The auto industry may have another shortage on the horizon.
While not nearly as bad as the global semiconductor chip shortage, which has wreaked havoc on the sector, there’s growing concern that shopping for certain types of tires this winter may be challenging.
“If you are thinking you need a new set of winter tires this year, work on it now before fall because there is going to be a limited supply for the right size for your car,” said Motormouth YouTube Channel’s Zack Spencer.
The global shipping container shortage, pandemic disruptions within the rubber sector, and a rising demand from China — a major consumer of rubber — are influencing supply.
“The shortage in the world has more to do with the supply chain. It’s harder to move product through shipping. It’s hard to move product from factory to the market,” said Kal Tire’s Barrie De Boer.
The company said its inventory of winter and all-weather tires for passenger and light trucks is in good supply, but it’s carefully monitoring the situation.
Still, specific brands and sizes may be in short supply.
Read more: Shopping for a new vehicle? Why the semiconductor chip shortage is making certain models hard to find
“If you are really specific about the size of tire and the make and model, there might be some challenges,” De Boer said.
Wade Bartok, president and CEO of OK Tire North Shore, said his store is well-prepared because the company stocked up early, hoping to avoid a shortage.
But he still urged customers to plan ahead and even start thinking about spring.
“All the tire manufacturers assure us there’s going to be an abundance of tires and not to worry, but on the rubber side, the raw materials appear to be the pinch point.”
The best advice if you are in the market for tires? Shop early and be flexible.
“With tires, it’s very competitive with lots of great operators, and you expect to come in and there will be a tire on the shelf. That might not be the case,” Bartok said.