Check engine light flashing : What you must know

Check engine light flashing

As a vehicle owner, you may have several nightmares for sure. One of the things that are related to the dashboard can be a flashing check engine light. Although you are not well aware of reading such signs, there is a proper way to read and do the necessary things. Because, similar to an airbag, battery, ignition, or any other sign on the vehicle’s dashboard, there are only a few things that can cause the flashing check engine light on the dashboard.

 Even if you are thinking of it as a hard thing to assume, you will be able to do that after a proper understanding. This article will let you have the complete guide on reading the check engine light flashing properly.

How To Identify The Engine Light’s Status

You know that it is usual to see the engine light before starting the engine. After the engine has been turned on, the engine light should go off. If the light is still visible, you will have to read the status of the engine light.

The severity of the engine light illumination is main identifiable in three ways. Continuous illumination, random illumination, and flashing illumination are those three ways. The severe gets higher the more the light flashes. 

Illumination Stays

It is one of the best ways to see the light. Although engine light is a worse thing to happen, you need to know that it is not the worst thing that can happen with the vehicle. A stable engine light illumination may want you to take its attention for a simple task. It can even be replacing the engine oil or take the vehicle to a service station.

Random Illumination

If you can see a random engine light on the dashboard, that will be better than appearing a continuous illumination or a flashing engine light on the dashboard. Because a random or intermittent engine light means that you have enough time to take your vehicle to the nearest service station. Also, it can be read as “The Vehicle Is Not Fully Injured at the Moment”.

If the random check engine light appears on the dashboard, you need to know that it will soon become flashing or stable illuminated.

Check Engine Light Flashing

If you start seeing check engine light flashing, now you are in an “Oh Dear God” situation. As a person with common sense, you must know that flashing signs means that it requires your attention more. If the dashboard shows you this sign, you will have to give your attention to the best which means you must stop the car. You are now in an emergency and call for a towing service to take the car to a mechanic as soon as possible.

Special Note :

Although there are three signals regarding the engine light indication, you need to know that various models may indicate those signs differently. For example, some car models indicate the same sign for different problems. Also, there can either be just a flashing engine light or stable engine light for the whole process. However, American, UK, Germany, or European car manufacturers take good care of indicating vehicle errors with plenty of signs and ways. Unlikely, Asian or Chinese vehicle models don’t have enough variation in warning the vehicle owner. It means that even a single blink of the engine light may cause sufficient trouble for you.

What Are The Causes To Appear Check Engine Light Flashing?

Well, there are many things that can turn on your engine light and keep it flashing. But, when it comes to regular manner, there are just a few things that can create a check engine light on the dashboard.

Problems In Ignition System

Ignition System
Ignition System

When it comes to the highest biding, faulty ignition systems have created the check engine light flashing more than any other cause. There is not just one but many reasons to cause this issue. Problems in the ignition coil, faulty spark plugs, wires, hoses, and the entire system can be failing due to one error. If the sensors of the car are detecting any of the detailed errors, the dashboard will indicate it as a sign.

Although it is not much costly, the more you go with the car the more the error will spread to other parts. Because a failed one ignition system means that the rest of the systems will have to drag the burden of the failed one. It means that other ignition parts can soon become failed and turn the check engine light flashing.

Problems In The Fuel System

filing fuel to the car
Filing fuel to the car

It is one of the most functioning systems in a vehicle. If a vehicle has got too far after a service, it will need the service station to get back into normal. When it comes to the errors that can happen, fuel pump, fuel injector, and fuel filter are the things either need to be replaced or serviced. Although you are not much aware of the sound or the noise coming out of the vehicle, they will let you know the changes that have occurred.

Failed Fuel Pump

It is a part that cannot be repaired. If your vehicle has an old fuel pump, you will have to change it. You are not aware of the fuel pump as it is being replaced at the service station. If there is a faulty fuel pump inside the vehicle’s gas tank,  you will not be able to start the vehicle. Even if you managed to do that, the vehicle will crankily move on. This happens after indicating the check engine light flashing on the dashboard.

Dirty Fuel Filter

A dirty fuel filter is such a reason to appear in the check engine light. Although you have nothing more to do, you will only have to replace the fuel filter. Although it is not much costly, that will be a problem with the latest cars as the fuel filter is located in the gas tank. Then you will have to replace it at a higher cost.

Fuel Injectors With Faults

Te gasoline is sprayed into the combustion chamber by these fuel injectors. If there is dirt of any matter on the edge of the injector, the process will not be going according to the scheduled plan. Then after the signal will appear on the dashboard as a check engine light flashing. 

When it comes to the damage, you may use an injector cleaner to get rid of these troubles which are non-costly. However, you can urge the mechanic to have a look at the injectors during the scheduled service as well.

Bad Oxygen Sensor

Having a bad oxygen sensor may cause the same symptoms. Although you have an oxygen sensor with errors, you did have a specific way to know about it unless you take it to a service center. However, there are some symptoms that you may read in the sensor.

