The 5 Worst Driving Roads in North Carolina 

North Carolina with car crash

North Carolina is known for its beautiful and diverse landscapes. You can go from rolling hills to gorgeous beaches in just a few hours, and it’s not a surprise that driving enthusiasts from around the country and the world flock to the Tar Heel State to experience all of the lovely routes that North Carolina has to offer.

While North Carolina has some of the best driving roads in the country, North Carolina’s roads are not without their flaws. Every state has its roads that’ll make you want to pull your hair out, but just how bad are the roads in North Carolina? Studies have shown that North Carolina roads are among the worst in the nation when it comes to rural crashes, and the highways aren’t that much better either. 

From traffic-jammed highways to dangerous exits, the following five roads are ones to avoid while driving in North Carolina.

1. I-95

I-95 is the main highway that stretches all up and down the East Coast of the U.S. If you’re making a north-to-south trip through any of the states along the East Coast, chances are you’ll be on 95 for at least some stretch of time. While 95 is useful, as it stretches all the way from South Florida to Northern Maine, it was also rated the most deadly highway in America back in 2022 with a staggering 379 fatalities in 2020. 

And it’s not just the danger that makes 95 miserable. The traffic on 95 near higher population areas can leave cars at a standstill for hours and hours on end. If you’re planning on driving through North Carolina vertically, maybe consider taking route 301 instead. While it may take a bit longer, it’s more scenic and less infuriating. 

2. The Tail of the Dragon (NC 28)

The Tail of the Dragon is a dangerous and legendary stretch of road located near the western part of North Carolina. Infamous for its tight turns, elevation changes, and stunning scenery, it packs a staggering 318 curves in just 11 miles of road through the Great Smoky Mountains. 

While driving enthusiasts from around the world come to test their skills on this adrenaline-pumping stretch of highway, it can come as a nasty surprise when you’re just making your way through the western part of the state. If you find yourself on The Tail of the Dragon, be sure to take extra care to navigate the twisting and turning curves of the road. 

3. I-77

I-77 is a stretch of highway that runs all the way from Columbia, SC, to Cleveland, OH. While it’s not a particularly dangerous stretch of road, I-77 can be a nightmare because of the tolls that are on it. Toll prices on 77 have been increasing every year, and the company that operates the toll systems reported a 260% increase in revenue from 2020-2022.

In 2023, the projected amount that someone could spend on a trip from Mooresville to Uptown Charlotte during rush hour was $23! That’s a mindblowing amount of money for a drive that should be a little over 30 minutes.

4. Rural Roads

Whether it’s the twisting mountain roads outside Asheville and Boone, the roads prone to flooding near Wilmington, or those notorious potholes on roads in the Piedmont, North Carolina has its fair share of rough rural roads.

North Carolina’s rural roads offer some of the best views in the whole country, but drivers have to be careful in the Tar Heel State. If you’re heading out into the country, be sure that your car is in tip-top shape and that you have everything you need for a minor repair like a blown tire. 

It might also be a good idea to research what auto shops are around the areas you’ll be traveling in. You might find yourself in need of a repair on short notice.

5. I-85 Between Exits 36 and 41 

The stretch of highway on I-85 between exits 36 and 41 has grown especially dangerous in the last few years. Over the past 20 years, there have been 39 crashes and 42 deaths on this particular section of the interstate. Since I-85 runs through Charlotte, urban congestion could be a contributing factor to the increased deadliness of the road. Besides the congestion, this stretch of I-85 could be more deadly due to speeding drivers who are in a rush to get wherever they’re going.

It’s always important to be aware of your surroundings and drive as cautiously as possible when on a more dangerous stretch of road. Be sure that you’re letting other drivers have some space if they seem to be more reckless, as you don’t want to have any type of accident due to someone else’s lack of care.

Stay Prepared for the Worst NC Roads with Chapel Hill Tire

If you’re prepping for a long drive on a sketchier stretch of road or have recently had an accident and live near Durham, Chapel Hill, Raleigh, or the surrounding Triangle area, Chapel Hill Tire can help you out. One of our qualified mechanics would be happy to examine your car and provide any repairs it needs to run at its best. We also have a great set of coupons to take advantage of for any maintenance requirements you might have!

