Raod trip to Mazatlan


By the time I make this 3K trip from California to Mazatlan in December, my VW Passat Wagon will be nearly 4 years old. It will have about 32K miles on it. The next service (based on time, not miles) will be the $600 40K check. I plan on having this done in November, a few weeks before I leave.

I intend to drive only on the main hiway (tollroad) from Nogales to Mazatlan. (And on the interstates in the US)

My tires are in good shape - Michelin Mud and Snow - but isn’t it routine to plan on a new set at about 40K miles? Should I buy new ones before I go? Anything else I should see to about the car (I know about getting insurance.)

Any advice from folks experienced with this drive? (I last drove in Mexico in 1964 - RT Oakland to Mexico City in a VW bug…I was 18, which explains a lot…)

Many thanks


It would be a good idea to stay on the main highway, as some secondary and local roads in MX can be tire-killers. It would be good to have an independent mechanic take a look at your tires and give an impartial assessment as to whether or not new ones are needed. (Just as one should never ask a barber ‘Do I look like I need a haircut?’, one should never ask a tire salesman ‘Does my car look like it needs new tires?’)

Also, try to avoid driving after dark in MX. Cattle and other large animals sometimes wander onto the highway at night. In addition, you will sometimes encounter vehicles with non-working taillights. Try to get to a destination before dark.

If you’ve done the maintenance on your car, you should be “good to go”. Mexico is a beautiful and interesting country. Enjoy your trip.


Hi - thank you for the good advice. Yes, on that trip to Mexico City, we mostly drove all night Nogales-Mazatlan, where we stayed a day, and all night again to D.F. And it wasn’t on the toll road! I think there must have been a full moon, because we decided we could see a large object on the roadway (such as a cow) in time to stop. I’m hoping to leave early enough to get to my stops (Guaymas, Mazatlan) before early winter darkness falls.
I’ll have an impartial observer evaluate the tires.