text.skipToContent text.skipToNavigation


Keeping your engine tuned as recommended by your vehicle's manufacturer can lower the risk of having to perform major maintenance. From changing your oil regularly to replacing your air filters at the proper interval, there are a number of maintenance items you can perform regularly to keep your vehicle running smoothly. However, even if you treat your engine right, something could still go unexpectedly wrong. If you notice any of the following warning signs, you shouldn't put off getting your engine checked out.

Engine Stalling

Your vehicle's engine performance can be affected by a number of factors, including lack of gasoline, a dirty air filter, or bad spark plugs, to name a few. This can cause your car to jerk or hesitate, making it difficult to climb hills and push to its fullest speed performance potential.

If you're a do-it-yourselfer, try changing your air filter and replacing old spark plugs to add a little more kick to your engine. If you’re an auto novice, consider scheduling a service appointment to have our ASE-certified technicians take a look under the hood.

Drop in Gas Mileage

A drop in gas mileage is equivalent to flushing money down the drain. To keep the moving parts of your engine lubricated, change your oil as recommended to optimize your vehicle's mileage. Waiting too long for an oil change allows your engine to build up with harmful sludge that can damage its components and affect your engine’s performance.

The worst time to have poor engine performance is during the winter season when it takes longer for your engine to reach the temperature required for your fuel to be efficient. Leaving your car idle during the cold seasons to warm-up will force your car to burn more fuel.

Prepare for the winter season with the Pep Boys Winter Prep Service Package. We'll inspect your tires, brakes, battery, and top off your fluid for unexpected cold weather conditions.

Engine Knocking

Carbon deposits in your engine can also weigh down your vehicle’s performance. These deposits are often the cause of that pesky knocking or pinging noise you hear. The fuel you put into your vehicle is required to have a certain level of carbon cleaning detergent to stop deposits from forming, but sometimes that’s not enough. This becomes a problem because it reduces the amount of space you have in your gas cylinder, which increases compression and causes your car to knock.

If this is a problem you cannot solve on your own, bring your car to your nearest Pep Boys location.

Exhaust Odor

If your car emits an unusual odor while you're idling, then it could be your serpentine belt has burned out or rusted. To add more life to your engine and its cooling system, get your oil changed regularly to prevent your belt from loosening or snapping, which causes your car to overheat. A broken belt can prevent your air alternator and power steering from working effectively, bringing your engine to a complete stop. Check your serpentine belt for cracks and debris regularly, and change your belt as recommended by your car's manufacturer.

Check Engine Light

Your check engine light engages for a number of reasons, including faulty oxygen sensors, cylinder misfires, an insufficient EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation) flows, or a lose gas cap. Today’s technology allows us to stop the guessing game with your vehicle's health status.

Learn how to decode your dashboard here.

Engine Tune-Up Service

If you don't usually perform these tasks yourself, bring your car to a professional Pep Boys technician to help ensure the long life of your vehicle.

With nearly 20,000 professional technicians and over 1,000 locations nationwide, we understand the complexities of modern engines. Our professional Pep Boys technicians, many of whom are ASE-certified, will skillfully perform engine diagnostic services, routine maintenance, tune-ups, and major performance tune-ups to help ensure your engine is running to its maximum ability. They will also provide you with the guidance, answers, and the support you need to keep your vehicle running optimally.