Ride Bikes, Walk More, and Find a Golf Cart Repairman!When our golf cart quits running, we have some serious problems to solve. If you recall, we don’t own a car. In small towns in this part of México, a golf cart is sometimes called a carrito, and functions for many, such as Jon and me, as a little battery-operated car. We depend on our golf cart to get us to the mini-supermarket, produce stand, and meat market to shop once or twice a week. It hauls three loads of laundry in the three blue Rubbermaid totes strapped to the back when we drive it to the lavandería once or twice a week. We load our paddleboard onto the custom top rack and our beach gear on the back when we head to the beach for some Stand Up Paddleboarding. This inexpensive vehicle does a lot of work for us.
|Three Rubbermaid Totes & a Cargo Net Hauls a Lot of Stuff|
What could be wrong? Jon was faithful about filling the six battery water reservoirs with distilled water. He always charged the batteries after every trip to town. When we got home that day, he tested the batteries with his volt meter and found one of the six well-used batteries was no longer holding a charge. We didn’t have it in our budget to buy six new 6-volt deep-cell batteries at the time. So, Jon asked around at a couple of golf cart rental places in town to see if he could buy one used battery to get us by. There were none to be found. We decided we would pick up a used battery while we were in the U.S. and hope that would fix our power issue.
|We Were Back to Riding Bikes to Town Again|
We really missed our carrito! But, there was nothing more we could do for it until we returned from our travels to Oregon. We unplugged it from the battery charger, covered it with a tarp to protect it during the rainy season in Nayarit, and called a taxi to take us to our motorhome. We knew when we returned in the fall, golf cart repairs would be a high priority.
When we returned from Oregon, Jon had a “new” used battery and wasted no time installing it and attaching the charger to the carrito. But, the six batteries would not come to full charge. It was time to find a golf cart repairman. I had remembered one of my Facebook friends, Gabe, had recently posted a photo and information about a golf cart expert who works at two golf courses in the Riviera Nayarit. So, I did some digging on Facebook (what a wealth of information that social media provides!) and found his name and phone number.
|Ari and His Wife Checking the Batteries|
Ari then mentioned that the ball joints and brakes were badly worn, the steering was loose and mushy, the brakes barely functioning. He said that he could fix those, too. Jon said he knew they were in pretty poor condition and asked for a price to have them rebuilt. Ari gave him a fair price to do the work and came the next day as promised. He arranged his supply of parts and his tools and set to tearing the front end off of our golf cart. The poor, dirty thing looked pretty sad without its front tires and other key parts disassembled. When I looked at the disabled carrito propped up, sitting on its tires that were lying on their sides in the gravel, I thought, “That’s one way to jack up a vehicle. I guess that’s how they do it here in México.”
|Ari Working on the Golf Cart's Ball Joints & Brakes|
|Jon Straps the Paddleboard Onto the Carrito for a Trip to the Beach|
Now for the bad news. The auto repair shop does not repair golf cart tires. Jon insisted that there had to be a way to fix it because we couldn’t get home otherwise. The young man thought about this for a few minutes, shook his head, and then wandered off, leaving Jon and me wondering what we were going to do next.
A while later, he sauntered back to Jon with a full-sized automobile inner tube in his hand, deflated and old. He said, in Spanish, that he had an idea. We watched in amazement as he proceeded to pull the golf cart tire off, stuff the wad of tube into the tire, and reinstall it on the carrito. He then attached his air compressor to the tube stem and began adding air to the inner tube until it inflated just enough to fill the golf cart’s tire. Fixed! The amazing thing is that in the year since that ingenious repair job, the tire has never gone flat.
Our carrito’s tires may be old and bald, but we don’t have to climb extremely steep hills. The tread is about gone and the batteries don’t have the power Jon would need to “peel out” anyway, so why change the tires yet. The Mexican way is to use things until they stop working, and then fix them so they will work a while longer. Living in México, we have learned some great lessons on how to live frugally!
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