November 21, 2021

How Much to Tip at the Car Wash

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With so many car wash services available, how much should you tip? Here's the proper car wash etiquette.

There's no better feeling than a squeaky-clean car. But it's a whole lot of work to wash, dry, wax, and detail a vehicle - especially if it's by hand.

Plus, cleaning your car regularly goes a long way in maintaining resale value and extending its life. Waxing, detailing, and handwashing a car is pretty back-breaking work. So, how much tip should you leave to say thank you for their great service?

Find out below.

How much should you tip at a car wash?

You should tip 15% - 25% of the total price.

Calculate How Much to Tip Car Wash

For mediocre service, you could tip 10%. If they did a great job, you should tip 20% - 25% for their good work.

For assembly line car wash services, it's recommended you tip $5 - $10 for each person who handled your car.

What does Reddit say?
For a $25 car hand wash, $3 - $5 is a solid and acceptable tip.

How much should you tip for a car wash and wax?

You should tip a standard 15% - 20% of the total cost of services for full-service auto detailing and car washing.

How much should you pay someone to wash your car?
If you're asking someone to do a basic handwash for your car, you should offer $20 - $40. If there is a cleaning and a wax involved, you should pay $40 - $50.

Do You Tip the Car Wash Dryer?
You should tip the car wash dyer $2 - $5 for their services.

How much should you tip a car detailer?

10% - 15% is the standard tip for a car detailer. But if they went above and beyond, then you can reward their impressive work with a 20% tip.

Do you tip car detailer at the dealership?
15% is the recommended tip amount for car detailing in addition to a wash.

Do you tip at an automatic car wash?
You're not expected to tip at an automatic car wash. If your car wash place includes a hand wax after the automatic wash, then you can tip 10% - 15% to the person handling your car.

Car wash tips and tricks

Decided to wash your own car? You can save a lot of money if you have the time, space, and equipment to clear your own car.

Here are some do's and don'ts to get you started:

  1. Always use soap that's specifically formulated for cars. Some people use dish soap, and while it cleans well and cuts through grease, it'll strip the wax off your car.

  2. Don't let anything touch the ground. Little bits of sand and dirt will scratch your car.

  3. Use two buckets to rinse the dirt off your car. That way, you have a fresh mitt for sudsing and you won't risk scraping your car.

  4. Don't wash in direct sunlight. Soap and water will dry up too quickly and leave spots and streaks on your vehicle.

  5. Use a microfiber drying towel. Cotton and polyester household towels are abrasive. They're not safe to use on a car's paint. Go with a microfiber towel that's softer and more absorbent to dry your car.

Doing a DIY car wash to save money? There are other ways to put cash back in your pocket. This list of the best inexpensive car insurance is a good place to start.

Bottom line

It's super important to clean your car regularly. And you absolutely should tip the person who handles your car. 10% - 15% is the norm, but it's a good idea to tip 20% - 25% for an extremely good job well done.

Amber Kong is a content and creative at CreditDonkey, a personal finance comparison and reviews website. Write to Amber Kong at amber.kong@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

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