4 Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for Car Lovers

Valentine's Day car carrying oversized heart

Valentine’s day is coming up, and our local mechanics are here to make gift-giving easier than ever. What is the perfect gift for car lovers? Consider treating their ride to an upgrade or service. Let’s unpack 4 gifts that car fanatics are sure to love. 

1: Car Wash and Detailing Service

There is no feeling quite like driving a new car. While it is hard to maintain that new car sensation, you can let your loved one relive it this Valentine’s Day.

We recommend borrowing your loved one’s car and bringing it in for a professional car wash and detail. This service is perhaps the best give you can give to anyone whose prized possession is a car. A seasoned professional will clean the car—inside and out—to leave it looking brand new. This process includes a hand wash, towel drying, interior vacuum, interior cleaning, window cleaning, seat protector, exterior polish, and so much more. Detailing service also helps preserve the long-term value of the vehicle.

2: Custom Rim Protection

Curb rash can affect even the most careful drivers. It is easy to scrape up your rims as you turn and park your vehicle. Teslas are especially prone to curb scraping because of the jutting wheel design. While many drivers do not notice these small scratches, they tend to drive a true car lover crazy. AlloyGator rim guards can protect your partner’s car rims while adding a custom flair of style. 

3: Trailer Hitch Installation

Are you planning on giving your loved one a car bike rack for your adventures together? Or perhaps you are eyeing another vehicle attachment. Don’t let your gift fall flat. Many cars are now built without trailer hitches. Thankfully, you can have one installed at a local mechanic shop. This service is the perfect addition to round out your Valentine’s Day gift. 

4: New Tires or Routine Car Care

An act of service is a great way to show a loved one you care. For the practical gift giver, installing a new set of tires can be a sign that you care about your partner’s safety on the road. 

You can also focus on the routine car services your loved one might need. Has your partner put off any necessary car care? Taking charge of an upcoming oil change or inspection can give your partner one less thing to worry about. Even the smallest car service can have a big impact on their vehicle long-term.

Convenient Car Care at Chapel Hill Tire

The local mechanics at Chapel Hill Tire can make giving the perfect Valentine’s Day gift easy. With our pick-up and delivery service, you can deliver industry-leading car service without lifting a finger. 

Our experts proudly serve the greater Triangle area with 10 locations across Cary, Apex, Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Durham. We also commonly serve surrounding communities, including KnightdalePittsboroWake ForestHillsboroughMorrisville, and beyond. You can make an appointmentbrowse our deals, or give us a call to get started today! 

Car Wash and Detailing FAQ

Car wash and detailing service

Car wash and detailing services can be exciting for drivers, but you might have questions about what to expect. The local mechanics at Chapel Hill Tire are here with the insight you are looking for. Let’s unpack five car wash/detailing questions and their answers. 

Should I Clean Out My Car Before Having It Detailed?

In a car detailing appointment, you are paying for the interior of your vehicle to be cleaned. So many drivers wonder if they should pre-clean out their cars. The short answer is yes. There are three critical reasons you should pre-clean items out of your car before having it detailed:

  • Uninterrupted Service: You likely want the best possible service when you invest in car detailing. Sorting your items can distract from the actual task at hand: cleaning out the finer details of your car. Drivers do not need to clear out their vehicles entirely—a phone charger and some spare change are somewhat expected. However, any clothing, children’s toys, or bulky items can get in the way of your service. 
  • Personal Item Liability: Most importantly, you should remove any personal items or items of value from your vehicle before bringing your car in for detailing. Your car detailing technicians are not responsible for any lost or damaged items that you leave behind during this service. Detailers might mistakenly toss away items when clearing out any trash. It is also easy to damage fragile pieces when sorting through your vehicle.  
  • Achieving a Clean Car: Finally, there is nothing like the rewarding feeling of picking up a freshly detailed car. This elated sensation can quickly be dampened when you open up a trunk full of clutter. It is best to use your detailing service as motivation to clear out all of your unnecessary items before having your car cleaned. 

While detailers will toss away any trash they encounter while cleaning out your vehicle, it is best to pre-clear unnecessary items from your car. 

How Long Does Car Wash and Detailing Take?

