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.

Our Community: Robert Ballard, Chapel Hill High School Automotive Teacher

Aerial photo showing green trees and buildings

“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”

William Arthur Ward

Think back on your time in school, and the teachers you had. You may not even remember quite  a few of them. But it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll remember a great teacher, the one that inspired you to do more than your best — not just to learn, but to become more, and transform into a better person for it.

We’re blessed to have many teachers like that in the Chapel Hill area, inspiring our kids to greatness and preparing them for bright, productive futures. And today, we’d like to tell you a little more about one of those teachers in particular: Robert Ballard, Chapel Hill High School’s Automotive Instructor.

Robert has lived in the Chapel Hill area his entire life and has been teaching our kids for the better part of 17 years, but it was only recently that he moved to teaching high school classes. 

Robert Ballard

“I’ve really enjoyed making the change from teaching college classes to high school. At the high school age, a lot of kids are making those big life decisions — where to go to college, or whether they should really be going to college in the first place. I find it really rewarding to help the kids at that crucial time in their lives.” says Robert, adding that “The perception is starting to change about what options are available to students coming out of high school. We’re really trying to educate kids on all their options, from college to tech school to apprenticeship programs and more.”

For Robert, those options go hand-in-hand with working with local businesses. “Chapel Hill Tire has been a big supporter of the automotive program [at Chapel Hill High School] for years,” says Robert. “They’ve come out and talked to our students quite a few times, helped me certify my program, supported the racing team, and even hired a lot of our students right out of high school. They’re a great business partner, and I love working with them.”

And even though the state-level curriculum might be a bit behind the times, Robert is always looking towards the future of the automotive industry while he’s preparing his students for life after graduation. “The automotive industry has changed a lot, and it always keeps changing. These days it’s more about computers and electronics, and it’s less mechanical — and with that comes different ways of teaching, to help these kids be prepared to do well in automotive in the future.”

We’re honored to be able to partner with Robert and Chapel Hill High School to keep these programs running smoothly, and look forward to many more years to come. Robert is a runner up for Teacher of the Year this year, and we wish him the best of luck as he continues to inspire and educate our brightest young minds!

Our People: Mike Storey, Director of Training

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

Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty.”

Henry Ford

If variety is the spice of life, then learning must be the meat and potatoes. Whether you’re 14 or 40, continuing to grow and learn is what gives life substance, keeps your mind and body sharp, and gives you something to look forward to every single day.

And these days, becoming a lifelong learner isn’t just a way to invigorate your daily routine. It’s also a necessity in any career field — but especially one as fast-moving and ever-changing as the automotive industry.

Mike Storey

Mike Storey, our new Director of Training for all of Chapel Hill Tire’s locations, knows a lot about how the industry is changing. And with a whopping 21 different ASE certifications to his name, he also knows a lot about what it takes to be a lifelong learner, and how to pass that on to a whole new generation of technicians.

“I went into a tech school program right out of high school, and I’ve basically been working in automotive for my entire adult life,” says Mike. “It’s always interesting, because there’s always a new challenge, and so many opportunities for improvement. That’s a big part of what I’m hoping to bring to Chapel Hill Tire as their Director of Training.”

More than anything, Mike wants to bring a big understanding of the “why” behind everything to Chapel Hill Tire’s technicians. “That’s really the foundation of the whole training program. You know, today’s car is basically a rolling computer network, with 120 or more modules — and you have to know the ‘why’ behind all of that to be a really great technician.”

And how do you really incorporate that Striving for Excellence into work? For Mike, that means looking at including ASE certifications as part of the promotion plans at Chapel Hill Tire. For motivated and curious team members, there will always be something new to work on, and Mike wants to give them a variety of ways to advance their careers in the automotive industry.

“Chapel Hill Tire has already put a lot of effort into Striving for Excellence, and I want to continue to make that available to more people. I’d really like to see some of our technicians become ASE Master certified. That will take a lot of custom training and fine-tuning — and a lot of time — but I know it’s worth doing.”

For those team members who want to pursue an ASE Master’s certification, it will take a lot of studying! Each Master’s certification covers eight different areas, with tests for each part. We’re lucky to have someone as experienced as Mike to help guide our techs through each phase of the testing process.

