What’s Up With That? How Tires Help Your Car Stop.

detail of different tire treads

Brakes stop your wheels, but tires are what really stops your car.

When the roads are clear and dry, it’s easy to forget about your tires. Just like the shoes you wear every day, your tires are not top of mind – unless something goes wrong. 

If you’ve ever worn dress shoes on a slick, wet sidewalk, you know what we mean. Suddenly, that slippery feeling underfoot makes your shoes a whole lot less comfortable. But if you change those dress shoes to a pair of hiking boots, with nice deep tread and non-slip soles, that unsettling slippery feeling goes away.

Just like you need to pick the right shoes for the job – sneakers for the gym, dress shoes for the office, or hiking boots for protection from the elements – you also need the right tires for your driving conditions. But since tires are a whole lot harder to change than shoes, traction and stopping power win out over good looks.

While keeping your brake system in good running order is essential to stopping your car, your tires will make or break your braking ability. And the stopping power of your tires all comes down to two things. First is the contact patch, the part that’s actually in contact with the ground. Just as important is the condition of that contact patch, or how much tread is left on your tires.

The Contact Patch: Your Car’s Footprint 

Just like you, your car has a footprint. Since your car is a lot bigger than you, you’d expect its footprint to be bigger, too. But it isn’t. Your car’s footprint, also known as the contact patch, isn’t any larger than the size of your own soles. Why so small? So your tires won’t get thrown out of shape each time you brake, and will stay round and roll smoothly.

Unless you’re Fred Flintstone, you’re probably wondering: How the heck can such a small spot of rubber keep your car from sliding off the road?

The secret lies in the detail-oriented design of your car’s tires. Tire manufacturers have been testing and refining their tread depth, contact patches, and tire materials for decades, all with the goal of providing maximum stopping power in the widest variety of conditions. 

One of the most innovative designs is Michelin’s Pilot® Sport All-Season 3+™. Its contact patch is precision-tuned, and made of a special oil-based compound that delivers peak performance year-round, no matter the weather conditions.

Even the most expertly engineered contact patch, however, won’t transfer braking power from your wheels to the road, if it doesn’t have enough tread. Just like slick-soled shoes on a wet sidewalk, driving on bald tires will take the traction right out from under you. So, no matter what tires you choose, you’ll want to keep an eye on how much tread they have left. We check your tread every time your car comes into our shop for any service, but you can also conduct a quick test anytime, anywhere.

The Coin Test: Quarters, Not Pennies, Tell You When to Change Your Tires

Abe Lincoln may have been as honest as politicians come, but his likeness has been used to spread some bad advice about when you should change your tires. If you’ve ever been wondering out loud whether you need new tires, only to have a friend pull a fresh penny out of their pocket in response, you may have fallen prey to the infamous “penny test”.

The idea is sound: Use a common coin to tell whether your tire still has enough tread to keep you safe. Insert the penny into a tread with Honest Abe’s head pointing towards the tire, if you can see the top of his head, it’s time for new tires. But there’s a big problem with this test: According to tire experts, the 1/16th of an inch that’s between the rim of a penny and the top of Abe’s head just isn’t enough.

And those same tire experts just cannot tell a lie: They think George Washington is a much better gauge of tire health than Lincoln. Conduct the same test using a quarter, and you get a full 1/8th of an inch between the rim and Washington’s head – and a much better sense of whether you need new tires.

In the end, your tires have the final say on how well your car stops when you press on the brakes. Keeping your car’s footprint in good shape is a critical step in maximizing your stopping power.

Our Culture: Treat Each Other Like Family

Welcoming Wegman’s – another values-based company – to our community

Imagine: You’ve just had such an amazing experience that you go out of your way to write a love letter to… A grocery store? At Wegman’s that’s a reality, with around 7,000 customers a year penning everything from simple thank you notes to requests for a new Wegman’s location near them.

Wegmans brick facade showing their sign and windows with colorful ads

It’s not just the customers who love Wegman’s, though. Among the many awards they’ve received from the business media, they have been ranked in FORTUNE magazine’s list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For every year since it was started in 1998. How do they do it? They start with a simple core commitment: helping customers and employees live healthier, better lives through food.

While we’re in the business of tires, repairs, and maintenance, not selling bread and milk, we share a core value with Wegman’s. By treating each other like family, both of our businesses hope to build stronger communities.

Founded in Rochester, New York by brothers Walter and John Wegman in 1916, Wegman’s has continued to be passed down from generation to generation, even as it has grown from a single storefront to 150 stores employing 52,000 people. All along the way, they’ve been guided by a spirit of treating everyone like family, from their employees, to customers, to members of their wider community.

Maybe the most inspiring part about Wegman’s is their ability to live their values out each and every day. As an example, to protect the health of their employees and communities, they stopped selling tobacco products more than 12 years ago. Plus, they offer free smoking cessation programs to all their employees. 