Thoroughly washing and detailing a car takes time. While it might be inconvenient, it is a telltale sign that your detailer is doing a good job. Car detailing can take anywhere from 1-4+ hours—depending on a few factors, including:

  • The car wash/detailing package you choose
  • How many deep stains are in the car
  • Whether you have fabric or leather seats
  • The size of your vehicle
  • The condition of your car

Here at Chapel Hill Tire, we only allow car wash/detailing services as add-ons for drop-off appointments. This policy can prevent drivers from getting stuck in our lobbies for extended periods. 

What Can You Leave in Your Car During Detailing Service?

The more you clear out of your car before detailing service, the better. However, you do not need to sweat if you leave behind a few items. 

  • Keys: You will need to leave your keys with the car for the detailing service
  • Small Items: It can be stressful to think about clearing out every single one of your items before your appointment. Phone cords and other common, small accessories are somewhat expected and easy to work around.
  • Trash: Your car detailers will throw out trash as they come across it in your vehicle. It can be helpful to throw away any garbage beforehand, and this could prevent any mistakenly tossed items. However, you do not need to worry about thoroughly cleaning trash out of your car before the detailing service. 

As mentioned above, it is most important to clear out any personal items—especially those of value. 

Does Detailing Resolve All Interior Stains?

Car detailers can eliminate some of your stubborn interior stains using professional-grade materials, tools, and processes. 

However, this can also depend on the nature of the stain and whether or not it has set in. In severe cases, you might be able to detect faint signs of a previous mark during a close inspection. 

Additionally, if your mark is caused by an interior scratch or surface abrasion, there is no way to truly undo this damage. However, detailing services can help reduce the appearance of these marks

Can You Prevent Water Marks, Swirl Marks, and Spots After Car Washes?

Have you ever left a drive-through car wash thinking, “What is the point of paying for a car wash if it leaves behind marks?” 

Automatic car washes can prevent proper drying, which leaves hundreds of small, white hard water stains on your car. You might also notice swirl marks and leftover spots from dirty cleaning components. 

Hand washing and drying—as we do here at Chapel Hill Tire—is the best way to prevent these unsightly marks. In higher detailing packages, you will also get wax that will keep your car free of blemishes and spots for longer. 

Professional Car Wash and Detailing Near Me

Chapel Hill Tire offers industry-leading car wash and detailing services in the Triangle. You can get your car cleaned during any service appointment to have it looking and driving like new. 

Our Triangle-area mechanics serve drivers with ten shops across Cary, Raleigh, Apex, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Durham. We also support nearby communities, including PittsboroKnightdaleWake ForestHillsboroughMorrisville, and beyond. We invite you to make an appointmentbrowse our promos, or give us a call to get started today! 

How the Cold Weather Affects Your Car Battery: Mechanic Insight

Tesla driving in the winter

The only thing worse than a dead car battery is when you’re left stranded in the cold. Unfortunately, car battery failure is especially common during the colder months. Our local mechanics are here with insight into how the cold weather impacts your car battery.

Slowed Battery Mechanics

As you might know, cold weather can reduce your car battery’s capacity by 30% to 60%. So why does the cold weather drain your battery? This is a complicated process, but essentially, the cold weather interrupts the battery’s energy production. 

Your battery charge is fueled by an electrochemical reaction, which produces energy in the form of heat. So, naturally, less heat will mean less energy for your battery. 

Greater Energy Requirements

In addition to losing capacity, your battery will work harder in cold weather. When the temperatures drop, your engine oil and other vehicle components can slow down. As a result, your battery will require more energy to pump these slow-moving parts. The additional stress of overworking can cause winter battery failure. 

Recovering From The Heat

The cold winter weather drains your battery’s charge. However, low temperatures will not cause substantial battery harm. Especially here in the south, the real battery killer is the summer heat

Extremely warm temperatures damage your battery from the inside out. Internal corrosion and evaporation leave your car battery unable to battle the struggles of the winter season. 

Electric Vehicles and the Cold Weather

The cold weather can significantly cut your range if you are driving electric. The exact loss of range will depend on a variety of factors, including:

  • Your vehicle’s make and model
  • The age of your vehicle
  • How cold the temperature gets
  • The condition of your battery

You will want to plan your travels and charging sessions accordingly to avoid getting stranded with a dead battery. 

