What’s Up With That? Getting By With A Little Help From Our Cars

When a car is driven off the showroom floor, it’s not just as beautiful as it will ever be — it’s also at its safest, with a fresh set of tires and brakes, and everything mechanical in perfect working order. 

In today’s cars though, safety features go far beyond the physical and mechanical, into what are collectively called Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems, or ADAS. Relying mainly on computers, sensors, chips, and electronics, these powerful defense mechanisms can help correct for driver errors across the whole range of a vehicle’s functions. And in the future, they may even go so far as to allow for fully self-driving cars.

But to really understand these ADAS, let’s go back to the original driver-assistance system that started it all: Anti-lock brakes.

The First ADAS

From the time of the first automobile, ineffective braking has been a major cause of accidents. Applied too heavily, brakes could “lock up”, further sending the vehicle into a skid (or worse). 

As early as the 1920s, automobile manufacturers were looking for ways to prevent this worst-case scenario with hydraulic mechanisms, and later with purely mechanical systems in the experimental Ford Zodiac circa 1950.

But it wasn’t until 1971 when Mario Palazetti of the Fiat Research Center developed the first of what would become today’s ADAS: An entirely electronic, computerized system to prevent brake locking.

From there, it was off to the races, with designers creating a whole range of ADAS: Electronic stability controls, blind spot information systems, adaptive cruise controls, and traction control. With each advancement, cars became safer to drive — and more resistant to human errors.

Driver-Assistance Systems Today

With increasingly sophisticated technologies and more powerful computers available year by year, today’s cars are safer than ever thanks to comprehensive ADAS systems. In fact, there are so many different ADAS that the Society of Automotive Engineers has created a classification system, divided into six levels (0 through 5).

At level 0, ADAS provide information for the driver that they’ll then have to interpret on their own. These include parking sensors, lane departure warnings, blind spot information systems, forward collision warnings, and more.

At level 1, ADAS systems can take control over one function of the car, whereas at level 2 the car can take over multiple traffic functions at once. Adaptive cruise control, emergency braking systems, and lane centering all fall within level 1, while things like highway assist and autonomous parking fall firmly within level 2.

Levels 3 through 5 have not yet been fully integrated into cars that you can buy off the lot, with many of their features still in the experimental stage. With each level of increase, the car does more of the driving — with level 5 being fully autonomous driving.

The Future of ADAS

From the introduction of driver-assistance systems just over 50 years ago, we’ve progressed to a point where fully autonomous cars are being tested on America’s roads. Could we see a future where drivers will no longer need to have a physical hand in operating their vehicles? It’s certainly possible — but that will also mean that maintaining your vehicle’s systems becomes more important than ever.

That’s why we’re always keeping up to date on the latest developments in automotive technology here at Chapel Hill Tire: So that no matter how cars and driving change, you’ll always be able to rest easy knowing that you’ve had your maintenance taken care of at one of our 11 locations in the Triangle.

Our News: Toyota Camry Donation

It’s the skilled technicians at Chapel Hill Tire that make it possible for us to do great work for our community, keeping your cars in good working order through general maintenance and repairs. But before we get to see our technicians’ skills in action, it’s the Triangle’s dedicated automotive teachers who make their education possible — so we’re always looking for ways to support our teachers and schools.

This month, that comes in the form of a big donation to Durham Technical Community College. By repurposing one of our loaner cars, we’re grateful to be able to help the school’s automotive program prepare to teach even more students how to work on hybrid and electrical vehicles.

“Our automotive program has several certificate options, a diploma option and an associate degree option,” says H. Ward Taylor, director of Automotive Systems Technologies at Durham Tech. “We currently have built a classroom and lab to teach Hybrid and Electric Vehicle technologies, both of which are incorporated into next year’s plan of study.”

As technologies continue to change, we’re always looking to be on the cutting edge. By donating a 1999 Toyota Camry to Durham Tech’s automotive program, we’re hopeful for the opportunity to bring up a whole new generation of students who will be skilled in hybrid and electric vehicle maintenance and repair.

“Receiving this donation of the hybrid Toyota Camry from Chapel Hill Tire will help us teach our students this technology, and we are very grateful to the team at Chapel Hill Tire for this donation and all the other help they have provided the program over the years.”

