8 Things not to do at a Car Show

Friday, December 25, 2015

1. Keep Your Hands to Yourself!At the auto show

No matter how cool or awesome the cars are at the show, it is extremely bad form to touch a vehicle without an invite from the owner. This is the number one thing to not do at a car show, and you will violate one of the core, unwritten rules of auto shows if you do whether on purpose or not. This also means that you should take care to not let your jacket touch a car while walking around, and to be very careful of the zippers on your jacket if it is unzipped, since these are common causes of scratches on cars at car shows. Car owners respect those who follow the rules, and you will likely find yourself invited to take a closer look if you are a respectful car enthusiast.

2. Watch Your Children
Smiling happy children in car with thumb up

Bringing your kids to the car show is not like taking them to the local playground. At the show, one of the most important things not to do is let your children run around touching the cars, sit in them, or throw their toys or other items at the automobiles. This is one of the most violated of the unwritten rles for attending a car show, and you should make sure that you don’t find your family violating it.. If you are showing a car, it is appropriate to let you kids run around your own car, but most auto owners who like to show their vehicle also like to use it as an excuse to not have their kids around. If you are in doubt on what to let your kids do, just think of taking them to the show as similar to going to an antique store and you will keep everyone happy.

3. Avoid Public Criticism of a Show Car
eavesdropping and secrets - girls and man beside old cars

Another big no-no at a car show is to publicly criticize one of the show cars unless you are asked to provide a critique to a car owner. It does not matter if you have just seen a car that looks like it has never been cleaned, is ugly, or looks like it does not belong, the rules everyone learned in kindergarten apply. If you cannot say something nice, do not say anything. If an auto owner has taken the time to pay the entry fee and bring their car to the show, then they likely love their car, and do not need to hear you talk negatively about their ride. If you are asked to provide a critique, it is best to keep your feedback classy so you avoid hurting the owner’s feelings.

4. Never Educate a Show Car Owner about His / Her Car

If you know a significant amount about cars, or one car in particular at the car show, you should not take it as an opportunity to educate or teach the car owner about his or her own car. The last person in the world that someone wants to hang out with is someone who “knows everything.” It doesn’t matter if you have the best idea of how the owner can fix a glaring issue with their car, or where they can buy a hard-to-find part, you should not get into discussions at this level unless the car owner initiates the conversation. Some car owners just do not want to talk shop at the car show, so keep your bright ideas or thoughts close until invited to enter a discussion along these lines at the show.

5. Do Not Provide Unsolicited History Lessons
Geneva Motor Show: Mercedes Benz

Another big no/no at a car show is to start delivering an unsolicited history lesson about your personal experiences with owning the same vehicle back in 1994. Although many car owners may appreciate sharing their experiences with you regarding their particular make and model of automobile, you should wait for them to ask you about your experiences after mentioning that you once owned the same vehicle. If the car owner does not ask you, then they probably either do not want to talk a lot right now, or they may simply not have enough time to share with you right now. If you start to have a good conversation with the car owner, then share your thoughts and past experiences as much as you feel is appropriate.

6. Do Not Mess up Photographer’s Shots
smiling man in t-shirt pointing finger on himself

It can be a real challenge for professional photographers to get good shots at the popular car shows. No matter how much you are enjoying the car show, you should always keep your eyes open and try to avoid messing up someone’s shot of the cars. Besides being polite, you will also be helping out the photographer who has likely run into a large number of show attendees who do not realize that they need fans to give them the appropriate space to get the shots needed for their work or hobby. Pro photographers rarely appreciate a photo bomber, so leave those antics for your friends who are taking smart phone pictures at the show, and just leave the professionals alone to do their thing.

7. Do Not Always Try to ‘One-Up’ Car Owners
BADEN-BADEN, GERMANY – JULY 13: “FRAZER NASH REPLIKA” (1934) at The International Exhibition of old cars "Internationales Oldtimer-Meeting Baden-Baden" on July 13, 2012 in Baden-Baden, Germany.

If there is a trait amongst car owners at a car show that is common with just about everyone, it’s the disdain for show attendees or other car owners who have always done something just a little better. Whether it’s a direct critique of an automobile, or talking shop about how to groom or change out an engine component, you should always be sensitive to the fact of possibly coming across as a “know it all” when you don’t mean to do so. Sometimes it takes a friend to be a friend if you have “that guy” in your group at a car show, but if you find yourself in that position, please do the right thing. Not only will your friend be more enjoyable to hang out with, but the show will definitely be more fun for everyone.

8. Do not be Rude to the Local Businesses near the Show
Crowd in the exhibition hall at Geneva Motor Show 2015

Many young car owners who start showing their ride at car shows forget that the local businesses near the show play a big part in allowing the show to happen. If you missed the life lesson that you should always clean-up after yourself, ensuring that you leave behind no trash at the end of a car show is a great first step to being welcomed by the local businesses in the area. The show location is also not the appropriate location for your buddies and yourself to down a case or three of beer after the show. No matter how witty or smart you think you might be, you can rest assured that you are likely just coming across as a drunken “a-hole,” and could have a negative impact on future car shows or meets being able to be held at the location in the future.

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