Tire prices skyrocket amid pothole season on Tennessee roads

Gallatin Road Tire
Posted at 3:24 PM, Mar 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-28 18:32:46-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Pothole season is colliding with a rubber shortage, which is sending tire prices through the roof.

The temperature fluctuations have contributed to a pothole problem in Middle Tennessee As of March 10, the Tennessee Department of Transportation has performed more than 5,000 tons of spot patching. That has cost taxpayers across the state more than $3 million.

"One of my employees had a couple blowouts at the same time as a result,” Case Bloom said. “We’re really glad he’s alive and OK, but yea it’s pretty scary."

Bloom got a tire patched at Gallatin Road Tire. He hopes it holds because the price of tires is skyrocketing.

"Nobody wants to be in a position where they have to raise prices, and running over potholes and blowing out your tires — that sucks. That’s some unexpected bills,” Bloom said. “And the fact they’re a little higher right now — not awesome."

Depending on the brand and style, drivers might have to pay 5 to 15% more. Inflation has risen over 7%. It's the highest it’s been since 1982.

It has hit small business owners like Enayat Belyad hard.

"Make the revenue go down," Belyad said.

Some customers could wait weeks for certain tires to arrive at the shop especially if they need specialty ones.

"Some are going to be on the backorder," Belyad said.

He said the rubber shortage is across the board.

"They just want name brand like Goodyear, Firestone," Belyad said. "But those prices very high too."

Bloom said he's planning strategically, so he doesn't have to get new tires.

"I try and drive the way I know that I’m going to encounter the least amount of potholes. I know the lanes now. The middle lane is safe on Briley, but if I’m in the right lane, it’s going to be a problem," Bloom said.

TDOT is creating a task force to look at the asphalt mix they're using currently to see if it's working right. With temperatures warming up, they said more asphalt plants will open soon.