Learn more about our vehicle inspection and repair services today. When you’re ready to bring your car in, please make an appointment at one of our convenient locations in the Triangle Area.

I Just Hit a Pothole: Is My Car Okay?

pothole on North Carolina road

Most of us have done it: you’re driving along and, at the last second, see a massive pothole in the road. You try to avoid it, but it’s too late, and you brace yourself for that heavy *thunk*

Hitting a pothole is a stressful moment for every driver. Potholes can wreak havoc on your vehicle in many different ways, and it can be hard to initially tell how much a pothole has damaged your car. In this article, we’ll go over the different types of pothole car damage that can happen, what you should be looking for after you hit a pothole, and whether your insurance will cover any of the damage that is caused by a pothole.

The Main Types of Pothole Damage

Potholes can cause all types of problems with different components in your car. Some of the common types of pothole damage include:

  • Alignment Problems: The force from hitting a pothole can throw your car’s alignment off. If you notice uneven tire wear, steering issues, or a noticeable pull while driving in one direction, your car may have alignment issues. Alignment problems are not easy to fix, so it’s best to take your vehicle to a qualified mechanic to get it diagnosed and serviced.
  • Bent Rims: Running over a pothole can crack the rims of your car’s wheels. If your rims are cracked, the structural integrity of your tires will be compromised, potentially creating areas on the wheel where air will escape.
  • Damaged Tires: Unfortunately, you may need a new set of tires if a pothole does enough damage to the body of your tires. If you can’t determine how bad the damage is, it’s always a good idea to get a professional to check them out.
  • Suspension Damage: Hitting a pothole can put a huge amount of strain on your vehicle’s suspension system. Parts like shocks, struts, and springs can all be compromised when you hit a pothole. If you notice your car handling differently after hitting a pothole or hear strange sounds when driving, your suspension may have issues. Suspension problems can be difficult to diagnose and fix yourself, so be sure to take your car to a mechanic if you suspect a pothole damaged your suspension.

How to Tell If a Pothole Damaged a Car: A Post-Pothole Checklist

After hitting a pothole, you can check a few things to ensure your car is safe enough to drive. You should still go get your car inspected by a mechanic if you think the damage is extensive and something feels off, but you can perform a few quick checks yourself if the damage isn’t obvious. As you try to tell if a pothole damaged your car, make sure to follow our post-pothole checklist below:

  • Check Tire Pressure: After hitting a pothole, you should check your tire pressure and inspect your tires for any signs of visible damage, such as bulges, cuts, or punctures. If your tires are compromised, a mechanic can tell you if they’re salvageable or if you need a new set.
  • Inspect Undercarriage: After hitting a pothole, you should visually inspect your car’s undercarriage to see if there’s any visible damage to things like your exhaust system, suspension, or frame. If there are any leaking fluids or loose parts, you need to see a mechanic ASAP!
  • Listen for Unusual Sounds: Any kind of new clunking, grinding, or other unpleasant noises that pop up after hitting a pothole is a red flag. There are many different reasons that your car could be making these new noises, and a mechanic can accurately tell you what’s going on. 
  • Pay Attention to Steering: If your car feels different when you’re steering after hitting a pothole, it’s a sign that you need to head to a mechanic. Issues with steering could be caused by your alignment or suspension, both of which can be dangerous if damaged.

What to Do If a Pothole Damages Your Car

If you notice any signs of pothole damage after you perform the checklist above, you’ll want to check if your insurance covers the damage. If they do, you’ll likely need to take pictures of the damage and the pothole while also providing any other information the insurer needs. Sometimes, you can also file a claim against the city, country, or state in charge of the road, but you’ll want to consult with a lawyer first to see if you have a case. 

Once you’ve contacted your insurer and followed their instructions, you’ll need to bring your vehicle into a repair shop to fix the damage. Most auto repair shops will be familiar with common issues caused by potholes and should be able to repair your car.

Does Your Insurance Cover Pothole Damage?

Whether or not your insurance covers pothole damage is entirely dependent on your individual plan. In some cases, your insurance may pay for some of the damage, but it is important to review your policy and see what it says about potholes. 