Marc has this to say about the donation: “We are honored to support Durham Tech’s automotive education department by donating one of our loaner cars. This partnership reflects our core value of ‘Being Grateful and Helpful,’ and our commitment to fostering the next generation of skilled automotive professionals.”

Our People: Logan Gray, General Service Lead

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

As part of our commitment to treating each other like family at Chapel Hill Tire, we mean to treat everybody like family — and that means finding ways to give everyone equal opportunities to succeed.

“In a male dominated field like the automotive industry, I want young women out there to know that they are capable too,” says Logan Gray, General Service Lead at the Fordham Boulevard location. “I pursued a career in healthcare for nearly a decade before getting tired of pushing paper. And when I decided to go out on a limb and apply at Chapel Hill Tire, they really gave me the opportunity to discover my passion for something I once overlooked!”

That passion may have started early in life for Logan, who grew up on an alfalfa farm surrounded by heavy machinery, go-karts, and ATVs. But it wasn’t until she started at Chapel Hill Tire that a lot of doors opened for her to be part of a team:

“I am blessed to be at a shop with four Master Technicians and many other co-workers that are constantly sharing whatever information they come across. We truly do win as a team!”

Even outside of her day-to-day work at the Fordham shop, Logan stays active in the automotive community, mentoring young women in this ever-growing field.

“One of the things I’ve enjoyed the most during my time at Chapel Hill Tire was working with The Power of Us summer camp and the Summer Careers Academy. There was a young lady there who had just graduated high school, and had never even considered automotive as an option — but after finding out how much she loves it, she is now enrolled in her local community college’s automotive program while working with us part time at the Fordham location. It is really awesome watching her continuously excel!”

In addition to her efforts at educating young women about potential careers in the automotive industry, Logan finds deep satisfaction in the everyday work of helping every customer that comes in:

“As a service lead, I spend a good bit of my time up front with the service advisors, and I can see how flustered some of our customers are when they come in. It can be totally overwhelming to have a problem with your only method of transportation. And sometimes, when I can tell a customer that their problem has been solved, it seems as if I can actually see the weight lifted off their shoulders. That is super gratifying.”

We’re grateful and thankful to have Logan as such an integral part of our Chapel Hill Tire family, and can’t wait to see all of the amazing things she’ll be doing in the future!

Our Values: Treat Each Other Like Family

Chapel Hill Tire Values

Of all the values that the Chapel Hill Tire team lives by, Treating Each Other Like Family comes first. Because while we are striving for excellence, working on being grateful and helpful, saying yes to customers and each other, and winning as a team, it’s the family unit that ties us all together — and makes it possible for us to come to work each day with a smile on our faces, and leave knowing that we’ve done good in the world.

But what does it really mean when we say that Treating Each Other Like Family is a core value at Chapel Hill Tire? 

Well, it starts with the way we treat each other, day in and day out. In a family, everybody has a role to play — and that means that we also share a mutual respect for the important jobs that everyone has to do, from the service counter to the technicians to management and maintenance. And when one of our CHT family members is having a tough time, we rally around to help them, reaffirming that they’re an integral part of this family unit.

In the past year, those qualities have led us to being recognized for three outstanding awards in our community: The “Best Places to Work” award from Triangle Business Journal, “Best in Chapel Hill” award from Chapel Hill Magazine, and a nomination for the Business Excellence Awards from the Chamber of Commerce. We really couldn’t have done it without the hard work and continuing efforts of every member of the Chapel Hill Tire staff.

But family doesn’t stop outside of our doors, either. It’s just as important to us to extend our sense of family into our community of customers and friends in the Triangle, through initiatives like our 12 Days of Kindness, making donations to local automotive programs, and giving back to the teachers that put so much effort into raising our kids right.

And we strive to treat everyone that comes into one of our Chapel Hill Tire locations like family, from the moment they walk in. By treating each other like family first, we set the tone for how every CHT team member treats our guests — with kindness, empathy, and a constant willingness to be grateful and helpful. After all, without our amazing customers and community members, Chapel Hill Tire wouldn’t be here in the first place.

So as we move into this holiday season, the entire Chapel Hill Tire team would like to take a moment to thank you for becoming part of our family. It means the world to us to have your support, and we’re so thankful for the opportunity to continue to become an even bigger and more essential part of the Triangle community.

