Grand Canyon

How We Handled Car Trouble at the Grand Canyon

Last Updated on January 22, 2024 by Kelly

Having car trouble on vacation is absolutely no fun. After investing so much time and energy into planning a trip, it can be stressful and overwhelming to figure out where to go and how to fix the issue. We recently had car trouble at the Grand Canyon, and we learned some things that we thought would be helpful to others. This post will share how we handled car trouble while at the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

Car Trouble at the Grand Canyon (Our Experience)

We had two days planned to see the Grand Canyon, and the first day was spectacular. We had an excellent time seeing the Rim Trail and the Trail of Time. Our plan for the second day was to start the morning at Mather Point. Alas, it was never meant to be!

Just after we entered the park, an oncoming car suddenly crossed over the white line towards our vehicle. We moved over to the right side of the road so they wouldn’t hit us. As we did that, we hit a pothole on the side of the road. It didn’t feel like a major bump or anything, so we didn’t think there was an issue at all until an indicator light went on. Uh oh, we thought, a flat tire!

We pulled over in a nearby parking lot to check it out. To our good fortune, two park rangers were driving by at that exact moment. We were able to ask them for assistance. (That way we could get some information on what to do next.)

We took a look at the tire, and we found out we had a bent rim too. Not good. Fixing a flat tire would be easy, but finding a new replacement rim would be much more of a challenge.

Because of that experience, we learned a whole lot about what to do with car trouble at the Grand Canyon. We are sharing that information with you, should you need it! (Hopefully it saves you some of the headache we went through!)

car trouble at the Grand Canyon

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Preventing Car Trouble at the Grand Canyon…

It probably goes without saying, but there’s a few things you can do ahead of time to make sure that you don’t have car issues while you’re at the Grand Canyon.

    1. Make sure that you have an extra set of spare keys. Finding a locksmith will be a pain, so it’s good practice to have a spare key just in case you lose your keys or lock your keys in your vehicle.
    2. Stay up to date with oil changes and routine service. Before you head out on your road trip, make sure that you have had a recent oil change. Also make sure that your car has recently been serviced so that they can check your transmission fluid, etc. This post from Auto Care Plus has a good checklist before you hit the road. 
    3. Make sure the owner’s manual is in the car. You may need to check it during your trip, and it’s not something you want to be searching for when you’re frazzled. 
    4. Check your spare tire. Make sure that you have the tools needed to change a flat tire. If you have never changed a flat tire, it would be good to research in advance how to do it for your vehicle. Download a video or an article you can look at in case you are in an area without cell service. 
    5. Make sure you have insurance coverage. Make sure that you have your insurance coverage information easily accessible. 
    6. Keep extra water and snacks in your car. If you’re stuck on the road on a hot day, you’ll need to stay hydrated.
    7. Communicate without cell service. If you have some extra money, having a satellite communicator will allow you to place an emergency call when you are out of cell service. The Garmin InReach Explorer+ can literally be a lifesaver. In our opinion, it is worth the peace of mind! It would be pretty awful to be stuck miles away from any help on a remote road. 

Repair Shop at the Grand Canyon

First, ensure your physical safety and call for help if it’s needed. If it’s not an emergency, here’s some ideas and resources:

Notify a park ranger. If you’re able to connect with a park ranger, they can be an invaluable resource in helping you to get on your way. They are knowledgable about where to go and how to get there. The park rangers we encountered stayed with us to help us change our tire, and they let us follow them to the closest repair shop.

Did you know that there is a repair shop on-site at the Grand Canyon? They are equipped to make minor repairs (like helping with a flat tire). They couldn’t replace our bent rim, but they did make sure that we had sufficient air pressure in all our tires before we left the park. It’s a good resource if you have any minor car issues. 

You may need to tow your car to a location convenient to you if you’re not able to fix it while you are at the Grand Canyon.

For anything other than minor repairs, you will likely need to go to a larger town for help. The park rangers told us that we would have the best luck at either Williams, Arizona, or Flagstaff, Arizona. We ended up going to Big O Tires in Flagstaff to get a new rim. They were awesome and we can’t recommend them enough. We called them in advance and waited 24 hours for the rim to arrive to their store. Thankfully they were able to ship it overnight so we weren’t too delayed. They fixed it promptly for us and provided excellent service.

For a full list of all our posts on things to do in Arizona, click here!

Consider Taking a Guided Tour

While you’re waiting for your car to be fixed, you might want to consider taking a guided tour. You’ll still get to see the Grand Canyon, and you won’t have to worry about transportation. Plus, your guide will be knowledgeable about the local geology and history. You’ll also get the opportunity to see and do some pretty unique things to personalize your trip. Some guided tours you might be especially interested in include:

woman at the Grand Canyon

Summary: Back on the Road!

With the car all fixed, we had an excellent time at the Grand Canyon!  We hope some of these ideas are helpful for you if you ever encounter car trouble at the Grand Canyon.

DisclaimerWe always strive for content accuracy. Since the time of publishing, travel-related information regarding pricing, schedules, and hours may have changed. Please look up such information directly from each vendor or institution for the most current information. Please keep in mind that we cannot diagnose car issues or make any recommendations specific to your vehicle or needs. We are not mechanics and we aren’t car experts. This post is an informational article with resources based on our experience. The ideas we share may or may not be helpful to you.

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Hi, I’m Kelly!

After studying abroad in Spain, I became passionate about international travel. Since then, I’ve traveled to 6 continents and 36 states within the United States. When I’m not travel blogging, you can find me hiking, reading books in Spanish, or playing cribbage. I hope my blog inspires you to see the world!