Big Bang and Big Clunk
I'm wondering what experience people have had with breakdowns on their travels. I'm one week and 500 miles into my 3-month, 8000 mile cross country trip and I've already had one flat tire (big bang) and one broken resonator pipe (big clunk). Luckily the flat tire happened one block from my home the night before I headed out on my trip, and before I had loaded the trunk full of luggage. Equally luckily, if you want to call it luck, the broken pipe happened in Arlington VA, half a block from a service station that was able to fix it. But there will be some long stretches through Texas, and between Denver and Chicago, where AAA and nearby service stations might not be so easy to come by. I have a 1993 Acura Integra with 48,000 miles on her and she's always been quite reliable. In fact, last week's flat was the first one I've ever had. My mechanics looked everything over before I left Boston and pronounced the car in good shape for travel, so it's a bit disconcerting to have these two incidents happen so quickly.
How have other people fared on the road with such mishaps?
It is just a part of road-trippin'
We drive a custom rig and have come to expect the odd break-downs. If we had not had some of those problems we would never have met some of the fascinating people who have crossed out path or been to places like Cisco, TX.
It is pretty hard to find a remote enough pace to break down (in a passenger car) where a good mechanic or someone willing to help can't reach you.
How many miles were on the tires?
Gotta go answer the phone -- more later.
Mark, thanks for the reassuring message about breakdowns on the road. I certainly have met some interesting people in the world of automotive repairs, from Jimmy in Somerville, MA who fixed my first flat two weeks ago, to Nassim and Kenny in Arlington, VA who fixed the resonator pipe, to Kyong who helped me figure out how to operate a strange air hose in Tysons Corner, MD, and Alexis, also in Arlington VA who took another look at the tire this morning and decided it was cracking. He said it probably did need replacing after three people in the last two weeks said it was fine.
I don't know exactly how old the tires are, but I'm fairly certain they haven't been replaced in at least 4 years, and I'm not sure if all 4 were replaced at that time. They're Michelins and fairly sturdy ones so they've held up well. But given my 7500 miles yet to travel, I think discretion should prevail so I'll go back tomorrow and get the front tires replaced.