Ultimate Guide To Financing Your Tires And Rims (2022 Update)

Updated April 12, 2024

Looking to get your tires and rims financed? In this guide, you’ll learn more:

  • Why opt for financing
  • Pros and cons of financing tires and rims
  • What to avoid when financing
  • Who offers the best financing
  • And many more!

Let’s get into the details below:

Ultimate Guide To Financing Your Tires And Rims

Table of Contents

Have you been offered to finance your next set of tires or rims? Can’t seem to decide if financing is the best option for you?

I have got you covered with over nine years of experience in the tire industry. I have facilitated countless transactions with tire and rim financing. I know all the pros, cons, and whether it is something right for you.

Good or bad, I will leave no stone unturned, and if you want to learn everything that tire and rim financing has to offer, continue reading. 

Can Financing Tires and Rims Save You Money?

In my experience, financing your tire and rim purchase can absolutely save you money. You need to make sure to finance them properly though because it can also cost you a lot of money. 

Deferred Interest Period

Most retailers will offer a deferred interest period on your purchase, which means you get charged no interest on your purchase for a certain period.

Having a period without being charged interest may allow you to spend money that would have been used for tires or rims on other high-interest debt, which would save you a lot of money.

Rebates and Incentives

What is the easiest way to get someone to sign up for something they might not necessarily need? 

Offer them money off their purchase! 

This is exactly what retailers do, and they will run “special” rebate incentives to make signing up for a new credit card seem more justifiable. I have seen these incentives, and to be honest, they are not that amazing.

These rebates will “save you money,” but the more significant saving is in the deferred interest.

If you are wondering who offers the best financing incentives, don’t worry; I will review it later in this guide.

Who Should Finance Tires And Rims?

It may seem that store credit cards are not the best thing out there. They do have their benefits for the right people, which is why I have listed the best reasons why someone should finance tires or rims below.

Financial Pickle

Tires are not cheap, and for some people, needing new tires can come as a surprise. Trust me, I have seen the reaction on consumers’ faces when I say the words “I know you came in for a tire rotation today, but your tires are completely bald.”

Unless you are someone like me who looks at every tire they walk by because tires have been part of my life for over nine years. Odds are you don’t pay attention to your tires, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. 

When you are surprised by the necessity of new tires, it can be a financial burden on you. With retailers offering deferred interest, it can be a great way to fix your tire situation without waiting until you can afford them.

Other Pressing Needs

I will share a personal story of how financing can be suitable for other pressing needs.

We had recently bought a house, and within three months of living in our new home, the air conditioning unit went out and had to be replaced. At the same time, I had a sidewall puncture in my tire and had to buy two new ones. 

Instead of stressing out about how I could handle all these things at once, I bought the tires on my tire card, which I already had. It gave me nine months of deferred interest at zero percent, and I didn’t break a sweat because it was all much more manageable.

Depending on your situation, financing can be a great way to take care of your needs without depleting your bank account. 

Wants To Save Some Money

I saw numerous occasions where a customer had the means to pay upfront for their tires but instead opted to apply for the store card and get the rebate incentives that came with it. When I was new in the business, I didn’t understand it, but if you combine the credit card rebates with manufacturer rebates, you can save some serious dough.

It would make sense if you were going to spend a thousand bucks on a set of tires anyways. Why not get a credit card to bring that cost down a bit?

financing tires and rims

Is Financing Tires And Rims A Good Idea?

For anyone looking to take advantage of some deals or if they are in a pickle and can afford the tires but don’t want to drain their bank account, it would make sense to finance a tire or rim purchase.

Financing your purchase is not a good idea if you don’t intend to pay it off in the promotional period. Fees can mount up so high you might be taking that tire purchase to the grave, but hey, you could win the lottery. You never know, right?

I always say a good way to look at it is to ask yourself if you would be able to afford the purchase by the end of the promotional period. If the answer is yes, then go ahead.

What Should You Look For When Financing Tires And Rims?

There are a few good things to be on the lookout for when financing a tire or rim purchase. I do not recommend pulling the trigger on the first card offer you come across, so I want to give you a few things to look for in financing tires and rims.

What Are The Promotional Periods?

As a general rule of thumb, I don’t recommend financing a tire or rim purchase that offers anything less than six months of deferred interest. 

Most retailers offer at least six months of deferred interest with a minimum purchase. It matters because you want to give yourself enough time to pay the total amount back before incurring high-interest rate charges. 

The kicker to deferred interest is that it’s not interest-free. Deferred means that you will still owe all the interest accrued if you don’t pay. 

For example, if you made a $1000 purchase and have six months of deferred interest to pay it off, with a variable interest rate of 29.99%. When you don’t pay it off within six months, $299.90 of interest will be added to the account balance the day after your deferred interest period ends, so MAKE SURE YOU PAY IT OFF.

This is why you should look out for what the promotional periods are.

Will The Tire Incentives Be Worth Having A Credit Card?

Some of the incentives that would make having a tire retailer credit card include:

  • Promotional deferred interest periods
  • Rebates on every tire purchase
  • If the card can be used at other locations or businesses
  • Purchase protection

All of these things are benefits that would make a retail finance card worth it. You must remember that you are stuck with this credit card, and making sure it’s worth having will make you not regret opening them.

Is The Retailer Somewhere You Want To Return To?

Applying for a credit card is a big commitment and can be a real bummer when you wish you never acquired a finance card, to begin with.