We’re so happy to have Mike as a new member of the Chapel Hill Tire family, and he feels the same way: “I’m happy that Chapel Hill Tire has picked me for this job, and I’m looking forward to continuing to be a part of watching this company and its people grow.”

Our Values: Striving for Automotive Service Excellence

Chapel Hill Tire Values

When you go to get your car worked on, how do you know that the business you choose is up to par? And how do you know that the fine folks working on your vehicle really know their trade inside and out, and are capable of getting you back on the road without a hitch?

An auto shop’s reputation goes a long way toward reassuring you on these matters, but it’s only part of the story. To know that you’re getting the best service possible for your car or truck, you’ll need to look towards the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, or ASE.

Established in 1972, the ASE is an independent non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of vehicle repair and service. They’re the gold standard for automotive service certifications, and their chairman Homer Hogg has this to say about the purpose of the ASE:

“[Our] focus on the advancement of service professionals through testing and certification benefits employers, consumers, and most importantly, service professionals themselves.”

And as part of our commitment to Striving for Excellence in everything we do at Chapel Hill Tire, our service technicians have been getting ASE certified at a downright impressive rate. In 2022 alone, we added a total of 51 new ASE certifications — increasing our total to 141 certifications company-wide, with many more to come in 2023.

That means when you take your car in to one of our 10 Chapel Hill Tire locations, you know you’re taking it to the absolute best service technicians around. But even after earning their ASE certifications, our technicians want to go farther, always learning from the latest techniques and technologies to increase their skill levels.

Mike Storey, our Director of Training that you’ll also meet in this month’s newsletter, is a huge part of what makes our training programs at Chapel Hill Tire so special. As part of his plans for our service technicians’ continued training, he’s building in ASE certification into promotion plans that every team member can strive towards. And he’s perfectly situated to do so, as he is an ASE-certified Master technician with a whopping 21 individual certifications, on everything from diesel engines to advanced performance and hybrid vehicles.

All in all, we make a point of Striving for Excellence in everything we do here at Chapel Hill Tire, and we’re looking forward to seeing Mike pass on his knowledge and expertise to our many ambitious team members. That way whenever you visit one of our 10 locations, you’ll know through and through that you’re getting the best possible service for your car, and the best customer service experience that we can provide, every time!

Our People: Ben Moore, Service Advisor

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

Service advisor at our Durham location

“As a service advisor, you know, we take phone calls. We ask what people need to bring their cars in for, maybe ask about previous work that’s been done on the car,” says Ben Moore, one of our long-time team members at our Durham location. “But what’s really important is that we always make time to have more than just a business transaction with everyone that comes in. We want to build real relationships with people, and I feel like Chapel Hill Tire’s values really make that possible for me.”

Ben grew up in the Durham area, and worked at a few other shops before making the switch to Chapel Hill Tire. “I’ve been working here for nearly 10 years now, and I can tell you that I have been truly blessed to find this company. I’m working with a lot of guys that I grew up with, so I’m never dreading Mondays. It’s fun coming in to work here, and I feel like I’m just spending the day with my family.”

In his decade of work as a service advisor, Ben has come to embody all of Chapel Hill Tire’s values — but none more than the value of Striving for Excellence. With the support of his managers, he’s constantly setting new goals for himself in the workplace, and pushing himself to be the best team member he can possibly be.

That enthusiasm for striving for excellence has even carried over into Ben’s personal life, especially in his role as a coach for a little league traveling baseball team. “I’ve started taking the same values that we have here at Chapel Hill Tire, and incorporating them into my kids’ baseball team ethic. It’s amazing how well the kids respond to this, you know? They pick up right away on how following a few values makes everybody’s life better, makes us into a better team.”

Ben goes on to say that “The one thing that really changes when you start to live by these values, at home and at work, is that a makes a real culture of excellence. Then when you bring somebody new into your team, your family, your life, they get a feel for how things work right off the bat. That changes everything, especially when you compare it to people who don’t seem to have a set of values to live by.”

And after 10 years of successful work as a service advisor, Ben is looking towards a long and fruitful future with Chapel Hill Tire. “I’m trying to become a manager soon!” He says with a laugh and real enthusiasm, “Only problem is, I really love what I do as a service advisor. But I’m going to take some of the leadership classes that Marc is offering, and use them to better myself both at work and at home.”

