I wish I had time to thank you properly...
September 17, 2018 7:00 PM   Subscribe

In the midst of a massively over-scheduled month from hell, my car (which I absolutely need for work/school/etc.) needs to go to the mechanic for at least a week. A friend is very kindly lending me her car. My question: how do I thank her? I have no time to do anything thoughtful (wash it, detail it, etc.), but I'm so appreciative. I'm happy to spend some money for this, but on what?
posted by papergirl to Human Relations (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
There are mobile detail services -- they come to where your car is parked and do the detailing there. Maybe there's one of those near you?
posted by OrangeDisk at 7:03 PM on September 17, 2018 [9 favorites]

My rule of thumb whenever I need to borrow a car—no matter for how long or how many or few miles I drive, or how full the tank was when I borrowed it—is to ALWAYS return it with a full tank of gas. No exceptions. Other than that—maybe a gift card to a car wash, oil change shop, or a gas card?
posted by bookmammal at 7:20 PM on September 17, 2018 [14 favorites]

Prepaid gas card?
posted by AugustWest at 7:20 PM on September 17, 2018 [3 favorites]

If you're located somewhere winter is coming, there are also mobile services that will install remote starters and seat warmers.

However, you may think that a car-related improvement implies that you found your friend's car to be deficient. So what about some massage sessions, a gift certificate to your town's best restaurant, tickets to a show, or things like that you can order online?

Related idea if your friend loves to drive: one of those experience offerings where you either get to drive an exotic car or learn a new skill, e.g., drifting, handbrake turns, etc.
posted by carmicha at 7:28 PM on September 17, 2018

Definitely make sure the tank is full when you return it. If nothing else, do that.

I like the idea of a gift card/etc. for an oil change but that may depend if she goes somewhere regularly (I mean, I just take mine to whatever Jiffy Lube is nearby but that's not everyone).

It may or may not work for you, depending on the circumstances, but you could also offer to wash the car yourself or take it to one of the self-serve wash places.

But also consider typical friend thank-you things -- a bottle of decent wine, some baked goods, a nice dinner out. Those things are separate from the car aspect but also show your appreciation.
posted by darksong at 7:33 PM on September 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

I would do the mobile wash/detail service (generally you get alerted when they're there and you take them the keys, so you should only have to step away for a minute a couple of times, or if you have a good front desk at work you might be able to get them to hand off).
posted by Lyn Never at 8:01 PM on September 17, 2018

Is she someone who doesn’t really spend a lot of time in her car (and that’s why it’s available to loan)?

Maybe something for her home - call a florist and order some thank you flowers?
posted by samthemander at 8:03 PM on September 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

Car detail places may also have gift packages. Personally I would much prefer to be in charge of who or what was going in my car and not have it cleaned without my knowledge. A gift or gas card for car services is also good.
posted by Crystalinne at 8:07 PM on September 17, 2018 [3 favorites]

Full tank of gas and see if she has something onapublic amazon wish list that you could order.
posted by raccoon409 at 8:07 PM on September 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

samthemander has a great point that if they have a car free to lend easily, they may not be emotionally invested in the vehicle to the extent that they'd actually care much whether it was freshly washed/detailed, so agree, no need to stick with the car theme.
posted by aimedwander at 8:56 PM on September 17, 2018

Opposite point: I am so not into my car. I hate having a car. I also HATE dealing with getting it washed/detailed. If a friend did this for me (borrowed it and returned it super clean) I would love them forever. I cannot think of a better gift (if you can swing it using a mobile solution).
posted by peanut butter milkshake at 11:31 PM on September 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

I've lent my car out before to friends and the norm seems to be getting it back with a full tank of gas + something additional that's small like a dinner out or additional gas gift card. I've received a $25 gift card to Starbucks before, and I thought it was a nice gesture. I can't say I would've been averse to somebody getting the car detailed for me either. It really is the thought that counts!
posted by spicytunaroll at 2:30 PM on September 18, 2018

Fill the tank and give them a Starbucks gift card for $15. (Source: have been a car loaner more than once, and I thought that was generous of the borrower.)
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:02 AM on September 20, 2018

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