5 Signs Your Car Needs a Radiator Flush

Mechanic holding the cap to a car's radiator

As the temperatures outside begin heating up, you might start to worry about your car. The heat presents high risks for your vehicle—especially your battery and other engine components. To keep your engine protected from the heat, your vehicle requires fresh radiator fluid. So are you due for a radiator fluid flush? Here are five signs that you need this car service.

What Is a Radiator Fluid Flush?

So you might be wondering, “What is a radiator fluid flush?” Before we dive in, let’s take a closer look under the hood. Your radiator works to keep your engine cool and protected using a balanced freon (or coolant) solution. Over time, this radiator fluid can become depleted, contaminated, and ineffective—leaving your vehicle vulnerable to the heat.

Without your radiator (and fresh fluid), your engine can begin rusting, warping, and even failing entirely. So how do you keep your radiator working well? This vehicle component requires occasional radiator fluid flushes. During a radiator fluid flush, your mechanic will remove all of your old refrigerant and replenish your radiator with fresh fluid. 

1: High Engine Temperature Gauge

The temperature gauge on your dashboard is not referring to the outside temperature—but rather the temperature of your engine. When you see this meter rising or resting higher than usual, it is a sign that your radiator is not effectively cooling your engine. Moderately high heat is often a sign you are nearing radiator trouble. If you wait too long to get a radiator flush, your engine might begin overheating (more on this below).

2: Engine Overheating

When the temperature gauge mentioned above rises all the way—which may be indicated by a red zone in your meter—this is a sign your engine is overheating. In this case, you should pull over if possible to give your engine time to cool down. As you drive your vehicle to safety, consider turning off your AC and turning your heat on high. While this may seem counterintuitive and uncomfortable during the warmer weather, it gives your vehicle a way to release the heat building up in your engine. After your vehicle is safe to drive, you should bring it straight to a mechanic for a radiator fluid flush.

3: Your Car Smells like Maple Syrup

Your radiator is filled with coolant containing the compound ethylene glycol. Interestingly enough, ethylene glycol molecules resemble a part of sugar molecules. In fact, sugars can actually be converted to ethylene glycol using a nickel tungsten carbide chemical reaction—according to the Royal Society of Chemistry. As such, burning radiator fluid is known to put off a sugary smell that probably reminds you of pancakes. Many drivers describe this sweet sensation as smelling of maple syrup or butterscotch. 

While this reaction might sound sweet, it can be deadly for your engine. Burning radiator fluid means that your engine is rapidly losing the properties it needs to stay cool and protected. Sweet engine smells are a sign that you need a radiator flush.

4: White Engine Vapor or Orange/Green Fluid Leaks

It is a dangerously common myth that you can detect radiator fluid leaks by looking for a puddle under your engine. Refrigerant naturally enters a gas state at room temperature or above. As such, radiator fluid leaks will quickly evaporate away. However, you may catch a glimpse of your leaking refrigerant before it changes to its natural gas state. Refrigerant is orange or green-colored in its liquid state and a white vapor in its gas state.

5: Routine Maintenance Mileage

If you are seeing any signs of a needed radiator fluid flush, this indicates that a problem is already forming. It is best to get your radiator service completed before an issue can arise. When all else fails, you can determine your needed radiator fluid flush by your recommended service milage. On average, most vehicles need a radiator flush every 50,000-70,000 miles—though you can find more information in your owner’s manual. 

If you are still not sure whether or not you are due for a radiator flush, visit a mechanic near you. Your mechanic can test the quality of your radiator fluid and check for signs of contamination—such as rust or flecks in your freon. 

Local Radiator Fluid Flushes at Chapel Hill Tire

Does your engine need fresh radiator fluid? The mechanics at Chapel Hill Tire here to help. We offer quick and affordable radiator fluid flushes to keep your engine protected this summer (check out our coupons here). Our mechanics proudly serve the greater Triangle area through our nine locations across Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Apex. You can make your radiator fluid flush appointment here online to get started today!

Trailer Hitch Installation: Frequently Asked Questions

old car pulling a camper (1)

What happens when you load up your trailer for a summer vacation and find that your new SUV does not have a hitch? Or perhaps you have an expensive bike rack and nowhere to attach it to your car? You might begin wondering about trailer hitch installation.

