How Much Should I Tip a Mechanic?

It's not customary to tip your mechanic.
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Once you pick up your vehicle and pay the bill at a mechanic's shop, you're free to drive away without feeling an obligation to tip. Although tipping is commonplace in many parts of the service industry, it's not the norm for dealing with repair people such as mechanics. You can, however, take steps to recognize a mechanic's above-and-beyond efforts.

1 Don't Feel Pressured to Tip

In her etiquette column on Good Housekeeping's website, expert Peggy Post reports that it's not necessary to tip people in the repair and installation industries. She notes that people in these industries, unlike serving staff at a restaurant, don't rely on tips as a key part of their income. The Emily Post Institute, an etiquette organization at which Peggy Post serves as director, doesn't list mechanics as people you'd typically tip either after receiving a service or around the holidays. During a 2014 radio interview with Carson Daly, The Emily Post Institute spokesperson Anna Post said she'd "never seen a situation" in which someone might tip a mechanic.

2 You Can Tip If the Mechanic Wowed You

Although Peggy Post doesn't advocate tipping repair people in her Good Housekeeping column, she notes that it's appropriate to give a tip if you feel the person greatly exceeded your expectations. In the case of a mechanic, consider if the mechanic was overly friendly or performed the work quickly and under budget. Because tipping mechanics isn't required, there's no set amount you should tip. Even $10 can help show your appreciation.

3 Write a Thank-You Message

You don't have to tip your mechanic to let him know how much you appreciate his efforts. When you pick up your car, shake his hand and verbally thank him for his work. You can also follow up with a thank-you card to the mechanic or an email to his boss. In general, the rule of writing an effective note of thanks is to be specific. For example, write a phrase such as, "I really appreciate how you ordered a refurbished part instead of a new one to help me save money."

4 Consider a Holiday Tip

If you frequently find yourself visiting your mechanic throughout the year and develop a rapport with him, consider giving a holiday tip to show your appreciation. As with regular tipping, it's not necessary to tip your mechanic, but a thoughtful tip around the holidays can show him how much you appreciate his work. The Emily Post Institute recommends tipping your handyman $15 to $40 around the holidays; use this figure as a rough estimate if you wish to give a holiday tip to your mechanic.

Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.