Whether you have an airplane hangar full of classic cars like Jay Leno, or you’re a car enthusiast who enjoys looking at modern sports cars, you might want to consider joining a car club. No matter what type of car you’re into, there is most likely going to be a car club that suits your style.
There are all sorts of benefits to joining a car club. Social events and member advice get-togethers are events where people can network with other members and offer and receive hands-on help or advice about their cars, such as where to get certain parts and deals for those parts, which local garages and mechanics specialize in certain models, and so on.
Events like these also inspire collaboration between car owners and car manufacturers for the purpose of building the right blend of community enthusiasts and experts. This can further knowledge-building in the form of online forums and publications that can keep individuals up-to-date on news and the industry in general.
- Note: You don’t need to own a car to be a part of a car club, though it helps. A car club is about an admiration for the vehicle and is not necessarily just for those who park one in their garage.
Part 1 of 3: Determining what car club you want to join
Most car clubs are based on a particular model, though there are clubs that exist based on the style of car instead, such as a convertible car club. You can find an existing car club or you can start your own.
Step 1: Think about what sort of car club you may want to join. As stated in the introduction, there are a lot of car clubs. There are probably even more than you can imagine, which is great news for you.
If you are interested in a particular car model that is a convertible, such as a classic Mustang convertible, you might be able to more readily find a convertible car club.
Whatever your car interests, there will probably be a car club that suits your style. Maybe you like a lot of different cars. In this situation, the most difficult choice will be figuring out which club (or two or three clubs) you want to join. In any situation, you will probably want to join a car club that you believe offers you the most benefits.
Most car clubs are either state clubs or national clubs but there may also be an international car club for your car interests that you can join.
Step 2: Do your research. There’s a lot of information out there for you to consider before you sign up. The internet is probably the most accessible place for you to begin searching.
Websites, like Carclubs.com, have a complete database of car clubs, events, museums, and even swap meets from around the world. Carclubs.com also has contact information and information regarding dues, where applicable.
Also consider searching “car clubs” on Google. The results page will offer you many options, even local options, for different car clubs in and around your area. Be more specific with your search by adding, for example, “classic” to your search, if you’ve decided what type of car club you’re most interested in joining.
Consider checking out different car club forums online, or places where people of the same interests collaborate and chat on the internet, and feel free to start a post or thread with any questions you might have before you join. If you read through what people have already posted, your questions might even be answered before you have to ask.
Step 3: Ask owners at car shows. Nearly every city holds car shows during the summer months. Ask people who bring their cars to show off where you might be able to find a car club to join.
Step 4: Contact a member: Contact someone who is already a member or an organizer of the club you are considering joining.
You might meet some of these people on an internet forum. Otherwise, once you find the right car club’s website and you navigate to the “Contact Us” section, you will most likely be able to call or email the members in charge.
After asking any questions that you might have, if you’re happy with what you’ve found, ask them to send you an application through the mail or online.
Step 5: Consider starting your own car club. If you can’t find any appealing car clubs in your area, approach other car owners with similar interests about starting your own car club.
It doesn’t have to be anything official and can be just an informal show-and-shine in a parking lot. A car club can start out with just two or three people.
Part 2 of 3: Joining a car club
Each car club has its merits. Be sure to join a car club that suits you best based on what it has to offer and what you have to offer the club.
Step 1: Determine the membership fee. Car clubs can range from being free of charge to being hundreds of dollars to join.
A free club can be a good place to get together and just admire vehicles while those with more expensive club fees or membership dues may offer services such as parties, networking opportunities, charity drive participation, and cruise nights.
Step 2: Consider how often the club meets. If you must attend a certain number of events to be a member of a club, be sure you can meet those commitments before signing up for the club.
If you want more participation than one club offers, look into joining multiple clubs or clubs that offer additional informal get-togethers for members.
Step 3: Determine where the club is located. If a club is located in your city or neighborhood, you’ll be more likely to actively participate in events, whereas if a club is hundreds or thousands of miles away, you’ll seldom be able to meet with other members.
Part 3 of 3: Participating in car club events
You’ll benefit most from your car club if you participate in the ongoing calendar of events throughout the year.
Step 1: Attend car shows with your car club. Whether your car is in the show or you attend just to admire other cars, stay involved in the car scene with your club.
A car show is a great place to meet people with the same passion as you as well as find potential cars for sale or much-needed parts for your car.
Step 2: Meet with your club regularly. You’ll have a say in your car club’s activities and events if you attend membership meetings regularly.
Step 3: Drive with your car club members. The most fun you can have on the road is to cruise the highways as a group.
A group of convertibles driving down the open road, for example, draws attention and admirers and is thoroughly enjoyable.
No matter what model of car you own or are interested in, there is sure to be a car club you can join. If there isn’t a club that suits your needs, look for other car clubs related to the model you own in which you’d also enjoy participating.
Once you’ve joined a club, you can start thinking of ways to get involved so you can help out and improve the community. You might be able to organize an event or start a local chapter of the club in your area. Regardless, you will find that you have a lot of new resources at hand that you can use to your advantage. But most importantly, have fun.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How to Join a Car Club and was authored by Brent Minderler.