Like so many members of the Chapel Hill Tire family, Ben has gone the extra mile to embody our values. And true to style, he really sums it up best: “There’s nothing better than having a great culture and a great group of people that you know have your back.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves, Ben, and we wish you the best of luck with continuing to strive for excellence in your life at home and at work.

Our Values: Being Grateful and Helpful

Chapel Hill Tire Values

In a world filled with constant distractions and endless to-do lists, it can be easy to get caught up in our own lives and forget to show gratitude and kindness to those around us. But the importance of being grateful and helpful cannot be overstated.

That’s why we’ve made being grateful and helpful a part of our core values here at Chapel Hill Tire. Because when the rubber hits the road and tough choices come up, we always want to be able to look to our most cherished values to guide our decisions.

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

— President John F. Kennedy

When we take the time to express gratitude and show appreciation, we not only make others feel valued and appreciated, but we also improve our own well-being. Even the simple act of giving a warm “hello” when you come into one of our Chapel Hill Tire locations can help to improve our relationships, and create a sense of connection and community that lasts far beyond that one visit.

You’ll find that sense of gratitude in our connections in many of our Chapel Hill Tire team members, like Ben Moore, a service advisor at our Durham location who said recently “I have lifelong friends that come through here as my customers. I go to these people’s houses, we have dinners together.”

You’ll find it in the impact of our “12 Days of Kindness”, a yearly outreach program where members of the community nominate someone most deserving of a random act of kindness. Each year, the dozen $1,000 car care vouchers we give out help good people to keep their lives going down a good road, even (and often) in the midst of struggles and challenges.

And you’ll find it in the impact that even something as seemingly simple as keeping a car on the road year after year can have — like the way we came together to celebrate the Algers’ trusty Toyota Corolla nearing its 500,000 mile mark, complete with a party that our University Place crew was invited to attend.

Being helpful and lending a hand to those in need can also bring a sense of purpose and fulfillment to our lives. Whether it’s volunteering our time, donating to a worthy cause, or simply offering a helping hand to a friend in need, the act of giving back can bring joy and a sense of accomplishment.

In today’s fast-paced and often self-centered world, it’s more important than ever to remember the value of gratitude and kindness. By taking the time to show appreciation and lend a helping hand, we not only improve the lives of those around us, but we also enrich our own lives and create a more positive and connected world. So let’s make a conscious effort to be grateful and helpful, and spread a little bit of joy and positivity wherever we go.

Our Community: 12 Days of Kindness

Aerial photo showing green trees and buildings

“Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.”

— Booker T. Washington, American educator and Presidential advisor

When we think of community, the first thing that comes to mind is giving back. Whether that’s as simple as sharing a friendly smile when you walk through the doors of one of our Chapel Hill Tire locations, volunteering to help local animals in need, or giving our support to one of our many local organizations, we’re always looking for ways to repay the kindness, generosity, and kinship that our communities have given to us.

This December, we continued a long-standing tradition of giving back: Our 12 Days of Kindness.

Leading up to the Christmas season, we took nominations from our communities for 12 people to be awarded $1,000 in free car care. It was tough to narrow down the nominations to just a dozen — but in the end, we’re so thankful and grateful for the people we were able to reach out to with an act of kindness for the holiday season.

Those include people like:

John Rugabo of the Refugee Support Center in Carrboro, one of our long-standing community partners. His work has been essential in helping those in need in our communities, by distributing clothing, food, and other essential items to the people who need them most.

Judy Taft, an occupational therapist with boundless energy for helping the less fortunate by delivering food, providing assistance with transportation, and serving up meals at the Interfaith Council Community Kitchen.

Nikkima Santos, a community leader and liaison between her public housing community and the local police, who also somehow finds the time to organize neighborhood cleanup events and help deliver food and clothing to neighbors in need.

For every person that we’ve selected, we’ve also made videos highlighting who nominated them for the act of kindness, and a little bit more about what makes them such a special member of our community.

