High Prices are Driving More Motorists to Rent Tires


High prices are driving more motorists to rent tires

Chains such as Rent-a-Wheel and Rimco are seeing business boom. Many consumers pay double or triple the cost of buying and face aggressive repossession policies.

When the tires on their Dodge Caravan had worn so thin that the steel belts were showing through, Don and Florence Cherry couldn’t afford to buy a new set.

So they decided to rent instead.

The Rich Square, N.C., couple last September agreed to pay Rent-N-Roll $54.60 a month for 18 months in exchange for four basic Hankook tires. Over the life of the deal, that works out to $982, almost triple what the radials would have cost at Wal-Mart.

“I know you have to pay a lot more this way,” said Florence Cherry, a 57-year-old nurse who drives the 15-year-old van when her husband, a Vietnam veteran, isn’t using it to get to his job as a prison guard. “But we didn’t really have a choice.”

Socked by soaring tire prices and short on funds, growing numbers of Americans are renting the rubber to keep their cars rolling.

Rent-to-own tire shops are among the newest arrivals to a sprawling alternative financial sector focused on the nation’s economic underclass. Like payday lenders, pawn shops and Buy Here Pay Here used-car lots, tire rental businesses provide ready credit to consumers who can’t get a loan anywhere else. But that access doesn’t come cheap.

Customers pay huge premiums for their tires, sometimes four times above retail. Those who miss payments may find their car on cinder blocks, stripped of their tires by dealers who aggressively repossess. Tire rental contracts are so ironclad that even a bankruptcy filing can’t make them go away.

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2 Responses to “High Prices are Driving More Motorists to Rent Tires”
  1. neidermeyer says:

    How amusing , a nurse (making a minimum of $50k/yr.) and a prison guard , making an absolute minimum of $40K/yr plus quite literally UNLIMITED overtime due to personnel shortages can’t buy a stinking $300 set of new tires… MORONS!

    There are people out there that are barely scraping bye but these two aren’t it… These “Rent-N-Roll” and “Rent a Wheel” places sell to the ignorant “playas” as they call themselves that put a $2000+ set of shiny chrome 20″ wheels on a crappy $1000 car.

    That photo showing “normal” car tires isn’t what they sell at “Rent a Wheel” in fact that photo came from the L.A.Times (check the photo info , right click and “view image info”) and not from North Carolina …. HELL that photo shows — USED tires which normally sell for $20 or $30 each…

    Somebody tell these whiners to stop going out for dinner for just a week or two and they wouldn’t have to bitch about a minor expense.

  2. Sarah says:

    Good lord. Is it OK to treat human beings like dogs? Apparently so. Why do we have people so broke in this country that they not only cannot afford tires, or a car for that matter, and then have to be parasitically abused by companies like these? The rent-a-center meets loan shark model of business is expanding all over the place, from houses, to tires apparently.

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