Wednesday, May 09, 2018

the class photo

You know the guy. There was one in every class.

The guy who  made goofy faces in all of the class photographs. And each year the other mothers would tut that "someone always has to ruin it for everyone else." Until we realized the guy actually did look goofy. All of the time.

My car is currently auditioning for that role.

The Escape has all sorts of electronic wizardry. One of the most helpful is the warning light when any of the four tires are low on air pressure.

I have had to rely on the warning's good offices a lot in these parts. Our streets seem to be strewn with all sorts of tire hazards. Broken glass. Glass bottles waiting to be broken. Nails. Rock shards. And, once, a foot-long bolt that I believe was used to anchor cat eyes.

All have found a home in one tire or another. Fortunately, I usually have enough warning to get the Escape to my favorite tire doctor. He is becoming quite fond of my tires. And my wallet. (On that last point, he has never charged me more than 50 pesos to fix a tire -- about $2.55 (US) -- no matter how much time it takes.)

About two weeks ago, I was at dinner with my friends Ed and Roxane in La Manzanilla when the warning light came on. The front right tire seemed to be a little low, but not bad. When I filled it in Melaque, it seemed fine.

Then, this morning, the light came on again. This time it was noticeably low. One of those slow leaks that are more irritating than distressing. So, I drove the Escape to the tire shop.

The last time I had trouble with that tire, the mechanic had to replace the stem, which led to a long and sad tale about replacing the air pressure sensor. Just another of my many Ford service horror tales.

When he put the tire into the bath, I hoped he would find a large nail. But there was no leak from the tread.

I steeled myself when he tested the stem. Nothing.

He then let some soapy water trickle down the bead where the outer tire meets the wheel. Nothing.

He was perplexed, but he tried the inside of the wheel. And there it was. A microscopic crack in the wheel was compromising the bead. Probably caused by not slowing sufficiently for one of our many topes.

I asked for my options. He asked me if I wanted the Canadian or the Mexican answer. (In this area, the assumption is that northerners are far northerners, not near northerners.) I asked for both.

He told me the best (and the most expensive) solution was to buy a new wheel. Once the bead is compromised, it will not retain air pressure.

And the Mexican solution? He could put a silicon sealer on the tire. It would be temporary until I could buy a new wheel. When I asked how long temporary would be, he just smiled and said: "How many times do you want to add another silicon layer?"

So I have my new silicon implant, and my Escape no longer has its gap-tooth grin. Tomorrow, I have to drive to Manzanillo to pick up my dry cleaning and do a bit of big city shopping. I can hear Walm
art calling my name. I will probably stop at Auto Zone and check on the price of a new wheel.

I need to get a permanent fix. After all, who wants to be the parent of That Kid? My parents suffered enough. I don't need to. 

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