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Mechanic Tool Financing: Best Options for You
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Mechanics depend on tools to do their work. Some dealerships and repair shops equip their mechanics with the basic tools used on every job, but others require employees to purchase their own tools, which can be a burden for someone just starting in the field.
For the average mechanic, the costs of mechanics tools can run anywhere from $7,500 to $11,000 for a basic assortment and toolbox. Specialized technicians can spend up to $27,000 on tools over their career. Fortunately, mechanic tool financing, a form of equipment financing, can make the cost more manageable.
Mechanic tool financing options
From tool companies to online business lenders to big-box retailers, you have several choices for mechanic tool financing. With that in mind, we’re breaking down some well-established options to provide you with the information you need to get the tools you require.
Distributors for tool companies typically make weekly visits to automotive shops to sell tools straight off their trucks. These distributors often offer financing that allows mechanics to make weekly payments.
One of the largest sellers of automotive tools, Mac Tools offers a credit program allowing technicians to pay off purchases in low monthly or weekly payments.
The Mac Credit program provides an open line of credit to use on any purchases over $300, so you don’t have to reapply each time you want to make a purchase. You can make payments online, over the phone, by mail or to the Mac Tools distributor who visits your automotive shop each week.
Another major player in automotive professional mechanic’s tools, Snap-on extends credit to both auto technicians and shop owners. For mechanics, Snap-on’s CreditStart program allows mechanics to purchase the tools, tool storage, and diagnostic equipment they need on credit while also helping you build (or rebuild) your credit score.
Snap-on’s Shop Owner EC program offers low interest rates and a “six months same as cash” feature for shop owners. This feature gives you six months to pay for credit purchases without paying interest.
Snap-on tools are sold online and through franchisees who bring their tool trucks to automotive shops. You can find your local Snap-on franchisee online.
Matco offers credit to full-time mechanics and students needing to finance their tools. All sales are made through the Matco distributor who visits your auto shop. After providing Matco with your local distributor information, your credit approval depends on verification of your full-time employment as an automotive technician and a credit application.
You may not be willing or able to buy tools off a distributor’s truck. In that case, many online lenders offer small business loans and equipment financing to cover the cost of automotive tools.
Crest Capital is an online lender that caters to small and medium-sized businesses. The company offers automotive hand tool financing for owners of independent automotive repair shops. Crest Capital can finance a range of equipment, from hand tools to major equipment like alignment machines and computer diagnostic stations. You can check your eligibility online in just a few minutes.
CIT is an online bank with several branch locations in Southern California under the name OneWest. The company focuses on helping small businesses and individuals with banking, commercial financing, equipment financing and other financial services.
Auto shop owners may apply online for auto shop equipment leasing and financing through CIT. Equipment financing is generally available up to $500,000 with rates as low as 5.49% as of Aug. 16, 2021. Funds can be available in as little as one day.
Many retail stores sell automotive tools and offer store credit cards that can be a viable option for mechanic tool financing.
Sears sells various mechanics tool sets, air tools, car jacks and lifts, and auto diagnostic tools.
As of August 2021, Sears offers two credit options:
- Sears Card®. This store credit card has APRs for purchases ranging from Variable APR: 7.24% - 25.24%. Non-variable APR: 5.00% - 26.49%. Cardholders may receive special financing offers, access to exclusive events, and coupons in-store and at Sears.com.
- Sears Mastercard®. This co-branded Citi credit card also offers APRs on purchases ranging from Variable APR: 7.24% - 25.24%. Non-variable APR: 5.00% - 26.49%%. Currently, you can receive a $40 statement credit when you make eligible purchases of $50 or more within 30 days of opening your account.
Lowe’s carries various automotive hand tools and specialty tools both in stores and online. The company has several store credit cards.
- Lowe's Advantage Card. For consumers, the Lowe's Advantage Card allows cardholders to Save 5% off your eligible purchase, or get 6 months special financing with purchases of $299 or more, or get 84 fixed monthly payments with a minimum purchase of $2,000 at 7.99% APR. Terms apply.. The card has a $0 annual fee, and the standard APR is 26.99% variable.
- Lowe's Business Credit Card. For automotive shop owners, the Lowe's Business Credit Card offers 5% off any purchase and 0% interest for 60 days. After the promotional period ends, you’ll be charged the regular APR, which varies by state.
- Lowe's Business Rewards Card from American Express. This co-branded American Express card is also available to shop owners. As of August 2021, new applicants can get earn a $100 statement credit upon approval and earn an additional $100 statement credit after spending $1,000 on your card in the first three months of card membership. cash back as a statement credit. In addition, you can earn points on every purchase. you earn 3X points on select business purchases, 2X points at Lowe's, and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.. After opening an account, you’ll pay Earn a $100 Statement Credit upon approval and earn an additional $100 Statement Credit after spending $1,000 on your card in the first three months of Card Membership.. After that, an APR of will apply, depending on your credit when you open the account.
How to qualify for mechanic tool financing
The requirements to qualify for mechanic tool financing vary by lender. Business lenders typically require:
- A minimum of two to three years in business or in the same line of work
- Business bank statements for the past three months
- A credit score of 650 or higher
However, even if you don’t meet the above requirements, you may be able to qualify by:
- Getting a cosigner
- Offering extra collateral
- Putting down a security deposit
- Making a larger down payment
- Proving you have enough income to repay the loan
You may also need to provide the lender or finance company with information about the tools you want to finance. Since the tools act as collateral, the lender can seize them if you default on the loans.
Mechanic tool financing for bad credit
Past credit problems don’t have to hold you back from getting the mechanic tools you need to work. Many tool distributors and online lenders are willing to lease tools or finance purchases for technicians with bad credit.
A bad-credit business loan may also be an option, although these loans usually have high interest rates for mechanics with bad credit scores. If you go this route, try to avoid lenders that require you to put personal assets, such as your car or home, up as collateral. If you lose your job or face other financial troubles and can’t make payments, you could lose your collateral.
Mechanic tool financing FAQs
Can I finance automotive tools?
Yes. Many tool distributors, online lenders and retailers offer financing options for automotive tools — from basic hand tools to larger specialty equipment.
What are basic mechanic tools?
The basic tool list for an auto mechanic includes:
- A set of wrenches
- A ratchet and set of sockets
- Jack and jack stands
- Oil filter wrench
- Oil dropping pan
- Assorted fuses with storage box
- Electrical tape
- A set of hex wrenches
- LED headlamp
- Brake cleaner spray
- Mechanic gloves
- Hand cleaner
Do tool distributor trucks run credit?
Yes, tool distributors typically run your credit to determine whether they will extend credit and set your credit limit.
How can I get free mechanic tools?
If you’re just starting out and don’t want to go into debt financing your tools, you may be able to find free or low-cost mechanic tools. Consider these ideas.
- Check out the free listings on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist to see if anyone is giving away old tools for free.
- Ask friends and relatives if they have tools they would be willing to let you borrow until you can afford your own.
- Place a wanted ad on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace offering to trade or barter repairs in exchange for tools.
- Check the sale racks at Lowe’s and Sears to find deep discounts on discontinued or returned tools.
- Look for mechanics tools at pawn shops, estate sales, thrift stores, garage sales and storage auctions.
- Sign up for Freecycle and local “buy nothing” groups on Facebook.
- Check with your public library. Some have a selection of tools that members can check out.