Even though drivers have until Dec. 1 to have their winter tires installed, local garages are already experiencing the seasonal rush.
“We’re booked,” said Auto Worx garage owner Claudio Gentile.
The small Pierrefonds garage owner said he is already in high gear changing winter tires daily.
Already, Gentile says his crew is servicing about 20 cars a day.
He claims that people have scheduled appointments to have their tires changed much earlier, compare to 2019.
With the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, garage owners who spoke to Global News said they have noticed a certain angst among drivers.
Motorists are worried, Gentile says, about not having their winter tires on before the first snowfall.
“There is a panic, especially older people,” Gentile says. “They think there is going to be another shutdown like in the spring.”
Tire and oil changes were not considered essential services during the first wave of closures.
John Massa, co-owner of Garage Donati & Massa on the south shore, says his business is starting to see demand for tire changes with about 30 a day.
“It’s crazy. People are calling booking appointments,” Massa says.
Massa says the situation is manageable for now, but says once the snow hits the ground, that is when people react.
While garage owners may say October is a tad too early for winter tires, CAA Quebec says it is the ideal time to have your tires installed. Nicolas Tyan, CAA spokesperson, says the earlier you do it, the better.
“This way you avoid the rush and ease the burden on garage owners.”
CAA says this year it expects more people asking for winter tires, especially with the majority of snowbirds remaining home this winter season.
Ryan said that winter tire sales are expected to be up this year as many people never took them off this summer and need new ones.
CAA is advising people to pick up the phone and book an appointment as soon as they can to avoid the rush.
“Dec. 1 is coming faster than you think so it’s best to pick up the phone as soon as possible,” Ryan said.
After Dec. 1, those caught driving without winter tires in Quebec face fines that vary from $200 to $300, plus costs.