Always an interesting experience in the Big Village. Tire hunting…

Sammy the Volga has an interesting combination of tires. Original tires from the factory are 195R/15/65 series. While these tire size is good and do the job and the size is plentiful, like wheat in the fields around the Moscow area? They just are lacking in perfection…

I have worn out a set of 195R/15/65 series and a set of 185R/15/65 series and a set of 205R/15/70 series. The latter is by far the best for the car. During this shifting of tires in many years. I have discovered that 205R/15/70 series is the best and yet I finally due to money went to several years ago, 195R/15/65 series front and 205R/15/70 series rear…

The car found perfection in running that combination, mileage and happiness with that combination. Sammy just is a different bird when 205’s on the rear and 195’s on the front…

The 205 is rare and yet the guys that sell tires know that you will put these tires on a Volga. It is the largest tire that a Volga will hold and function properly without issues. Nothing else uses these tires and since Volga’s are now extinct? The tire is made less and less often and or considered a truck tire and a small one at that…

Therefore, is the quandary…

Since my last set of 205’s are now worn out and have become dangerous, with sidewall sun cracks and too many cuts/splits deep into between the tread. I have been forced to go on an expedition to the Big Village and procure two 205R/15/70 series for the rear of Sammy…

I have been relegated to as it sits now 185R/15/65 series on the front and 195R/15/65 series on the back. This works and is very stable and if I stay with that? All is good and wonderful, except she is not happy and if Sammy is unhappy, I am unhappy. Thus, the excursion to find utopia for Sammy…

The roads in Russia are interesting, much better than when I moved to Russia many many years ago, but when you get off the beaten trail, as our Tiny Russian Village is. Even a few centimeters of clearance is vital. The difference between a set of originals and just changing the rear larger, is so amazing in handling, clearance issues and the way the car sits in real time is phenomenal. The old guys selling tires know this. Volga use to be the cats meow in the Soviet Union…

Yesterday, I spent all morning digging around the Big Village and looking for that tire store that carries and or can get this holy Grail of tires for me. In Moscow, this is not an issue. All tires and every tire is available. But since I have put a serious 3000 kilometers on nothing but goat trails this summer, due to the break-in of a new engine rebuild? I have also worn out tires that should have given me another year. The roads are brutal and unforgiving around these here parts…

Store one said, “Volga huh? Sorry can’t get. How about 195?”

Store two said, “Nope” and they went back to sleep! ZZZZZZ

Store three said, “Volga, yes very good and excellent! Nope…” took a shot of Vodka in his coffee and went to sleep also! ZZZZZZ

Store four (and last store available) said, “Volga, hmm….yes, Thursday!”

Then he with his sidekick showed me the tires. Snow tires, 205 70 series, good Russian brand and 7000 rubles each. He had them on his smartphone and verified that they were available at that given moment. They had to be ordered. Thus, it was Tuesday and I will get them Thursday at 2 p.m.?

I even involved Svetochka at the last store, because my weakness in Russian makes me nervous at times on exact details. So, yes, yes and yes and yes 2 p.m. Thursday. We hope? I question it, because in Russia? Things kinda go sideways at times when it comes to the locals and what they really can do!

I understood correctly and I usually do, but Russian language is not my cup of tea, so to say. I spend too much time with English, as I write and write and write in English…

It is not that Sammy is a problem running right now. The tires are okay, but will not be okay soon. The roads are hell at times. The front needs at least the 195’s to be perfect and the old 185’s I am running were removed due to being basically worn out years ago. Still viable, but have seen better days and too small. My front excellent tires are on the rear, 195’s and they need to get back to the front. The 205’s that I have removed are still usable and I suspect that I can find someone to enjoy them locally? For a trip to Moscow is out of the question with them at this point…

So now you know what the best combination is for a Volga, yet who drives a Volga? I do and thus, I know what is best. The old-timers all know this same tidbit, but that does not make it easy to do now. Maybe it never was easy to do? Not sure why the factory did not set Volga’s up with 205R/15/70 series in the first place and I suspect that the 195 was just that much cheaper and easier to make? Everyone has 195’s, even the babushka selling pears on the side of the byway can find you a set of 195’s for a Volga… 😉

Another tidbit: I have learned that when pricing, nothing is as it seems. You must ask questions to get the whole picture. So, I asked, mounted and balanced, price? Blank looks from both guys. It does not registered that I might want them installed immediately. They have all the equipment and I was looking at all of it. Yet, they still had not thought about pricing for mounting and balancing. 300 rubles per tire. Okay!

It is not the Russian way. You buy tires, you leave and think about the tires you bought, then when your back is against the wall? And bad tires go flat You decide where to put them on later. Maybe you and your friend change them, most likely when the original tires blow up on the highway? But, you got the tires!

It is a Russian for you and that is why I love Russia…

WtR

A survivor of six heart attacks and a brain tumor, a grumpy bear of a man, whom has declared Russia as his new and wonderful home. His wife is a true Russian Sweet Pea of a girl and she puts up with this bear of a guy and keeps him in line. Thank God for my Sweet Pea and Russia.