Broke Drivers Are Renting ... Tires?
Tire rental business is booming as wages plummet and tire prices soar
By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 10, 2013 6:14 PM CDT
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(Newser) – Can't afford to buy new set of wheels for your car? Now you can rent them. The latest sign of America's troubled economic times is the booming tire-rental business, reports the LA Times. Although the tires cost far more in the long run—one couple says it's paying triple the sticker price—with incomes dropping and tire prices skyrocketing by 57% from 2006 to 2012, it's the only way many drivers can afford to keep their cars on the road. "I know you have to pay a lot more this way," says a renter who is paying $54.60 a month for 18 months for her tires. "But we didn't really have a choice."

But the tires can come at an even higher price than the renters may have anticipated, with rental companies resorting to heavy-handed tactics to ensure they get their money or their property back. One company says it averages three tire repossessions a week for customers who fail to make repayments. And a woman in California says police showed up at her family home a few days after she missed one $41.90 payment on SUV tires. "The police said we owed Rent-a-Wheel money and we'd better pay up," she says. "Those Rent-a-Wheel guys drive a hard bargain."