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7 Best Credit Cards for Auto Repairs

Best Credit Cards For Auto Repairs

credit card advice

Adam West
By: Adam West
Updated: October 14, 2020
Advertiser Disclosure

If your budget isn’t ready for a blown tire, busted hose, or broken transmission, then you may want to consider one of the best credit cards for auto repairs. These cards offer an extended period of interest-free financing to help you pay for your repairs over time without overpaying for the privilege.

And, depending on the card you choose, your repair bill may just earn you a cash signup bonus that will help bring down the overall cost of your repairs.

Cards | FAQs

Best Credit Cards for Auto Repairs with 0% Financing

According to studies, the average car repair bill runs between $500 and $600 — and 1 in 3 consumers can’t cover that tab without incurring debt.

If there’s a silver lining in this dark cloud, it’s that you may qualify for interest-free financing with one of the cards listed below. And, if your repair bill meets the average cost, you could also instantly qualify for a signup bonus that puts a little cash back in your pocket.

  • $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
  • 3% cash back on dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services
  • 3% cash back on drugstore purchases
  • 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 15 months
14.99% - 24.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® card regularly offers new cardholders interest-free financing for term lengths that typically run between 12 and 15 months. After that period, your card will revert to a competitive ongoing interest rate, based on creditworthiness.

You’ll also earn cash back on all purchases and a one-time signup bonus after you meet the minimum spending requirement in the first three months after receiving the card.

Chase Freedom Flex℠ Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

0% INTRO APR RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
  • 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • 3% cash back on dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services
  • 3% cash back on drugstore purchases
  • 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, and 1% on all other purchases.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 15 months
14.99% - 24.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

New Chase Freedom Flex℠ cardholders can take advantage of interest-free financing through regular promotions that offer varying lengths of 0% APR. After that, your card will revert to a variable APR — but you’ll still earn as much as 5% cash back on bonus categories and a nice bonus after you spend a certain amount on purchases in your first three months with the card.

0% INTRO APR RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • One-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months; 14.99%-24.99% variable APR after that
  • $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 months
0% for 15 months
14.99% - 24.99% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card is one of the issuer’s most popular cards — mostly because of the catchy “What’s in your wallet” commercials and the unlimited cash back offered on every purchase. New cardholders also receive an extended 0% APR offer on new purchases and balance transfers, followed by a variable APR based on creditworthiness.

You’ll also earn a one-time cash bonus after meeting a specified minimum spending threshold within three months of opening your account.

0% INTRO APR RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®), plus 1% on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through January 2023
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months; 14.99% - 24.99% variable APR after that
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • No annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 months
0% for 15 months
14.99% - 24.99% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

After a long day of fretting over car repair bills, you deserve a nice meal. With the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card, you can take advantage of interest-free financing for over a year and still earn an unlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, and grocery stores plus 1% on all other purchases. And you won’t have to pay an annual fee to add this card to your wallet.

Discover it® Cash Back Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

0% INTRO APR RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.9/5.0
  • INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate.
  • Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Redeem cash back in any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • No annual fee.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 14 months
0% Intro APR for 14 months
11.99% - 22.99% Variable APR
$0
Good/Excellent

The Discover it® Cash Back card is one of our top card recommendations because of its amazing cash back potential in rotating bonus categories each quarter.  Please see card page for details on reward earning potential.

A welcome bonus also offers you an introductory APR for varying term lengths — typically between 12 and 15 months.

Discover it® Miles Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

0% INTRO APR RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • UNLIMITED BONUS: Only Discover gives you an unlimited match of all the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year. For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles.  There’s no signing up, no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a Miles-for-Miles match.
  • Automatically earn unlimited 1.5x Miles on every dollar of every purchase - with no annual fee.
  • Redeem Miles to pay any part of your monthly bill, including your minimum payment.
  • Turn Miles into cash in any amount, any time. Or redeem as a statement credit for travel purchases like airfare, hotels, rideshares, gas stations, restaurants and more with no blackout dates. However you redeem, Miles keep the same value. And Miles never expire.
  • No Blackout Dates. Simply pay for travel purchases like airlines, hotels, rental cars, and more with your Discover it® Miles card.
  • Discover is accepted nationwide by 99% of the places that take credit cards.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 14 months
10.99% Intro APR for 14 months
11.99% - 22.99% Variable APR
$0
Good/Excellent

Most people just want to get back on the road when their car is in the shop. With the Discover it® Miles card, you can do just that — while earning miles that can help pay for your next vacation. This card offers a competitive rewards miles program, as well as a regularly offered introductory APR financing on new purchases for a set period, followed by a competitive ongoing APR that is based on creditworthiness.

