013

I enjoy the conversation. It kinda reminds me of some of the dumb stuff I did as a kid.

What I am passionate about is good conversation while not insulting someone else. I failed on that one on the other thread as it was most certainly not the intent of my post.

PorfirioR | May 21, 2013

There is probably not much we can do to fix the valet parking industry in this thread. All we can do is manage our own vehicles. Everyone has their own way of dealing with handing off the keys of their vehicle to a stranger.

The real take-away here is that it would be nice if the Model S had a valet mode.

I wonder if it would be possible to incorporate this strictly via software.

The valet mode could be activated via the touchscreen or via the app.
The "activated mode" would provide range, speed, and acceleration settings that the user can change.
The "trigger mode" if any of the settings is violated could be either some reduction of functions (i.e. similar to the "charge now" mode) or just an alert via the app.

Since everything in this car is integrated via the onboard computer, it may be possible to come up with a very smart valet mode. For instance, no temperature controls, entertainment system, or navigation system available in valet mode unless the user specifically allows it. Range limited could be GPS-enabled, for example driving any speed and distance as long as it does not exceed 1/2 mile radius from the activation point (good for the auto repair shop).

Just a thought. Didn't mean to hijack this thread but it seemed we were talking more about valet the people instead of valet the process.

MandL | May 21, 2013

+1 SamoSam It is just a car after all. There is insurance to cover damage that may eventually happen while you're in control or someone else is. And if the car is damaged beyond repair they're making more (and probably better) cars ever day.

lolachampcar | May 21, 2013

hijack away... its all good.

SamO | May 21, 2013

MandL When I get my Model X, I'm not going to just give people rides. I'm going to let everyone drive.

AlMc | May 21, 2013

+1 Lolachampcar. Agree with your sentiment adn also agree that a valet mode would be easy for the software people. The center screen would read in big letters 'Valet Mode', with the note that speed was limited and shows the electricity useage while in valet mode.

SamO | May 21, 2013

Really liking the valet mode with the simplified screen, controls and usage displayed. Couple that with a 30 MPH speed limiter, and you don't have to trust anyone.

I'd actually advocate for a teenager setting and having access to the "test drive setting" that already exists in the car.

David Dennis | May 21, 2013

I would think the biggest problem with putting the Model S in valet parking would be the reduced range if the valet took the car for any significant distance. In an ICE car, all you'd get is a few gallons of gas used; for the Tesla you might not be able to make it to your next destination ...


bobrode | May 21, 2013

Show the valet your iPhone Tesla app and tell him "you will be watching " him park the car!

Velo1 | May 21, 2013

I have used valet parking twice. Both times I offered $5 if they park the car, and $10 if I park/retrieve the car. They took the $10 both times, which gave me piece of mind. If they had accepted $5, then my back-up plan was to insist they park it up close or up front where they could keep an eye on the car but I keep the FOB. Otherwise, I would not go into the restaurant and would go somewhere else.

TikiMan | May 21, 2013


If I am not familiar with the location, I deliberately call ahead to find out what parking is like. If they only have valet, and won't budge on letting me self-park, they don’t get my business. Pure and simple.

eltonf | May 21, 2013

@lolachampcar I thought your comment was perfectly appropriate in the other thread. You were just dealing with some overly sensitive people. I agree 100% that you don't simply hand over the keys to a $100k exotic car and assume some teenager is gonna take care of it simply because he's supposed to.

mcx-sea | May 21, 2013

Perhaps someone can create a screen to add to our Favorites, using large red letters on a yellow background:






JohnnyMac | May 21, 2013

Mcx-sea -- I Love It!!!! Short of having a good defense (true valet limit settings) a good offense as you describe with the "Valet Mode" Browser Page may just suffice. This browser page language and a verbal/visual reference to the App may well discourage 95% of the valet temptation out there :) Someone web literate please build it!

JaneW | May 21, 2013

Roadsters had a valet mode. Why not the Mod S?

trydesky | May 21, 2013

Perhaps I missed it, but I don't see the most obvious valet mode option...speed limitations. Set that puppy at 15mph and that's really all you'll need :)

But to the topic of this thread...while I personally would never use valet parking, mainly in fear of damage to the car, it is in no way the owner's fault if something happens.

I'm not a fan of the "boys will be boys" defense. If we're gonna say "don't use valet's because they can't be trusted", then, in the same breath, we can't also say "they're really just sweet kids and we can't expect more of them." Nonsense! This is a minor form of stealing, then on top of it lying. It's unacceptable behavior for anyone, and they should be fired on the spot. Accepting this behavior will only perpetuate it.

Docrob | May 22, 2013

I agree that you may not be able to rely on them not to joyride but if they do they should not rely on continuing to have a job. The fact that they are paid $10 an hour is irrelevant, they are employed and put in a position of responsibility, if they choose to abuse that position they should be fired. In essence I see no reason the professional consequences should be any different to a doctor sexually assaulting a sedated patient, the same argument that it is simply human nature to covet an attractive person and how can we blame someone for not succumbing to human desires applies here. Just as a doctor should face consequences if they put human desires before professional responsibility so should a valet.

lolachampcar | May 22, 2013

Thanks for the kind words. I just do not like pissing people off for any reason. It is impolite and non-productive.

trydesky and Docrob,
Yes and yes. My vantage point is not right/wrong but risk management. Understanding the situation (without condoning the activity) helps determine the odds of an unpleasant result. ..... and yes, I probably should have been fired for some of the stuff I did as a kid (joy riding in a valet car was not one of them).

