Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Stats # 3: How Many Flats?

Everybody keeps telling you that flat tire issues will be the thing that will ground you for sure, when travelling from Alaska to Argentina. Some folks have adivsed me to carry at least 2 complete spare tires. Especially in Alaska people keep telling you how important it might be to carry a second spare. - I don't and I must say, I wouldn't.

I have been on the road for nearly 3 years. I wold estimate to have been driving around 50% on unpaved roads, partially on extremely rough terrain. Alasaka and its very well maintained gravel and dirt roads are a walk in the park compared to some roads in Mexico or Central and South America.

I have had only 4 flat tires so far. The first one in Northern Canada, I have had ordered the new set of tires already and was going up on some rough forest roads in British Colombia when I noticed that I was losing about half of the air in one tire over night. I do carry a tire repair kit and fixed the hole with it. That did the trick for the few days left until the blue truck got new, already ordered shoes.
With the second set of BFGoodrich All Terrain tires I have not had any tire issues at all. From Canada to Alaska and all the way down through Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. That is where I swapped for BFGoodrich Mud Terrains. They are noisy and their stopping power is - well is it? But they are performing outsandingly on rough roads, through rivers, mud and on ugly roads. I could not have made it on the La Guajira Peninsula in Colombia if I had still All Terrains installed.

Unbelievable that it took over two years from the first to the second tire issue. Maybe I was just lucky until Peru. Second it hit me high up in the Andes at almost 16'000 feet altitude. Once again, it was not too far off from when a set of new shoes were due. I removed the screw and it was a quick fix once again. 

Third time again in the Andes of Peru. No chance this time. No quick fix. I hit some piece of metal in a switch back of a paved road, it took just seconds and the tire was flat. No chance for a repair as it a large cut over the side of the tire. Obviously time to get a new set of BFGs in Lima, capital of Peru. 

I have just had about 3'500 kilometers on the new set of BFGoodrich Mud Terrains when I had to repair one of the tires again. A nail has found its way through the almost new tire. Cusco at Camping La Quinta was a perfect and tranquil spot to do that work. 

In Summery my tires statistics: 
  • 4 flat tires on travelling almost 3 years (3 times just losing air, one real flat) 
  • I am running on the 4th set of tires in three years and approx. 120'000 kilometers 
  • I am carrying one spare tire and a tire repair kit
  • I have used the spare tire once and the repair kit 3 times

Want to know how many times I got stuck? Or what got stolen on my trip so far? 

Come back soon for more statistics on the blue truck trip through the Americas.


  1. I agree, a good flat repair kit plus 1 spare and your good to go

    a bit ridiculous to lug around 2 extra wheels and tires in my opinion

    only one flat on the whole trip, screwdriver rammed through the tread somewhere in the jungles of Ecuador. yanked it out, plugged it up and kept on trucking.

    1. Wow, James, one flat only! Cool! Keep it that way!

      Couldn't agree more with you, the extra weight and cost to carry a second spare are not worth the hassle and money.

      I must alos say, with one exception it was always when the tires were almost due for replacement, meaning aslong as one keeps the tires in good condition and replaces them soon enough - no worries.

      Will you and when? Hit the road again?