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Should You Tip an AAA Tow Truck Driver? If YES, How Much?

You are not required by any law to tip an AAA Tow Truck Driver. They are paid an hourly wage for their job. However, a lot of people do consider tipping their roadside mechanic, especially in special conditions.

What is an AAA?

The AAA, or American Automobile Association, is a North American institution that is best renowned for offering roadside assistance to member motorists in distress. These emergency road services include towing, changing flat tires, lockout assistance, vehicle jump starting and battery replacement, and providing enough gas to get to the next station if you accidentally run out.

In exchange for a yearly membership fee, an AAA member is able to make use of these services as needed. In certain areas AAA have their own tow trucks but generally, they have a contract with a towing company to provide emergency road services to its members in a specific area.

Note that when you contact a roadside assistance service like AAA and ask if tipping the tow truck driver is required, the service representative will tell you that you don’t need to tip. The towing company representative might even go on to explain that the company’s roadside assistance personnel are paid for their work and that tips aren’t part of their overall compensation.

Howbeit, some people tend to argue that the services provided by companies like AAA are difficult; exceptional skill and kindness should be rewarded with a tip. Others contend that services such as a tire change or jumpstart are so ordinary that they shouldn’t require anything more than the initial cost to guarantee a job well done.

Indeed, tow drivers appreciate tips, especially if they make minimum wage or think they’re paid too little by their employer. It is not a necessity, but your good conscience can decide to appreciate a job well done. Driving a car can sometimes be a hazardous occupation. Whether you come out in the morning to a dead battery, a flat tire or get stuck in a ditch during a snowstorm, it is a tiring feeling to be stranded.

But you call a tow truck and within a short time, your car is back on the road. Most people often wonder if a motorist should tip a tow truck driver for their services. It is a good question and opinions on the subject can vary greatly, depending on whom you ask.

5 Factors to Consider When Deciding If to Tip an AAA Tow Truck Driver

Roadside assistance is a difficult and hectic job. Most roadside mechanics go over and beyond to help you out. Mostly, they are just great service-minded people. Here are some helpful things to keep in mind when it comes to deciding whether to tip an AAA Tow truck driver.

1. How Stuck Were You?

Have it in mind that calling out a tow truck to jump start a car in your driveway on a bright summer day is a lot different than having to be pulled out of a ditch on a freezing, snow covered night.

Always remember that the amount of work on the part of the tow truck driver is going to be a lot more labour intensive in the winter ditch scenario than the driveway battery rescue. Also, tow truck drivers more or less put their own safety at risk to help stranded motorists, so when it comes to tipping, this should be taken into consideration as well.

2. Drivers Personality

How was the driver’s personality? Was he polite, friendly and courteous or did he just moan and grumble under his breath while helping you? Note that having a wonderful personality can go a long way in any profession and having a happy service experience with a tow truck driver can make an otherwise unpleasant day go a lot better.

Normally, people appreciate being appreciated, so if a driver goes out of his way to make you feel good, let him know with a little cash.

People that are rude don’t deserve tips. Tipping is a way to show gratitude or appreciation and most people wouldn’t tip anyone that doesn’t try to be nice to them. Similarly, if they are unprofessional, don’t perform on the job, or leave you hanging, you wouldn’t tip either.

3. They Damage Your Car

Even though this is uncommon, it tends to happen sometimes. If they damage your car, that’s no reason to tip them of course. However, if they need to damage your car to get something done (fix a lockout for example), they’ll most likely discuss with you and it could be perfectly fine.

4. Failed to Update You

Also, if the driver runs late and fails to update you, or doesn’t keep you up to speed on the job and what he’s doing, that’s a reason to not tip. Note that it is part of their job to keep you in the loop (a little). Don’t expect to get one-minute-updates though. Can’t do your job if you need to talk all the time.

5. They Criticize Your Car

It is never good to criticize people’s cars – even if you’re an authority or the expert and you know way more about cars than the owner! People know that their car sucks, it is why they pay for roadside assistance in the first place.

How Much to Tip an AAA Tow Truck Driver

Since tow truck drivers do not come first to mind as it relates to professions that receive tips like waitresses, there is no set standard regarding this matter. However, the generally accepted amount to tip a server is 15-20% of the bill, but should this guideline be applied to tow truck drivers? Probably not, but at least this social norm could be used as a starting point.

If you can afford it, note that a tip of $5-$10 is considerate in most tow truck service scenarios. Nonetheless, remember you are not obligated to tip a tow truck service person if it will be a financial burden for you to do so.

But you feel that your AAA tow truck driver deserves a tip, leave $5 for a battery jumpstart, changing a flat tire, lockout assistance, or gas and $10 if the AAA driver had to tow your vehicle. Your triple A driver will deeply appreciate it.

Of course, feel free to give more or less, depending on your ability to give. For the most part, if you’re not sure how much to tip in any kind of situation, start with 10 percent of the total service cost.


Remember that sitting in a broken down car can be a lonely and challenging activity, and it also brings about feelings of helplessness. When that tow truck arrives, it is a most welcome sight and can mean the world to anyone. Note that tipping will always remain a way of expressing appreciation for the work that someone has done on your behalf.

If the AAA truck driver helped you turn a bad day into a good one, a small tip will go a long way to boost their own day. That singular act of kindness will motivate the driver to help the next stranded motorists even more.