car wash

How much to tip a Car Wash & Informations

In General by Magnus SellénLeave a Comment

car wash tipRegular cleaning of your car is vital to eliminate dirt and other debris that would have formed on the car’s surface.

When you take long to wash your car, some of the stains will become permanent. It is easier to clean your car after giving it a good waxing. In some instances, you lack the time for regular cleaning, which may necessitate taking your car to the car wash.

Giving a tip is a good way to show appreciation to the attendant that has just cleaned your car. The amounts vary from $5 to $10. The tip will largely depend on the quality of service at the cleaning station.

It is not mandatory to offer a tip but it something you do out of generosity and to encourage the service attendants to love their jobs.

Recommended Amount to tip: 

  • Economy car: The amount of the tip will depend on the type of service you have received at the car wash. Economy cars are small and a tip of $2 will be fine. This will be for a basic wash with foamed water and drying with a cloth. If you opt for both washing and interior vacuuming then a tip of $3 would be appropriate.
  • SUV and Vans: These tend to be larger and therefore the work to be done is more. The bigger the car the better the tip. A tip of $4 to $5 would be appropriate depending on whether you want you can to be washed and vacuumed.
  • Full service: If you are going for a full service at the car wash that will involve cleaning, vacuuming, under the hood cleaning, waxing, and polishing then the amount you pay may be higher. You can calculate the tip like 10% of the total service fee. If you spend more than $100 dollars for the wash then a tip of $10 dollars would be appropriate.
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Difference between car waxing and polishing

Many people cannot tell the difference between a car polish, waxing, and vacuuming the car. Some car washes will simply wash your car with soapy water and have it dried with a wet cloth.

Car polish

The car’s exterior consists of various layers. Polishing the car removes the very fine top layer. The polishing materials have abrasive agents in them that are able to remove or react with the topcoat layer. The purpose of polishing is to remove dirt that could be hidden in the fine layers of the outer coat.

Your shine is hindered through oxidation and polishing it gives it a good, smooth shine. In addition, car polishing helps to maintain the car paint so that it lasts longer.

Car waxing

Once you are done with polishing the car, you then need to give it some good waxing. Waxing will add a thin layer over your car that will protect the paint from oxidation and protect it from UV light. UV light is responsible for fading colors and yellowing of the car due to oxidation.

A car that has been waxed tends to be easy to clean. One of the most commonly used materials for waxing is carnauba wax. The wax is recommended because it has a high melting point and it is insoluble in water. This means that water will not affect it during washing.

Waxing a car helps to remove small scratches on the top layer part of the paint. It will protect your car from grime and dirt. Some of the waxing agents in the market have the capability of making a car look like it’s from the showroom.

Types of car washes

There are different types of car washes. In this section, we analyze some plus the pros and cons of each.


car washYou have probably seen this in some big towns. You place your car in a stand with a conveyor belt and then the car is driven into a tunnel or that has high powered brushes that give your car a good clean. The systems will apply soapy water on your car, scrap it and then blow dry it. All this time, your car is at neutral. The car is clean in no time.

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  • Great car wash when in a hurry


  • Some of the high powered brushes may destroy your paint job


This operates in a similar fashion like the automatic washing service stations with the main difference being that instead of using high-powered brushes the cleaning service uses high powered water jets with cleaning chemicals. The car is put on neutral then it is driven through a tunnel by conveyor belts.


  • Unlike high-powered brushes, the water jets do not destroy your car paint


  • Does not leave your car sparkling clean


This is the most common form of washing your car and the oldest. You fill some soapy water in a bucket and then use a water hose to rinse off the soap. It takes some time to have the car sparkling clean and this necessitates washing it when you are not in a hurry.

If you live in a place where there no automatic driveway wash stations, then this is your best option.


  • Cost-effective


  • Tiring

The amount you pay for cleaning will depend on the extras and attention to detail. If your car is not that dirty you can opt to clean the exterior only but if you have just returned from a dusty road trip then you may opt to clean the interior and exterior.

The exterior will involve some engine cleaning. Washing your car can then be followed by polishing and waxing.


There is no official policy on how much you tip at a car wash. Giving a tip to the service attendant is a form of appreciation for the good work they have done. It helps them perform their tasks with a smile on their face. Most of the time, people using small cars will give a tip of $4 and $5 dollars depending on the work done on the car. For larger trucks and SUVS, the tip will be $10 to $20.

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