Chapel Hill Tire Brings Drive Happy Car Care To Apex

aerial photo of green trees and a curving road

Our 9th shop – 3rd in Wake County – opens in former Auto Remedy location

Chapel Hill, NC After successfully entering the Raleigh area in 2018 with the purchase of Atlantic Avenue Tire and Service, Chapel Hill Tire opened its second Raleigh location in 2019 at Crabtree Valley Mall. Now, the company is moving into Raleigh’s southern suburbs with the purchase of Auto Remedy, at 1101 Old Raleigh Rd. in Apex.

1101 Old Raleigh Rd, next to Food Lion

“Raleigh has proven to be an excellent market for us,” said Marc Pons, president of Chapel Hill Tire. “People here have really responded to our super-convenient approach to high quality, professional car care. We will pick up your car at your home or office, and return it to you when the work is complete. We keep you informed of our progress at every step along the way, and when we’re finished, our text-to-pay system allows you to make the transaction totally convenient and totally contact free. If you’d rather drop your car off at our shop, our free shuttle service is ready to take you where you need to go, and pick you up when your car is ready. The right work, performed by trained professionals who put your needs first, in the most convenient way possible. That’s what Drive Happy is all about.”

You can make your appointment online at chapelhilltire.com or just call the Old Raleigh Road store at (919) 387-7270. “If you’ve never brought your car to us before, please go to promotions.chapelhilltire.com to take advantage of our $20 discount for first time customers,” said Pons. It’s good for any service except state inspections – and yes, if you’re a long time Auto Remedy customer, you still qualify as a first time customer of Chapel Hill Tire.

About Chapel Hill Tire

First opened in 1953, Chapel Hill Tire provides comprehensive car care services for all makes and models, with a specialty in hybrid vehicles. Its tire inventory includes all major brands, and it offers the lowest price on new tires through its Price Beat Guarantee. The company operates nine stores in the Triangle area, and offers free pick up and delivery service at all nine locations. They welcome new customers via online appointment scheduling at chapelhilltire.com.

Our Community: Refugee Support Center

Aerial photo showing green trees and buildings

Top vote-getter in our 12 Days Of Kindness Campaign serves people who come to our community from around the globe

When we launched our 12 Days Of Kindness campaign, the team at our Cole Park shop chose The Refugee Support Center, a partner agency of Chapel Hill Tire. Founded in 2012, this volunteer organization aids refugees in their transition to a new life in our community. Offering a range of services, better access to resources, and skills training to promote self-sufficiency, the Center is an excellent example of what it means to spread kindness and positivity. 

People unload boxes of supplies from a van to share with a family

Located in Carrboro, North Carolina, the Center serves roughly 900 people each year, most of whom come from Syria, Burma, and Democratic Republic of Congo. Fleeing persecution, violence, and war, they are placed with resettlement agencies that have cooperative agreements with the Department of State, as soon as they arrive in the United States. These agencies work to provide reception and placement services; however, they are phased out after three months.

That’s when the Refugee Support Center steps in, offering assistance on an as-needed basis. Beyond facilitating refugees’ transitions to new lives, the Center advocates for their needs and interests while helping them maintain their cultural and ethnic identities. Plus, the Center acts as an educational resource for the community to help foster understanding of our new neighbors.

For their act of kindness, the Cole Park team went grocery shopping for the folks at the Center. But that was just the start. Through the efforts of Center volunteers and our Cole Park team, the Center received almost 5,000 votes in our 12 Days Of Kindness challenge, earning a $3,000 donation from Chapel Hill Tire.

“We are over the moon to have won first place in the Chapel Hill Tire 12 Days Of Kindness,” said the Center’s director, Flicka Bateman. “Every cent of the prize money will be used to help refugees in our community. Thank you to our supporters for voting for us, to our refugee friends for inspiring us every day, and to Chapel Hill Tire for holding the contest and encouraging us all to perform acts of kindness.”

We are proud to support the Refugee Support Center and share their mission of helping local refugees transition to a new life. Please visit the Center’s website to learn more or to volunteer. 

