PHOTOS BY JODIE BRIM CREATIVE
Imagine moving into a new town, in a new state, not knowing a living soul, and opening a new automotive business with no previous experience in the industry during the 2008 financial crisis. Well, that’s what Rebecca and Gary Howorka did. Although, they had no background in the automotive field they both came from successful careers in professional service organizations and brought that business acumen and life experience to their new business venture. Fast forward 14 years and they have three highly successful franchises in Winston Salem serving over 44,000 vehicles per year providing oil changes, inspections, tires, and comprehensive mechanical services.
During the last two years of the Covid pandemic, supply chain challenges, and employee shortages, the company continued to grow and thrive thanks to a friendly professional staff and a strong base of loyal customers.
Now the company faces a new challenge with the loss of its existing location at 125 Hanes Mill due to the NCDOT’s bridge widening project at Hanes Mill Rd. Although it’s a bitter pill to swallow, the Howorkas understand that change is an opportunity for growth and transformation in keeping with the Express Oil Change & Tire Engineers’ vision, mission, and core values: “Leading the industry through excellence and innovation to provide the highest quality automotive products and services while keeping a focus on continuous improvement.” Continuous improvement…the new state of the art facility opens this fall and will feature a significantly larger modern customer area, as well as enlarged mechanical bays while boasting the same superior service, attention to detail, and premium products customers have come to expect. The new location was chosen to take advantage of the new Beltway and the changing traffic patterns, as well as to limit any severe impacts from the construction congestion resulting from the two-year Hanes Mill project. These are exciting times for sure!
During the last 14 years the business has evolved, through the growth and support of their corporate franchisor to become purveyors of competitively priced tires. They are now Michelin, BF Goodrich and Uniroyal Direct Dealers. In addition, to sales and service of tires, oil changes and NC Inspections, Express Oil & Tire Engineers offers comprehensive automobile maintenance and repair. They have a dedicated staff of highly experienced automotive service managers and technicians.
Helpful Insights on Tires
How can you prolong the life of your tires?
- When buying a new set of tires, make sure you get an alignment.
- Overtime check your tire pressure to ensure they are inflated properly. The average tire is estimated to lose roughly 1 pound per square inch of air each month. Most people don’t realize the correct tire pressure is posted on a tag right inside the driver’s door.
- Perform regular inspections. Look for cracks, swells, and uneven wear.
- Rotate and balance tires according to vehicle’s manufacturer recommendations. This will prevent any uneven tire wear from getting worse.
How do you know it’s time for new tires?
- NC state law requires 3/32 minimum tread depth to pass an NC Inspection. Your tires have tire wear indicators, but they are only 2/32 depth so waiting until that point will result in a failed inspection.
- If you can see cord or fabric through the rubber
- If the sidewall has a crack or bump
- If there’s a laceration or hole too big to simply repair
- If there are two (or more) tread-wear indicators
- If the sidewall or tread is broken, slashed, or injured to the point where the fabric or cord is visible
If you answered yes to one of these indicators, it’s time to visit Express Oil & Tire Engineers and do some tire shopping. Call or go online to schedule your appointment today!
The Express Oil Change & Tire Engineers technicians come from extensive backgrounds in the automotive industry. They come from both backgrounds in specific brands, as well as more generalized experience in all makes and models. Typically, when hiring those from dealership backgrounds it takes some time to adjust to servicing all makes and models of vehicles. They employ the latest computer testing tools to ensure the diagnosis is accurate and results in fixing the issue the customer identified. In addition, the team will go to great lengths to communicate any other areas of concern that the customer should pay attention to in the future for their vehicle maintenance. With all the computer chips and sensors in modern vehicles it’s often very difficult to identify the underlying issues. For example, when a sensor gives an out-of-range reading that causes the check engine light to come on, many people think they need to replace the sensor when actually, it’s working fine and just telling you there is another issue with your vehicle that needs to be addressed. Another example is when fixing an AC system that has not worked for a while, there are frequently situations where once the system is pressurized and working, the hoses quickly fail or have leaks from being old and dry rotted. So, communication with the customers is essential to the success and satisfaction of their experience.
A sample of mechanical services offered:
- Tire services and repair
- Air conditioning
- Belts and hoses
- Coolant flushes
- Electronic ignition
- Engine repair
- Fuel system cleaning
- Timing belts
- Shocks and struts
- Tune up
- Check Engine light diagnostics
Since opening their doors at the first location in 2008, Rebecca and Gary have shown their appreciation for the community support of their business by generously giving back. Each year the Howorkas seek ways to increase their partnership with area businesses and causes. Over the years, they have reached out to the community in many ways, including serving as sponsors to the Jerry Long YMCA Robinhood Bright Beginnings, a program that provides children with back-to-school support by giving them new clothes and a terrific backpack filled with school supplies. Additionally, Rebecca and Gary actively support the Clemmons Rotary and continually promote Mt. Tabor High School activities throughout the year. “We are focused on giving exceptional experiences and supporting the community in which we live,” says Rebecca. “These are our neighbors and friends, and if we don’t support them, they don’t support us! Being small business owners, we recognize the value of giving back to the community in which we live.”
Integrity, Honesty, Respect…it’s who we are!
Express Oil Change & Tire Engineers’ hours of operation are Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Stop by or call any of the three convenient locations (125 W. Hanes Mill Road, 377-2690; 2570 Lewisville-Clemmons Road, 283-9552; and 3499 Robinhood Road, 727-3681) or visit expressoil.com to make an appointment or get additional information on all things oil, tires, and mechanical services. Rebecca, Gary, and the rest of the team at Express Oil Change & Tire Engineers look forward to greeting you and keeping your vehicle in prime working order from fender to bumper.