5 Basic Rules of Car Show Etiquette

5 Basic Rules of Car Show Etiquette

Last Updated September 18, 2023 | Bill Tumas

Car shows are one of the most beloved events by car enthusiasts, and it's easy to see why. You can walk around and look at tons of different builds and styles all in one place. You also get to show off your own ride and talk about it with other like-minded enthusiasts.

However, just because car shows are open and fun doesn't mean there aren't guidelines. We'll cover five basic rules of car show etiquette in this article.

1. Don't Touch the Cars

We usually save the most important rule or tip for last, but this one is so important it needs to be said first. Don't touch the cars! While you may be tempted to see if the car's wrapped or if the wing is real carbon fiber, don't touch it. Would you want other people messing up your car's paint or scratching your ride?

Mustang at a car show with a sign that says Do Not Touch

If you have any questions about a car, just ask the owner. That car is most likely their pride and joy, and they'll probably love telling you about it. Regardless of how "nice" you think their car is, it's not yours. So don't touch it.

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2. Don't Trash-Talk Other Cars

We've all seen cars that look like they should be in the junkyard at a show. However, we don't know the owner's situation. Maybe money's a bit tight for them at the moment, or maybe that car has sentimental value to them. It doesn't matter. They paid their entry fee and deserve to be there.

Two men talking next to a Classic Mustang

You might not like the style they went for with their build, but that doesn't mean you need to trash-talk it to your friends. Just move on and don't say anything. There are so many cool cars to see at these shows, so just smile and go to the next build.

3. Be Careful with Your Kids

Don't get me wrong, kids belong at a car show. We want to share our passion for cars with the next generation and instill a sense of enthusiasm in them from a young age. I enjoy watching kids come to my cars and ask if they can take pictures or even sit behind the driver's seat. These are some of the most rewarding moments at a car show and always make me happy.

Kids walking between cars at a car show

However, it's still important to teach your kids to be careful around the cars. There's nothing worse than seeing parents who aren't paying attention while their kids run up to a car and kick the tires, scratch the paint, or jump up and down on the seats. Car shows make great family outings. Just be sure to teach children to respect the cars and they'll grow up into proper enthusiasts.

4. Keep an Eye Out for Cameras

If you notice someone trying to take a picture of a car, stop and let them line up the shot. If they've got a larger, more professional-looking camera, they might be covering the event for their promoter or a larger website. At the end of the day, just give them a few seconds to take the picture.

Photographer taking a picture of a car's wheel

On the other hand, don't be the guy who takes 30-40 seconds to line up a picture with their phone. If someone stops and gives you a second, get the camera focused and take the shot. There's no reason to hold people up if you don't have to. Be patient with others, and dont't expect limitless patience from everyone else.

If you want to learn how to take better car pictures, check out our Mustang photography tips.

5. Respect the Show and Its Promoters

When you go to a car show, there's a good chance it was painstakingly planned and executed by a group of hardworking promoters. The promoters put in tons of work and they're probably very tired after a long day. So, be sure to show them respect. Thank them and remember to clean up after yourself before you leave.

Multiple Mustangs leaving a car show

When you're leaving, there's no reason to rev your ride a bunch or drive like an idiot. Everyone there has a good-sounding car and we definitely don't need another video of a Mustang crashing after leaving a meet on the internet. Drive slowly when leaving the show and get home safely.

Get Your Ride Ready for the Next Show

At the end of the day, car shows are supposed to be an enjoyable way to show off your unique build and meet other like-minded enthusiasts who share the same passion you do. Keep these basic car show etiquette tips in mind the next time you go to make sure these fun events stay fun. If you want some suggestions for the best Mustang car shows, check out our full list.

Looking to get your Mustang show ready? Check out our wide selection of Mustang parts and perfect your ride's looks and performance.

If you want to know how to trailer your Mustang for a car show, be sure to check out our in-depth guide.

This article was researched, written, edited, and reviewed following the steps outlined in our editorial process. Learn more about CJ's editorial standards and guidelines.