Flat Tire | Mexico | Living in Mexico

Flat Tire

Dang! Flat tire! What to do?

Well, one option would be to stop right in the middle of the narrow cobblestone street, turn on the emergency flashers, and take the tire for repair. No need to worry about blocking traffic. Everyone expects traffic jams and delays. It's a natural part of life in Mexico, land of mañana.

So, block the rear tire with the "parking brake" carried in the truck bed (on account of the factory-installed one hasn't worked in years). Remove the right front wheel. And just leave the whole thing sitting there while finding a place that patches tires.


What we're looking for is a sign like the one pictured below; one that says vulcanizadora. Means "guy that fixes flats."

These signs are commonly written on old tires, to make their meaning clear to the illiterate and the Spanish-impaired. You see them everywhere. Good thing, too, because Mexican roads are tough on tires. Cobblestones, potholes, rocks left on the pavement, pointy junk falling off trucks and thin tires; people are always getting flats.

This sign tells us to look across the street.


Oooh-Kay. Vulcanizadora "Casaneda." This time vulcanizadora is spelled right. Things are looking up.

We Norteamericanos are accustomed to businesses that look a little more... well... businesslike. But in my experience, this place looks typical for a vulcanizadora. Not to worry. Go knock on the door.


Nobody home. What's that sign say?


Ah. "We are now changed to our new address..." It's about a mile away. Keep rolling that tire, Juanito.

Meanwhile traffic piles up behind the blinking truck. Horns honk. Maybe the traficantes will tow it away. ¿Quién sabe?

Drives us gringos nuts.