BILLINGS - It's that time of year and with the first snow of the season, customers are flooding to tire shops to put on their snow tires.
"I'm getting ready to go do some hunting," said Keith Beartusk. "And we got snow coming in. So it's time to take street tires off and put some heavy-duty tires on for the winter."
"As a medical courier, I just don't want to chance it because if I get stranded, I can I hold up supplies and stuff like that," said Mike Martino. "So I just don't want to take the risk when it's unnecessary."
Studded tires are allowed in Montana from Oct. 1 to May 31.
The softer snow tires wear out faster, so many wait until the first snow to have them reinstalled.
Edam's Tire & Automotive was pretty well booked up before the upcoming storm and on days like this, the phone continued ringing.
"I've got a lot of longtime customers that call me every year and we take them off in the spring and put them on the fall like this," Troy Edam, Edam's owner, said about putting snow tires on vehicles.
And it's also a busy time for tire deliveries.
Keith Blackman, a driver for American Tire Distributing, makes the 275-mile trek from Casper, Wyo. to Billings daily, typically dropping off 150 tires at 15 to 20 stores.
And on this day he delivered about 230 snow tires.
"People know it's about to start snowing this week so they wanted to get snow tires on which I don't blame them," Blackman said.
And over at Tire-Rama in downtown Billings, it's also quite busy.
The advice is to get those snow tires put on before it gets too busy.
"Usually stores that have snow tires, they're on a limited stock," said Austin Petak, Tire-Rama store manager. "So once they're out of that snow tire, that's it until the fall next year. So we usually recommend if someone is inquiring about snow tires to get them sooner rather than later.
Petak says it's rewarding to keep people safe with good tires.
"Obviously we know that tires are a big part of everyone's life, and so we try to help out where we can," Petak said.
"It definitely is a safety issue, just the thing to do," Beartusk said.