Preventing Winter Battery Failure

Thankfully, there are a few steps you can take to protect your car battery from the cold weather.

1) Garage Parking

When possible, park your car in your enclosed garage. While this will not fully protect your car from the cold, it will help keep some of that frost away. However, if you are not used to parking in a garage, please note that it is essential to follow some safety precautions to avoid harmful carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • Always open your overhead garage door before starting your vehicle. 
  • Once your vehicle is on, quickly exit the garage enclosure. It is not safe to warm up your vehicle in the enclosed garage. Rather, exit to the driveway if your car needs time to heat up. 
  • After parking in your garage, promptly turn off the vehicle. Additionally, you should keep the overhead garage door open until any emissions have had time to clear. 
  • Ensure your smoke alarms double as CO2 detectors and keep them in good working order.

The safety of your home and family is of the utmost importance. You can read more information here from Iowa State University’s Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

2) Summer Protection

Perhaps most importantly, keep your battery protected from the summer heat. As mentioned above, heat damage contributes to most premature battery failures. So keep an eye out for signs that the heat is killing your car battery, and take the necessary steps to avoid damage. You can read our full guide on protecting your car battery from the summer heat.

3) Battery Checks

You can have your battery checked and serviced at a local shop. Your mechanic will clean or replace corroded terminal ends. Additionally, an expert can check the overall health of your battery. If it is near the end of its lifespan, your mechanic can replace it before you get stuck out in the cold. 

You can read more in our guide to when you should change your car battery

4) Have Your Engine Oil Changed

If you are worried about winter battery failure, take a moment to check the quality of your oil. As mentioned above, slow-moving engine oil can strain your battery, causing your car to overwork. This issue is made even worse if you have old, contaminated, or ineffective engine oil. 

Consider changing out your oil and filter each year as the temperatures drop. Not only will fresh oil minimize winter battery strain, but it can also prevent costly engine damage. 

Car Battery Replacement Near Me | Chapel Hill Tire

These tips from our local mechanics will help keep you from getting stranded in the cold. We proudly offer local battery replacement services in the greater Triangle area with 10 locations across Cary, Apex, Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Durham. 

Our industry-leading mechanics also commonly support surrounding communities, including KnightdalePittsboroWake ForestHillsboroughMorrisville, and beyond. We invite you to make an appointmentbrowse our coupons, or give us a call to get started today! 

Are My Brake Calipers Sticking? Insight From a Mechanic

picture of a braking system including brake calipers

Your brakes are vital for vehicle safety and performance. So when something doesn’t feel right, you will want to get it fixed as soon as possible. One possible cause of braking troubles is sticking calipers. The local mechanics at Chapel Hill Tire are here with insight. 

What Are Brake Calipers?

Brake calipers are the muscle of your vehicle’s braking system. Many drivers are familiar with the brake pads + rotors and the vital roles they play in braking. Calipers are the vehicle components responsible for bringing your rotors and brake pads together to slow and stop your vehicle. Powered by a hydraulic system, calipers lower the pads against the rotors each time you press down on the brake pedal.

Is My Brake Caliper Sticking?

Most automatic cars will gradually move forward as you lift your foot off the brake—even before you press down on the gas. Once you put your foot on the gas, your car should effortlessly move forward. But what if something doesn’t feel right? Perhaps you are feeling some resistance as you shift from braking to accelerating? There is a chance your brake calipers are sticking. 

When a brake caliper sticks, it will not release properly after the brake pedal is lifted. This can cause the brakes to drag and create a variety of problems, including:

  • Reduced fuel efficiency
  • Excess heat in the brakes
  • Premature wear on the brake pads
  • Warped rotors
  • Decreased braking performance

All of these issues have the potential to negatively affect other vehicle systems and components. 

What Causes Sticky Brake Calipers?

When your calipers are sticking, an internal caliper component is malfunctioning—typically either the caliper’s pistons, slider pins, bolts, or brake hoses. There are a few potential causes of brake caliper sticking:

  • Corrosion or Rust: Many of your braking components are made of metal. Over time, this system is exposed to humidity and moisture, which can cause rust and corrosion. This issue can affect your brake caliper’s pistons, bolts, or pins to malfunction.
  • Dirt and Debris: Your braking system can also pick up dirt, rocks, and other debris as you drive. Collectively, these factors can limit the mobility of your caliper’s pistons or slider pins—resulting in sticky calipers.
  • Brake Hose Issues: As mentioned above, the calipers rely on a hydraulic system—hoses deliver specialized fluid to power your brakes. If the brake hoses become damaged or obstructed, the fluid will be restricted—leaving your brake stuck. 