It is worth noting that companies may have deductibles, coverage limits, and exclusions when it comes to potholes. Your premiums also may change if you file a claim after hitting one. Measure the positives and negatives of the situation before you file a claim, as you don’t want to end up in a worse situation for a fix that wouldn’t have been that expensive in the first place.

Hit a Pothole? Head to Chapel Hill Tire Auto

If you’ve recently hit a pothole and need vehicle repair services in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, or the surrounding areas, come down to Chapel Hill Tire Auto. Once you bring in your vehicle, we’ll be happy to inspect the underside of your car for any damage. We’ll also take a look at your wheels to see if they need replacing. If you end up needing a new set, we’ll work with you to find the best match for your vehicle so that you’ll be set for another six years of smooth, safe driving. We also have a great set of coupons for any other maintenance needs you might have.

If you need new tires after hitting a pothole, use our tire selection tool to find the best tires for your car. When you’re ready to bring your car in for an inspection or a pothole damage repair, please make an appointment at one of our convenient locations in the Triangle Area.

Tire Tread Depth Chart: How Depth Impacts Stopping Distance

the minimum tire tread

Proper tire care is necessary for a safe and smooth ride in your car. Most people know you should rotate your vehicle’s tires every 5,000 – 8,000 miles, keep your tire pressure topped off, and regularly check for punctures or damage. While these steps are necessary, it’s also a good habit to regularly check your tire’s tread depth to ensure it hasn’t worn away.

In this article, we’ll go over what tire tread depth is, provide a helpful chart that measures stopping distance, talk about minimum tire tread depth, and give you some info on how you can go about checking yours.

What Is Tire Tread Depth?

The tread in your tires is what actually grips the road as you drive. If you look at a tire, the tread is a ribbed pattern on the surface of the actual wheel. Tread works to move water, snow, mud, and other materials away from your tire so you can brake safely.

 As you put more miles on your wheels, the tread depth will slowly deteriorate, potentially causing you to lose traction during extended breaking times. This loss of traction can be especially dangerous during wet conditions, as you’ll be at an increased risk of hydroplaning.

Normally, tires should be replaced around every six years, but if you notice that your tire tread depth is lower than it should be, it is extremely important to get a new set as soon as you can. 

What Is the Minimum Tire Tread Depth for Cars? What Is the Tread Depth to Replace Tires?

When measuring your tread depth, you should make sure that your tire’s tread is at least above 2/32”. This measurement is the minimum tread depth recommended by most countries regarding when to replace tires before they are considered legally worn out.

How Do You Measure Tire Tread Depth?

You can measure your tire’s tread depth with a tool called a tire tread depth gauge. This tool will help you measure the wear and tear on your tread so you can keep an eye on how badly your tires have deteriorated. Tread depth gauges are readily available at most auto part stores and even some other retail chains that carry basic automotive supplies. 

Once you have a tire tread depth gauge, you can push the gauge’s driver “end” into your tire’s circumferential groove. Continue to push the gauge down until its handles are resting flat on the tread blocks surrounding the groove. If you don’t know what tires’ circumferential grooves are, they’re the deep grooves that run across the entire circumference of tires.

After you’ve pushed the gauge all the way down, look at the measurement stick at the gauge’s top, with this measurement stick telling you the depth of the tread. Repeat this process with every circumferential groove to ensure your entire tire’s tread depth is above the minimum. If any of your measurements show a tread depth below or at the minimum of 2/32”, it’s best to bring your car in for replacement tires.

How Often Should I Check My Tire’s Tread Depth?

It’s best practice to check your tire’s depth tread at least once a month. While you check the tread depth, you can also perform a visual inspection of the sidewalls and other parts of the tire for any damage that may affect the integrity of your wheels.

Tire Tread Depth Chart

The helpful chart below shows what it looks like to stop in wetter conditions with different measurements of depth tread. See how far the car with tires that have 2/32” depth tread travels when braking? Waiting that long to replace your tires could be a danger to you and others on the road, so it’s best not to wait until they get to that point before replacing them. As you try to keep your vehicle as safe as possible, review our tread depth chart below:

Chapel Hill Tire: Car Care in the Triangle Area

If your tire tread is worn out and you live in Durham, Chapel Hill, Raleigh, or the surrounding Triangle area, head over to Chapel Hill Tire. We’d be happy to help you measure the depth of your tire’s tread and inspect your wheels. If you end up needing a new set, we’ll work with you to find the best match for your vehicle so that you’ll be set for another six years of smooth, safe driving. We also have a great set of coupons to take advantage of for any other maintenance requirements you might have.

