June 22nd, 2021

SMOF License

Re-Tired Again

As you may know if you follow me regularly, we have had three of the four tires on the Astro go flat in the last few months. While they were all repaired under warranty, we decided that enough is enough, and as we're about to start traveling again, it was time to get the tires replaced, even though they're still road-legal.

This afternoon, I drove to Sparks and was early for my 3 PM appointment. Although not required anymore, I wore my face mask, and settled down in the far corner of the waiting area. They must have had quite a backlog, because they took more than two hours to replace the tires and to do an alignment job. I ended up reading through and entire issue of RAIL magazine while waiting.

I told them to save the left rear tire — the only one that hadn't needed repairing. When we get a chance, we will hunt for a new full-size wheel and have that tire mounted on it, then replace the emergency mini-spare with a full-size spare. We tested this the last time we had to use the mini-spare, and found that a full-size wheel fits in the bay under the rear of the van. We'll have to check out the Pick-a-Part locations in the area and see if they have vehicles in our same class.

Speaking of reasons to go to Pick-a-Part, when I came home, Lisa noticed that the outside handle on the sliding side door had come loose and might have fallen off if the second of the two nuts that hold it in place had also unscrewed itself. She partially disassembled the inside of the door to do repairs. Unfortunately, we couldn't find the first failed nut, which probably is down inside the sheet metal of the door in an inaccessible location. She managed to bodge a fix for now, but says we really should just replace the entire latch mechanism, which probably means salvaging it off of another similar vehicle like another Chevrolet Astro or GMC Safari from the 1989-plus period.

Everything works again for now, and I'll feel more confident about driving to Tonopah next month on new tires. But I hope at least one of the two Pick-a-Part places has vehicles from which we can salvage parts.