How Do You Fix Sticking Calipers? 

Thankfully, sticky calipers can be corrected with the right tools. To fix sticking brake calipers, a professional mechanic can disassemble your braking system to find the source of the issue. Once diagnosed, your expert will clean or replace the components causing the problem. Because your brakes are vital to vehicle safety, it is essential to have a trusted, trained professional complete this repair as quickly as soon as possible.

Chapel Hill Tire: Brake Repair Near Me

If your brake calipers are sticking, the local mechanics at Chapel Hill Tire are here to help. We can help diagnose and repair any braking trouble you might experience. Our experts proudly serve the greater Triangle area with 10 locations across Cary, Raleigh, Apex, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Durham. We also commonly serve surrounding communities, including KnightdalePittsboroWake ForestHillsboroughMorrisville, and beyond. You can make an appointmentbrowse our coupons, or give us a call to get started today! 

5 Car Care Steps Essential for the Cold Weather

A car driving on a snow-covered road in the winter

Let’s face it: the cold weather can be tough on your car. Thankfully, there are some steps you can take to help it manage the winter. The local mechanics at Chapel Hill Tire are here with some considerations. 

1) Inspect Your Tires

Cold weather can cause low tire pressure as the air compresses, affecting their grip on the road. So check your tire pressure regularly and inflate them to the proper level. You can read our 5-step guide to inflating your tires here

Your tire tread is also vital to ensuring your safety on the road—especially when inclement weather strikes. Therefore, it is vital to check each tire’s tread to ensure you have even wear and at least 2/32″ of thickness. (Click here to read our guide on checking your tire tread depth.) If you live in a place with frequent snow, you can also consider using winter tires. As the name suggests, winter tires are designed to perform better in cold and snowy conditions.

2) Keep Your Car Clean

Snow, ice, and road salt can all take a toll on your car’s exterior and undercarriage. As you walk over the salt-covered pavements, you can also track these abrasive materials into your car’s interior. Car wash and detailing services can help protect your car from the elements.

3) Check Your Car’s Fluids

Your engine relies on a variety of fluids—including engine oil, radiator fluid (coolant)brake fluid, and windshield washer fluid. Cold weather can cause your car’s fluids to thicken, which can put your engine at risk. This thickening worsens when your car’s fluids are old or contaminated. To keep your engine safe, have your local mechanic check your fluid levels and composition.

4) Keep your Battery in Good Shape

Cold weather can cause your battery to lose charge more quickly as it slows down the electrochemical reactions used to power your car. To make matters worse, the cold weather can also slow down your engine oil, requiring your battery to work even harder. Collectively, these issues often leave drivers stranded in the cold. If you have a newer battery, it’s important to keep it in good condition:

  • The summer heat does more car battery damage than the winter frost. Try to park in the shade when possible.
  • During the winter, parking in the garage can minimize the impacts of cold weather. 
  • Your alternator recharges your battery as you drive. As such, avoid leaving your car sitting for extended periods.
  • Have a mechanic clean off any rust or corrosion and replace the terminal ends when necessary. 
  • Keep your engine oil fresh. As mentioned above, slow-moving engine oil is part of your battery’s struggle. Keeping up with regular oil changes will help your engine stay healthy while minimizing winter battery stress.

If your battery is older, have your mechanic test it to ensure it will survive the winter. It is often better to replace a nearly-dead battery than to risk getting stranded or needing a tow. For additional information, you can read our 8-step guide to jump-starting your car battery, our guide on when to replace your car battery, and our guide to the safety of battery jumps.

5) Stay Ready for Anything

When traveling in the wintery weather, you must stay ready for anything. It’s a good idea to keep a few essential items in your vehicle—including jumper cables (or a jump-starting battery pack), nonperishable snacks, a blanket, water, a flashlight, and extra warm clothing. These extras can help keep you safe and comfortable if any winter driving hazards leave you stranded.