We’d like to offer a big thank you to all participants in the 12 Days of Christmas. Whether you performed an act of kindness, voted on which charity moved you the most, or spread extra cheer this holiday season, we are truly grateful. We move into 2021 with a great sense of community and appreciation!

Our People: Aaron Sinderman

photo of a set of wrenches beside a bumper sticker with a yellow smiley face that reads "Drive Happy" and a blue ball cap with a yellow smiley face

Dedicated to making himself – and his whole team – better

Hard-working. Positive. Persistent. When you ask Aaron Sinderman’s co-workers at our Cole Park shop to describe him, those are the words you’re likely to hear.

When Aaron first thought of entering the automotive business back around 2016, he reached out to a friend who worked for Chapel Hill Tire. After learning a little more about the industry, he was referred for a job.

Aaron Sinderman smiles. He's wearing dark blue coveralls with the Chapel Hill Tire logo.

“I’ve stayed here because I’ve been able to progress. I started at Chapel Hill Tire not knowing anything. After years of learning and growing, I am now working on being a technician,” said Sinderman, who feels grateful for the company’s guidance and support. “Chapel Hill Tire has not only helped me grow as a mechanic, but also as a person,” he said.

For Aaron, becoming an automotive technician is a good bit more challenging than it is for the average person. He lives with Cerebral Palsy, which affects his muscle tone and movement. But Aaron doesn’t allow it to hold him back. He comes in every day ready to work hard and get the job done.

“He’s a no-excuses kind of guy,” said his coworker and Cole Park store manager Peter Rozzell. “He has a stellar work ethic. He never complains. He takes any job he’s given, he gets it done, and does it well.”

As Aaron looks to the future, he sees more opportunities for continued growth. Not only does the company provide a clear career path for all employees who want to advance, his co-workers’ strong sense of teamwork are a daily source of support. “If there’s ever something I don’t know, my coworkers are always willing to help,” he said. “It’s like a family at Chapel Hill Tire, so teamwork is a big thing.”

Other than being a trusted and hardworking mechanic, Aaron keeps things positive at the Cole Park shop with his energetic and fun personality. “He’s always in a good mood. He’s incredibly fun and entertaining and really brightens the team,” continued Rozzell.

“I hope I bring sincerity to customers. I’m here to make sure you get great care from a person who cares,” he said.

“Strive for excellence” and “we win as a team” are two of our core values at Chapel Hill Tire. We are all proud and happy to hear people tell us that Aaron embodies those values. Thank you, Aaron for all the ways you make this company better. We look forward to working with you for many years to come. 

Our Values: 12 Days Of Kindness

repeating pattern of "Be Kind" in bold letters with a heart social media icon

Triangle residents join together in a spirit of generosity

After all the chaos and craziness of 2020, we felt like the old year really needed to go out on a wave of kindness and positivity.  So, our 12 Days of Kindness campaign encouraged companies and individuals throughout the Triangle to perform random acts of kindness, post them to social media with the hashtag #cht12days, and ask their friends on social media to vote for their favorites.

graphic shows the Chapel Hill Tire logo along with icons of red holiday berries and a social media heart icon. Text reads 12 Days of Kindness: A giving challenge form Chapel Hill Tire

Now, we’d like to offer a big “thank you” to everyone who participated. We have always  known our communities to be warm, welcoming, and inclusive, but the generosity and kindness you displayed made us feel exceptionally blessed.

From November 15 through December 24, more than 25 acts of kindness were submitted by individuals and companies throughout our community. With each entry submitted, we were overwhelmed with gratitude and holiday cheer. While all submissions warmed our hearts, a few in particular stood out. 

Steve F. volunteered for the Compass Center at Women and Families Safe Homes Safe Lives Program, which provides apartments for survivors and families experiencing domestic violence. The organization has had a greater need for support during the COVID-19 pandemic, and is certainly making a positive, meaningful impact in our community.

One of our University Place customers, who we know as Gonzo, helps to look after residents at the Chapel Hill Homeless Shelter. After speaking with Gonzo, Chapel Hill Tire’s University Place team decided to gather supplies, such as thermal underwear and much-needed food items, to donate to the shelter. Their donation helped more than 50 people.

