A lot of industries have been hit hard by the pandemic for various reasons. A shortage of both semiconductor chips and drivers has hit the transportation and heavy equipment industries. Now a tire shortage may make the situation more dire. 

It should be noted that the United States has not reported a tire shortage yet, but experts predict one is on the way. This article will explore what’s causing the shortage, who will be affected by it, and what the future could hold. 

Why is There a Tire Shortage? 

The tire shortage goes back to a rubber shortage. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, rubber producers have not been able to plant as many new trees as they normally would. To make things worse, existing trees are suffering the effects of leaf disease and flooding, which is causing the supply to drop dramatically. New trees take seven years to mature and produce adequate rubber stock. 

Another factor contributing to the shortage is high demand. Businesses trying to get back on their feet or pivoting to delivery models are purchasing vehicles and tires to go with them, or simply updating old tires on existing vehicles which may have been sitting dormant for months. The transportation and heavy equipment industries especially need tires for their vehicles and equipment. 

Who Will Be Affected by the Tire Shortage? 

Individuals who need to replace tires on their cars will find that the tires are more expensive than they used to be due to the limited supply. New vehicles being produced may not roll out of the factory right away — literally. 

The business sector will be affected as well. Small businesses in the transportation and heavy equipment industries especially will have a hard time. As the price of tires goes up, these businesses will find it difficult to keep up and may struggle to stay afloat without this essential product. Construction projects may come to a halt without tires to keep the equipment going. 

Future Projections 

This tire shortage will likely strike the United States in the very near future. When this happens, it could be a perfect storm — together with chip shortages and shipping issues — that could try to cripple the auto industry. However, the major tire retailers, including Continental, Goodyear and Bridgestone, state that while supply is tightening up, the situation seems to be under control for now. 

As rubber producers are able to plant more trees, the supply is likely to improve. This will take some time, as these trees will need seven years to mature. But eventually, the supply will increase, and things will level out. 


A rubber shortage, fueled by pandemic restrictions, dwindling rubber trees, and high demand, are leading us to a tire shortage. Though the situation is stable right now, tires will soon become hard to find and more expensive because of it. Heavy equipment operators will need to come up with creative solutions to last through this period until the imbalance levels off. 

Amidst the many industry shortages, Custom Truck is actively working with our partner suppliers to ensure our customers receive equipment as quickly as possible. It’s important to plan ahead for your 2023 fleet, so contact us today and let our team help you navigate through the shortages and ensure your company is able to continue business as usual.