Snow tire shortage may impact winter driving plans

As temperatures start to turn colder, snow will soon be in the forecast for many parts of the county. But one necessity may be in short supply as the calendar inches closer to winter.

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Some tire supply shops are warning drivers that they may want to get their snow tires soon if they need a new set.

Some tire companies had to shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic. On top of the work stoppage, there’s been a shortage of rubber and shipping delays.

“We get stuff in every day, but lately, it’s been a little harder getting the stuff that we really, really need,” Scott Fabbri, Kelleher Tire salesman in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, told WBRE.

Kelleher Tire has been telling its customers to come in now instead of waiting until the snow becomes a problem because they may not have the tires needed to drive on the winter roads.

“It’s frustrating sometimes when the supplier tells you 2 to 4 weeks and in 2 to 4 weeks they tell you 2 to 4 weeks again,” Fabbri said.

Not only could the shortage be a concern, so is the price for the tires. Like many other items, the cost is going up — increasing about 20% from the beginning of the year, WBRE reported.

A similar message is being sent to customers in Salt Lake City, Utah, where snow has already started to come down.

Burt Brothers Tire and Service started preparing for the shortage earlier this year.

“We took a big majority of our snow tires at the beginning of the year that we normally don’t take until about August, but we knew they weren’t going to be around if we waited that long,” Jake Burt told KSL. “They don’t build snow tires year-round. They build what they think is going to sell that year and when they’re gone they’re gone.”

Tires are not the only car parts that are in short supply. KSL reported that shops are seeing shortages of oil filters, air filters, brake parts and brake pads.

And the potential shortage isn’t just hitting shops in the U.S.

Canadian tire shops are also warning their customers to prepare earlier rather than later if new tires are needed.

“I would really recommend shopping early, especially if you are looking for a specific brand or sizing. There will be sizes and tires that will not be available out there,” Ron Pierce, Kal Tire’s Ontario’s regional director, told CTV News.