Bad fuel consumption is one of the signs that indicate along with the Check Engine Light Flashing. When it comes to the usual mileage, the change can clearly be identified.

Also, the vehicle becomes hard to do the idling when there is a problem with the oxygen sensor.  Failed emission tests and the awakening engine will be the other signs that you may find in the process. The expenditure will not be much as a sensor for your vehicle model will be available in the local market.

Computer Issues

The brain-like organ that belongs to a vehicle is the computer. It controls all the functions of a vehicle. When there is something wrong with the function, the dashboard indicates it as a sign.  Although the dashboard light is just a sign, you will have to read other signs as well to judge the exact cause.

When it comes to the exact symptoms for a vehicle with a failed computer, several misfires, failed ECU, low engine performance, and the reduced idling performance can be mentioned. All these signs will along with either the engine light or blinking engine sign on the dashboard. The best way to identify the error is to take the vehicle to a service center and scan it.

Loose Gas Cap

As a blessing, this thing can also be the reason why the check engine light is flashing on the dashboard. If you see the light due to a loose gas cap or an open gas cap, you will be able to get the trackback to normal by just tightening the cap. If you have a damaged gas cap, a new one will have to be replaced.

You might have to check the gas cap as the very first thing to do. If you see the Check Engine Light Flashing soon after the fuelling process, it can be due to the loose gas cap. Although you may drive the vehicle with an open gas cap, that will empty the fuel tank quickly.

One of FAQ : Why Is My Check Engine Light Flashing And Car Shaking?

Unlike most of the occasions, you will have only one reason to experience check engine light flashing along with car shaking, a misfire in the engine. Since engine wreckage is a cause to occur both signs, you will know that by the sound.

Also it will not be a thing you expect when using a car at any cost. There is not just one but many reasons to put you and your vehicle into a check engine light flashing and car shaking at the same moment.

Following causes might be available in the vehicle to identify the problem properly.

What If It Is A Misfire that causing My Check Engine Light Flashing?

Car Engine Misfire
Car Engine Misfire

As previously mentioned, a misfire can strike your vehicle to slow down or stop the vehicle along with the Check Engine Light Flashing.  Since most of the misfire incidents have caused indicating the check engine light on the dashboard, you will have to first assume it is due to a misfire. As it is one of the softest dismissals you can ignore, the end result will be catastrophic.

What Is A Misfire?

As you know already, a car contains cylinders where the fuel and air meet to generate the power to run the vehicle. Ignition is a regulative process that assists the process to succeed. When it comes to a moment where there is a shortage or an issue with the entire process, misfires occur failing the whole process.

If the air: fuel ratio is incorrect or the process is not according to the way it has planned, the misfires will take place unable to generate the expected power. Since the sensors are in positions to observe the whole process, they will indicate that there is a problem in the ignition system.

There is not a specific way to read the misfires using the dashboard. But, the error codes can be read using a scanner. Also, there are other signs and symptoms regarding the misfire errors that a vehicle owner can understand.

Symptoms For Having A Misfire

If the check engine light is appearing or blinking on the dashboard, your mind should have an ignite saying it can be due to a misfire. The noise of the engine, RPM, and there are so many ways to do that.  So, it is better to open the shutters, open eyes, and ears towards the vehicle now.  Because you are now at a crucial moment. If you don’t read it now, the misleads will be much expensive than you think.

Engine Sound

It is one of the earliest things that you can carry out for the inspection. It is just enough to listen to the noise of the engine. Since there is a misfire in the engine, the noise will be extremely different than usual. One of your cylinders failing noise can be an indication for the cause as well. If there is not a specific change, you will feel it when accelerating or driving the car as the burden on the engine increases.

Gas Smell

Once you put the shutters down, you will feel a gas smell due to the half-burnt process. If the smell increases the more you increase the RPM of the vehicle that will probably be due to the misfire of one of your cylinders. Also, you need to remember that the problem is quite severe in this position with the gas smell as there can be a leak in the ignition system as well.

Difficult Acceleration

If there is an engine misfire, you will not be able to get the RPM value as usual as one of your vehicle’s cylinders are failing to perform. Even if it is a partially caused symptom, you will face several misfires when accelerating the vehicle. There will be some failed attempts when addling and accelerating the vehicle at a specific RPM range. This is not a recommended thing to do as you can still fix things cheaply in a service station.

The Shake You May Feel

When balancing the clutch, that will be a stunning scenario for a driver. Smooth shaking is quite a different thing when it comes to a vehicle with an engine misfire. The car shaking will almost become something strange and unfamiliar to you. Since the vehicle is trying its best to keep the power with a reduced cylinder, that shaking will eventually take place.

Problems At Startup Itself

This is not a much proper way to judge the vehicle as this sign is only available in a specific vehicle. The vehicle won’t start if there is a misfire in the engine. Either the difficulty to start the vehicle or black smoke are common signs of having a misfire in the engine.  When it comes to the most significant sign, a rotten egg smell will be there.

