I was more than just a little annoyed when I walked out of a business in Playa del Carmen yesterday and noticed that my rear passenger tire was flat. I thought the car felt a little off when I was driving into town, but at the time, I attributed it to the wind.
There I stood in 90 degree heat, staring at the tire and debating if I could limp it to a gas station or tire shop without having to change it myself.
That’s when I remembered a friend telling me about a mobile tire repair business that he discovered when he had a flat in Playa a few months earlier. He said that they don’t just change tires, they actually remove them from the rim and patch them on-scene.
He added they were fast and affordable — two words that any thrifty retiree with better things to do likes to hear. I decided to give them a try and contacted him for their number.
Let’s Give This a Try
I called the business, Vulcanizadora Panchito, and they answered immediately. I really like that.
I told the gentleman who answered that I had a flat and gave him my location. He said he would be there shortly — which in Mexico often means just the opposite. I prepared myself mentally for a significant delay.
As soon as I hung up, I added the business phone to my contact list and the familiar icon for Whatsapp appeared next to it. I decided to increase my chances of being successfully located, so I sent my GPS location and a picture of my car via Whatsapp (+52 984 745-7504).
To my astonishment, the tire repair truck arrived in less than four minutes!
The two occupants exited the vehicle quickly and got to work as if they were trying out for a NASCAR pit crew. I was impressed.
As I mentioned in the previous section, these guys don’t just change tires, they repair them. The truck was equipped with a tire changer, a machine that helps mount and dismount tires on the rim. Until then, I had only seen these used at actual tire shops.
Although I didn’t time it — looking back, I really wish I had — I would estimate that they were done in about 10 minutes and I was back in business.
What Does Something Like That Cost?
The price surprised me more than the speed at which they worked.
Tire Repair: $220 pesos, or about $11 USD
Of course, I threw in a tip too. It was worth every peso!
Let’s Wrap This Up
I’m not sure what a service like this would cost in the U.S., because I’ve never seen one. Sure I’ve seen tow trucks respond and change people’s tires, but I’ve never seen a service that patches tires on-scene like this. It was very impressive.
Well, that’s it for today! Now that our vehicle is roadworthy again, we have places to go and things to see!