How Much to Tip a Car Wash Attendant and Car Detailer?

Written by

Bruce Sonnier


Marcus Dutton

how much to tip a car wash

Everybody knows it’s common courtesy to give tips after receiving services. But one thing car wash and car detailing goers often wonder is how much to tip a car wash attendant and car detailer?

It depends on some factors, namely the size of your car; services that you avail of, whether you’ve had just a basic car wash or if you’ve also gone for other services; and the quality of the service or services you received. Read further to learn more.

How Much to Tip a Car Wash Attendant and Car Detailer?


When tipping at car wash, there are some factors to keep in mind. Considering them will ensure you are tipping not too little and not too much, but just the right amount. You can use this tool:

Or read about them below.

1. Your Car’s Size

In the process of car washing or car detailing, the size of your car would affect a couple of aspects. Your car’s size would dictate:

  • The amount of effort that the car wash attendants or car detailers would exert in working on your car.
  • The time they would spend on your car.
  • The usage of resources such as water, soap, etc.

The amount of the aforementioned aspects would be more for big cars and lesser for smaller cars. That also means bigger cars would entail higher tips, as explained below:

  • For Economy Cars

Economy cars are small cars like sedans and hatchbacks. For such vehicles, $2 would be enough to tip for a basic car wash service involving washing and drying with a towel.

If you also availed of vacuum service, you could add $1 to the tip. But if you aren’t satisfied with the service, you may give lower.

  • For Vans, SUVs, and Trucks

For bigger cars like vans, SUVs, and trucks, which require more effort and time, the ideal tip would be $4. And if you also went for vacuum service, you may add another dollar. However, if you aren’t satisfied with the cleaning performance, you don’t have to give that much.

2. Service or Services You Availed Of

If you have only availed of the basic washing and drying, you can tip around $2 to $5 to the car wash attendant. On the other hand, if you have availed of car detailing, you would have to tip around 10 to 20 percent of the overall charge. So if the car detailing you have availed of costs you $100, you can give around $10-$20 to the car detailer. You can find out more list of car wash cost here. 

But you should only tip that much if you have observed an excellent job from the car detailer. Compared to basic car washing, car detailing requires more skill and is a premium service. So it’s just fair to expect a car detailer to deliver an excellent job in order to give them a tip.

3. Quality of Service Received

The quality of the service you received should also be considered. If you were impressed with the work done on your car and if they served you in a friendly, accommodating manner, then you may increase the amount if you wish. If otherwise, you may lower your tip or not give any tip even.

Why Tip Car Wash Attendants and Car Detailers


Car wash tipping isn’t really mandatory. You may give a tip or just pay the cost of the service or services you availed of only. Whether or not to tip is your choice, but there are advantages to giving tips to car wash attendants and car retailers.

Firstly, giving a tip at a car wash and car detailing would evoke a good feeling that you made someone feel appreciated for their work.

Secondly, when you frequent a particular shop or shops, it would ensure that you would always experience excellent service. Car wash attendants and car detailers would remember you for the good tips you give and would willingly perform the best service on your car when you come back.

But also keep in mind to only give tips to car wash attendants and car retailers when you feel that they deserve them. You can tell it by watching them at work. Through this, you can decide whether or not or how much you should tip depending on the effort they exerted working on your car.

How to Tip Car Wash Attendants and Car Detailers

Trying to tip at a full service car wash and car detailing is not as simple as how you would do it in a restaurant, wherein you could just leave money on your table for the waiter to collect.

At a car wash and car detailing, there might be a chance that you wouldn’t come in contact with the person who worked on your car after he/she had worked on it.

But if you’re able to catch them afterward, you’ll be able to tip them in the best way possible by handing it to them personally, which ensures it goes to the right workers and allows you to commend them for their excellent work.

If you aren’t able to catch them though, there are other ways you can give your tip to them, which are:

  • Check around the car wash or ask the cashier if they have a tip box where you can place the tip you wish to give.
  • Come up to the cashier and ask them to add the tip to the bill.
  • Speak with the manager and ask to add the tip to the car wash attendant’s or car detailer’s salary.


Different situations when at a car wash and car detailing require different tip amounts. Just keep in mind the factors that can affect how much to tip a car wash attendant and car detailer.

Always remember to be courteous and tip your car wash attendants and car detailers if you received exceptional service from them. This would make them feel appreciated and in return, you’ll always be assured your car would be well taken care of in their hands.

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