Make use of our tire selection tool to find what’s best for your car. When you’re ready to bring your car in, please make an appointment at one of our convenient locations in the Triangle Area.

Debunking Common Car Myths

Car on North Carolina road

Over the years,  many car care myths have worked their way into the mainstream and become facts to many drivers. While some of these ideas may have been true at one point, advances in car technology have made many car care best practices irrelevant. Since it can be hard to know what’s necessary to properly care for your vehicle, we’re here to set the record straight on six common car myths you may have heard your whole life.

Myth 1: You Should Warm Up Your Car Before Driving 

We’ve all seen it in real life or in the movies. When it’s cold outside, someone will go and warm up the car before setting out for a drive in icy conditions. In the past, older engines needed more time to properly lubricate themselves with oil, but newer vehicles’ engines are usually fully lubricated in less than 30 seconds. 

Due to the advances in vehicle technology, warming up your car for an extended period of time isn’t needed. It can also waste fuel, cause unnecessary wear and tear on your engine, and release excess emissions into the air. Instead of warming your car up before you drive when it’s cold outside, you can drive slowly for a few minutes to prep your engine.  

That said, there are numerous other steps you should be taking to ensure your car stays protected this winter.

Myth 2: Premium Gasoline Is Always Better 

Some drivers believe that using premium fuel in all cars will improve efficiency, but most cars actually aren’t designed to take advantage of the differences that come with using premium gas. If you drive a luxury vehicle, premium fuel may be your best bet, but for standard cars, regular gasoline will almost always be a better choice. Using premium gas can be expensive, so it’s best not to waste your money if your car is not designed to run on higher-octane fuel.

Myth 3: You Need an Oil Change Every 3,000 Miles

The standard oil change once you hit 3,000 miles used to be standard practice on every vehicle. However, advancements in both engine and oil technology have made it possible for vehicles can go longer between oil changes. 

Most newer cars can go between 5,000 and 10,000 miles between oil changes and be completely fine, depending on the type of oil you use and driving conditions. While it’s still important to check your oil regularly to make sure it’s topped off, changing it every 3,000 miles isn’t usually necessary.

Myth 4: Inflate Tires to the Number on the Sidewall

The number printed on the sidewall of your car’s tires is actually the maximum pressure you can fill them with, not the recommended amount. The correct tire pressure can be found in your vehicle’s owner’s manual or on a sticker that is sometimes located on the inside of the door jamb on the driver’s side. 

Overinflating your tires can lead to a harsher ride and uneven wear, and underinflated tires can affect your fuel efficiency and handling. If you can’t find the happy medium that you should be hitting for tire inflation, it’s best to ask a mechanic just to be safe. 

Myth 5: You Need to Replace Both Headlights When One Burns Out

The need to simultaneously replace both headlights is a common belief that has wasted a lot of people’s money over the years. While it’s important to check both headlights when one goes out for dimming or discoloration, there’s no technical reason to replace both at the same time. Your car’s illumination will not be unbalanced if one headlight is older than the other, so you can often wait to replace the older headlight when it actually dies.

Myth 6: Using Dish Soap to Clean Your Car is Fine

While dish soap may be useful for many types of cleaning outside of your plates and silverware, it is not suitable for cleaning cars. When you were younger, you may remember a soapy bucket full of dish soap that your parents handed you when it was time to wipe the family vehicle down, but dish soap actually does more harm than good when it comes to cars. 

Dish soap is formulated to strip away oils, which can damage the protective wax layer on your car and lead to premature rusting and paint fading. A pH-balanced car shampoo is your best bet when it comes to getting your ride clean without causing unwanted damage.  

Chapel Hill Tire: Car Care in the Triangle Area

If you need car care in Durham, Chapel Hill, Raleigh, or the surrounding Triangle area, head over to Chapel Hill Tire. Our qualified mechanics will be happy to answer any questions you may have about your vehicle and give you tips on caring for car correctly. Whether you need an inspection or a repair, our team is trained to perform our services quickly and effectively. We also have a great set of coupons to take advantage of for any other maintenance requirements you might have.

