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Valet Parking

Having never been a car enthusiast, I've never had a nice one that I would worry about letting a valet drive. I've always had affordable, reliable, functional, fuel efficient cars that would get me from point A to point B and that's it. All my friends think it's bizarre that I'm now buying a Model S, but of course once I give them their first ride they will understand that one doesn't need to be a "car guy" to fall in love with it.

Anyway, I was wondering what you guys thought of having some anonymous stranger drive your $100k car. I don't see it happening for me - the episode of Seinfeld with the valet B.O. comes to mind as I write this ...

But it's an issue as there are a few places I go regularly where it's the only option (like Twin Peaks - seriously, the one in Houston has crappy parking options)

Ride with the valet, and walk back.

I agree. Can't stand the thought of a young stranger driving my 100k car. I have allowed my BMW to be valet driven and at times have had wheel scratches etc. Will not valet my new Tesla. Some places allow you to park the car up front. Some don't. I will not patronize those that don't.

Three thoughts come to mind:

1. Ferris Bueller.

2. At the end of the day it is still “only a car.” Big deal, the valet drive your ‘precious’ a couple of extra blocks as fast as he/she can.

3. If one and two are so unsettling, perhaps using the valet is not for you.

One of my best friends here in Miami found out the hard way what a valet can do to his car. Brand new Porsche Boxster, maybe 2 weeks old. The valet took it for a joy ride and broke the front axle after running up on a curb.

Imagine getting in the back of the line for your replacement Tesla. I don't even know how insurance would deal with that debacle. "Yeah, I need a rental car for about a year, until my replacement is available."

Electric Machete. So… I am guessing #3 is your choice. I respect that and I too won’t use valets, except in our 2009 Subaru and only when I have to.

With TM focused on ramping up production, I can't imagine how long it would take for TM to fix the front end suspension should a valet go postal on 'your' "S."

I have to use valet at work sometimes so I don't have a choice. At dinner I'll just take our mini s.

I am in my mid-40's, and almost never valet park my cars. IMHO, allowing a valet to park your baby, is no different than handing the keys to your home to some random kid you don't know, never will know, and makes about as much money as you did when you had your first job when you were sixteen.

One of my favored true stories I read about, was the story about some kid who worked as a valet for the Ritz Carlton in Laguna Niguel, and crashed a Ferrari he was parking, because he decided to 'see what it could do'.
Now the remember, this kid worked with for the Ritz, so the Ferrari was covered 100%, and I am sure the customer got some serious perks because of the incident. In MOST cases, the company who is valet parking your car at a nice restaurant, is not affiliated with the valet parking company, who is parking your car (and for a good reason).

Either way, no one else but myself will be parking my Model S, unless they work for Tesla!

Valet Mode = 15 mph max? And tracked in realtime to your iPhone?

I'll never valet.

One time I went to a parking garage that was valet only without realizing it, and so I just went with it. My car smelled bad for a while after that.

I just don't like the idea of letting strangers into your property, with complete control over it, without you being there.

Also, obviously, valeting wastes money too.

I can't see that happening for us either. I love the Ferris Beuller reference. Too man bad things happen when the consequences are minimal..all they can be is fired. You, on the other hand, must wait to 12,000 people get the new Model S's before getting a replacement for yours...Not going to happen in ours!

Anyone ever try offering the guy $20 to park it yourself in a valet spot? I think I'll try that whenever I take the S to Twin Peaks. If they won't go for it I'll go somewhere else.

I'll let the valet come along as a passenger if I must...

There are times, events where valet parking is the only option. I don't plan on driving any other car then my Model S. I don't like the idea of handing the key's over, but I will request that if I MUST have them park it, that I ride along and walk back.

They will not try anything with you in the car. I also would walk out to the car where the Valet parked it to retrieve the car when we are done. The problem however is if they need to move the car to get others out from behind.

No real good solution to this problem really I'm afraid.

Buy a jalopy and use that for the "valet parking only" events. And tell them this is the only type of car you trust them with. >:)

There's got to be a password protected software enabled valet mode... if they limited it to 80 on the get amped tour I'm guessing limiting it to 15 for a valet is no big deal. Rod and Barbara, or anyone else having received delivery, any insight?

How about making "valet mode" customizable by the owner? I'd probably go with a 5 mph limit, with the hazard lights locked on.