Not to be outdone, our Woodcroft Shopping Center team sent some holiday warmth to the Durham Rescue Mission. They donated more than 100 coats collected from Chapel Hill Tire employees, friends and neighbors, to help meet the Mission’s biggest wintertime need.

And over in Wake County, our Atlantic Avenue shop filled a pickup truck up with dog food to feed some furry friends at the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals shelter. 

Multiple people participated in the Lee Initiative, a program that provides food for out of work or underemployed restaurant workers during this difficult time. With the winter months bringing more restaurant closures or limited restaurant seating, this generosity was felt by many in need.

In the 12 days from December 13-24, our participants invited their friends on social media to vote for their act of kindness, so that they could earn a donation from us to their favorite charity. In all, more than 17,400 votes were received. Refugee Support Center finished first, earning a $3,000 donation for their 4,900 votes. In second place with 4,300 votes, Christmas House received a $2,000 donation. And coming in third with 1,700 votes, Compass Center for Women and Families Safe Homes Save Lives received a $1,000 donation. 

We expected this to be a lot of fun, and to show everyone that this is just a great place to live, filled with wonderful people. We are truly grateful for the kindness and generosity of our community this holiday season, and we feel incredibly inspired to continue to give back and help those in need. 

What’s Up With That? How Antifreeze Works.

antifreeze being poured into a reservoir

It’s like salt on an icy road but inside your engine

When you start your car up in the dead of winter, a cascade of mechanical functions spring to life. The combined forces of those functions produce a tremendous amount of heat – up to 2800 degrees Fahrenheit (F) inside the pistons. So wait, with all of that heat, why would you need a thing called “antifreeze”?

Well, that stuff we call antifreeze actually works to protect the fluid that keeps your engine cool enough to not self-destruct (you’ll also hear it called “coolant”). Constantly circulating around your engine chamber, it carries enough of the heat generated by all of that firing and turning to the radiator, where it is cooled by outside air. Some of that heat is also used to heat the air that makes the interior of your vehicle cozy and comfortable. 

The earliest car engines just used water to cool their chambers, but plain old H20 turned out to be not very efficient and also the cause of many headaches come wintertime. Just like an unprotected pipe on a cold winter night, if your radiator is filled with just water, it will freeze and might burst. Then, when you start your engine you won’t get any cooling effect until the water thaws, and you certainly won’t get any after it sprays out of the newly formed split in your radiator.  

The answer? Antifreeze. Despite its one-sided name, this essential fluid does more than just protect your car from winter’s icy grasp. It also prevents your radiator from boiling over in the dog days of summer, thanks to its ability to both lower the freezing temperature of water and raise its boiling point.

Icy Roads and Vehicle Engines: More Similar Than You Might Think

In its natural state, water freezes at 32 F and boils at 212 F. When we salt a road before a snow or ice storm, the salt and water bond, creating a new liquid (salt water) with a freezing point about 20 F lower than pure water (in the original Fahrenheit scale, 0 was the freezing point of sea water, 32 the freezing point of fresh water, but that was changed for some reason we don’t have time to get into here). So, when the winter storm comes in, and the snow or freezing rain hits the road, the water and salt bond, and the liquid salt water runs safely off. Unlike roads, though, your engine can’t survive regular doses of salt water. It would quickly rust away like exposed metal by the seaside. 

Enter ethylene glycol. Like salt, it bonds with water to form new liquid. Better than salt, this new liquid won’t freeze until the temperature drops to 30 F below zero (62 F lower than water), and won’t boil before it gets to 275 F.  Plus, it won’t damage your engine. Plus, plus, it acts as a lubricant to extend the life of your vehicle’s water pump. 

Keeping Your Engine in the “Goldilocks Zone”

In warmer weather or on extended drives, your engine can get hot enough to evaporate small portions of your antifreeze. Over time, these small evaporations can add up to too little coolant bathing your engine, followed by overheating, followed by a twisted, steaming mass of metal under your hood where your engine used to be.

