A Winter Tire Shortage Across Canada Could Impact Your Next Tire Change
Could This Winter Tire Shortage Impact Your Next Tire Change?
A worldwide rubber shortage is expected to affect winter tire supply and availability across Canada this winter season. This rubber shortage shouldn’t be as disruptive as the recent microchip shortage that the automotive industry has been experiencing over the past year but can seriously impact the availability of certain types of tires. Customers can expect wait times when buying certain new tires, especially as we get closer and closer to the first snowfall of the year.
What’s Causing the Rubber Shortage?
The tire shortage was first and foremost caused by a combination of increased demand and a large decrease in production over the course of the last year. A Reuters report from Oct 2020 first reported the potential shortage, noting a massive increase in rubber used in protective gloves and other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). By itself this uptick in rubber use would cause a small shortage but combined with a production slowdown in Southeast Asia caused by coronavirus-related labour shortages and monsoon/floods this caused severe rubber production shortages across the world.
Southeast Asia is where two thirds of the world's natural rubber reserves are found, making it nearly impossible for other rubber producing countries to make up for the increased demand and lower supply. A large increase in the demand for rubber in China has made supply even tighter and has seen demand rocket to an all time high. Finally, the actual shipping and distribution of any item has seen large delays throughout the pandemic regardless of what is being shipped.
The good news is that tire manufacturers have had plenty of warning that this shortage was on the horizon and have done their best to stock up on rubber ahead of this busy winter tire season.
How Can You Avoid the Shortage?
The absolute best way to avoid waiting on new winter tires this year is to book your service appointment early and reserve your tires as soon as possible. Calgary’s first snowfall of the year always causes a huge rush, as hundreds or even thousands of people compete to get the first available appointment. This year both the number of service appointments and tire supply will cause a backlog for customers looking for new tires. Beyond booking early, being flexible on the brand of tires you use on your vehicle can save you significant amounts of time as supplies of certain tires and brands will be back ordered.