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Car meet season is fast approaching, and that’s an exciting time for all of us. Getting to see high-end cars, your friend’s latest builds, and high-performance sports cars is always an enticing event. However, a car meet isn’t a free-for-all, and there are a few things you should never do if you want to be welcomed in the future.

A young woman observing the number one thing you should never do at a car meet.
A young woman attending a car meet | Max Herman/Getty Images

1. Don’t touch the cars without permission

It’s exciting to get under the hood of some truly out-of-this-world builds, but be careful not to get too close. If you don’t have permission from the owner, absolutely do not touch the cars. It’s probably the worst thing you should never do when at a car meet.

Many of these owners have spent thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours getting their cars just how they want them. Between aftermarket parts and meticulous detailing, these cars are a labor of love. Fingerprints, sweat stains, and dirt from your shoes aren’t often welcome additions to the process.

While some owners will encourage you to get behind the wheel, most adopt a “look, don’t touch” policy that should be respected. And if you’re bringing your own car, this New England Auto Shows guide has even more tips for enjoying your first car meet.

2. Leave the dog at home

It may seem harsh, but bringing your dog to a car meet is one thing you should never do. Of all the things to love about dogs, their wagging tails whacking against a fresh paint job isn’t one of them.

Even if your dog is well-trained and on a short leash, you can’t guarantee that the lovable pooch won’t inadvertently leave a mark on someone’s precious car. As much as it hurts to say, a car meet just isn’t a place for a dog.

3. Save the burnouts for a private meetup

A concours car meet has more rules than any other
A Concours car meet | Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images

Most car meets are held in public spaces where the roads in and out are shared by others. As fun as it is to show off with a smoky burnout on your way to lunch, don’t.

Burnouts aren’t just a turnoff to passers-by, but they’ll bring negative attention to the event as a whole. With so many stories of car meets devolving into sideshows and worse, doing a burnout is a surefire way to get banned from that event in the future. Too many meet-up spots have been ruined by a few hoons that just couldn’t keep that urge at bay.

It only takes a few complaints to get an event shut down altogether. For the health of your local car community, don’t make a car meet the place where you show off.

4. Don’t gatekeep

The car community is for everyone. Lifted trucks, stanced Miatas, track builds, and everything in between are all labors of love. And whether the owner is someone you expect it to be or not, everyone is there for the same reason. For the love of cars, treat everyone with respect and make everyone feel welcome, and your local car community will flourish.

Enjoy the show!

Whether it’s a local Cars and Coffee or a big regional car meet, there is a ton to see and fun to be had. Follow these rules to ensure you and everyone attending can have a great time at your next car meet!

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