Our Community: 12 Days of Kindness

Aerial photo showing green trees and buildings

The holiday season is a time of giving — and there’s nothing that we love more at Chapel Hill Tire than being able to give back to our community. Whether that’s in the form of giving our teachers a helping hand, donating to local automotive programs, or simply living by our values of being grateful and helpful, we’re always looking for ways to return the kindness that our community has shown us.

That’s why we’re so happy to announce the return of one of our favorite holiday traditions: The 12 Days of Kindness.

“Every December, we’ve always looked for ways to give back to the community and try to bring our customers into the process. It started with us partnering with local food banks and offering our customers $10 off oil changes if they brought in a can of food,” said Marc Pons, owner of Chapel Hill Tire. “We started exploring new ways of giving back to the community… Then during Covid, we renamed it the 12 Days of Kindness — because we thought the world could use a little more kindness — and it stuck.”

And so, from November 16 through November 24th, we accepted nominations for recipients of twelve $1,000 car care vouchers. If you missed the opportunity to nominate someone, be sure to check back in next year. Maybe you know someone in the Triangle community who you would like to see recognized for their kind, giving, and selfless nature?

“We’re looking for those community heroes who are known for giving more than they receive,” says Marc. “It could be a church volunteer, teacher, or maybe a neighbor who is always there when someone needs a hand.”

Recipients of these car care vouchers were selected on November 30th, after Chapel Hill Tire’s leadership team had time to review all of the submitted applications. One winner will be announced each day from December 11th through December 22nd, accompanied by a video honoring both the recipient and the person who nominated them. You can find our previous year’s videos here.

“We are thankful that we get to use our God-given talents to help our neighbors drive happy all through the year,” says Marc. “We really enjoy showing our gratitude in this way, and we have a lot of fun with it. Be sure to check our Facebook page or 12days.chapelhilltire.com from December 11-22, to share the joy.”

Our Community: Celebrating 70 years of serving the Triangle

Aerial photo showing green trees and buildings

Seventy years ago, the world was a very different place. The Hudson Hornet was the most popular car on the market, “How Much is that Doggie in the Window” was climbing the Billboard Top 100 charts, and television sets across the country were tuning in to I Love Lucy to see the birth of Little Ricky.

Just about everything has changed since then — but Chapel Hill Tire’s commitment to car care excellence has not. 

“It’s an honor to lead a business that’s been around for this long,” Says Chapel Hill Tire President Marc Pons. “We’re drinking from wells we did not dig, and that’s the biggest part of our success.” 

To celebrate 70 years of family-owned service, we’re throwing a big birthday bash!

The “Tires & Tunes: 70th Birthday Bash! A Chapel Hill Celebration at Midway” is destined to be the best party of the summer, and we’re thankful to be co-hosting it with another legendary Triangle area business, 97.9 The Hill WCHL, which is also celebrating nearly 70 years of serving the Triangle.

The party will be happening from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Aug 26th on and around North Graham Street, just north of the intersection with W. Franklin Street. There we’ll have live performances by two popular local artists, Jesse Fox and The Shoaldiggers, as well as a street arts & crafts market, show cars on display, and car washes offered by Chapel Hill Tire.

There will be plenty of food and drinks from local bars and restaurants as well, including Al’s Burger Shack and IP3, The Baxter, Lapin Bleu, BeerStudy and Local 506. Many local businesses on N. Graham and W. Franklin will be open for business and offer in-store activities and special sales as well, giving you plenty of options for how to celebrate with us.

We’d love it if you’d join us between bands at 4 p.m. as well, where we’ll be singing Happy Birthday to Chapel Hill Tire and 97.9 The Hill WCHL, with Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Memminger recognizing Chapel Hill Tire and WCHL past and current personalities, Marc Pons, Aaron Keck, Ron Stutts, and many others.

Our People: Celebrating the ASE Blue Seal Certification

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

When the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence was founded in 1972, the United States was in the midst of an energy and oil crisis of unprecedented proportions. Where oil and gas had been plentiful in years past, now drivers and auto manufacturers alike were having to question just how well their cars were running, and how fuel efficient they could be. 

Those circumstances made the ASE’s mission to improve the quality of vehicle repair and service by testing and certifying automotive professionals more important than ever before. And now, more than 50 years on and as fuel and vehicle prices continue to rise, their mission is more important than ever — because a well-maintained car is more fuel efficient, and lasts a lot longer. And the ASE’s certifications can show the difference between a good auto repair shop and a great one.

