How Much to Tip Car Wash?

Showing your appreciation for a job well-done is a common courtesy for a lot of places. And what better way to show it that to tip a few extra dollars to the person who served you. Some people might think that a simple $5 tip would be good for everyone. But that's not always the case.

There are some customs on how to tip for specific services. And it's always good to know these things beforehand. Most people know that you tip your waiters around 10-20% of your bill, but how much do you tip for a car wash?

Knowing What to Tip?

There's no golden rule on tipping for a car wash as every car wash is not the same. But for every service, it's easier to get a grasp if you categorize it into a certain service bracket. For car washes, you can categorize it into two:

Full Service Car Wash

These are the kind of car washes that offer detailing, interior cleaning, and more. They almost always have all major cleaning services available at your call.

Prices can reach up to $15 to $30 for an average sized car and around $12 to $22 more for a bigger car.

Automatic Car Wash

A common example of an automatic car wash is a tunnel wash. There are some automatic car wash facilities don't have people manning them while some do.

These are usually priced around $5 to $10 but can reach up to $20 for some locations.Now that you've categorized them, you can see how they vary price-wise and service-wise.

Tipping for low-cost washes

Some car washes charge lesser than other companies. And depending on the quality of service, you can opt to leave a higher tip. If you think that they gave your car a good wash, you can tip around $5 dollars, even if the wash cost the same.

If you think that's absurd, think that you're paying for what you think it's worth. If someone gave you a wash worth $10 for half the price, why not pay $10? A good rule to follow would be to tip around $2 to $5 depending on how satisfied you are. It might be a small thing to you, but it's definitely big for the one who washed your car.

Tipping for a High-end Wash

There are times when you need your interior washed or you're exterior waxed to make your car look good. But these may come at extra costs. Some car detailing can cost from $60 to $130 depending on the task. A premium wax alone can cost from $65 to $90 depending on the size of your vehicle.

If this is the type of work you had done on your car, then a larger tip would be better. Again, based on your satisfaction, you can tip around 10-20% of your total bill. Unlike what we said before, this time you're paying for how happy you are for the service. It's not about what you think the service is worth anymore. The price you're paying is the service you actually got, no extras.

Some car washes call it a "bonus" if they get a tip for a high-value service. For them, the price is right, if anything else comes then they accept it.

Who do I tip?

There are some car washes who have no people on duty. If this is the case, then you can opt not to tip. The only time you should is if they have a tip box where you tip what you learned in the previous sections. If there's a team of people who handled your car wash, you can give the tip to the one who did the final touches.

There are automatic car washes that have someone in charge. If they are available, you can give it to them. For some places where they tell you that they split their tips, you can give it to the register. The only tip the person you think did you good. If the last person only told you that your car is already washed, not doing any of the work, give a tip to someone who did.

To Tip or Not to Tip?

It's not set in stone that you should always tip. You should never tip for bad service. It's like telling the people that they did a good job when they didn't. You're not helping them by giving them a tip, and you're only making yourself feel worse.

If you're unhappy with a service, you're not obligated to tip. But if you feel satisfied with what you got, then it might be a good idea to leave one. This is all on personal preference, whether you tip or not is up to you.

Tip boxes

Some car wash facilities would have a tip box even if they have attendants present. They are often there to tell you that not a single person gets all the tips. Sometimes, when you give the tip to a specific person, they might ask you to place it on the tip box instead. In this case, it's proper courtesy to follow what they say. It might be company policy that they're not allowed personal tips. You might think you're helping them but they might actually get in trouble for it.


Extending courtesy for a job well done is a good thing, and giving tips is a good way to show it. The guidelines we posted are only basic. They're not absolute. You can tip whatever amount you want and we're not holding that against you. I never knew how much to tip at a carwash myself before. But after some research and asking around, I got some information that can help people like me.

For those of you who have no idea how much to tip for a car wash, we hope this answers your questions. If you have any thoughts on how much you should tip for a car wash, you can send us your comment below.

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Amber Greene

OMG! I have given a lot of money as a tip after a car wash. Now I came to realize that I gave extra tip every time on a car wash and not a single time they refuse to take it.

    Tracy Moore

    You’re very generous. Thank you for visiting my blog.

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