Purchasing winter tires is something you can’t skip when navigating snowy or icy roads in Canada. The MPI Winter Tire Program is designed to provide some financial relief to help make the cost of replacing winter tires easier on your wallet.
IN THIS POST, WE COVER:
- What is the MPI Winter Tire Program?
- How does the MPI Winter Tire Program work?
- Who qualifies for the MPI Winter Tire Program?
- What are the pros and cons of the MPI Winter Tire Program?
One item to add to your car maintenance checklist is making sure your tires are winter-weather ready. Trying to maneuver through ice or snow using your summer tires can subject them to unnecessary wear and tear, not to mention potentially putting you at risk for an accident. If you’re a Manitoba Public Insurance customer, you may be able to get your winter tires replaced through a low-interest financing program. This guide covers the most important things to know about the MPI program and whether it’s something you should take advantage of.
What is the MPI Winter Tire Program?
The MPI Winter Tire Program is a way for Manitoba residents to get financial help when replacing their winter tires. The program applies to eligible drivers and provides low-interest financing at a rate of prime plus 2% on up to $2,000 in tire purchases per vehicle. If you’re spending more than $2,000 on winter tires, you’ll have to pay the difference out of pocket.
The financing program can be used to purchase qualifying winter tires from participating retailers. Tires must be endorsed by Transport Canada and be included in a list of eligible tire brands.
In addition to buying winter tires, drivers can also use MPI financing to pay for:
- Mounting and balancing
- Tire pressure monitoring systems
- Storage costs for winter tires, if you pay those when you purchase them
- Switch over costs, if you pay those when you purchase the tires
- Wheel alignment
- Nitrogen fill
- Valve stems
- Shop supplies
- Applicable taxes and fees
The program is fairly extensive in what it covers when you need to replace your winter tires. There are, however, a few exceptions. You can’t use the MPI Winter Tire Program to finance:
- Winter tire repairs
- Maintenance or storage costs paid after the initial purchase
- Switchover costs paid after the initial purchase
So if you were to buy your winter tires in the summer, for example, you wouldn’t be able to finance any of the switchover costs if you don’t have them put on your vehicle until winter. The same goes for tires purchased in winter that you put in storage in the summer. Unless you pay the storage fees when you get the tires, they’re not eligible for financing.
In terms of financing terms, MPI offers some flexibility. You can choose repayment terms stretching from 1 to 4 years. You can also pick which day of the month you’d like your monthly payment to be due.
How does the MPI Winter Tire Program work?
If you’re ready to replace your winter tires, the first thing you’ll need to do is visit a retailer that participates in the program. Manitoba Public Insurance has a store locator tool you can use to find a participating tire seller near you.
From there, you can select which tires you want to buy. The retailer will walk you through the initial qualification and if you’re eligible, the next step is filling out the paperwork to apply for financing. You’ll need to have your driver’s licence or ID card on hand, as well as proof of vehicle registration.
If you’re approved for financing, you can set up automatic monthly payments through your bank account. The first payment is withdrawn one month from the date the loan is processed. After that, you can decide which day of the month you’d like to schedule automatic payments.
MPI does say on its website that you may be eligible for financing, even if you don’t buy your tires from one of the participating retailers. You’d have to take a copy of your receipt to an Autopac agent to see if you’re eligible for reimbursement.
There is one requirement to know about if you won’t be the one making the payments on the financing. The person paying for the tires must visit an Autopac agent to sign a Preauthorized Payment Agreement.
Who qualifies for the MPI Winter Tire Program?
MPI offers some guidelines who can qualify for financing through the program. To be eligible for special financing, you must:
- Be an individual Manitoba Public Insurance customer (financing isn’t available for corporate customers)
- Purchase qualifying winter tires for a passenger vehicle or light truck with a gross vehicle weight under 4541 kg that’s registered in your name
- Have no financing restrictions or outstanding payments on your MPI account
You can use MPI’s online tool to check if you’re eligible for winter tire financing.
What are the pros and cons of the MPI Winter Tire Program?
If you’re interested in using the program to replace your winter tires, there are a few final points to note. Like anything else, there are pros and cons to weigh in the balance.
MPI Winter Tire Program advantages:
- Low-interest financing means you can replace winter tires without draining your cash reserves.
- Rates may be lower compared to what you’d get with a personal loan or credit card.
- Flexible payment terms means you can create a payoff plan that fits your budget.
- A wide variety of winter tires are covered under the program.
- You can use the program to finance winter tire purchases for multiple vehicles, up to the $2,000 limit per vehicle.
MPI Winter Tire Program disadvantages:
- If your vehicle’s winter tires cost more than $2,000, you’ll need to make up the difference in cash.
- You can’t take advantage of this program if you’re a corporate MPI customer.
- If you have insurance through an organization other than MPI, you’re not eligible.
- You may also be ineligible if there are past payment issues with your MPI account.
If you’re not sure whether you qualify or if the MPI Winter Tire Program is right for you, consider talking to your Autopac agent. They can go over the specifics of the program with you to help you decide if it’s something you should use when it’s time to make a winter tire purchase.
At Birchwood Credit Solutions, we have an extensive inventory of vehicles designed for weathering Canadian driving conditions, including trucks, SUVs, four-wheel drive and all-wheel drive options. You can view our inventory online or visit us in person to browse our selection. If you need financing, we’re ready to help. Birchwood Credit Solutions works with buyers from a wide variety of credit backgrounds, including individuals with a previous background as well as newcomers to Canada. Contact us today to discuss financing options or get the process started by completing our online loan application.