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

When borrowing someone’s car, use common courtesy and just keep it clean! So easy, right? Skip your morning coffee in the car. If you have to have it, go to the coffee place early and drink it there…then get into the car.  Don’t throw your nasty gym clothes on the seat. Don’t leave receipts or wrappers lying around. And don’t feel like this car is in any way shape or form, your car. You are borrowing your friend’s or family member’s car because you are inconvenienced and you happen to know someone who is so generous that they don’t mind being inconvenienced by you. This isn’t your time to take a joy ride, live it up, or lounge in their car like you were going camping at Bonnaroo. 

If you do find yourself treating your friend’s car like a freshman treats their dorm room, you better be prepared to clean it. Even if you don’t make a mess, you should still stop by a gas station and give it a good once over with the vacuum. That’s just one dollar that shows you care. We can all swing that.

Tip #2 – Don’t Dawdle

I let a friend borrow my car for what was supposed to be one afternoon. He had a couple of meetings he had to go to, and I was working from home that day, so it all worked out. Let’s just say, he didn’t stick to his end of the deal. The agreed-upon 5pm return time came and went. Then it turned into 8pm, and then 9pm. And I heard nothing from him. Not even a phone call. At first I was worried, since it’s not like him to be so off the radar and out of touch. Not only was I worried about his safety but I also started to think about the 1988 teen adventure film, License To Drive starring the Coreys (Haim and Feldman), where Haim completely destroyed his grandfather’s Cadillac, that he was supposed to be watching for the weekend. Granted he got the girl of his dreams as a result, but I did not care if my friend was having drinks with the entire roster of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Calendar – I wanted my car back!

Finally, at around 9:30pm, my buddy pulled up to my house as if nothing has happened. He told me that he was going to bring the car back on time but went to the driving range to shoot some balls instead, and then grabbed a quick bite with a coworker. He said this as if it was no big deal. Did he not think I needed the car back for a reason? Or, did he not think at all? Seems like a little of both. 

It doesn’t matter what awesome adventure comes your way, while you are borrowing someone’s car, nothing is more important than returning it, in good condition and on time. And even if you are invited to the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Calendar launch party, you still have to call and ask if it’s OK to keep the car longer. If they say yes, be over the top grateful. But if they say no, well, guess what? You are out of luck, my friend. Go rent a car next time.


About the Author

Richie Frieman
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