[DISCLOSURE: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]
If you want to keep your ride in tip-top shape, you perform regular maintenance. After all, the last thing you want is for your car to break down, leaving you stranded on the side of the road.
Whether you prefer to do it yourself or call a mechanic, car maintenance can get expensive. However, some credit cards can help you save as you maintain your ride.
Here are five credit cards to keep your car running smoothly.
Rewards: 4% cash back on up to $7,000 in eligible gas spending per year (1% cash back on purchases beyond that threshold); 3% cash back at restaurants and on eligible travel purchases; 2% cash back at Costco and Costco.com; and 1% cash back on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus: None
Annual Fee: $0 (you must have a paid Costco membership)
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): 16.99%* (Variable)
Why We Picked It: Costco members can use this card to save on car supplies and services.
For Your Ride: This card earns 2% cash back at Costco and Costco.com, including auto goods and services purchased from the wholesale club. Drivers can also earn 4% cash back on gas.
Drawbacks: You must have a Costco membership to get this card.
Rewards: 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases per quarter for quarterly rotating bonus categories; 1% cash back on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus: Discover matches all cash back earned in the first year.
Annual Fee: $0
APR: 0% APR for six months on purchases, and 0% APR for 18 months on balance transfers, then 13.49% - 24.49% Variable on purchases & balance transfers APR.
Why We Picked It: If you buy auto supplies from the right merchants, you can save big this quarter.
For Your Ride: For the rest of 2017, the 5% cash back bonus category is Amazon.com and Target purchases. While you may not be able to find everything you need at these merchants, routine maintenance supplies and parts are readily available and will earn you a fantastic cash back rate.
Drawbacks: Bonus categories shift every quarter, and some won’t apply to auto expenses.
Sign-Up Bonus: None
Annual Fee: $0
APR: 0% for 18 months on purchases and balance transfers, then 15.74% - 25.74%* (Variable) APR.
Why We Picked It: This card can help you avoid interest on large repairs or restoration projects.
For Your Ride: This card’s primary draw is its 0% APR offer, which gives you a year and a-half of interest-free purchases and balance transfers. This could come in handy if you’re paying off an expensive repair or restoring a classic car.
Drawbacks: There are no rewards programs.
4. Bank of America Cash Rewards
Rewards: 3% cash back on gas and 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs for up to $2,500 in purchases each quarter (1% cash back on purchases beyond that threshold); 1% cash back on other purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus:$150 bonus cash if you spend $500 in the first 90 days.
APR:0% APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then variable 13.99% to 23.99% APR.
Why We Picked It: You can earn cash back as you fuel up and purchase auto supplies at your favorite wholesale club.
For Your Ride: With 2% cash back at wholesale clubs, you can stock up on auto supplies and save. Plus, gas purchases earn 3% cash back.
Drawbacks: There’s a quarterly limit on the special cash back rates.
Rewards: Earn 2% cash back: 1% cash back on purchases and an additional 1% cash back upon payment.
Sign-Up Bonus: None
APR:0% APR for 18 months on balance transfers, then 15.24% - 25.24%* (Variable); 15.24% - 25.24%* (Variable) APR on purchases.
Why We Picked It: All purchases, including car maintenance costs, can earn 2% cash back.
For Your Ride: All purchases automatically earn 1% cash back, and another 1% cash back is awarded upon payment. That gives you motivation to invest in your vehicle but pay off your expenses quickly.
Drawbacks: If you tend to carry a balance over time, this card probably isn’t for you.
How to Choose a Card for Car Maintenance
The right credit card depends on the type of auto purchases you make. If you’re focused on fuel, you should choose a gas rewards card. If you’re concerned with the cost of auto parts, find a card that earns cash back at your supplier of choice. If you want to avoid interest on an expensive repair, a card with a strong 0% APR offer can help.
Some credit card issuers offer roadside assistance services (for varying costs) as part of their overall benefits package. If you’re driving a fixer-upper with reliability issues, you may want to check for a solid roadside assistance policy.
What Credit Is Required for a Car Maintenance Credit Card?
Usually, the best credit cards are reserved for those with excellent credit, but there are rewards cards for consumers of all kinds and credit scores. Before you apply for a card, check its credit requirements against your credit score—you can get a free credit report from Credit.com. If it doesn’t look like you’ll qualify, just keep shopping around.
At publishing time, the Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi, Discover it, Citi Simplicity, and Citi Double Cash cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).
Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees, and terms for credit cards, loans, and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees, and terms for credit cards, loans, and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees, and terms with credit card issuers, banks, or other financial institutions directly.