Their people-centric approach doesn’t prevent them from running a hugely successful business, though. Last year, gross sales topped $9 billion. 

Those sales aren’t where the story ends. Each year, Wegman’s commits to donating nearly 20 million pounds of food to local food banks, over $10 million to local charities and events, and nearly $5 million dollars to an employee scholarship fund that ensures every member of their team has a clear path to career advancement. 

More recently, they’ve made big changes to their sustainability, too – drastically reducing their contributions to landfills, creating sustainable packaging, and reducing emissions for their fleet of trucks. Combined with their commitment to sourcing as much food as possible from local farmers, this makes Wegman’s stand out as a grocery store that’s looking toward contributing to a healthier world today, tomorrow, and for many years to come.

We’re proud to know that we share a core value with Wegman’s: Treat each other like family. Maybe it comes from the fact that both Wegman’s and Chapel Hill Tire are family-owned businesses that have been passed down from generation to generation. All we know is, we’re happy to welcome Wegman’s into our community – and we look forward to working alongside them to make our community a better place for our employees and customers. 

Our People: Terry Govoreau

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

Thank you for putting our values to work every day

Here at Chapel Hill Tire, our “Work Happy” culture is based on the idea that happy employees create happy customers, and happy customers create a thriving business. It is a culture we try to create by living our five values: 

  • Strive for excellence
  • Treat each other like family
  • Say yes to customers and each other
  • Be grateful and helpful
  • Win as a team (and the customer is part of the team)

Although he was sceptical at first, Terry Govoreau was instantly absorbed into the Chapel HIll Tire culture when he began working with us in 2019. “People were talking about values and what they believe in and how it guides them at work, and I was taken aback,” he said. “It was unlike anything I’d experienced before. Once I saw it in action, though, I knew this was a place I wanted to be.”

Terry Govoreau smiles. He's wearing a dark blue polo with the Chapel Hill Tire logo.

As our Human Resources Director, Terry interacts with employees regularly, getting to know each of them and providing assistance when needed. If an employee is ever seeking help, they turn to him, and he happily works to solve their stressors. 

Of all our values, “be grateful and helpful” is the one that resonates most with Terry. Throughout his life, he has been drawn to helping others, and this value is always part of his job. 

“It’s my job to take on the difficult things that employees find stressful. I’m happy to help so that they have one less thing to worry about. Without fail, every employee that I’m able to help and interact with is so grateful. It’s inspiring because I’m really just doing my job. I’m grateful every day that I walk into this place and see the level of care that everyone treats each other with,” he says. 

Outside of work, Terry enjoys spending time with his wife and two children and cheering on his favorite sports team, the Kansas City Chiefs. 

“I know my coworkers will give me a hard time for this, but I love to say, ‘I bleed red for the Kansas City Chiefs and bleed blue for Chapel Hill Tire,” he said with a smile. 

As much as Terry feels grateful to work at Chapel Hill Tire each day, all of us here are grateful to have him on our team. Thank you, Terry, for all you do to help us Work Happy.

Our Community: Helping Animals by Helping People

Aerial photo showing green trees and buildings

Transforming lives at the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Wake County

“Our mission is ultimately about saving animal lives, but our work goes so much further than that,” said Kim Janzen, CEO of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SCPA) of Wake County. “One thing we know for sure is that the only way we can help pets is by helping people.” 

two people holding dogs and smiling

Motivated by a vision to create a humane community for people and pets, SPCA of Wake County works to transform the lives of people and pets through protection, care, education, and adoption. While they offer animal care through several services, SPCA also serves the people who love those animals through pet loss support groups, education programs, pet food delivery services, and more.

Finding homes for found animals

Most of SPCA’s pets come from animal shelters. Often underfunded and under-resourced, these facilities are usually only able to keep an animal for a short time. Then, they are at risk for euthanization. Dedicated to a community-centered approach to finding good homes for these pets, SPCA partners with municipal shelters across the state. Through these programs, they are able to save nearly 4,200 animals every year.

Keeping friends together

The organization also works with social service organizations around the Triangle to better the lives of pets and their people. Partnering with Meals on Wheels and the Food Bank, they created Animeals, a food delivery program that brings pet food and other products to home-bound seniors, enabling them to keep their four-footed companions by their sides. 

SPCA works hard to match people with pets that best fit their personality and lifestyle by assessing each pet’s individual needs and providing any necessary behavioral support. Even after pet adoption, SPCA offers continued support by providing information and resources to help adopters form a lifelong bond with their new pet. Additionally, the organization offers cost-effective spay and neuter services once pets reach a certain weight and age. 

Nothing compares to the love of a furry friend. That’s why SPCA is dedicated to do everything in their power to keep pets and families together. We at Chapel Hill Tire feel fortunate to be a part of the same community as SPCA of Wake County — a community that uplifts and cares for each other. To learn more about their mission and programs – and maybe even find your next best buddy – please visit spcawake.org.

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.