Friday, April 13, 2012

Car Repair in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

 I have had this car in Mexico for eleven years.  It's a 1998 Nissan Pathfinder with almost 150,000 miles on it.  Who knew you could have a car with that many miles?  I sure didn't.  If I had, I could have saved a lot of money over the years when I replaced cars every few years. 

I just read an article where a woman was finally selling her car that had over 550,000 miles on it.  It was an old car, but she maintained it well.  Now she's in her mid 80's and doesn't want to drive anymore.  THAT is my plan for this car, hopefully.

I've never had a car that was so easy to maintain and so inexpensive to have.  The secret is a mechanic named Luis in Col. Guadalupe who is talented, knowledgeable and honest.  He's the only person who has worked on this car in all the years I've been here.  I've recommended him to anyone who would listen.

I would venture to say that in eleven years the annual cost to maintain the car with new sparkplugs, oil change, filters, hoses and assorted things has not even reached $1,500US!  My last trip to Houston, Luis told me to get valve gasket covers because he needed to do that job.  And, while traveling to and from the beach, there was a screeching sound after 8 hours of driving when I put my foot on the brakes.  Not while I was driving it in town however.  I haven't left town since January because of that - at least in the car.

Yesterday Luis got the car with the mission to check everything before I drive to Texas in May.  Also to do the gasket cover job and to check out the brakes.  Usually the car is gone for one day.  Not this time.  He arrived this evening after two full days of working on it.  He was apologetic for how long it took.  He had to replace the brakes in addition to the valve gasket covers, the spark plugs, etc. etc. etc.  (My son had forewarned me that the gasket job was a lengthy and time consuming project). 

He was also sorry that he had to charge me 2000 pesos for that work.  Approximately sixteen hours worth. In American dollars, about $160US.  I wanted to hug him.  Instead I smiled, thanked him and shook his hand. 

The best part of it all is that I have great confidence in his ability.  Never have I had a car problem on the road.  I credit Luis for that.  He  always brings the replaced parts and explains to me what was wrong with them and why he had to change them out.

You might notice if you look carefully that part of the car is one color and the other is slightly darker.  That is from my $180US paint job that I had at the beach last year when they took out all the dings and dents and "repainted" the car.  It makes me smile every time I look at it.

I can't wait to park between that Ferrari and Bentley when I get to Houston!  Don't you know that my car must drive them crazy...........for the short time I'm staying in that place!

VIVA MEXICO!
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9 comments:

Bill said...

The first thing that will go in your car are the interior plastic trim pieces. I had a Nissan for 24 years and 200,000 miles (the odometer went out at 135,000 so it was an estimate after that). The hot Florida sun made the plastic interior pieces shrink, crack, discolor, and get deformed. If I had kept it in the shade, I would still have the car. Mechanically, I only had to replace a clutch in all that time. Brakes and tires are regular maintenance items. What did my car in was the power steering system. Too expensive to replace. Now I have a Suzuki motorcycle instead of a car. It gets 60 miles per gallon. I prefer this to a car. And in San Miguel, parking will be no problem when I bring it this summer.
--Bill

Babs said...

Bill, you are SO right. Your Suzuki motorcycle will be perfect here. I don't really drive my car around town. Just when I go out of town or to the grocery store. I do like having it for my semi-annual trips to Texas however.
Wow, you had yours for 24 years! Amazing. So that would mean I could possibly have mine another 13 years...and I would be 83.....and probably NOT driving to the border anymore.....or around Mexico.
Bus service in Mexico for long distances is wonderful and so inexpensive. So, that is another way to go.......
Thanks for writing and welcome to San Miguel.

Layne Adams said...

Hi there, nice post. This is an interesting ang very informative topic. Thanks for sharing you thoughts on this issue. Keep it up, looking forward to read another one in the future. Cheers!




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Alex Lippert said...

May 3, 2015
Dear Babs,
My car broke down in San Miguel Allende and I had to leave it with a random mechanic nearby. Since then I have gotten the distinct impression that he is not the mechanic I need or want. Can you give me Luis's phone number (the mechanic you recommended in a blog) so that I can call him and have him pick up the car and fix it? I would be so grateful.

Babs said...

Sorry to report that Luis no longer has a phone #. You must go over on Indio Cancion in Col. Gaudalupe and leave a note stuck in his gate slot. It is on the left side going into Guadalupe and next to the bridge over the arroyo. He is usually there working in the afternoons and evenings. Good luck.

Alex Lippert said...

Thanks so much for your help Babs. Alex Lippert

shanvi said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mark Kohler said...

Hi Babs, great story. My wife and I just arrived in San Miguel de Allende for a one month stay. We drove down in an old Ford van from Buffalo New York. Our vehicle needs front suspension work. Can you or anyone recommend a good repair shop? I think it will need to be placed up on a lift and parts ordered. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks

Babs said...

Mark go over to my mechanic's shop on Indio Cancion and if he is not there leave a note with your phone # stick in the door. He'll be able to tell you where to go.


I'm at the beach and can't help you any more then with this info. Sorry.