To keep your engine just right – not-too-hot and not-too-cold – we check your antifreeze every time you come in for an oil change – or any other service. If it needs a little boost, we’ll be happy to top it off. And since, like anything that heats and cools and heats and cools, day after day, antifreeze wears out, we recommend a full coolant flush about every 3-5 years.

Our Culture: Innovate Happy

Building a company that says “yes” to creative solutions

“Strive for excellence” is one of our core values. That doesn’t just mean doing our routine tasks as well as we can, it means always thinking about — and finding — new and better ways to do our work and serve our customers. As we continue to move forward, building a culture of innovation has become increasingly important. 

Nearly two months ago, we introduced a new initiative that we call Innovate Happy Culture. Designed to increase company-wide innovation efforts, Innovate Happy Culture encourages employees to contribute new ideas and to say “yes” to creative solutions. 

Inspired by a Stanford University course on design thinking, we introduced a road map to innovation that gives employees a clear picture of the innovation process, and motivates us to step out of our comfort zones, which can be particularly difficult in the automotive business.

“We want employees to see a path that leads them to executing their ideas,” explained Scott Jones, store manager. “We want them to understand that they will be helped along the way, which gives people more confidence to voice their ideas.” 

Innovate Happy Culture is quickly proving to be a success — employees have contributed over 90 new ideas in the past 60 days. One has already been implemented at our Carrboro shop, where we have gone paperless. 

Previously, the store was using six to seven pieces of paper per customer visit. During a brainstorming session, employees realized each piece was unnecessary. We could do this paperless. While switching all aspects of the business from paper to paperless was a bit of a learning curve, the store very quickly sorted things out and is now enjoying the benefits.

“It’s made us better as a store. We’ve become much more detail oriented,” said Troy Hamburg, Carrboro store employee. “Customers love it. Plus, it’s very environmentally friendly with much less waste in paper, ink, and toner.” 

The reason customers love the paperless initiative is that it has increased communication between the store and the customer. Employees are now able to text or email pictures of repair or maintenance issues they may want to consider, and easily follow up after visits. 

The paperless initiative is being praised around the company and plans are being made for its implementation across all stores. After all, one of our other core values is that we win as a team, and that is also a focal point of Innovate Happy Culture. “It’s a journey that we take together. We work together towards success and build our team,” said Scott Jones. 

Moving forward, Innovate Happy Culture will serve to solve existing problems while promoting the creation of new ideas. All stores are participating in the initiative at a grassroots level and are committed to learning, growing, and valuing every employee’s contributions. We look forward to seeing you experience the benefits of those contributions in your future visits.

Our Community: Chris Blue

Aerial photo showing green trees and buildings

For Chapel Hill’s Police Chief, a strong community is built on strong relationships

As a Chapel Hill local for more than 40 years, Chris Blue has seen a lot of change in our growing city. Even so, he recognizes that “In many ways this is still a small town. It’s the kind of place where you want to set down roots and grow your family.” As a  23-year veteran of our police department,  Chris has extended his sense of family to include all of Chapel Hill.

Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue
Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue

It is that sense of family that leads him to see every day on the job as an opportunity to make meaningful change – and to see strong relationships as the foundation for meaningful change. “You have to be deliberate and intentional about building a culture that stresses the importance of relationships,” he says, “Because it’s relationships that get you through the hard times. To do that well as a public agency requires an organizational commitment.”

A commitment to high standards

As a police chief, Chris carries a deep reverence for the importance of high standards in his profession. “There was a time when police officers were among the most trusted, respected professionals in this country”, he says. While he recognizes that every situation is different and no human organization is perfect, he wants the efforts of the Chapel Hill Police Department to lead the way in building and maintaining the trust and respect of the people they serve.

When asked what his officers can do to improve their lives and the lives of their community members, he says, “Despite what the movies might depict, police work is really about relationships and human interaction. You’ve gotta love people to do this kind of work. Every encounter is an opportunity to clear up some of the uncertainties surrounding police officers right now.”