Winter Car Care at Chapel Hill Tire

By following these tips from our local mechanics, you can help ensure that your car is ready to handle the challenges of cold weather.

Our professional mechanics proudly serve the greater Triangle area with 10 locations across Raleigh, Cary, Apex, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Durham. We also commonly serve surrounding communities, including KnightdalePittsboroWake ForestHillsboroughMorrisville, and beyond. We invite you to make an appointmentbrowse our promotions, or give us a call to get started today! 

FAQ: Will I Pass My Annual NC Car Inspection?

Annual NC vehicle Inspection

When it comes time to renew a car’s registration, many drivers fear it might fail the inspection. Thankfully, passing your North Carolina car inspection is easier than you might expect. Our local mechanics are here with an FAQ on common questions about passing your inspection. 

Will My Car Pass Inspection?

Unless your car is experiencing a safety hazard, you will not have trouble passing the state inspection. Ask yourself, “Does my car feel safe to drive?” In summary, this test will check the health and functioning of your:

  • Lights
  • Tires
  • Horn
  • Brakes
  • Mirrors
  • Turn signals
  • Steering wheel
  • Windshield wipers
  • Exhaust system

If you are worried about failing your inspection, you can precheck many of these items at home—or ask a mechanic to take a look at your concerns. For more information, you can read our detailed list of everything checked during your car safety inspection here

I Passed My Car Inspection: Why Can’t I Renew My Registration?

It takes up to 2 hours for the inspection center to upload your “pass” status to the NCDOT. If you are still experiencing this issue after two hours, you can call your inspection center or mechanic for assistance. 

Will a Cracked Windshield Cause Inspection Failure?

The short answer is no; a windshield crack or chip will not cause you to fail your NC car inspection. Contrary to popular belief, a cracked windshield is not a safety hazard nor prone to shattering/inward collapse. Rather, your windshield works more like an industrial-grade plexiglass designed to protect passengers even under impact. Unless your windshield is so cracked that it impacts your visibility, it will not cause inspection failure. 

Can I Get My NC Car Inspected In Another State?

Yes, you can get your NC vehicle inspection completed by a mechanic or inspection center in another state. 

What if you happen to be traveling across state lines when you realize your registration has expired? In these cases, getting your car inspected as quickly as possible is essential so you can renew your registration, pay your taxes, and avoid a traffic ticket for expired tags. Even without the physical sticker on your license plate, you should be safe from a ticket once you renew your registration online.

You must complete safety and emissions inspections in compliance with NC legislation. Speak with your inspection professional to ensure they comply. For example, some states do not require safety or emissions inspections—which might make it hard to find an inspection center. At the time of publication, the following states do not require car inspections:

  • Wyoming
  • Washington
  • South Dakota
  • South Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Montana
  • Mississippi
  • Minnesota
  • Michigan
  • Iowa
  • Arkansas
  • Alaska

If you are living out of state or traveling for an extended period, you can apply for an out-of-state exemption. Learn more here from the NCDOT

NC Car Inspections Near Me: Chapel Hill Tire

If you need a local car inspection service in Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Durham, Cary, Apex, or Carrboro—Chapel Hill Tire is here for you. We proudly serve the greater Triangle area with 10 locations across Cary, Apex, Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Durham. 

Our local mechanics also serve nearby communities, including KnightdalePittsboroWake ForestHillsborough, and Morrisville. We invite you to make an appointmentbrowse our promotions, or give us a call to get started today!

4 Reasons to Skip the Dealership for Car Services

Mechanic holding the cap to a car's radiator

When you buy a new or used car, the dealership will insist on providing its repairs, services, and routine maintenance. While you might feel pressured to visit the dealership’s service department, many drivers will find better car care at a local mechanic. Let’s look at four reasons to skip the dealership for car services. 

1. Long Wait Times for Appointments

When your car needs care, it often cannot wait. Dealerships are asking drivers to wait weeks—or even months—to make an appointment. Delaying necessary car care can put your vehicle at risk for further damage. Even for routine car care, vehicle manufacturers make a point to emphasize the importance of these timely services in vehicle owners’ manuals. To then make this car care inaccessible seems unfair. 

This issue also restricts scheduling flexibility. There are plenty of situations wherein you might require appointment accommodations.