Learn more about our inspection and repair services today. When you’re ready to bring your car in, please make an appointment at one of our convenient locations in the Triangle Area.

LED Headlights Vs Traditional Headlights

LED headlights vs halogen headlights

You’ve probably had a headlight in your car go out on you—it’s not great. Proper visibility while driving at night is crucial for your safety, and a long-lasting set of headlights can make the difference between a well-lit ride through the dark and one that has you squinting to see the road. As you try to find a pair of headlights that will last a long time and keep the road well-lit, it’s crucial to know the difference between LED and traditional headlights.

If you need to replace your vehicle’s headlights soon, find out more about the differences between LED headlights and traditional-style headlights and the levels of difficulty when it comes to replacing them in certain types of cars. 

LED vs Traditional Headlights

If your headlights are showing signs it’s time to replace them, there are a few key differences to consider before you choose what type you’ll be installing in your vehicle. Instead of picking a type of headlight at random, review the four main differences between them so you can make an informed decision:

  • Brightness: One of the main benefits of LED headlights is how bright they are compared to traditional halogen and xenon bulbs. Unlike traditional headlights, LED bulbs emit light by harnessing a process called electroluminescence, which converts more energy into physical light than heat. Because they don’t waste as much power heating the bulb itself, LED lights produce a much brighter light than halogen or xenon bulbs. Their higher brightness provides better visibility for drivers and a more well-lit night driving experience. 
  • Lifespan: Because of their efficiency, LED lights have a longer lifespan than traditional bulbs. While halogen headlights usually last around 500 – 1000 hours, LED headlights can last up to 30,000 hours or more! When you opt for LED lights over traditional bulbs, you’ll save money on replacements in the long run and give yourself peace of mind that it’ll be a while before your headlight goes out. 
  • Efficiency: As was mentioned earlier, LED lights use electroluminescence for power. This reduction in energy usage puts less stress on your vehicle’s electrical system than standard headlights and makes your car more efficient in general. In fact, LED headlights consume around 80% less energy than standard headlights, meaning a new set of LED lights can significantly reduce strain on your vehicle’s power source.
  • Color Variation: Almost all traditional headlights produce a warm yellowish light that can be irksome for some drivers. LED lights are great because they offer a variety of color temperatures, giving you a chance to choose a light color that suits your preference. LED lights can provide a cooler, more natural light that enhances visibility and can potentially reduce eye strain. 

How Difficult Is It to Install LED Headlights?

When it comes to replacing headlights, the process will vary a bit depending on what type of vehicle you have. Some models are designed to have easily accessible headlights, making replacing them a simple fix that you can do yourself in a short amount of time. In contrast, some higher-end vehicles have more complex designs that make replacing headlights a more difficult job. Find out more about the varying difficulty levels of installing LED headlights below:

  • Easier Replacements: Three types of vehicles renowned for their user-friendly headlight replacement process are Honda Civics, Ford F 150s, and Toyota Corollas. These three vehicles have easily accessible headlights that make replacing them easy. Alongside these three vehicles, cars that are less specialized and more popular usually have easily accessible headlights that can be replaced quickly. 
  • More Difficult Replacements: Luxury brands, such as BMW, Mercedes, and Audi, are notoriously more difficult to work on in general, and this definitely extends to headlight replacement. If you own a car belonging to one of these brands, you’ll need assistance from a mechanic when it’s time to replace your headlights. 
  • Considerations: If you’re thinking about upgrading to LED headlights, it’s crucial that you check your owner’s manual for information about headlight compatibility. If you’re having trouble finding out if your car will work with LED bulbs, it’s always a good idea to consult a mechanic so you don’t waste time or money. 

Choose Chapel Hill Tire for LED Headlight Repair Services in Raleigh

If you need LED headlight repair or replacement services in Durham, Chapel Hill, Raleigh, or the surrounding Triangle area, Chapel Hill Tire has your back. One of our qualified mechanics would be happy to examine your car and give you an estimate on how difficult bulb replacement would be. After we provide an estimate, we can perform any repairs or replacement services you need to get your car back on the road with bright and long-lasting LED headlights. We also have a great set of coupons to take advantage of for any other maintenance requirements you might have!

