Manage Car Expenses with a Goodyear Card

I drive a Toyota with over 100,000 miles on it and it still runs great, but obviously a car with that many miles has also needed a lot of routine maintenance over the years. I’ve had to replace the tires, brakes, struts, belts, starter, and a few valves and sensors. Nothing major or unusual, but auto repairs can get expensive even if you expect them.

A few years after I bought my car, I discovered a great way to manage my car repair and maintenance expenses: the Goodyear card. After I took my car to Toyota for my 30,000 mile tune-up, I never made the mistake of getting maintenance at the dealer again. I’ve only visited them for recalls, dealer specific license plate screws, and brake lights (which they swapped out for free. Sometimes it pays to be a girl.)

Instead, I go to Goodyear. In addition to selling tires (which I actually get at Costco), they license Goodyear Gemini repair shops. I’ve found that Goodyear mechanics are reasonably-priced and honest, unlike Midas or Jiffy Lube. The card includes discounts and an interest-free billing program.

Working the Goodyear Card Billing Cycle
If you use your Goodyear card, you get a discount on your oil change. Just mention that you’re a cardholder when you bring the car in. You also usually get “90 days same as cash” terms on all repair bills. That’s either two or three billing cycles, depending on when you got the service and when the payment is due. For a very large charge, I once got “12 months same as cash.” Some of my statements have also included coupons for that deal. Here’s the trick: the interest does accrue from day one (and it’s a high rate), but it isn’t applied if the balance is paid off within 90 days. All the interest is added on day 91.

To stretch out your payments into equal amounts without earning interest, look at the charge date and count 90 days forward. Now check the bill due date. Let’s say you got service March 1. That means the last payment must be received by May 28 to avoid interest. If your bills are due on the 22nd, you can pay one third in March, one third in April, and one third in May. On the other hand, if you made the charge March 21, then the last payment would be due June 19. That means you can pay half in April and half in May.

Certainly, if you have the cash to pay the whole bill, you could do that, but if they’re going to let you pay over time for free, why not let the money sit in your savings account a little longer?

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