Thankfully, hitch installations are available for almost any vehicle and can get your summer plans back on track. Chapel Hill Tire is here to answer some of the most common questions drivers have about installing a trailer hitch on their cars. 

What is a Trailer Hitch?

A trailer hitch (also called a tow hitch) is a sturdy metal device mounted to the frame of your vehicle. Trailer hitches connect your vehicle with attachments—like trailers, bike racks, kayak racks, and more—allowing you to tow a wide variety of items.

Can Small Cars Have Trailer Hitches? What about EVs and Hybrids?

So can you install a trailer hitch on your compact car? What about electric and hybrid vehicles?

YES! Many drivers mistakenly believe that trailer hitches are only intended for large trucks and SUVs. Even small cars often have some towing capacity. You can find information about your towing capacity in your vehicle’s owner manual. While you may not be able to tow a full trailer, your car can likely tow a smaller cargo trailer. 

However, especially in electric, hybrid, and compact vehicles, trailer hitches do so much more than towing. Most commonly, trailer hitches are used to add a bike rack to smaller vehicles. You can also find some unique attachments for trailer hitches—such as hammock attachment or hidden key safe. You can read more here about the advantages of trailer hitches on small vehicles.

Can You Install a Trailer Hitch on Any Car, Truck, or SUV?

For the most part, any vehicle could have a trailer hitch. These installations are available from the smallest electric vehicles to the largest trucks. However, two unique situations might make it harder for you to have a trailer hitch. 

  • Older Vehicles: The first consideration here is if your vehicle is a much older car. Many older cars can have one installed, but your auto mechanic may need to look at the frame of your vehicle to ensure that can accommodate the trailer hitch. 
  • Damaged Frame: The second consideration here is if you have any damage or severe rusting on your frame, it may not be suitable for a trailer hitch.

Why Doesn’t My Car Have a Trailer Hitch?

Ideally, your vehicle will come pre-installed with a trailer hitch. However, it is becoming increasingly common for manufacturers to save a few dollars by leaving them off. It is a myth that vehicles without pre-installed trailer hitches cannot have one. 

How do Professional Mechanics Install a Trailer Hitch?

With the right tools and expertise, installing a trailer hitch can be a straightforward process:

  • First, your mechanic will clear rust and debris off the mounting frame at the back of your vehicle.
  • Next, they use professional-grade tools to attach a compatible trailer hitch to your vehicle’s frame.
  • Then, your mechanic will configure the hitch with the receiver, ball mount, trailer ball, and hitch pin.
  • Finally, they will electrically wire your trailer hitch. When larger units cover your turn signal lights, this wiring can activate the lights in your trailer.

Trailer Hitch Installation Near Me

If you have any additional questions about trailer hitch installation services, please do not hesitate to contact the professionals at Chapel Hill Tire. Our auto mechanics are here and ready to install a trailer hitch on your vehicle today. Make an appointment at one of our nine Triangle-area locations across Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Apex to get started today. Then, you can load up your trailer or bike rack and begin your summer adventure!

5 Signs You Are Due for a Brake Fluid Change

Mechanic completing a brake fluid flush

Brake fluid can become an “out of sight, out of mind” vehicle component—we often do not think of it until something goes wrong. However, your brake fluid is working hard every day to keep you safe on the road. Over time, it can become burnt out, depleted, or contaminated, which will prevent proper brake functioning. Be on the lookout for these 5 signs you are due for a brake fluid flush. 

Soft, Bouncy, or Spongy Brake Pedal

When you press on your brake pedal, does it feel soft, spongy, loose, or even bouncy? Do you have to push the brake pedal all the way to the floor before it slows and stops your vehicle? This is a sign you need a brake fluid change. 

Low brake fluid will cause air to fill the gaps in your brake line—leading to soft brakes. Spongy brake pedals can be both terrifying and dangerous—especially if you do not get them serviced at the first sign of an issue. 

ABS Dashboard Light

The ABS dashboard light indicates an issue with your anti-lock braking system. This system stops your wheels from locking up during braking to prevent skids and maintain traction. Low brake fluid automatically turns on the ABS system to help keep your vehicle stopping safely. 

Ineffective Braking Performance

Your brakes should be quick and responsive to help you stay safe in an emergency. Any delays or difficulties while slowing or stopping your vehicle is a sign that your brakes need servicing. Such issues could be the sign you need a brake fluid flush. 