0% INTRO APR RATING

★★★★★
4.6

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get our best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Use your miles to get reimbursed for any travel purchase—or redeem by booking a trip through Capital One Travel
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 months
0% for 15 months
14.99% - 24.99% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card charges no annual fee or foreign transaction fee and pays out bonus miles when you meet the minimum spending threshold within three months of card activation. Interest-free financing on new purchases also covers your first 12 months with the card, with an ongoing variable APR after that.

Can You Finance Car Repairs?

In today’s tech-driven financial world, you can finance just about anything. While many auto mechanics offer their own financing, it often comes with high interest charges or very few perks.

With one of the credit cards listed above, you could potentially obtain interest-free financing for a set period of time, while also accruing cash back or travel rewards and possibly earning a signup bonus that could pay for part of your repair bill.

Some online lending marketplaces also specialize in short-term personal loans to cover auto repair bills. These marketplaces partner with several different lenders and submit your single prequalifying application to all of them, which can return multiple loan offers — each with varying terms and conditions — in a matter of minutes.

Most lenders can take you from application to funding within 24 hours, which can help you get the repairs you need sooner.

While you may not want to pay that auto repair bill, you at least have options to finance the unexpected expense. The path you choose will depend greatly on your credit history and current income.

But, in almost every case, you’re best served by choosing the path that can reward you for your spending. That means a good rewards credit card that offers interest-free financing during an introductory period.

Before you choose a card, make sure you know how long the introductory period lasts. Card issuers change their welcome offers regularly. You may see the same card with a 15-month 0% introductory period on one website and see it offered with 12 months on another website. The offer you sign up for is the one you receive.

Do Dealerships Offer Financing for Repairs?

Many people think dealerships only provide loans to purchase cars. But, as their service departments have become popular destinations for car repairs, many have added loan options to cover those expenses.

As with the loans to purchase a vehicle, most dealership lending options take place through a third-party company that provides application options in person or through the dealer’s website. In most cases, you can apply for a loan and get a decision within minutes. If approved, the dealer will likely start the repair process at the earliest available time.

Before you pull the trigger on that application, though, consider the differences between using a dealer versus an independent mechanic. Both have their pros and cons.

Dealers often charge far more for repairs than independent mechanics do.

A dealer offers parts and services built and backed by your car’s manufacturer. The dealer also has higher overhead costs and typically charges much more than an independent mechanic.

An independent mechanic has a smaller business and can provide after-market or off-brand parts that often cost less than the original manufacturer parts used at a dealer. That said, these mechanics often have to order the parts, which can take time.

Because these mechanics aren’t affiliated with your car dealer, you may not get as much of a warranty on the work — although many independent mechanics now offer substantial warranties on the parts and labor they put into your car.

Whichever route you choose, a dealer and auto manufacturer cannot refuse you service under your car’s warranty if you have routine maintenance done on your car outside of the dealership. That’s important to remember if your car repairs aren’t major.

What if I Can’t Afford to Fix My Car?

Studies show that 1 in 3 consumers aren’t financially prepared to pay for an unexpected car repair bill. While we often hear that we should create an emergency fund for such expenses, that isn’t always possible for everyone.

If you’re facing a steep repair bill and don’t have the money to pay for it immediately, you have several options:

  • Use a credit card: With the cards listed above, you can obtain interest-free financing for a set period, while also earning cash back or travel rewards, and, potentially, earn a cash signup bonus.
  • Negotiate with your mechanic: Many mechanics offer discounts or deals on certain services or parts. You won’t know until you ask. Sometimes, a little negotiation can lower your bill and make it more manageable.
  • Talk to several mechanics: Just about every city or town has multiple mechanics to choose from. Don’t feel obligated to work with the first person you talk to. Shop around and see if the competition between auto repair businesses can net you a better price.
  • Talk to someone you know who is handy with a car: If you simply can’t pay the parts and labor costs at a dealer or independent mechanic, see if you can find someone experienced in car mechanics who can do the repairs during his or her free time. You may get your work done for a substantially lower cost.
  • Borrow money or sell personal items: If the above options don’t work for you, a friend or family member may be your best option. See if someone you know can offer you a short-term loan to cover your repair costs. If that doesn’t work, see if you can sell any items of value that can provide enough funding to cover the bill.

If you strike out on all the above options, you can always consider public transportation until you save up enough to pay for your repair bill. Most cities and towns offer bus or rail options to get you to and from work, school, or wherever you need to go.

The Right Card Can Make Up for the Hassle

Unexpected car repairs can ruin your day (or week), empty your wallet, and leave you mentally drained. But when you use one of the best credit cards for auto repairs, you can finance your repairs at 0% interest, which can help you pay off your repairs over time.

And, in many cases, you may just earn rewards for the headache your car put you through. This can help reduce the total cost of the repairs or you can save your cash back rewards for the next time your car acts up.

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