Valet mode doesn't prevent scratched rims or other damage. I never use it any more - my current car has a dogleg manual shift pattern with reverse where first is on a normal 5 speed. I've driven the car into hotel car parks with the valet in the passenger seat. I take the keys with me.

Here's the valet solution for Model S.
Look the valet in the eye, hand him the keyfob with a folded $10 bill, and tell him "Keep It Close".

I did this with my Lexus SC430 Roadster several times and that car never left the immediate area of the front door.

The Roadster has a valet mode that limites the power and records the top speed. I assume the Model S will have something similar.

I've been thinking about this topic lately and have a suggestion for the TM programers to go a step further than what the Roadster does. When in Velet Mode:
1. The truck and frunk should be unlockable
2. Acceleration and top speech should be governed
3. A HUGE notice should be displayed on the screen saying that the car is in Valet Mode and there should be a grid showing the top speed recorded and the miles driven so that the valet will see that his every move is being tracked and displayed as a deterrent.
Hard to image a valet joy riding around town if he sees the miles he is driving prominently displayed.

+1 Tomas
And since there's already a mic in there for voice commands / bluetooth, how about a camera as well. So on the screen the valet sees:
. Huge notice
. speed, acceleration, etc.
. map with track on
. Their own smiling face in a small window with red flashing "RECORDING"


LOL at Twin Peak's parking in Houston, it is a complete joke. I have valeted my LEAF there several times. Sometimes have to show them how to put it in gear...

There are a couple Blink charging stations just to the East of TP (by the ATM's) in the very back of the Lupe Tortilla parking lot. You could just plug in there and charge ($1/hr I think) and just walk around the fence.

G Maps doesn't show the chargers or the ATMs in this image, but that is the location. Notice Twin Peaks is Fish Gallery in the image.

I waited 15 months for delivery of one of the 1st Mercedes SLK230 in 1997. The first week of ownership, a valet in Irvine CA tried to see what it could "do"....hit a jeep, $4200 body damage and loss of use for 2 more months. I have waited 18 months for the model S and will park it myself and pay the valet the $5.00. Once burned.......


That's excellent info! I plan to head to Twin Peaks today with my son - I will swing through Lupe's to check out the chargers.

Hopefully Lupe's will have no beef with people parking in their lot and walking to Twin Peaks? I'd hate to get towed...


I have done it before with my LEAF and not gotten hassled or towed. I don't think Lupe can say anything about someone using the Blink spots to charge. If you park there and do not charge, you could get towed or ticketed, I think.

Could you be charged if you don't charge? Sort of being charged in spite of yourself? >:\

I'm glad I'm not the only one who plans to avoid valet parking. In addition to the Seinfeld and Ferris Bueller references, here's a video that will keep you from turning your keys over.

Valet mode aside, the thought of someone treating your property with such disrespect just sickens me.

As a 24 year old valet driver myself these stories really make me sick. No doubt there are irresponsible lowlife valet drivers out there but we aren't all like that. I'm a huge lover of cars and i have never sped or took a joyride in a customers car. Im a big believer in "do to others as you would have them do to you" What kind of thing would you guys like to hear or see from your valet driver that would instill trust in you? or is it a case of one bad apple spoiling the whole bunch? Thanks for your thoughts.

I give the valet an extra 10 bucks and ask them to leave it right out front. Always works for me.

@mmunch You say that there are lowlife irresponsible valets out there, so how are we to tell the difference? Anyone can buy a white shirt, black pants and a red blazer. Many Model S owners don't let ANYONE drive their cars so they are certainly not going to valet regardless of the reliability of the parking attendant. Don't take it so personally. And, I used to be that bad apple you speak of.

I won't let a valet touch it unless/until they put in a valet mode (limit speed, distance, acceleration, send you a text or notification to tesla app if car travels more than 1/4 from when you put it into valet mode).

if you have seen the show "Fast N Loud" they bought a Ferrari F40 that had been totaled by either a valet person or a service person. (the guys bought the totaled Ferrari for $400K, put $300K into repairing and fixing it up, and then sold it for $800K).

I also have a friend who had his Corvette crashed by a valet and did about $10K worth of damage.

Sorry, but I respectfully disagree. All the valet service folks in southern Cal. that I've encountered have plenty of experience with parking the Model S and the few times I've used their service, I have never had a problem. With that said, my wife still asks me to self park the car when valet service is available.

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