Each of the 12 people we’ve selected for our 12 Days of Kindness exemplifies what it means to really treat your neighbors like a family, and we’re so grateful to be able to give them a helping hand. The success of this project is a testament to the power of small acts of kindness to make a big difference.

If you’d like to know even more about the event and each of the people chosen for our 12 days, you can check them out on our 12 Days of Kindness website or Facebook page.

Our News: Celebrating A Rare Milestone

Five hundred thousand miles: That’s about 200 trips from New York City to Los Angeles, a solid eight trips around the entire Earth, or just over enough miles to make a round trip to the moon and back.

It’s common for a car or truck to rack up a couple hundred thousand miles in its lifetime. But a half a million miles? That’s downright amazing, and something well worth celebrating.

Allison Alger decided to do exactly that for her beloved 1999 Toyota Corolla, in a multi-day event combining celebrations for Veteran’s Day and her car’s momentous milestone, with crowds of up to 100 revelers visiting from all over the country.

Allison Alger

The Corolla’s journey with the Alger family began back in 2005, just after they had moved back to the U.S. and settled in the Triangle. Originally, they were looking for a car for their 15 year old son. And it just so happened that an old friend of Allison’s, her former roommate from the Navy, was getting ready to sell her Corolla and trade up to a Volvo.

“Normally you don’t want to buy from friends,” says Allison, “You know, you don’t want to put any stress on your friendship if there’s something wrong with the car. But I knew her, and how well she took care of her vehicles.”

So the Algers bought the Toyota right away — not knowing that pretty soon, their son would hit his growth spurt and shoot up to 6 feet 3 inches tall! Having quickly outgrown the Corolla, Allison decided she would make it her vehicle instead.

In the intervening 20 years or so, that car has taken Allison faithfully back and forth to her job at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., week in and week out. And just as regularly as she’s driven back and forth to Virginia, Allison has been taking the Corolla to Chapel Hill Tire for routine maintenance.

“There’s only one major part that’s ever had to be replaced,” says Allison, “the radiator. And wouldn’t you know it, it went out when I was on the road and pretty far from home. So I called up Chapel Hill Tire right away, and Brad helped me figure everything out, right there on the phone, even though I couldn’t make it to their shop. He helped me get enough water in it to limp it to a garage that he found, and they got it replaced for me right after that.”

Besides that radiator trouble, the car is in excellent shape. “There’s nothing wrong with it,” says Allison, “The heat still works, the A/C still works, windows still work. It burns a little bit of oil, but that’s about it,” a condition that she attributes to the excellent, consistent work of the specialists at Chapel Hill Tire.

To celebrate their car’s years of faithful service, the Algers planned well in advance, renting out the Rigmore House for the duration of Veteran’s Day Weekend. It was a truly unforgettable three day bash, complete with food trucks, an Elvis impersonator, a band, a DJ, and oil change giveaways provided by Chapel Hill Tire.

So how many more miles does the Corolla have left in it? “I think it has a lot left in it,” says Allison, “And I trust that Chapel Hill Tire is going to help me keep it running right.”

Our congratulations to Allison, her trusty Corolla, and the whole Chapel Hill Tire family that helps to keep it in such great shape!

What’s Up With That? Why Winter Weather Can Kill Your Car’s Battery

There are few things more frustrating than waking up early on an icy cold day, heading out to your car, turning the key — and getting a whole lot of nothing. A few clicks, maybe the start of a turnover, but no ignition.

Unfortunately, finding your car battery dead on a cold winter’s day — even when it seemed to be working fine just days ago — is a fairly common occurrence. Here’s why it happens.

Car Batteries and Sponges

When you open up a new kitchen sponge fresh out of the pack, it’s as ready to go as it will ever be. Just a touch of soap and water, and it’s the right tool for cleaning dishes, countertops, and even the burnt bits at the bottom of your stove.

For another few days or weeks, that same sponge will handle your cleaning jobs admirably. Just rinse it out, leave it to rest next to your sink, and apply a new dab of soap and water each time you go to use it.

But after many more cycles of soap, wash, and rinse, you’ll notice it start to wear out. It may still clean alright on a surface level, but it will start to develop a funny smell that just won’t go away. That’s a natural sign that it’s time to replace your sponge.

