Proper Car Borrowing Etiquette

Your car is in the shop (or you don’t have one), but luckily a kind friend has let you borrow theirs. Modern Manners Guy has 3 tips to make sure you handle borrowing a car properly. 

Richie Frieman
5-minute read
Episode #199

Proper Car Borrowing Etiquette

They say that death and taxes are the only two things that you can count on in life. However, I’d like to add a third: your car breaking down. Even if you don’t have a car and have to rent from time to time, at one point something will happen that will cause you to experience the incredible inconvenience of having to deal with a broken vehicle. And unfortunately, it will happen exactly when you need the car most. Don’t even get me started on how expensive it is to fix that tiny little part…which of course the car company’s helpful warranty does NOT cover. Yes, Modern Manners Guy does not like dealing with car dealers. 

But one day, inevitably, you’ll find yourself in such a jam that you’ll need to reach out to a friend or family member to borrow their car.

Proper Car Borrowing Etiquette  

Be it for one day or even just one hour, borrowing someone’s car can be a stressful endeavor. If you’re like me, you treat other people’s cars like they’re made out of porcelain, driving super slowly like your great-grandmother and just praying to get from Point A to Point B without damaging anything. I won’t even go into accidentally spilling coffee in the interiors…

So before you rev up the engine, check out my top 3 Quick and Dirty Tips for car borrowing etiquette:

Tip #1 – Return it Better Than You Borrowed it 

Yes, we’ve heard this concept before but it bears repeating: if you borrow something – anything – it’s always proper to leave it looking nicer than it was before, which goes double for borrowing someone’s car. I’m not saying you should hand wax it for 5 hours, but a little consideration goes a long way. Next to buying a home, a car is probably the second most intense purchase a person will make in life and because of that, it needs to be treated the same way as you would if you were a guest at someone’s home. I’ve had friends who borrowed my car and returned it looking like they held a rally for Taco Bell and Starbucks (which is a nasty combo, but they didn’t care). Do they expect me to take care of their trash, after they borrowed MY car? Do they think I wouldn’t mind a little nacho cheese stain on my floor? I would, actually.