Aspirations For A Brighter Tomorrow

As he looks toward the future, Chris advocates for his department – and police departments everywhere – to “Lend their vocal support to services that can solve community problems”, such as homelessness and mental illness. He also wants to see the Chapel Hill Police Department “Make a real commitment to carefully and thoughtfully serving traditionally underserved parts of our community.”

Amidst today’s challenges, we find hope and inspiration in having such a forward-thinking member of our community as Police Chief Chris Blue. No matter how much it has grown, the tight-knit sense of belonging that you’ll find in Chapel Hill comes from the love that long-term residents like Chris have for this community – and their dedication to building strong, mutually supportive relationships with everyone they encounter. 

Our People: Peter Rozzell

photo of a set of wrenches beside a bumper sticker with a yellow smiley face that reads "Drive Happy" and a blue ball cap with a yellow smiley face

Always glad to see you, always ready to listen, and all about treating each other like family

If you take your car to our Cole Park shop, you have probably met Peter. As the manager of that location, he has been welcoming customers there since 2014. Initially, Peter was drawn to Chapel Hill Tire because he was searching for a better work/life balance; however, Peter has remained with the company for all these years because of so much more.

Peter Rozzell, manager at Chapel Hill Tire's Cole Park shop
Peter Rozzell, manager at Chapel Hill Tire’s Cole Park shop

“I wanted to be treated like I was part of a family. I wanted to be respected, treated well, listened to. I found that at Chapel Hill Tire,” said Peter.

He not only found that for himself, but he is a leading proponent of one of our core values, treat each other like family. His strong relationships with coworkers and customers are attributed to his genuine and approachable personality. 

On a day to day basis, Peter enjoys the opportunity that his job provides for him to coach and interact with people. He strives to be a welcoming person that people can come to when they feel overwhelmed, and he succeeds. He takes the time to understand what his customers and coworkers are telling him, offers advice when he can, and reassurance when it’s needed.

“Peter is someone you can actually have a genuine conversation with, and he will never judge you,” said Rozzell’s coworker, Jess Cervantes. “I consider him my mentor, and he’s the first person I turn to. If we get stuck on a problem, he always has a solution. He’s incredibly smart and amazing to work with.” 

Besides excelling professionally at Chapel Hill Tire, Peter also brings a vibrant and happy persona to the store. Described as very kind and outgoing, he greets customers with a bright smile and always keeps his coworkers entertained. 

“He’s a goofy guy. He makes all of us laugh, and he’s really fun to be around, not to mention he’s a great basketball player,” said his coworker Jess Cervantes. 

Continuously lifting up those around him and celebrating the small victories, Peter noted one of our other core values, “We win as a team. I’m grateful for my coworkers, and I’m grateful to be here.” 

At Chapel Hill Tire, we are lucky to have great employees like Peter Rozzell who understand that the work we do on cars is really about people – the people we work with and the customers who rely on those cars. It’s the idea behind our Work Happy / Drive Happy Culture: happy employees create happy customers, and happy customers create a strong business where we all can thrive and grow. Thank you Peter, for helping us create a place where we treat each other like family.

What’s Up With That? Why And When To Change Your Brake Fluid

Believe it or not, fried chicken can teach you a lot about brake fluid

When you step on your brake pedal, you are applying about 300 pounds of force to your wheels. Doesn’t feel like it, does it? That’s because your car’s hydraulic braking system amplifies your 70 or so pounds of foot pressure to the 300 pounds of power required to safely stop your car. 

Here’s how it works: you press down on the brake pedal which is connected to a lever.  The lever pushes a piston into the master cylinder, which is filled with brake fluid. As the piston pushes the brake fluid from the master cylinder through hoses that are already full of brake fluid, the pressure increases, driving your brake pads against the brake disks with enough force to bring your vehicle to a stop. And that’s why you don’t need to be a bodybuilder to get through rush hour traffic.

How Your Brake Fluid Breaks Down

When the pressure on your brake fluid increases, it takes on some of that energy as heat. That’s why brake fluid has a boiling point of up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, though it usually heats to only around 350 degrees — the same temperature oil is heated to for frying chicken.

