How Much to Tip Car Wash

Washing your car is a very important step in maintaining your vehicle. Keeping it clean is a great way to prevent any damage to the exterior of your car.

A build-up of residue and dirt can negatively affect your paint job and you don’t want that, do you? The cheapest way to clean your car is to do it yourself but if you want it done to a high standard, a car wash is the way forward. Car washes mean that you can sit back and relax while a professional takes care of your vehicle. Depending on the place you go to, they may even offer an interior cleaning service too. That is always a good idea if they’re able to offer it to you.

Here in the US, we encourage tipping our service workers!

After all, you need to show someone that you appreciate all their hard work and efforts. A tip can go a long way and if the car wash attendant recognizes you when you visit again, they will most likely give you an even better experience. So how much cash is acceptable to tip at the car wash? It can be confusing to figure out at first but there are a few factors you need to consider before you tip. Firstly, think about the size of your vehicle.

Larger vehicles usually require a bigger tip. How about the service level? Did the attendant go above and beyond? Did they provide any additional services? Now let’s take a deep dive into these points!

Also Read: Can You Pressure Wash Car Carpet? Expert Tips and Tricks Revealed

Exterior Clean

The most common service to get at a car wash is the cleaning of the outside of your vehicle. When you get this service, it is important to take into consideration the size of your car. This is because larger vehicles require more work so you should keep this in mind when tipping your car wash attendant.

If you have an economy-sized car, we recommend a tip of $2. This tip will be welcomed by the staff member attending to your vehicle if you are getting your car washed and dried by hand.

If you have a larger vehicle like an SUV or truck, we advise you to leave a tip of $4. As your vehicle’s surface area is much bigger than an economy-sized car, $2 more will go a long way.

Remember, tipping can help out a service working a lot more than you may think. Tipping will also show them how thankful and impressed you are with their efforts.

Exterior and Interior Clean

Adding on an interior clean can make a huge difference to your car wash experience. Usually the interior clean consists of a vacuum and polish of your dashboard. This is perfect if you have pets or kids who may leave crumbs or hair in your vehicle.

If you decide to add on an interior clean, you should look to tip a little bit more than you would for just an exterior wash. If you have an economy-sized car, a $3 tip is a good tip to leave.

If you have a larger vehicle, you should think about tipping around $5. This covers the additional work needed on the inside of your vehicle. The car wash attendant will be more than happy to receive this tip.

Additional Services

At most car wash companies, you also get the option to add on some additional services. These can be a range of add-ons for the exterior or interior of your vehicle. We like to include some of these services now and then to deep clean our cars. It is very satisfying to see the before and afters!

You could add wax to your car wash experience which can be extremely beneficial. A wax adds shine, protects your paint job, and fills in any scratches on the surface of your car. Or you could add an interior deep cleaning, including a carpet shampoo or seat cleaning. These are great additions to breathe a new life into your vehicle!

These services require a lot more work than a normal wash, so you should think about tipping 10-15% of the service cost. This will show the attendant that they have done a fantastic job on your vehicle.

Service Level

When you go to a car wash, you do expect quality service as well.

A lot of people find that a polite and helpful attendant deserves a larger tip than someone who is just there giving minimal effort. It’s important to thank your attendant and show them respect. This behavior will only be returned to you which can make your experience a lot more positive.

You should consider if your car wash attendant was friendly. If they welcome you to the car wash with a smile on their face, it can instantly make you feel good about the service you’re about to receive. If the attendant strikes up a conversation, even if it’s just asking how your day is going, it shows that they care about their customers.

If you’re happy with how the attendant has treated you whilst at the car wash, then you should think about leaving a couple of dollars more. It will make them remember you the next time you visit.


To wrap things up, tipping is super important when you go to the car wash.

You should think about the size of your car, the services you have requested, and the customer service level you have received before handing over any extra dollars though!

By following our easy tipping guide, you will make your car wash attendants very happy and the tips will go a long way in their eyes. Tipping will make your car wash attendants remember you for your kind and generous thank you.

It will also mean that when you return, they will go above and beyond on your next service.

Remember, if you are not happy with the service you receive, you do not have to tip as much as we have suggested above.

You must feel comfortable and happy with the service you have received before tipping your car wash attendants.

Photo of author

Sean Mendez

Hi, I am Sean, a self-confessed petrolhead. I live in Boise, Idaho with a busy family of four and our energetic Labrador retriever. Thank you for visiting my website. You can find my email on the contact page.

Leave a Comment