The Average Driver

Flashing Check Engine Light: Is it safe?

Courtesy: Wikipedia

Every car is equip with a check engine light to help the driver know if something is wrong with the car. Most of the time, the check engine light turns on and doesn’t blink, which could indicate a variety of things–from a loose gas cap to bad spark plugs to a catalytic converter issue. However, there are some situations where there is a flashing check engine light. In this article, we are going to walk through that it means and next steps.

What a blinking check engine light means

open hood of a car

A blinking or flashing check engine light, also known as a malfunction indicator lamp, is usually an indication of a more serious engine problem that requires immediate attention. It typically means that there is a significant issue with your vehicle’s engine or emissions system, such as a misfire, a faulty sensor, or a catalytic converter problem.

When the check engine light flashes, it’s important to address the issue as soon as possible to prevent further damage to your engine or catalytic converter, which could result in irreversible damage and high repair costs. It’s recommended to take your vehicle to a qualified mechanic or technician for a diagnostic check to determine the root cause of the problem.

Engine misfire

A common symptom of a flashing check engine light is misfire issues. This is often do to spark plugs or ignition coils going bad, and the check engine light illuminates. The engine misfires are caused by improper ignition timing. The ignition system is one of the more expensive systems to replace.

Misfires can also be cause by a fuel mixture being . There could be too much fuel being mixed into the air or vice versa (too much air). This may require fuel system components to be replaced, like the oxygen sensors.

A blown catalytic converter will also trigger the flashing light, with those symptoms being slow acceleration and general accelerator responsiveness.

Even though there is a small chance that the code is a fault code, it is worthwhile to get the code checked.

What to do about the flashing engine light

Courtesy: Wikipedia

When you notice the check engine light flashing, you should pull over and turn the vehicle off. Not doing so can lead to severe damage to internal components. You should call a tow service to have your vehicle towed, taken to a shop to be scanned by a diagnostic scanner. This is often an immediate repair, so be prepared to be without your vehicle for a couple days.

Remember, if you see the bright orange check engine light blinking, pull over before any serious damage or more damage occurs.

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