Although there has been some speculation that there could be another winter tire shortage this fall and winter, a couple of local shops say it might not be as big of an issue this year as it was last year.

"I'm seeing that (a shortage) in certain sizes," said Lee St. Onge, the service and parts manager at the Canadian Tire in Estevan. "I believe it's better this year, I know last year the Duratrax seemed to be out in most sizes and there was no production going in, so I'm seeing a lot of them coming back, but there's still certain sizes where they may list 30 tires and there's only two brands available at this time."

"I'm finding it more the odd ball and the higher sizes. And some of the truck ones as well."

St. Onge also theorized about what is causing the shortage.

"I believe it may have something to do with labour shortage," he said. "I know when we talked to the battery guys - we were having issues getting batteries for a while - and they said that basically they had hired 100 people, and 75 of the new employees had quit. So basically it sounds like it's a manpower thing that's causing the shortages. Probably working the assembly line or however that's processed."

St. Onge added that they've ordered ahead on winter tires to prepare.

"We've actually ordered probably I would say 30 per cent more tires than we have in the past. So we're well stocked in the normal sizes and the normal brands," he said. "Maybe we would normally order eight of a certain tire, and now we've ordered 20 just to make sure that we've got extra for this season. We're as prepared as we can be."

Brad Pierson from Murray GM Estevan said his shop has taken similar measures.

"We've stocked higher this year than ever before just to ensure we have enough in stock that can help our customer base immediately," Pierson said. "And that was taking into account the last two years when we were threatened that we weren't going to have great availability."

"We stock tens of thousands of dollars of winter tires. There is always the possibility and there is some shortages on certain makes and models and sizes, but we're confident with how aggressive we got we'll be in good shape this year," Pierson said.

Pierson added that there is always a large demand for winter tires among his customers.

"We have a huge database of winter tire customers," he said. "We really started focusing on this years ago. And it's crazy...we kept expanding our storage and we keep expanding our storage just to accommodate people so they don't have to keep them in their garage or their apartment. I think we have 200 or 300 sets in storage here."

Pierson also wanted to clarify a misconception that a lot of people have about winter tires.

"A lot of people call them snow tires, they shouldn't be called or referred to as snow tires. They should be I think referred to as winter tires, because anything below plus seven the compound of the tire changes for stopping and braking," he said. "It's not all related to just snow and ice, it's the compound of the tire to get you stopped correctly in colder temperatures."

St. Onge also had a clear message to customers: don't wait around to get your winter tires.

"That's what was happening last year...we got the first snowfall and then it wasn't bad for a while and people waited and then all of a sudden they couldn't get anything. So I would check into them now for sure before we get really bad," he said.