  • What happens when you are unavailable during the dealership’s limited appointment windows? 
  • Or when you have to reschedule because of an unexpected scheduling conflict? 
  • If you are going on a holiday road trip, you will want to make sure your car is ready to go. 
  • When your car is involved in a wreck, you will need quick service to ensure it is safe to drive after a car accident

These scheduling complications put more stress on you and further complicate your access to necessary car care. 

Getting the car care you need does not have to be stressful. Local mechanics like Chapel Hill Tire offer same-day or next-day appointments—giving you reliable access to the vehicle service you need. 

2. Higher Car Care Pricing

Dealerships are known for upping the pricing of their services. In some cases, vehicle manufacturers might control the service costs. For example, car manufacturers might require their dealerships to use only brand-name parts. Meanwhile, independent mechanic locations can source from a variety of reputable, high-quality brands that may offer more affordable prices. 

3. Unexpected Costs: The Lack of Pricing Transparency

Dealership service contracts are often filled with loopholes. When your car requires service outside of your contract, you might be hit with elevated costs. Dealerships are also notorious for poor pricing transparency. You might not know about these extensive costs until after you wait months for an appointment, arrive at the dealership, and standby for their initial inspection. 

What are service departments trying to hide by omitting their pricing from the website? Without cost transparency, you might also be left to wonder if you are truly getting the dealership’s best pricing. At a trusted local mechanic like Chapel Hill Tire, you can review transparent pricing online—ensuring that all customers are treated fairly. 

4. Limited Customer Amenities

You never know what to expect when it comes to dealership car care. Unfortunately, their amenities are often limited. For example, many mechanics give drivers loaner vehicles when they require overnight or extended services. Dealership service departments offer this feature as well. However, the dealerships are prone to selling their loaner vehicles when the car resale market is highly competitive—making this an unreliable amenity. 

Because car dealership service departments are often contracted, they are not incentivized to go above and beyond for drivers. You might expect the bare minimum from your car dealership service department. Meanwhile, a local mechanic network like Chapel Hill Tire will offer industry-leading convenience, including:

  • Free pick-up and delivery service
  • Text updates and pay-by-text options
  • Free shuttle services
  • Online appointment scheduling
  • Free inflation for low tire pressure
  • Easy online tire buying with full transparency
  • Free loaner vehicles for extended services

Industry-Leading Car Service Near Me

Chapel Hill Tire helps drivers enjoy world-class car service without the hassle of dealerships. We proudly serve the greater Triangle area with 10 locations across Cary, Apex, Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Durham. Our professional mechanics also commonly serve surrounding communities, including KnightdalePittsboroWake ForestHillsboroughMorrisville, and beyond. We invite you to make an appointmentbrowse our coupons, or give us a call to get started today! 

Car Care and Mechanic Terms You Should Know

New tires from Chapel Hill Tire

Unless you are familiar with the ins and outs of car care, any mechanic service recommendation might come with some unfamiliar terms. The local car care technicians at Chapel Hill Tire are here to help with a quick reference guide for drivers. 

General Car Service Terms

Here is a look at some of the more general service terms you might hear from your local mechanic. 

  • Service Interval: It can be concerning when you see several lights suddenly pop up on your dashboard. In these cases, take a look at your vehicle mileage. You could be reaching a service interval. What is a service interval? Some routine car services (like brake services or maintenance flushes) are recommended at certain car milestones—or service intervals. Mostly, this will either be a certain number of years or (more frequently) miles. 
  • Maintenance Flush: Your car has a variety of specialized fluids that all serve a unique function for your vehicle. The list includes brake fluid, power steering fluid, transmission fluid, radiator fluid, and so much more. Over time, any of these vehicle fluids can become depleted or contaminated. 

Car Tire Service Terms

Tires require regular maintenance and care. Our experts are here with a glossary of some key tire terms:

  • Tire Tread: What is tire tread? This is the vehicle grooves and patterns on the surface of your tire. They are designed to keep your tires in controlled contact with the road. 
  • Tire Rotation: A tire rotation is a routine service wherein a mechanic will rearrange your tires so they can wear more evenly.
  • Tire Patching: When you have a nail, screw, or other sharp object stuck in your tire, you may need a patch. Tire patching service is when a mechanic removes the tire obstruction, patches the hole it created, and reinflates the tire. 
  • Tire Pressure PMI: Your tire PMI is the current or recommended air pressure in your tires.
  • Tire Valve Stems: The tire valve stems are small access points on each wheel where you can refill your tires with air.