Other possible culprits include warped rotors, worn brake pads, or an issue with another brake system component. Ineffective braking could also be caused by an underlying problem, such as worn tires, shocks, or struts. A professional can check your brake system and tell you which service you need to restore brake performance.  

Strange Noises or Smells when Braking

If you notice strange sounds when you are braking, this could be caused by low brake fluid or another brake system issue. Common sounds include scraping or grinding noises.

Burning smells after hard braking could mean that you have burnt-out brake fluid. In this case, you should pull over your vehicle into a safe place and give it time to cool down. You should also contact a local mechanic for insight and schedule a service visit. Driving with burnt brake fluid could create more serious issues—including brake failure. 

Routine Maintenance for Brake Fluid Flushes

When all else fails, you can fall back on your recommended maintenance schedule for brake fluid replacement. On average, you will need a brake fluid flush every 2 years or 30,000 miles. 

Routine maintenance also heavily depends on your driving patterns. For example, if you tend to drive shorter routes with frequent braking, you may need more frequent brake fluid flushes. You can check your owner’s manual for any brake fluid information specific to your vehicle. 

Brake Fluid Flushes: Chapel Hill Tire

Still unsure if you need a brake fluid flush? Bring your vehicle to the local auto mechanics at Chapel Hill Tire. We will remove all of your old, dirty, and depleted brake fluid and replace it with a fresh variant. Our mechanics proudly serve the greater Triangle area with our 9 locations across Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Apex, Durham, and Carrboro. You can make your appointment here online to get started today! 

9 Steps to Getting Your Car Ready for Vacation

Mechanic Completing Engine and Transmission Service

As schools are released for the summer and the weather continues heating up, you may be packing your bags for a road trip or a destination vacation. Before you hit the road, you will need to ensure that your vehicle is ready to go. Here is a look at nine checks and steps you may need to help your vehicle handle the long-distance journey. 

Step 1: Check Your Tire Pressure

Tire pressure is essential to your vehicle safety, handling, tire protection, and fuel economy. Setting off on a road trip with under- or over-inflated tires could lead to a wide number of problems. To do this, you will need a tire pressure gauge. You can view your ideal PSI (tire pressure levels) within your driver-side door panel and compare them with your gauge reading. If you need a hand managing your tire pressure, bring it to a mechanic. You can get your tire pressure checked and refilled for free with certain mechanic services, such as oil changes.

Step 2: Make Sure Your Oil Change is Up-To-Date

Engine oil changes are essential for keeping your engine protected from heat and damage. Skipping this affordable service could cost you thousands in engine repair or replacement. If you are due for an oil change, you’ll need to get this done before your road trip. Otherwise, the stress of a long-distance journey without the help of adequate engine oil could spell trouble for your vehicle.

Step 3: Check Your Cabin and Engine Air Filters

Summer vacations often align with the pollen and allergy seasons. This pollen can help quickly clog your engine and cabin air filters, along with dust, dirt, debris, and other contaminants. 

  • Your cabin air filter cleans the air you breathe inside your car as it circulates through your AC system. Clogged cabin filters are not only ineffective at cleaning the air—but they also create stress for your car’s AC system, leading to costly damage.
  • Engine air filters keep dust, dirt, contaminants, and debris away from your engine. When these filters become clogged, they can restrict the airflow in your engine. This issue creates combustion problems and puts your engine at risk. 

If you’re not sure how to check or change your air filters, bring your vehicle to an auto mechanic for help.

Step 4: Check Vehicle Light Bulbs

It is always a good idea to regularly check your vehicle lights. Dead bulbs can earn you a ticket on the road—which is sure to put a damper on your vacation. They can also cause you to fail your annual safety inspection. Even more seriously, they can create serious safety hazards on the road. Before taking off for your next vacation, take a moment to check:

  • Headlight functioning
  • Turn signal functioning
  • Brake light functioning

Thankfully, if you find one of your lights not working, it can often be repaired with a vehicle light bulb replacement

Step 5: Battery Check

When you are getting your car ready for vacation, this often involves preparing it to drive you to your destination. However, what if you are going out of town without your car? How do you prepare it for prolonged sitting? The biggest concern here is your battery. Batteries are likely to die when left sitting for too long. Before heading out on your vacation, see if you can get a friend or neighbor to drive your vehicle around the block (or perhaps a little further) once a week. Here is everything you need to know about leaving your car sitting

Before a road trip, you should check your battery for corrosion, terminal end issues, and signs that your vehicle is having a hard time starting. You should also pack a fully-charged battery jump-starter or a set of cables—just in case. 

