ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – As you were traveling for Thanksgiving last week, did you notice more tire debris on the side of the road than normal? We noticed it and decided to look into it, finding out that one Abilene tire shop has actually seen a major decline in people getting their tires checked due to inflation. 

Almost everyone deals with tire issues at some point – just ask James Lewis. He told KTAB/KRBC he had to get his tires replaced earlier this year, but this time, it was different. 

“It was at least $20-$25 more than what I usually pay,” Lewis recalled. 

The same thing happened to another Abilene resident, Rich Tamblyn, “You get nails in them or screws in them, and they are in the wrong spot where you have to replace the tire instead of patching it… It went up about $30-$40.” 

These were the only two men who came up to get their tires checked Tuesday morning at Tom’s Tire Pros. Lewis told KTAB/KRBC he came because he has seen much more tire debris on the roadside than normal. 

“I don’t want to have to buy tires all the time,” expressed Lewis. 

However, tire salesman Steve Lujan explained that this low number of customers getting tires checked is typical for the shop now. He said fewer people are coming in because they are afraid to spend money on new tires. 

In fact, Tom’s Tire Pros said it has seen a 100-200% increase in tire sales each year it’s been open, but this year, staff said the shop was down 200%. 

“What used to be $175 is now $220 on tires,” Lujan said.

The shop said it’s faced between an 18-19% increase in tire prices. Because of this, people are either letting their tires run until they burst, or buying used ones. 

“It’s all going towards extra food and extra gas. It’s terrible right now,” Lujan sympathized. “Who has the extra money for tires?”

Shop manager, Nick Skaats said, as a result, staff has had to figure out what to do with all of the extra tires they aren’t using. Their tire room is now getting too full. 

“Due to us being so slow, we are overstocked,” explained Skaats. “So, to make room, we’ll have to send some of these back.”

However, Lujan said he hopes people will find a way to prioritize safety while driving, even though it’s expensive. 

“It’s a very big safety issue, especially if you are traveling for the holidays,” Lujan urged.

Lujan said his concern lies in that this issue will only get worse until inflation decreases. 

Even though Tom’s Tire Pros told KTAB/KRBC it is seeing a lot less tire business, the shop is staying afloat because more people are getting their vehicles repaired – which they attribute to more people not wanting to trade in their car. 

Professionals encourage people to get their tires checked, which is free at Tom’s Tire Pros, instead of waiting on an emergency and spending more money.