HOPKINS, Minn. — At Tires Plus, Allen Russell isn't taking his signature product for granted this year.
"Getting kind of hard to find some stuff right now," Russell said.
Chalk the tire shortage up to another victim of the supply chain disruption.
Heading into the frigid winter months, when cold weather tends to cause major vehicle headaches, some tires are less prevalent on the market than others. At Tires Plus in Hopkins, Russell said the company has been doing a nice job of helping them find alternative brands, but it's still not easy.
"I've got a shelf full of alternatives up there. But, our tire plants are down right now," Russell said. "A lot of it's because of COVID."
For that reason, tire appointments can be hard to come by.
"Some places are a week out. Some places are two weeks out," Russell said. "Right now, we're three to four days out. Last week, we were two weeks out."
A few doors down, at Meineke in Hopkins, store manager Dan Beeman has noticed the same tire trends.
"They're also getting to be another commodity that's harder to find," he said.
But that's not the most challenging part for him.
"Biggest shortages we're seeing right now," Beeman said, "are rotors and brake pads."
In the past, Beeman tried to use one vendor to complete one brake job for a customer.
Now, he's using three or four vendors.
"It's tough," Beeman said.
And it's driving up the cost of doing business.
"Now we have to go with whole different manufacturers that are charging more. And, even the current ones that we have, you might find it in Chicago where it was 30 bucks last week," Beeman said, "they're 45 this week."
So, both shops had the same advice: Check those tires, brakes and other parts now, instead of later, when you have a real problem on your hands.
"Quick inspection on your brakes and anti-freeze," Beeman said, "will save you a lot of money down the road."