LA MESA, Calif. (KGTV) - A global tire shortage combined with San Diegans wanting to get out on the road as pandemic restrictions ease and summer approaches puts locally owned businesses between a rock and a hard place.
At Big O Tires in La Mesa Thursday, it was buzzing. Staff are seeing an influx of customers pouring into the automotive shop, which is welcome news after scraping by during the pandemic.
Manager Joshua McGuire said their schedule is booked. "I just actually got off the phone with a customer, trying to schedule an appointment for an oil change and I can't see them until Tuesday of next week."
But McGuire is having trouble helping some of his customers who need new tires. He said they noticed the drop off in tire supply as soon as the pandemic hit.
"Unfortunately within the last year or so it's just gotten worse and worse and worse," he said.
The manufacturers slowed or even shut down in the height of the pandemic and it's been hard to get back to normal supply levels since.
"We were just talking to a specific customer this morning looking for a tire and it's going to be at least 60 days before they start manufacturing that tire," McGuire said.
He said stockpiles everywhere are dwindling, "here at the store we're probably down by a couple hundred tires easily... Our warehouses are holding millions of tires normally, they're down to a couple hundred thousand. So we're very low on tires."
McGuire said they are working every way they can to help customers out. "A lot of times we're having to special order tires, get them from other states, and it just makes for a hard business to run," he said.
He is hopeful now that factories are ramping up, but says it is going to take a while to get out of this hole.
"It could take months before we start to see, even a year or so before we start to really see everything back to normal," McGuire said.