Learn more about our headlight repair and replacement services today. When you’re ready to bring your car in, please make an appointment at one of our convenient locations in the Triangle Area.

How to Select the Best Tires for Your Luxury Car

Luxury car tires

Your car only drives as well as the tires that you put on it. If you’re the owner of a luxury vehicle, making sure that you take the time to select quality Ultra High Performance (UHP) tires makes a huge difference in how it feels to pilot your dream car. Investing in a set of wheels helps ensure smooth handling and a comfortable ride for your luxury vehicle.

In this guide, we’ll go over what types of luxury car tires you should have your eye on to get the most out of the car you love. 

Best Luxury All-Season Tires

Luxury all-season tires are great options for drivers who want a tire designed to perform well in all seasons. Typically, all-season tires feature deeper tread depths than summer tires, meaning they often last longer. You can also expect them to perform well in light snow conditions. As a result, drivers who live in more temperate climates can often get the most value out of luxury all-season tires. 

If you’re interested in trying all-season tires, review some of the best luxury car tires for year-round use below:

  • Michelin Pilot Sport AS3+: These are Michelin’s finest high-performance all-season tires, with combined wet and dry grip, equipped for sun, rain, and snow. The Michelin Pilot Sport AS3+ tires are perfect for drivers who want the smoothest ride, regardless of the season.  
  • Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4: The Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4 is a tire that does everything well. Due to their ultra-reactive tread patterns, these tires handle exceptionally well on paved roads and are one of the best sets of tires for wet braking. 
  • Continental Cross UHP: These tires are a great choice for drivers looking have some fun on the road. With excellent grip, handling, cornering stability, paired with short braking distances, low rolling resistances, and the patented SSR Runflat System, the ContiCrossContact UHP is the perfect choice for drivers looking to get the most out of their luxury vehicle year-round.

Best Luxury Summer Tires

There’s nothing like letting the top down on your car when the weather is nice and going for a long drive in the sun. Luxury summer tires make summer driving even better by offering additional grip strength and greater responsiveness in handling. While they’re not rated for snow, they’re designed for rain, making them a great choice for those who love to drive their luxury vehicle in the summer. Some of our favorite luxury summer tires include:

  • Michelin Pilot Sport 4S: Summer rains can lead to dangerous road conditions, but the Pilot Sport 4S maintains excellent grip and handling even in some of the wettest weather. Ensure your drive remains smooth and safe with Michelin’s exceptional dry grip and wet-breaking performances.  
  • Continental Extreme Contact Sport: These are the ultra-high-performance summer tires ideal for drivers looking to take advantage of everything their luxury car has to offer. Developed by racecar drivers and the preferred tire of the BMW Performance Driving School, the ExtremeContact Sport is chosen by experts for good reason. With state-of-the-art handling, braking, and tread life, these tires are made for the most demanding drivers. 

Best Luxury Winter Tires

If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow, winter luxury care tires are a great choice. These tires have deeper tread depths than summer or all-season tires, and they also feature different tread patterns designed to increase traction. Additionally, the rubber used in winter tires is made for greater flexibility and softness to enhance their performance and durability. The following luxury winter tires will keep you and your passengers safe without sacrificing aesthetics or performance: 

  • Michelin X-Ice Snow: Michelin’s X-Ice Snow tires are perfect for winter weather handling. With innovative technology that generates micro-roughness on the surface of the tire, the X-Ice Snow tires offer impeccable grip on the slipperiest of surfaces. 
  • Pirelli Ice Zero FR: The Pirelli Ice Zero FRs were designed specifically for unparalleled handling in snowy conditions. If you live in an area that gets heavy snowfall in the winter months and don’t want to worry about hitting the road, these are the luxury winter tires for you.

Choose Chapel Hill Tire for the Best Luxury Car Tires in the Triangle

If you’re looking for a new set of luxury tires in Durham, Raleigh, Chapel Hill, or the surrounding areas, Chapel Hill Tire has your back. With our Price Beat Guaranty, you know you’ll always be getting the best price on tires. We offer the lowest price on new tires in the area, and if you happen to find a set for cheaper, we’ll match their number guaranteed. If you already have a set of UHP and need a rotation, check-up, or any kind of general maintenance, one of our qualified technicians will be happy to take a look at your wheels. Before you schedule an appointment, check out our tire promotions to find a great deal on your new tires.

