Rent-a-Tire Business Booming – Sad But True

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It seems these days there is one car business that is really booming. No we don’t mean dealerships or mechanics. We mean the rent-a-tire business. Yep, you read that right, you can now rent tires for your Toyota Tundra on a monthly basis. Get ready to empty your wallet!

Rent-a-Tire Business Booming - Sad But True

Need new tires, but can’t afford them. You can rent them! Yet, get ready to empty your wallet.

This business caters to a certain consumer (see: paycheck to paycheck, low income) by letting them make weekly/monthly payments on their tires. This helps those consumers purchase new tires without having the, at times, large one-time payment of putting on new ones. This payment method of monthly or weekly payments can help those consumers keep going. Yet, as you guessed it, this comes at an inflated cost.

According to a LA Times story, consumers can often pay upwards of 4 times the retail price for the tires. This is due to high interest rates associated with the short-term loan for high-risk borrowers that is offered.

The story quoted a couple in Rich Square, N.C., who rented tries for a Dodge Caravan. They paid $54.60/month for 18 months for four basic Hankook tires. At the completion of the deal, the LA Times says they paid out $982 or triple what the tires cost at Walmart.

“I know you have to pay a lot more this way,” said Florence Cherry to the LA Times, 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.”

Sadly, after many attempts to email and call the big chain “Rent-N-Roll,” we weren’t able to get a quote for the basic P255/70R18 tires that come on certain Toyota Tundra models.

Without a weekly/monthly estimate from Rent-N-Roll we couldn’t do a fair comparison. Yet, we did find a set of these tires at Walmart for $232 a tire ($986 for 4 plus taxes, mounting, other fees). Thinking about the above story, that would mean you could end up spending $3k+ at a rental store. Yikes!

These businesses are much like the “Buy Here, Pay Here” used car lots and payday lenders. They make a huge profit at the expense of consumers unable to manage their money or find higher paying jobs.

The really sad part of this story, is that tire rental businesses are booming. Plus, they see their business as a service to the public.

“We see tremendous opportunity serving people who are just looking for dependable tires to get to work,” said Larry Sutton, founder and president of Rent-N-Roll. The Tampa, Fla., chain has 66 locations nationwide, including two in California, and plans to open six more this year.

While it might sound harsh to be negative towards these types of businesses, it is tough to be on their side when they are up charging poor consumers so badly.

What do you think? Would you consider renting tires?

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Filed Under: Auto News


RSSComments (3)

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  1. GoBig says:

    This isn’t a new concept. It’s the same as the Rent-to-own furniture stores. They use predatory practices to squeeze money from those who can least afford it.

    I believe if it can fly or float, you may be ahead to rent. Other than that, save up and buy.

  2. Mike T says:

    The poor get automatically charged more than anybody else, and are often desperate enough to have to pay it. If they could afford to boycot businesses until they get fair treatment, a lot it would stop. Never happen.

  3. Will says:

    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.

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