Since part of the reason for offering a financing option is to ensure the customers will return to their place of business. It is crucial to make sure you have a good experience before applying for that financing.

If you hate where you shop, you will deeply regret ever signing up for the financing in the first place.

Is There Anything I Should Avoid When Financing Tires And Rims?

High variable interest rates can be the financial death of some people, and when that interest starts to accrue, you could be in deep water.

The variable interest rate can always be found online by either looking under the terms and conditions of the card before applying or asking the sales associate if you are applying in person.

When making minimum payments with a high-interest rate, you are only paying off the balance by maybe ten to twenty dollars at a time. Since the rate is so high, the amount of interest being tacked on almost outweighs your small payments. 

Variable means that the rate can also increase at any time, and you have no say. The financial institution will send you a letter saying, “your rates have increased. Good luck.” This will increase your minimum payments and add a more significant monthly interest charge. So, if you think it was difficult to pay it off before, paying it off will be even more complicated, with more interest added every month.

Financing cards can be a dangerous game, and when you play the game wrong, you will lose big time, which is why I would avoid any high variable interest rates if you don’t intend to pay them off within the promotional periods.

Who Offers The Best Financing Incentives?

Who Offers The Best Tire Financing Incentives?

You are reading the ultimate guide to financing your tires and rims. It would not be the best guide on the internet if I didn’t include who offers the best financing. 

The highlights of these retailers’ financing incentives make them the best places to take advantage of their store cards. You will find the highlights below.

Big O Tires

  • Six months of deferred interest on purchases of $199 or more
  • Twelve months deferred interest on purchases of $749 or more
  • No annual fee
  • Offers card exclusive rebates

Discount Tire, Americas Tire, And Discount Tire Direct

  • Six months deferred interest on purchases of $199 or more
  • Nine months deferred interest on purchases of $999 or more
  • Twelve months deferred interest on purchases of $1500 or more
  • No annual fee
  • Offers card exclusive rebates
  • It can be used at other automotive repair facilities that accept Synchrony CarCare

Wheel Works

  • Six months of deferred interest on purchases of $149 or more
  • No annual fee 
  • Card exclusive monthly deals and coupons

Tire Discounters

  • Six months deferred interest on purchases of $199 or more
  • Twelve months deferred interest on purchases of $750 or more
  • $0 fraud liability
  • No annual fee
  • It can be used at other automotive repair facilities that accept Synchrony CarCare

Who Offers The Worst Financing Incentives?

It wouldn’t be fair only to include the best financing options out there. Therefore, I include the worst retailers to finance a purchase through. I did all the research to give you the most accurate information possible.

You will find what makes these retailers the worst highlighted below.

Monro Auto Services

  • Only six months deferred interest of purchases of $250 or more
  • 29.99% APR

Les Schwab

  • Only three months, same as cash
  • When late on a payment, they have the right to repossess your tires and rims (This happens, consumers have told me)

Why Do Retailers Offer Financing?

Tire retailers don’t offer no-interest financing with rebates because they are friendly people wanting to help their customers out. These are just reasons for you to justify signing up for their credit card, and no shame on them because every retailer out there has a credit card they offer.

I have first-hand knowledge of why tire retailers offer financing, and I will share them with you below.

Customer Retention 

What is a good reason to return to a tire shop?

They have great customer service! That is one reason, but what if you had a credit card with the store’s logo on it?

An even better reason to go back! This is exactly why getting consumers to sign up for credit cards is so important to them. I remember always being told, “when we get customers to open our credit card, we are getting a customer for life.” 

Retailers don’t offer to finance simply because they want to help you out. They want you to go back to their store and spend more money.

Card Transaction Fees

Businesses are in the business of making money otherwise, they wouldn’t be a “business”, they would be a charity. There is a massive profit for tire retailers in their financing options. The biggest is the card trad transaction fees.

Retailers, for the most part, will either pay zero percent card transaction fees or close to it, and this saves them a ton of money. They will have an agreement with a financial institution to determine the low fees incurred.

Whenever you swipe your card for a purchase, there is a fee for the merchant, which usually ranges from three to five percent of the total purchase. Tires aren’t cheap, and with the average price of a single tire purchase almost being $200, a lot of money is being spent on card transaction fees.

For easy math, let’s say a set of tires cost $1000 now with a three percent fee, that’s $30. Ten customers a day costs the merchant $30 for each transaction. $300 bucks a day multiplied by one hundred stores is $30,000 a day! 

Card transaction fees are the number one reason retailers offer financing.

Wrap Up

I’m not the biggest fan of financing your tire and rim purchases unless it is necessary to your situation. You read what I think consumers should use these options for.

I never appreciated how retailers would want us to push their financing options, and it was challenging to sell something that you knew wasn’t right for a customer.

Store cards have their place for consumers and can offer many incentives that make it worth it. I have store cards myself because I found the benefits worthwhile.

For anyone looking to finance their next tire purchase, I recommend you use this guide to help you make the best decision on which option will be the most worth it for you.

I am not a financial expert, and none of the information provided in this guide is meant to be perceived as financial advice.

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About The Author

Joe Steffen

Joe Steffen

Joseph Steffen is a trusted expert in the tire industry, with nine-plus years of experience. He has worked as a tire installer, tire salesman, and more recently a writer for various companies, providing honest feedback and advice to those who need it.

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