MandL | May 22, 2013

It's not like these guys are parking 20 year old Corollas all day and never see a nice car. Yes, the Model S is different, but everywhere I go I see people leaving gorgeous cars with valets. The guys park the car as fast as they can and run back to get the next one. They're working for tips and are far more motivated to take good care of your car and get it back to you quickly than to go screaming around in it. If you're being forced to valet in some deserted backwater with no other customers around for hours so the valet is free to go for an extended joy ride then you're living in a very different part of the world than any I have ever visited. On the other hand, if you're so paranoid that someone will put a scratch on your car or take an extra turn around the block you're not likely to enjoy your dinner even if you park it yourself. Why not stay home and toss a Stouffers in the microwave? You can set up a candle lit card table in the garage and have dinner with your baby. ;-)

See? You do't have to worry about offending anyone if you're sensitive to their tender feelings! ;-)

And if you put a winking smiley at the end no comment is offensive!

MandL | May 22, 2013

Oh, in case you didn't know already, Ferris Bueller is not a documentary.

nlightened | May 22, 2013

+1 MandL

I also don't think the vast majority of valets would risk their job over a joyride. Not in this economy.

petero | May 22, 2013

Lolacc. I completely understand. I almost always self park and much to my wife’s consternation, it is far away from everyone. My Tesla grin is enjoying the long walk, looking over my shoulder and seeing my MS all by its’ lonesome. I have used valets twice, both times in very exclusive hotels in Southern CA. In both cases, without my asking, my car was parked within 100 feet. So I have a limited, but positive, valet experience.

Might I suggest a ‘sure fire’ security option that is guaranteed to produce positive results. Buy or rent a viscous looking Doberman, German Shepherd, Rottweiler, or toy poodle to ride shotgun. Also warn the valet not to say the word ‘eat’ within earshot.

Panoz | May 22, 2013

The issue was not valets. It was your implied blaming of the poor owner that had his car taken for a joy ride. I had my Delorean damaged at a trusted repair shop. Next time, express sympathy for a situation like that, not denigrate the owner who's willing to share his experience.

Brian H | May 22, 2013

Yeah, that minimum wage job pays big time in tips. Unreported, untaxed tips. The grey economy.

lolachampcar | May 22, 2013

You are right.
Let me start a new by sharing my sympathy for your Delorean ownership :)
If you find my attempt at humor offensive, please do not post in this thread.

GLO | May 22, 2013

I've valet parked once. It was because all self park spots were gone. I politely asked if they'd driven a Model S yet. They said "no" and politely listened to my explanation on how to drive and park. I also begged them to be careful or my husband would kill me if it got a dent :). They laughed and took pity on me and treated the car very well.

SamO | May 22, 2013

dstiavnicky from another forum created a cool spy screen emulator and when I mentioned we needed a valet information/warning screen, he asked for what should go on.

Comment and he'll make everyone a valet information website you can load on your Model S browser.

lolachampcar | May 22, 2013


Docrob | May 22, 2013

I think an updated valet instruction screen with a large warning that the car logs exactly how far, fast and where the car has been driven and any joyriding will be instantly detectable should do the trick.

Brian H | May 23, 2013

Why would valets be a-feared of thick, slow-moving Dobermans? (viscous) A yappy, vicious chihuahua would be better.

Panoz | May 23, 2013

Learning to accept legitimate criticism graciously is what's needed.

lolachampcar | May 23, 2013

you looked for a my chain and pulled it. There is no harm in a little humor in return.

dstiavnicky | May 23, 2013

Go to to use the new 'Valet Parking Attendant' screen.

mcx-sea | May 23, 2013


Just searched thru teslatuner but did not find your new screen.

Perhaps you could post the URL here?


dstiavnicky | May 23, 2013

Odd. It works fine for us. Maybe a cache?

Anyway, here's the direct link...

JaneW | May 23, 2013

"rent a viscous looking Doberman"

Man, I really want a viscous Doberman, all thick and gooey. ;)

A friend had a bumper sticker (not on a Model S, heaven forfend) that said, "Keys to the car are on the seat next to the Doberman."

Getting Amped Again | May 23, 2013

Well I'm the guy you pissed off - here's why. You post added no value to the thread. All I was trying to do was warn other Model S owners and solicit ideas for for a way to prevent what happened to me from happening to other owners.

I've owned several expensive cars and valet parked them all. If you live in an urban area you literally have no choice sometime, other than to make your guests trek through the downtown when you're trying to take them to dinner at a nice restaurant. This was all about my guests' convenience.

If someone else had created my post, and I had read it, I would have informed the valet upfront that I could monitor how he drove the car and this would have never happened to me. Your post on the other hand, did nothing more than imply that I was stupid.

So I don't have tender feelings, I just think your post was snarky and useless. No hard feelings! :)

lolachampcar | May 20, 2013

You will find that most valets are race car drivers with more than enough talent to handle some ole electric car; just ask them.

Seriously people, you are really surprised when you hand the keys to a new toy over to a valet making a few bucks an hour and who lives for the opportunity to drive some rich dipstick's expensive car like he stole it and he does just that????? (sorry for the long sentence but it just would not be the same if broken up into coherent thoughts)

If a valet runs the snot out of your car there is only one person to blame; the person that gave the valet the keys without getting their nuts in return. It is like getting stung by a scorpion while playing with it. It is in their nature.