That’s why we’re so excited to be celebrating the hard-working people at our Woodcroft and Crabtree Valley stores, whose efforts have gained the award of the ASE’s coveted Blue Seal Certification — which is only awarded to stores where at least 75% of technicians performing diagnosis and repairs are ASE Certified, and each area of service offered in the shop is covered by at least one ASE Certified technician.


In the Woodcroft store, Manager Troy Hamburg holds the highly esteemed Master, L1, Service Consultant, and Parts Specialist certifications, highlighting his expertise in many areas of automotive service. Randy Rigsbee has achieved the prestigious Master plus L1 certification, showcasing his exceptional skills and knowledge. Stevie Ray has been awarded seven ASE certifications, representing their extensive training and proficiency. And Cameron House is a valued member of our team with a General Service ASE certification, further contributing to the team’s commitment to service excellence.


In the Crabtree store, five of our team members are fully ASE certified. Manager Dru Gualdarama holds the G1 Maintenance and Light Repair, Service Consultant and P2 Parts certifications, and helps direct the entire team’s training efforts. Jack Driver has been recognized for 7 total ASE certifications, showcasing his dedication to continuing education and expertise in all things mechanical. Richard Vega-Gonzalez has achieved the G1 Maintenance and Light Repair certifications, Dew Burt the P2 Parts certification, and Cassidy McKay the C1 Service certification.

We really couldn’t be more proud of the hard work, time, and dedication to their craft that all of our team members have put into making an ASE Blue Seal certification a reality. And with the continuing help of Mike Storey, our new Director of Training for all Chapel Hill Tire locations, we’re looking forward to seeing even more Blue Seals across all of our stores!

What’s Up With That? The Impact of AI on Car Care

From the works of early computer scientists such as Ada Lovelace, artificial intelligence has taken on a life of its own, from becoming a prominent feature of 1950s science fiction to earning a central role in our new economies of “big data”. 

Scientists and media pundits are predicting that AI is the next big thing, the next quantum leap in technology that will change our everyday lives — some for the better, and perhaps some for the worst.

We’ve been keeping our finger on the pulse of this emerging technology for years now to prepare ourselves for AI’s inevitable impact on car care, and we’d like to share a few things with you that we can see changing in the near future.

AI Might Make Your Car Safer…

Some of the most exciting developments in automotive AI have to do with safety and convenience. A new generation of cars is already being equipped with AI-powered tools, and in the near future we can expect to see it become a regular part of many or all new vehicles on the road.

Active safety features can alert drivers to potential dangers before they become a problem, and even automatically take action to prevent accidents. Preventative braking is a good example of this, powered by AI identification through an array of cameras placed around the car.

There’s also the potential for AI to automatically detect when your tires are getting low — and even inflate them for you! This will keep your tires safer in all weather conditions, as well as contribute to better gas mileage and handling.

Inside of the car, AI will be able to keep an eye on the driver. If you’re too distracted, or getting drowsy on a long trip, AI-powered features will be able to alert you and give you the opportunity to drive safer.

And last but certainly not least, AI will allow for powerful predictive maintenance systems. We’re already well on the way to this with the integration of computerized sensors into every part of the vehicle. But soon, this technology will even notify you of problems before they arise, giving you more time to take your car into a shop for service before anything gets out of control.

… But There Are Drawbacks, Too

Until all of those AI-powered systems are completely refined, though, there’s a good chance that they’ll lead to more wear and tear on your vehicle.

Lane assist features, designed to keep your car in the center of your driving lane, might not yet be able to account for potholes and other unexpected road hazards. When that’s the case, they can maneuver your car unsuccessfully, adding wear and tear to your tires.

The same can be true for collision detection features. While they’ll be a great thing nine times out of ten, any sort of false positives could lead to emergency braking situations where none are necessary, adding lots of wear to your brake pads and calipers.

And You’ll Always Need A Good Mechanic

Unless AI gets to the point where it can perfectly predict your car’s maintenance needs, there’s always going to be a place for a good mechanic. Diagnosing exactly what a car needs is as much of an art as it is a science, and an experienced mechanic will know what to look for even when it’s not obvious.

That’s why we’re continually striving for excellence in all of our service departments, including ASE certification to keep up to date with all of the changes in car care. So even in a future where your entire car is equipped with AI-powered sensors and systems, we’ll be here for you to make sure that it stays in the best — and safest — possible condition.