What Causes An Engine Misfire ?

The most important thing regarding an engine misfire is it involves something with the vehicle’s engine. If you ignore it for too long, the vehicle will suffer for a long. The engine is neither a single part nor an independent one from other parts. Therefore it is natural to occur misfires or such troubles to a vehicle. The path for the emergence lies in the identification and doing the best thing for the vehicle.

Here are some causes that may lead to misfire and indicate the Check Engine Light Flashing

Oxygen Misfire

If there is a fault in the oxygen sensor, you will encounter similar conditions along with a Check Engine Light Flashing.  Although it is a separate part that belongs to the engine misfire section as it involves the ignition.

Fuel Cap

In case of a faulty fuel cap, you will see the engine light on the dashboard. Since it is risky to keep it open, the car will let you know that there is something wrong with the engine.

Catalytic Converter Errors

If you see Check Engine Light Flashing on the dashboard, this will be one of the worst things to happen. The catalytic converter is the part responsible for turning bad emissions into less harmful gases.  You might have to bear the cost of up to $1000 in case of a faulty catalytic converter.

Faults With MAF, Mass Airflow Sensor

This specific sensor is responsible for providing accurate amounts of fuel into the combustion. When there is a fault in the sensor, the ignition process will not happen properly. Also, the indicator will appear on the dashboard as lighting.

It is not vital to stop the car and check the issue, you may still have enough time to take the vehicle to the nearest service station. However, you must know that this might affect your fuel consumption until the fault is fixed.

Unreplaced Spark Plugs

Spark plugs need to be replaced once a scheduled service. If they are too old, the ignition will not happen. If you have faulty sparkplugs, the mechanic will identify them easily. Replacement of the plugs is not costly as well.

Failed Ignition Coil

Along with faulty sparkplugs, failed ignition coils can be seen in a vehicle. It is natural to transfer the errors from spark plugs to the ignition coils. Although the replacement is not necessary until once in 50000km, you will have to add new ones for failed ignition coils.

Charging System Failures

If there is not enough power in the vehicle to provide the power for the ignition, you will have to replace the engine battery as a solution.  Jump starts like incidents might tell that it is the time for a new battery. Unless it is a hybrid battery, the replacement will not be costly.

Compression Faults

It is recommended to maintain a compression rate for each vehicle model. When it comes to the vehicle model you have, that will change due to leakages. They might affect to air/fuel mixture as well. What you need to remember is that even a loose gas cap can change the pressure. Avoided acceleration, sudden or excessive shaking, and low RPM can experience due to such faults.

Timing Belt Issues

When it comes to the timing belt, you will have to replace the timing belt once in 100 000 km at least. If the timing belt is faulty or broken, the vehicle will not run as it ran before. Severe misfires will occur due to the broken timing belt. You must be careful in these scenarios as other parts may get damaged due to these scenarios.

Electric Shorts

Although it is not a common cause, you will find a misfire due to the circuit with shorts. Rats or small animals can cause these troubles eventually. Rain or water spray might be responsible as well. Misfires, unable to startup, check engine light flashing is a few of the signs for having a short circuit.

What are the Error codes?

As a vehicle owner, you might not be familiar with the error codes. But, even if you manage to scan the vehicle for errors, you will have to refer them on the internet. Although that is one specific error code, you will get numerous causes. As a person with instincts, you must take the necessary actions only. Because the shown error codes are sufficient enough t ruin you and your car.

PO301, PO302, And PO303

Those errors are present after your vehicle encounters a misfire. Each error code means that your cylinders have faced a misfire in order. PO301 is the misfire with cylinder 01, PO302 for cylinder 02, and PO303 for the third cylinder misfire. When it comes to identifying the cylinder according to the number, you will find number 01 cylinder as the nearest to the vehicle’s engine.

Although the error codes mean that they need replacements for the spark plugs, and wires, it will be sufficient to replace the ignition coils only. If the other parts have failed, you will have to replace them too. It is better to ask the opinion of the mechanic.

How To Identify The Faulty Ignition Coil Without A Scanner?

With the experience of maintaining a vehicle for a long time, you can identify it by the sound. You may confirm it by changing the cylinder of the ignition coil and listen to the noise. After changing the position of the ignition, the faulty ignition coil will cause the same trouble for the newly introduced cylinder.


It is the specific error code for having faulty plugs. Therefore you should not replace any ignition coil along with the spark plugs. It is quite enough to check and replace sparks.

Conclusion of Check Engine Light Flashing

A misfire is not a thing any vehicle owner can ignore. Similar to that even a blink of a Check Engine Light should be taken into mind as a warning. Unless you take that seriously, the Check Engine Light blink will become flashing or permanent on the dashboard.  Then after you will have to expend more money and time for the disease your vehicle has got.

Even though if it is an open gas tank cap, you will have to verify the cause for having a Check Engine Light is due to that reason.

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