If you're driving eastbound on St. Claude Avenue towards Elysian Fields Avenue, don't blink your eyes as you'll drive right by. Smith's Tire Service is a perfect example of why you should not judge a book by it's cover. This longstanding business on the corner of Frencmen & St. Claude looks extremely "weathered" from the outside.
But Mr. Carroll Hebert is a one man dynamo that takes pride in his work. He specializes in vulcanized rubber tire repairs. If you're looking for a repair using a tire plug, don't stop here because he does not believe in them nor will he use them. Besides, most tire warranties will be voided if a tire is repaired using a plug instead of a patch.
For those of you who are not mechanically inclined at all, a vulcanized rubber tire patch repair consists of:
1. Removing the tire from the rim after the tire is removed from the vehicle.
2. Placing the tire on a machine that exposes the inner surface of the tire by almost "inverting it".
3. Scuffing the inside surface of the tire where the foreign object penetrated to create a suitable bonding surface.
4. Coating the "hole" and the vulcanized rubber patch with an adhesive.
5. Placing the patch on the hole.
6. Assuring the patch is adhered properly by using a small wooden roller over the patch.
7. Placing the tire back on the rim.
8. Re-inflating the tire.
9. Putting the tire back on the vehicle.
Don't let Carroll's hurried nature intimidate you, as he's moving at the speed of a cartoonish Tasmanian Devil. That's because he primarily deals with large dump truck styled tires for several large local companies, and he's always working on 10-20 tires at a time. However, he gladly repairs passenger car and truck tires on a drive-up basis.
His shop is a no frills business as there is no waiting room, restrooms or vending machine. However, what you get is a first class repair that he will stand behind. He's as good as they get. and a vulcanized rubber patch repair will only set you back 15-20 minutes.
Just make sure you bring cash as he does not take credit cards. Nor is he open on Saturdays or Sundays. So if you happen to see a nail or screw in your tire, give him a try.