Our Values: Being Grateful and Helpful

Chapel Hill Tire Values

“Everyone who remembers his own education remembers teachers, not methods and techniques. The teacher is the heart of the educational system.”

— Sidney Hook, American philosopher

Teachers give so much of themselves to make sure that our kids, their students, get the best possible education. Whether it’s evenings spent grading papers, afternoons coaching or administrating after-school clubs, or the simple act of showing up every day to connect with kids and make a difference in their lives, teachers are always giving.

But the sad fact of the matter is, we don’t always do a great job as a society of giving back to the teachers that make the success of future generations possible. It’s a hard job even on the best days, and one that could use a whole lot more support from our local communities.

“Our teachers do so much, and it can sometimes be a thankless job. So we started thinking: Wouldn’t it be great to find a real way to give back to them, in whatever way we can? Because they sure could be thanked more often, and in more ways.” 

That’s what started Chapel Hill Tire owner Marc Pons thinking about how we can best give back to these essential pillars of our communities. Guided by our core Chapel Hill Tire values of Being Grateful and Helpful, this led to a new initiative: Distributing over 5,000 gift cards for complimentary oil changes to teachers in Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Raleigh, Durham, Apex, and Cary schools.

Marc went on to say: “Chapel Hill Tire deeply values the incredible work performed by teachers each day, shaping the lives of our community’s youth. We are committed to supporting and recognizing their dedication. Providing them with a well-deserved opportunity to have their vehicles serviced as they head into summer break is our way of showing appreciation.”

Now in its fifth year, this gift certificate program has been incredibly well-received by both teachers and the local community — and we’re so thankful for our ability to be grateful and helpful in this way. 

As we continue to look for more ways to give back to our communities, we pledge to always keep our teachers in mind and help them out in whatever ways we are uniquely able to. That’s what being grateful and helpful is all about, and it’s a commitment that we hold dear in everything that we do.

Our News: Mobile Car Wash and Detailing Discounts, and a New Location in Durham

Spring is here, and you know what that means: Warmer weather, flowers in bloom, barbecues in the backyard, and… Pollen. Specifically, that filmy golden layer of pollen that shows up on your car day after day, threatening to cloud your windshield and damage your paint job.

And sure, you could break out the hose and a bucket of soapy water in your driveway. But with our new Mobile Car Wash and Detailing service, you can free up your time without having to go out of your way to get your car looking shiny and new. It’s just another way that we’re looking to serve our communities and customers better, by bringing the car wash to you.

Download the New App and Save

We’ve come a long way since the first automated car washes were invented in 1940s Hollywood — so far in fact, that you can now book a car wash from the comfort of your couch, and have our experienced detailing technicians come right to you.

That’s all made possible by our new Chapel Hill Tire app, which you can download here.

“But what’s the catch?”, you might be thinking. That’s just the thing: There isn’t one. 

By booking through our app, you’ll get the same great wash and detail services that Chapel Hill Tire has on offer in-store, at no extra cost. And for a limited time, we’re actually making the deal even better, with a $20 discount off your first in-app purchase using code CARWASH323.

We offer the same selection of car wash and detailing packages as you’ll find in stores, covering everything from a basic wash and shine to an in-depth detailing where we’ll smooth out light scratches and enhance the gloss on your paint.

One of our customers’ favorite ways to use this new service has been while they’re at work. Set up an appointment the day before, drive your car into work, and while you’re busy at your desk our technicians will come by and spruce it up for you. By the time five o’ clock rolls around, you’ll be able to walk into the parking lot and head home in your freshly cleaned and detailed car.

Our new mobile car wash service also makes for a great gift. You can buy any of our four available packages as a gift certificate, and give someone in your life the gift of a squeaky-clean car for birthdays, anniversaries, or holidays.

To learn more about this new service, check out our complete guide to mobile car wash and detailing services at Chapel Hill Tire. And if you’re ready to schedule your first appointment and get your $20 discount, don’t forget to download the app today!

But There’s More: New Location Opening in Durham

We’re also proud to announce the opening of our newest store! Located in the former Durham Tire location on Hillsborough Road, this brings our total number of Triangle area shops to 11. Now you can get the service you’ve come to know and love in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Cary, and Apex. 

Or if you’re short on time, we can take care of things with our free pickup and delivery, or our mobile car wash and detailing services. That’s just part of our commitment to innovating new ways of getting you and your car the care and service you need.