Step 6: Vehicle Air Conditioning Checks

The last thing you need on during a long summer drive is a broken air conditioning system. When preparing for your trip, check to make sure your vents are blowing cool and comfortable air. If not, this is often a sign of low refrigerant. In this case, an AC recharge service will get your air conditioner working for your trip. Unfortunately, refrigerant leaks are often the sign of a deeper system issue that may require additional service—but you can worry about that after your vacation.

Step 7: Measure Tire Tread Depth

Before setting out on a road trip, you will want to check your tire tread depth to ensure you can start, stop, and handle your vehicle effectively. This requires at least 2/32 inch tread depth. You can check this using your tread depth indicator bars or the penny test. Learn more in our guide to checking your tire tread depth.

It might be easy to assume that if one of your tires is fine, all of your tires are fine. However, it is essential you check all four tires. Your tires often wear unevenly, which is why regular tire rotations are necessary. You will also experience disproportionately uneven wear if your wheels are out of alignment. For example, poorly aligned vehicles can leave you with three perfectly healthy tires and one completely bare tire.

Step 8: Fluid Level Check

Your vehicle relies on a wide variety of engine fluids to keep it running. This includes transmission fluid, brake fluid, radiator fluid (coolant), power steering fluid, and so much more. Every one of these is essential for your vehicle’s safety, health, and functioning. Before your vacation, take a moment to check your engine fluid quality and levels. If any of your engine fluids are contaminated or depleted, they may need a full maintenance flush and replenishment.

Step 9: Brake Check

While you may be eager to go, go, go when it comes to your vacation—it is also important to make sure your vehicle is ready to stop. Take a moment to check your braking system—specifically your brake pads and rotors. Brake pads are made a fictitious material that gradually wears away every time you slow or stop your vehicle. Your brake pads press against your metal rotors, which can be bent and warped by the braking friction. On average, you will need brake pad replacement every 40,000-50,000 miles and rotor replacement as necessary.

Chapel Hill Tire Trip Checks

Are you wondering if your vehicle is ready to handle your next vacation or road trip? Bring it by Chapel Hill Tire for a trip check. This service is designed to ensure you have everything your vehicle needs for a successful trip. You can even check out our promotions page for coupons, deals, and discounts. Make your appointment here online at one of our 9 Triangle-area mechanic locations across Raleigh, Durham, Apex, Chapel Hill, and Carrboro today!

When Should You Get Your Car’s State Inspection?

Annual NC vehicle Inspection

A passed NC state car inspection is essential to the tag renewal process. However, you do not want to wait until your tag expires before scheduling your state inspection. You will want to leave enough time for any services or repairs that you may need to pass your inspection. So here is a look at when you should get your vehicle inspected.

When Should You Have Your Car Inspected?

Annual vehicle safety inspections and emissions inspections should be completed within 90 days of your registration (tag) renewal. This is not required until the day your tags expire—but it is best to get your vehicle inspected sooner than later.

When Do My Tags Expire?

When you look at your license plate, you will notice a sticker in the upper right-hand corner with month and year listed—your license plate registration expires on the last day of that month

You should also get a renewal registration notice from the NCDOT with all of the information you need about this process. If you lost your renewal registration notice, you can find all of the information you need on the DMV website. 

Finally, you can check your current vehicle registration, which lists your registration expiration date.

FAQs: Do I Need a Vehicle Inspection?

North Carolina vehicles often need two inspections: a safety inspection and an emissions inspection. Let’s take a look at some common registration FAQs:

  • So can I skip my annual car safety inspection? The short answer is no—you cannot avoid your state safety inspection
  • What happens when you skip your inspection? Without your inspection, you cannot renew your registration when your tags expire. Having expired tags can earn you a ticket on the road and extra fees when you renew your vehicle. Safety inspections also help you catch safety hazards present in your vehicle, which can lead to problems on the road.
  • Do I need an emissions inspection? You may be exempt from your annual NC emissions inspection if you meet one of the following requirements:
    • 22 NC Counties: Emissions inspections are currently only required within 22 of North Carolina’s 100 counties. If your vehicle is registered in a county that does not require emissions inspections, you can skip this step.
    • Older Vehicles: Vehicles older than 20 years are exempt from emissions inspections.
    • Diesel Vehicles: Diesel-operated vehicles are also not required to get emissions inspections.
    • Farm Vehicles: If your vehicle is registered as a farm vehicle, it is exempt from this inspection.
    • New Vehicles: If your vehicle is less than 3-years old with fewer than 70,000 miles, you may qualify for an exemption. You can use the North Carolina Environmental Quality Exemption Calculator to see if you meet this exemption requirement.