Learn more about our tire replacement services and review our available tires today. When you’re ready to bring your car in, please make an appointment at one of our convenient locations in the Triangle Area.

Spring Forward Safely: Essential Car Care Tips for the New Season

As the days grow longer and warmer weather beckons, it’s time to shake off the winter slumber and prepare your car for the adventures ahead. While spring brings its share of beauty, it also presents unique challenges for your vehicle. From unpredictable rain showers to fluctuating temperatures, a few key checks can ensure your car tackles the season safely and smoothly. Here’s your essential guide to spring car care.

1: Check Your Tires With the change in seasons, it’s essential to ensure your tires are in top condition. Check the tire pressure regularly, as fluctuating temperatures can affect it. Also, examine the tread depth to ensure proper traction, especially during spring showers.

2: Inspect Your Wiper Blades Spring brings rain, and your wiper blades need to be up to the task. Inspect them for any signs of wear or cracking. If they’re not clearing your windshield effectively, it’s time for replacements. Clear visibility is crucial for safe driving in wet conditions.

3: Test Your Battery Cold weather can take a toll on your car’s battery, and the transition to warmer temperatures doesn’t mean it’s off the hook. Have your battery tested to ensure it’s holding a charge effectively. The last thing you want is to be stranded with a dead battery.

4: Perform a Brake Check Your brakes are vital for safety year-round, but they’re especially crucial in wet conditions. Have a professional inspect your brake pads, rotors, and brake fluid to ensure everything is in proper working order. Don’t ignore any squeaks or grinding noises—address them promptly.

5: Schedule a Spring Tune-Up Give your car the TLC it deserves with a comprehensive spring tune-up. This includes checking fluid levels, inspecting belts and hoses, and ensuring all systems are functioning correctly. Regular maintenance now can prevent costly repairs down the road and keep your vehicle running smoothly throughout the season.

Keep these tips in mind as you prepare your vehicle for the spring season. At Chapel Hill Tire, we’re here to help you keep your car in top shape so you can enjoy the warmer weather worry-free. Schedule your appointment today and Drive Happy!

What’s Up with That: The Cold, Hard Truth About Winter Battery Woes

Winter brings more than just chilly winds and snowflakes; it also heralds a common automotive issue: dead car batteries. As the mercury plummets, many drivers find themselves facing the dreaded click of a non-starting vehicle. But what makes winter such a battery killer? Let’s warm up to the cold, hard truths about your car’s battery in winter.

The Winter Effect: Why Batteries Lose Their Charge

Car batteries rely on chemical reactions to generate power, and cold temperatures slow these reactions down. When the thermometer dips below freezing, a battery can lose up to 50% of its charging capacity. This reduced capacity, coupled with the increased energy demands of a cold engine and electrical systems (like heaters and defrosters), strains even a healthy battery.

The Double Whammy: Old Batteries and Winter Weather

An older battery, already weakened by years of use, faces even greater challenges. Reduced efficiency and accumulated wear mean these batteries are especially vulnerable to winter’s harsh conditions. When a battery that’s just getting by in warmer weather faces a cold snap, it often doesn’t have the power to turn over the engine.

Signs of a Failing Battery

Be on the lookout for signs of a weak battery before winter hits. Slow engine cranking, dimming headlights, and issues with electrical components are telltale warnings. A battery more than three years old is a candidate for testing to ensure it’s ready for the rigors of winter.

Preventative Measures: Keeping Your Battery Charged

The good news is, with a little preparation, you can avoid winter battery blues. Regular battery checks, especially as winter approaches, are crucial. Keep the battery terminals clean and free of corrosion, and consider a trickle charger if you don’t use your car often. Parking in a garage can shield your battery from the worst of the cold.

Chapel Hill Tire: Your Winter Battery Headquarters

At Chapel Hill Tire, we understand the importance of a reliable battery in the winter months. Our experts are ready to test, diagnose, and replace your battery if necessary, ensuring you’re not left out in the cold. With our comprehensive car care services, we’re committed to keeping you and your vehicle safe and sound, no matter the weather.