The same is true of a car battery: Right after you replace one in your car, it’s at the best performance level that it will ever be. But after dozens or hundreds of cycles of giving power to your car’s electrical system and being recharged by driving, that battery has seen better days. And just as a stinky sponge can really put a crimp in your cleaning plans, so can a stinker of a battery keep you from getting to work on time.

Temperature is the Real Killer

But now imagine this: What if you used that same fresh and new sponge for cleaning up, then left it outside in all kinds of weather? In the heat of the summer, it would dry up in the noonday sun. As temperatures drop, it would freeze in the first nights of winter. Either way, your once-useful sponge would have its life span seriously reduced.

The same is true for your car’s battery, and it’s why we have a particularly difficult time with dead winter batteries here in the south. After spending a whole summer at egg-frying temperatures, your battery has seen better days. It’ll keep working throughout the hot season, but when it comes time to do some work in the winter — where you’ll need more cranking amperage just to get that first spark — it’s already worn out.

When is it Time to Replace Your Battery?

Now for the good news: Your battery is about as tough as it looks in its hard plastic case, and can survive for more than one changing of the seasons.

In fact, the average battery lasts for around three years — more if your car is running really efficiently, and less if you have some electrical issues drawing too much power from it.

But when it does finally come time for your battery to give up the ghost, there’s a very good chance that it will be right when you most want it not to, on a cold winter’s day.

To prevent that irritating fate, we recommend making battery testing a regular part of your car’s routine maintenance schedule. When you come into your nearest Chapel Hill Tire location for any services, we’ll gladly check your battery for you at the same time. And if it looks like your battery’s on its last legs, we can recommend a replacement for you right then and there.

Our People: General Manager Todd Ward

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

“I’ve had so many opportunities to learn and grow.”

Speaking with our General Manager Todd Ward, that’s a sentiment that comes up time and time again. It’s not just words, either — it’s backed up by an impressively long career history with Chapel Hill Tire, stretching all the way back to 1987.

In his first position as a General Service Technician, you could find Todd changing tires and oil with his team at the Carrboro location. But even during the four years he was cutting his teeth on the automotive repair industry, Todd was already looking to take the opportunities offered to him. That led to making light repairs on shocks, springs, and the like.

But Todd’s willingness and aptitude led him to become a Service Writer at the Carrboro location next, followed very shortly thereafter by his role as Manager of the entire location, a role he would hold all the way until 2015. This was perfect for him, as he felt a deep sense of connection to his work family at Carrboro, and loved being able to support them through the trials and tribulations of personal and professional life.

Even all of that experience couldn’t quite prepare Todd for what came next, though. With Marc Pons taking on the role as the company’s CEO, Todd was offered his largest responsibility yet: A role as the General Manager in charge of all Chapel Hill Tire locations.

“At the time, I didn’t deal with change very well.” says Todd, “And I’m a very loyal person. My Carrboro team was my family,” and being away from that location felt almost insurmountable.

“I just knew that the toughest part would be leaving my Carrboro family — but I also knew that I’d still be involved. Letting go was hard, but it’s been totally worth it.”

But with time and experience, Todd has taken to the General Manager role like a duck to water. He loves getting to spend his days visiting all nine locations, checking in with his people, making sure everything is going well for them both personally and professionally.

“In the stores, I always want to show that I care.” says Todd, and he does that every day by having conversations with every employee he meets.

“It did take me a little while to get in my groove. It was a lot to learn, and a different way of leading than what I was used to.” But what made that transition possible for Todd was sticking to Chapel Hill Tire’s core values — particularly Winning As A Team. By always supporting each other like a family, those values served to open the door to real personal and professional growth, all within the company.

With regards to those values, Todd says it best:

“I’ll say this: Those values are not just writing on the wall. They are what have helped to build the culture that we have today, by living those values and making decisions based on those values.”

For Todd, that means implementing them in a real, physical way each day: “We really focus on and talk about them daily, with our managers having a morning huddle focusing on the value of the week. They’re a huge piece of what’s gotten us to where we’re at today.”

Chapel Hill Tire wouldn’t be the place it is today without the people who keep it running, and we especially thank Todd for the work he’s done in continuing to grow and develop with everyone as a team!