NC Expired Tag Grace Period

Will I get a ticket when driving with expired tags? According to the NCDOT, you can drive for up to 15 days after your registration renewal date in North Carolina without getting a ticket. This window is a “grace period” to give you more time for your registration renewal. However, even though you will not get a ticket on the road, you will still qualify for late fees.

Vehicle Registration Renewal Late Fees

In North Carolina, your registration renewal late fee depends on how long your tags have been expired:

  • Less than 1  month: $15 fee
  • Between 1-2 months: $20 fee
  • More than 2 months $25 fee

What Happens When You Fail Your Vehicle Inspection?

While failing your inspection is not ideal, it is also not as bad as you might fear. You will simply need a service or repair to address whatever factor is causing you to fail.  Here is a closer look at everything checked during an annual NC safety inspection and the services you might need to pass.

NC Car Inspections at Chapel Hill Tire

When you are due for your next state inspection, visit your nearest Chapel Hill Tire location. We also offer trip checks to ensure your vehicle is ready to go on your next summer vacation. Chapel Hill Tire proudly serves the greater Triangle area with nine locations throughout Raleigh, Durham, Carrboro, Apex, and Chapel Hill. You can make your appointment here online or give our experts a call today to get started!

Help! Where Should I Get My Oil Changed?

Motor Oil Being Poured

Is it time for your next oil change? This service is essential for keeping your vehicle protected long-term, and it is one of the most frequently needed maintenance visits. So, where should you go for your oil change? Should you visit a dealership? Or how do you choose a mechanic? The professionals at Chapel Hill Tire are here to help. 

Oil Change at the Dealership

Should you get your oil changed at the dealership? For most drivers, the answer is no. However, there are a few cases in which you may opt for dealership car services. 

Dealership Service Warranties

One of the biggest reasons you may visit a dealership for an oil change is if you have a service warranty. These are often included for a limited time in most new car purchases. If you are covered under a service warranty, it is often best to take advantage of these free oil changes. 

Specialty Parts and Vehicle Care

It is a prominent myth that certain vehicles—like European cars, hybrids, and high-end models—require specialist care and unique parts that you won’t find at a mechanic. Most mechanics are certified and equipped for these services, perhaps even considering them a specialty. However, you should give your local mechanic a call if you are concerned they won’t have the parts needed for your vehicle. In the rare case that they will not service your vehicle, you might want to opt for a dealership. 

With these exceptions in mind, your dealership is often not the best recourse for an oil change. Dealerships are often associated with long wait times, poor customer care, and more expensive services.

Auto Mechanic Oil Changes

Most drivers will visit a mechanic for their next oil change. Mechanics are associated with high-quality services, lower wait times, affordable prices, widespread expertise, and better customer service. 

What To Look for in a Mechanic

So how do you choose which mechanic to bring your vehicle to for your oil change? Here are some things to look for:

  • Coupons: You can save on your oil change by finding a mechanic that offers coupons, promotions, specials, and discounts.
  • Transparent pricing: Why would your mechanic keep their pricing a secret? Not only does this raise suspicion, but it can also leave you with a surprise bill at the end of your service. It is best to opt for a mechanic that offers transparent pricing. 
  • Good reviews: Find a mechanic that is trusted and supported by your community by looking at reviews and social media.
  • Shuttle services: Shuttle services are offered by certain mechanics who will drive you to your work or home while your vehicle is getting the care it needs.
  • Convenient locations: It is helpful to find a mechanic located conveniently to your home, work, or a local shopping center. 

Oil Changes in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Apex, and Carrboro.

Chapel Hill Tire offers oil changes near you! Visit us for your next:

Our professional auto mechanics will have you in, out, and driving happy. Make your appointment here online to get your oil change today!

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.