Car Parts Glossary of Terms

It would be nearly impossible to unpack all of the terms relating to your vehicle, but here is a closer look at some of the lesser-known car parts: 

  • Catalytic Converter: The catalytic converter is the vehicle component that helps convert toxic vehicle emissions into less harmful compounds. Catalytic converters contain precious metals, which makes them prone to theft. 
  • Radiator: Your radiator is the engine component that uses freon to help keep your engine from overheating. 
  • Transmission: Your transmission is like the heart of your vehicle. It connects your tires and your engine while distributing and regulating your car’s power. Click here to read more in our guide to what your transmission does
  • Differentials: The rear and front differentials are vehicle components that help your wheels move at different speeds. This part plays a vital role in helping your vehicle turn. 

Car Care and Mechanic Insight from Chapel Hill Tire

If you have any questions about your vehicle, service recommendations, or any additional car terminology, please do not hesitate to ask our local mechanics. We proudly serve the greater Triangle area with 10 locations across Cary, Apex, Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Durham. Our professional mechanics also commonly serve surrounding communities, including KnightdalePittsboroWake ForestHillsboroughMorrisville, and beyond. We invite you to make an appointmentbrowse our coupons, or give us a call to get started today! 

5 Tips on Getting Your Car Ready for Holiday Travel

Car filled with presents prepared for holiday travel

The holiday season is a busy time for drivers. While you may be tempted to save time by putting off your car care, you will likely end up paying for preventable vehicle damage. This fact is especially true for those who travel during the holiday season. Our local mechanics are here with five tips on preparing your car for holiday travels. 

1: Check Your Registration

You will likely see traffic officers keeping the roads safe during your holiday adventures. These officials often work to curb DUI offenses and speeding hazards; however, they will also pull over any drivers with expired tags. Before risking a ticket on the road, ensure your registration is up-to-date. The easiest way to check your registration status is to look at the sticker on your license plate. Your tags expire on the last day of the month listed. 

If your license plate is expired, ensure you have your inspection completed and your registration updated before your trip. Even if your new sticker does not come in the mail, you should be safe from a ticket if you pay your registration fee before hitting the road. You can read more in our guide on when you should get your car’s state inspection

2: Oil Check and Change

Your engine oil is vital in keeping your engine safe. This vehicle component lubricates your engine—keeping all of the moving parts working together seamlessly. Your oil also has cooling properties that help your radiator keep your engine from overheating. 

Over time, your engine oil can become contaminated and depleted, which leaves your engine at risk. It takes just moments to check your engine oil—and this small act can save your vehicle from costly damage. 

3: Tire Pressure Check and Refill

The air inside your tires will compress as the temperature cools down, leading to low tire pressure. Unfortunately, low tire pressure will cause your fuel economy to tank, which is less than ideal for a holiday road trip. Additionally, low tire air can damage your tires and pose safety issues for your vehicle. Thankfully, it is easy to DIY check and refill your tires—or have a local professional do it for free. 

4: Tire Health and Service

Healthy tires are essential to keeping your vehicle safe and moving forward on the road. Your tires need to be ready for anything during a holiday road trip. You might find yourself traveling during inclement weather or passing through a city that is prone to snow. Take a second to do some quick tire checks:

  • Tread Wear: Your tire tread is designed to grip the road to maintain traction and safe handling. Without adequate tread, your vehicle will be unsafe on the road—especially during inclement weather. Take a moment to make sure your tires have at least 2/32 of an inch of tread depth
  • Tire rotation: When was your last tire rotation? This service keeps your tires wearing evenly. Most vehicles need two tire rotations a year. If it has been a while since your last rotation, it is best to complete this service before any extensive holiday travel. 
  • Alignment: Wheel alignment is essential to keeping your tires protected. Thankfully, you can get your alignment checked for free at many local mechanic shops—including Chapel Hill Tire.
  • Patching: If you notice a nail in your tire or your tire is having difficulty maintaining its tire pressure, you may need a tire patching service. 