Remember, a little attention now can save a lot of hassle later. Swing by any of our 11 Triangle locations for a battery check and Drive Happy, even in the depths of winter!

Our People: Dru Gualdarama, Manager and Mentor

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

At Chapel Hill Tire, our commitment to excellence is only outshined by the remarkable people who drive our mission forward. In this edition of “Our People,” we’re delighted to spotlight Dru Gualdarama, the esteemed manager of our Atlantic Avenue location. Dru’s journey in the automotive world is as inspiring as his dedication to our team and community.

Driven by Passion: A Journey from Fast Cars to Family Values

Dru’s love affair with automobiles began with a childhood dream sparked by fast cars and classic Chevys. This passion led him on an adventure from California to North Carolina, navigating life’s twists and turns with the same skill he once dreamed of applying to a 67 Chevy C10 Fleetside. Though life’s responsibilities shifted his priorities, Dru’s heart never strayed from the automotive world, ultimately leading him to our Chapel Hill Tire family.

A Memorable Moment of Kindness and Community

Dru recalls a particularly heartwarming experience during our “12 Days of Kindness (2023)” initiative. His involvement in repairing Mary Lucas’ Pathfinder — a tribute to her 25 years of foster parenting — exemplifies the spirit of giving and community that Chapel Hill Tire cherishes. Dru’s leadership in this initiative reflects his deep commitment to making a positive impact, one car, and one family at a time.

Empowerment through Leadership: Cultivating a Culture of Growth

For Dru, the true reward of management lies in inspiring and empowering his team. His passion for fostering a culture rich in growth, empathy, and resilience shines through his everyday interactions. Dru’s approach goes beyond fixing cars; it’s about building a community of professionals deeply attuned to the needs and aspirations of their colleagues, customers, and the broader business landscape.

Pursuing Excellence: Leading the Way in Automotive Expertise

During his tenure as manager at the Crabtree Valley store, Dru spearheaded the attainment of the esteemed Blue Seal of Excellence, showcasing their unparalleled proficiency and dedication. Upon transitioning to the Atlantic Avenue store, he continued his exemplary leadership, aiding them in achieving their own Blue Seal, underscoring his commitment to maintaining industry-leading standards and fostering continuous improvement

Staying Ahead: Navigating the Future of Automotive Technology

In an industry that never slows down, Dru keeps pace with the rapid advancements in automotive technology. His dedication to staying informed — through industry news, expos, online forums, and continuous learning — ensures that Chapel Hill Tire remains at the forefront of automotive service and expertise.

Dru Gualdarama’s journey with Chapel Hill Tire is more than just a career; it’s a testament to the power of passion, leadership, and community engagement. We’re proud to have Dru as a key member of our family, and we’re excited to see how his vision and dedication continue to drive us forward.

Stay tuned for more stories of the amazing individuals who make Chapel Hill Tire a place where everyone can “Work Happy.”

Our Community: 12 Days of Kindness

During the holiday season, we cherish the spirit of giving at Chapel Hill Tire. Nothing brings us more joy than contributing to our community. At Chapel Hill Tire, we are committed to reciprocating the kindness our community has bestowed upon us. That’s why, throughout the month of December, Chapel Hill Tire celebrated members of the local community through the return of a holiday tradition: 12 Days of Kindness. 

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

After a round of nominations, 12 members of the Triangle community were selected to receive $1,000 car care vouchers. Among them were individuals like Thagyan Moe, a Karen/Burmese interpreter for the Refugee Support Center in Carrboro; Mary Katherine Keyser, a local educator empowering students with learning differences; and Reverend Phyllis Cameron Rhone, a retired nurse who serves as the Pastor of Guilford Community Church.

“This year, I think we were able to strike a really great balance between having fun and doing good for the community,” said Pons. And after seeing the response from some of those selected for the car care vouchers, Pons was deeply touched. “The letters that we received from our community members are beautiful affirmations that we are on the right track. They lift the spirits of our whole team. It feels really good to use our God-given talents to help out members of our community, especially these folks who always give of themselves and never ask for anything in return.”

Videos announcing the people selected for vouchers were added to from December 11-22. Please give the website a visit if you’d like to learn more about the amazing people chosen for this year’s 12 Days of Kindness.