How Much to Tip a Car Wash or Car Service

We don’t often think about car washes as being very important to our vehicles. However, it is important to keep the exterior of your vehicle looking clean because it helps preserve its resale value. Think about how much dirt and airborne pollutants actually get onto the exterior of your vehicle each day. If you don’t regularly wash your vehicle, then all this residue accumulates and creates a very unattractive look for your vehicle.

There is no reason to wait a long time to get a car wash because this residue can be washed away quickly. Car washes can either be done manually on your own or by a professional car washer at some commercial location. If you choose to do the car wash yourself, don’t assume it is going to be easy.

You can’t just take a sponge, dip it in soapy water, and start wiping your car with it. Sometimes there is tough residue stuck to your exterior which a wet sponge won’t remove. Plus, you might leave streaks on the windshield and glass which might make it worse rather than better.

Do yourself a favor and visit a professional car wash business. They will utilize the very best car washing machines and equipment to give your car the best wash possible. They’ll do things like auto detailing, interior vacuuming, exterior waxing and more. When they’re all done, you have the choice whether to give them a tip or not.

The Amount of a Tip

Since car washing is technically considered a service industry job, customers are expected to tip. It is no different than going to a restaurant and tipping your waitress. Car wash attendants survive on tips just the same.

The amount of the tip is not calculated the same, though. When you tip a waiter or waitress, they normally receive 14% of what your meal cost. That is the going rate for tipping them. But for car wash attendants, there are several other factors that go into the amount of their tip. Some of which include the number of services performed, the quality of the services, and the size of your vehicle.

If you’re only getting a wash and dry service on an economy class car, then 10% to 15% tips won’t really be enough because the service is only about $5 or $10. That means a 10% tip on a $5 service is approximately 50 cents. Instead, you’ll need to leave the attendant at least a $1 or $2 tip. But if they also vacuumed the interior of your vehicle too, then a $3 tip may be fine as well.

You can start to go higher in your tips if more services are performed, or if you have a bigger vehicle. For instance, if you have a sports utility vehicle or truck which gets washed, dried, and vacuumed, then a $4 tip is probably better to give. If they add wax to the exterior to make it nice and shiny, then a $5 tip should be considered.

For a comprehensive auto detailing service in the $50 to $100 range, you can start leaving between 10% to 15% in the tips which you give. More work is required for such services, so it is only fair to leave a higher tip for the attendants who perform the work. The choice between 10% and 15% should depend on the quality of the work. If your car looks shiny and fully restored on the inside and outside, then a 15% tip is a good way to show your appreciation for their efforts.

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If you’d rather avoid tipping altogether, then consider going to a drive-thru car wash. There won’t be able people washing your vehicle because machines and equipment take care of the washing automatically. Then you won’t feel the pressure of owing anybody anything extra.

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