5: Consider Catalytic Converter Protection

Catalytic converters have been stolen from cars for years and sold for the precious metals they contain. Unfortunately, travelers are particularly easy targets for catalytic converter theft. Thankfully, there are some steps you can take to stay safe:

  • Safe Parking: When possible, park under street lights and near security cameras.
  • Security Features: If your car has any built-in security features, be sure to turn them on whenever you are away from your vehicle. 
  • Safety in Numbers: Try to park in areas with high foot traffic. 
  • Catalytic Converter Shields: A catalytic converter shield can make cutting through this vehicle element challenging, which is the best way to deter theft. 

You can read more in our guide to everything you need to know about catalytic converter theft

Vehicle Trip Check Inspections from Chapel Hill Tire

The local mechanics at Chapel Hill Tire know how important it is to keep your family safe during holiday travels. The Trip Check is an affordable inspection we offer for this reason. Our vehicle professionals will check your car to ensure it is safe and ready for long-distance travel. If any issues arise during this inspection, our mechanics have what it takes to get your car ready to go—without delaying your travel plans

We offer all the services your car might require—from an oil change to a catalytic converter shield installation. Our experts even install trailer hitches so you can take all your extra cargo along this holiday. You can make an online appointmentbrowse our coupons, or call one of our 10 Triangle-area mechanic locations to get started today! 

What Does My Transmission Do? Insight from a Mechanic

Mechanic Completing Engine and Transmission Service

Each time you press down on your car’s gas pedal, various systems jump into action to move your vehicle forward. However, one often overlooked component is the transmission—that is, until you have a problem. So, if your transmission has been “out of sight, out of mind,” you might have some questions when your mechanic tells me you need transmission repair, service, or replacement. The local technicians at Chapel Hill Tire are here with insight. 

What is a Car Transmission, and What Does the Transmission Do?

Your vehicle’s transmission sends power from your engine to your wheels. While that might sound simple, this vehicle component is powerful and complex. When your engine creates power, your transmission will harness, transport, and regulate it—ensuring your wheels can move at your desired speed.

Bridging these two essential car components makes your transmission vital to a vehicle’s functioning. There are several different transmissions, most notably the automatic and manual. Therefore, your transmission care and maintenance will depend heavily on which kind of transmission your car has. 

How Long Do Transmissions Last?

With proper maintenance, transmissions often last for the lifespan of a vehicle—which is why many drivers consider transmission troubles synonymous with vehicle replacement. Like engine failure, there are plenty of reasons to replace a failed high-value car component or buy a new vehicle

You can also find a mechanic (like Chapel Hill Tire) that will install both new and remanufactured transmission replacements. Remanufactured components have been salvaged or repaired—offering a more affordable alternative. 

However, because transmissions are usually so reliable—they are often covered under your powertrain warranty. Auto manufacturers often include coverage for years—up to 10-year/100,000 miles in some cases. Of course, this warranty will depend on your car manufacturer. Additionally, some manufacturers will void your warranty if you do not keep up with routine maintenance. So, what kind of maintenance does the transmission need?

What Kind of Transmission Service Do I Need?

Your recommended transmission service will depend on a variety of factors, including your vehicle’s make, model, and transmission type. However, the most common cause of automatic transmission failure is worn-out transmission fluid. This fluid keeps your transmission cool and lubricates these components so they can work together seamlessly. 

Most vehicles need a transmission fluid flush every 30,000 miles. However, you can check your owner’s manual or ask your local mechanic for recommendations specific to your vehicle. 

Transmission Service at Chapel Hill Tire

Whether you need transmission maintenance, service, replacement, or a second opinion—Chapel Hill Tire is here for you! Our local mechanics will provide you with your options and all the information you need to make the best decision for you. If you are covered under warranty, our office will also provide you with any documentation or communication you might need for your warranty coverage. Best of all, we offer free loaner vehicles for overnight services—including transmission replacement. 

Chapel Hill Tire is proud to serve the greater Triangle area through our 10 locations across Cary, Apex, Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Durham. Our professional mechanics also commonly serve surrounding communities, including KnightdalePittsboroWake ForestHillsboroughMorrisville, and beyond. We invite you to make an online appointmentbrowse our promotions and coupons, or call your nearest location to get started today!