Friday, September 26, 2008

New shoes for baby

Shed the tread
My 17 year-old tire finally did what it was supposed to do... delaminate and die. I've had a trip to the tire store on my list for a week, now that I'm using the VW Westy on a daily basis. And as I was tooling out of the ranchitos (the desert/dirt road open development on the NE part of San Carlos) after a stop at the GREEN FLASH, something started banging on the van.
My first thought was "blown tire" but I looked out the window and saw the tire wasn't deflated. Then I thought, "Oh No, not the motor!" But I only got the sound when the van moved, and the motor was ticking away as I sat there.
So I finally got out and walked back to the tire where I found a flap of rubber and stainless steel hanging from the top of the tire. The tread had peeled off, but the tire still had air.

A quarter mile down the road was a tire guy's shed- a llantera they call it in these parts. I had used him before and he was pretty good. He has a little metal shelter, no walls, on the side of the road, where he fixes tires and keeps a few used tires in various sizes to sell. I can't remember his name.
I drove the Westy down the road and had him pull off the bad tire and put the spare on the car, and top off the air pressure. He asked for 30 pesos, or about $2.70 US. I gave him 50.
When I brought the van home, the 1st Mate was relieved that the mishap didn't occur at 60 mph on a curve and suggested the trip to the tire shop.

Fresh Tires,
great price

The Continental/General Tire shop on the main road in Guaymas was my choice. The Westy weighs almost 6,000 pounds, so a heavy duty tire is required. My research online showed that the General Altimax RT 205 R70 14 was a good replacement, and as it turned out, they had them in stock. (I had priced tires online. The best deal was $290 for 4 tires out-the-door price, but 10 days to order them in Tucson .) The cost here was $267 complete and the tires were made this year in Mexico. They had new equipment for mounting and balancing, and the people were really nice, and accepted my VISA for payment.
...and a warning
For those of you who haven't seen this video about old tires (even if you've never used them) and how they can kill you, click here:


Overboard said...

The road between the US and SC is strewn with bits of tyre. I'm sure all the crosses along the way came from many such blow-outs.

1st Mate said...

I've always wondered how many of those memoriales on the road are markers of such tire failures.

Jim and Heather on Meerkat said...

Don't you just love the llanteras and their prices? I used to support them ALL prior to getting real tires on my Xterra. Nissan puts such lousy horrid tires on their trucks... had 3 flat tires on one Baja road trip one time. Glad you were safe!

MxSailor said...

Maria and 1st Mate are on the same wavelength. The one thing I've noticed is that the llanteras do a brisk business and are capable of helping you with other problems as well. The owners always know someone who can fix a motor, alternator, etc. Good to hear from you meerkat! Will you be around LaPaz this winter?

Jim and Heather on Meerkat said...

We are thinking of heading over to the mainland for a couple of months. We want to cruise some this year. It's been 8 years since we did the mainland on our own boat. Gotta follow the weather!