Do You Tip Mechanics for a Tire Change & How Much?

Written by Jim Belt in How Much To Tip

When bringing in your car for a tire change, you might wonder if you need to tip the mechanic. I did too, so I did some research and found out what most people do.

Do you tip your mechanic for a tire change, and how much? It isn't customary to tip mechanics for a tire change. Most people don't tip car mechanics at all, so you shouldn't feel obliged. People do consider tipping when the mechanic has gone above and beyond to provide excellent service. The average tip is around $20.

So you don't have to, but in some cases, it makes perfect sense to tip. Let's dive into them.

Tipping Customs

Tipping not customary

In this article:

  1. When To Tip Your Mechanic for a Tire Change
  2. When To Tip
  3. When Not To Tip
  4. What Do Tire Changers Think of Tipping?
  5. What Do Tire Changers Make on Average?
  6. In Conclusion

When To Tip Your Mechanic for a Tire Change

First off, know that you absolutely don't have to tip your mechanic for anything. They are paid by the hour and don't really accept tips. So it isn't customary, and it isn't mandatory. Most people don't tip mechanics for a tire change.

Secondly, you should only tip if you have the money to spare. If not, it doesn't make sense to tip anybody, except perhaps in restaurants, where the hourly wage is really low.

Okay, so when do you tip your mechanic for a tire change?

When to tip:

  • You have expensive rims and want to ensure there'll be no damage
  • You always go to the same mechanic and like his work
  • You really like great service and extra effort
  • He or she really did a very quick job

How much to tip:

  • If you just want to be kind: $5
  • Decent tip: $10 - $20
  • For excellent work or great service: $20

This is what most people pay extra when they decide to tip. Anywhere from $10 - $20 is considered a good tip: it's about an hour's worth of pay. If you think they've added a lot of extra value by doing really high-quality work, or providing excellent service, a tip of about $20 is appropriate.

A great piece of advice is to tip upfront. Tipping someone before he does his or her job really helps with service and the quality of work.

If you don't want to spend the money, but you do want to be a nice human being, you could consider getting your rims cleaned before the tire change. That way, the tire changer has nice clean rims to work with, making the job a lot, well... more fun.

There are people who think we tip too much. They say that people who are paid a decent hourly wage to do their job should do it already. If you do tip, you do it to reward a job well done. You shouldn't tip in advance to ensure a good job. Of course, that's kind of true. However, if you feel like you want to tip, that's absolutely fine.

When To Tip

Okay, so above, I mentioned three cases in which you might want to consider tipping. Let's go over them in more detail below:

You have expensive rims and want to ensure there'll be no damage

In my opinion, you shouldn't pay upfront to make sure someone doesn't screw it up. "YOU HAD ONE JOB!" - Right? But maybe you have incredibly expensive rims, and the cost of repairing or replacing them forces you into a second mortgage. In that case, you might actually feel really good about spending an extra 20 bucks. Make sure to tip upfront for maximum effect.

You always go to the same mechanic and like his work

Tips are way more effective if you go to the same mechanic each time. You give them a tip and let them know you like their work and would like them to do the next job as well. That way, you build a relationship. Being known for tipping well is extremely effective. The next time they see your car, they will remember you for it and put in (a lot) of extra effort. I can imagine it's also just more enjoyable working on the car of a good tipper.

You really like great service and extra effort

This last point ties into the previous one. If you tip upfront, you can expect a (bit) better service. If you always go to the same mechanic and have tipped them before, they will take extra care with your rims. Sometimes, regular tipping can even lead to getting a discount or a free tire change. At $600, that's not a bad investment.

When Not To Tip

Some car shops have a no-tipping policy. If you want to tip, always check upfront if they'd be willing to accept. If they don't accept tips because of the policy, or because they simply don't feel comfortable about it, don't push it. You can offer, but you can't make them. Besides, if they don't want too, what's the point?

Also, if you don't have the money to spare, you should definitely not tip. And you also shouldn't feel pressured into tipping by standards. Perhaps only at restaurants. A good rule of thumb for me is: do I make more money than them? If not, I should be the one receiving tips (if I do a good job, of course).

What Do Tire Changers Think of Tipping?

Most tire changers almost never receive tips, and they don't expect them either. Changing tires is an entry-level job, so the people doing it often don't get paid much. That also means that if you do tip them, it's extra special, and it will probably be really appreciated.

In colder areas, like the Midwest, people tend to tip more during winter time - the garage can get freezing cold then.

Things to consider

Most tire changers are pretty satisfied with their work. Pay and benefits can be good, but they aren't everywhere. Most tire change stores are decent workplaces. However, it is labor-intensive.

(Based on 48 reviews by actual tire changers at Indeed)

What Do Tire Changers Make on Average?

On average, tire changers make about $11 per hour - source. In some states, the hourly wage can get as low as $8.66 (North Carolina). That's not a whole lot above minimum wage, so maybe tip extra? Here's a list of states where the average hourly wage is below $10:

States where tire changers make under $10 / hour

  • North Carolina
  • Florida
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Michigan
  • Illinois
  • Texas
  • New Mexico
  • Georgia

source: ZipRecruiter

In Conclusion

So, to tip or not to tip? You could if you want to. But it really is entirely up to you. I'd say: if you like the guy (or girl) and have the money on hand, why not? But remember: the best tip always is kindness.

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