Should You Tip For Vehicle Inspections? (Explained)

Should you tip when you take your vehicle for inspections? Would your mechanic consider that gesture insulting or as a token of appreciation?

Paying a tip for car inspections is not something most car owners consider.

Hence, we put together this guide to answer some questions about paying a tip for auto repair:

Do Auto Repair Shops Expect a Tip When Doing Inspections?

As much as tipping a mechanic is not common, some car owners do it. Mechanics usually don’t get tips. Still, mechanics do expect a tip once in a while. Paying a tip is a good way to make them feel that you appreciate their work. 2% is a fine tip for bigger repairs and 5% if the bill is under $500.


If you go to the same mechanic and consistently receive excellent service, giving them a tip will be good.

The only challenge with tipping a mechanic is determining the appropriate amount you should pay. Should you tip them 20% of the bill, or should it be less than that? Keep this in mind, you only pay a generous tip if you feel your mechanic deserves it.

Not all mechanics will be comfortable receiving a tip.

Others may even confuse that as a bribe, especially if they decided to do your car before others in the queue.

Can it Be Considered “Bribing”?

There are instances when paying a tip to a mechanic can be considered bribing them to try and pass the vehicle through an inspection.

According to this study by Harvard, tips and bribes possess striking similarities. Researchers at Harvard found a positive relationship between tipping and bribing.

Some people are likely to pay a tip to mechanics to receive special services in the future. They don’t realize that when you tip with expectations, it is equivalent to paying a bribe.

For instance, if you were to return to the same mechanic, the amount you paid to tip on the first encounter will likely influence the kind of service that you will receive.

Make sure when you tip a mechanic that you’re not paying for an inspection. Never leave a “tip” before sending your car through an inspection.

Should You Ask Before Giving a Tip?

When you eat at a restaurant paying a tip is not an option. But then, when you service your car, it’s often difficult to know if your mechanic accepts tips. It’s also uncomfortable for most people to ask a mechanic if they take tips.

Some mechanics have a no-tip policy.

The safest way of confirming if a workshop accepts tips is by calling the repair shop before you take your car in for service. Or ask one of your friends who has recently taken the car there.

Remember, electric cars need inspections as well though the process looks different.

Should I Tip My Mechanic For Giving Me a Free Diagnostic?

Most definitely!

Mechanics will feel appreciated when they see value in the service you have received from their repair shop.

Most mechanics who are constantly trying to alleviate repair costs over repair shops will appreciate receiving a tip, even if it is for a free diagnostic service.

If you take your car for adequate service, it’s best to wait and see what kind of service you will receive before paying for a free diagnostic service.

Only pay a tip for a free diagnostic if you will be taking your car somewhere else.

When Should You Tip a Mechanic?

First, timing is everything when it comes to tipping a mechanic.

You don’t want to tip before a mechanic touch your car. You also don’t want to tip a mechanic when you are inside your car and already driving off. Some mechanics may find that a bit insulting to their trade.

The best time to tip a mechanic is when you are 100% sure your car is ready for collection.

Check the vehicle with the mechanic, and if you are unhappy about something, point it out. You can then add a small tip when you pay for the car. But only pay when you are confident that the mechanic has fixed the problem successfully.

Remember, there is nothing wrong with walking away without paying a tip. Your mechanic won’t find anything wrong with this approach. Most people don’t bother with paying tips to their mechanics anyway. Instead of giving a cash tip, express your gratitude with a simple gift.

You can even bring the gift the next day.

How much is a good tip for your mechanic?

It is difficult to determine a good tip for your mechanic.

The most important thing is how you pay it, though. Most mechanics are not expecting any tip, so they usually appreciate any amount. Even something as little as $5 would be good.

Take a good look at your bill.

  • If it’s less than $500, you can add a $20 tip for your mechanic.
  • However, if the service is somewhere around $1000, keep the amount around $50.
  • If you think your service doesn’t deserve a tip, you don’t have to pay a tip.

Avoid using hard cash.

Instead of handing out hard cash, you can add an extra $20 to your bill when you pay with your card. Just scribble a tip amount, and the mechanic will understand what that is.

Final Thoughts

There are no hard and fast rules about tipping a mechanic.

Unlike restaurants that require that you don’t pay less than 20% for a tip, you are free to pay 15%, especially if you feel the service deserves that amount.

Lastly, paying a trip to a mechanic doesn’t mean you should expect a different treatment next time you bring your car for routine maintenance.

A tip is not a bribe but a token of appreciation for excellent service.

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