North Carolina’s fried chicken aficionados know that the quality and freshness of the frying oil makes all the difference between a crisp, juicy drumstick or thigh and a soggy, smelly mess on your plate. If you’ve ever wondered about the mouth watering aromas coming from Mama Dip’s Kitchen, Dame’s Chicken & Waffles, or Beasley’s Chicken + Honey, we can guarantee it has a lot to do with their attention to regularly changing their fryer oil.

Funny enough, the reasons a restaurant changes its fryer oil are the same reasons that you should care about the freshness of your brake fluid. In the same way that small bits of breading and frequent reheating will degrade the quality of fryer oil, the metal particles and moisture that accumulate in brake fluid lines – as well as heat degradation – will lead to a soggy, spongy feeling when you step on your brakes.

Signs of the Times: How Often Should You Change Your Brake Fluid?

That soggy, spongy feeling is the first sign that your brake fluid just isn’t as fresh as it needs to be. If you notice your brake pedal traveling farther and farther every time you need to come to a stop, or that you need to press the pedal harder to slow down, it’s a sure sign that your brake fluid has been weakened by metal bits, moisture, and heat.

Thankfully, you won’t need to change your brake fluid nearly as often as a good restaurant changes its fryer oil. Depending on the type of car you drive and how much stop-and-go traffic you regularly find yourself in, you may be able to go up to three years between brake fluid changes. 

Keep Your Brake Fluid (and Your Fried Chicken) Fresh

Of course, the best way to know when your brake fluid needs to be changed is to have it checked. Any time you bring your car in for regular maintenance is a good time to give it a look, and we will do that as part of the digital vehicle inspection we conduct every time you visit.

The bottom line? Don’t let your brakes – or your fried chicken – get soggy and spongy. If your car is more than three years old and you think your brake pedal is feeling a little mushy, please give us a call. We’ll be happy to give you a free brake fluid checkup.

Our People: Bucky Ragan

a wrench set and a hat beside a sticker with a smiley face and the words drive happy

Joy Is Always An Option

Meet Bucky Ragan, for over 30 years, he has worked to brighten each customer’s day 

At Chapel Hill Tire, we’ve become convinced that happy employees create happy customers. Over the past 30 or so years, Bucky Ragan has done a lot of that convincing. He has greeted each day with a great attitude, and put forth his best effort to leave people feeling happier than when he found them. 

Service advisor Bucky Ragan

A service advisor at our University Mall location, Bucky followed in his father’s footsteps when he began working with us back in 1989. His dad was part of our University Mall team when we moved to this location in 1972.

“It’s just all around a good experience working right beside my father,” said Bucky. “He’s taught me a lot.”.

Plotting his own course, Bucky has become a customer favorite by creating joyful interactions with the people we serve. “Not everyone is excited to take their car to the shop. They’re already worried about spending money, so I try to put a smile on their face,” he said.

“People love him. He knows everybody,” said Sean McNally, who works closely with Ragan as the University Mall store manager. “One of the main reasons is that, more often than not, he’ll go above and beyond”.

A few years ago, a hurricane rolled through North Carolina, and many people feared it would leave gas shortages in its wake. Knowing that an ederly customer was concerned that they wouldn’t be able to get around, “Bucky came in at 6am and filled her car up with gas and brought it back to her,” said McNally. “He does nice things for a lot of people, but that was over the top.”          

“He’s an honest guy,” coworker John Ogburn said. He’ll review bills over and over, and if he has any question about a charge, he’ll come down on the side of the customer.”   

Without a doubt, Ragan does his best day in and day out to lift the spirits of those around him. All the while, he feels grateful to have spent the past three decades with Chapel Hill Tire. He said, “They’re all great people here. They do what they say they’re going to do and take really good care of you. I love the line of work I’m in.”

Bucky Ragan goes far beyond just fixing cars and selling tires. He spreads positivity every chance he gets, knowing that a simple smile goes a long way. As we mentioned, here at Chapel Hill Tire we’ve become convinced that happy employees create happy customers, and Bucky Ragan has surely done a lot of that convincing.