What a Flashing Check Engine LIght Means to your Car


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A check engine light flashing is a sign of trouble, but it doesn’t necessarily mean the car is circling the drain. The lights are sensors meant to alert the driver that it is time to get service. When the light flashes, it indicates a greater need to get the vehicle looked at by a neighborhood auto professional. Car repair shops have the tools and expertise to analyze the fault code and determine how to fix the problem.

The Engine Light

The engine light on your car can do one of two things:

  • Stay solid
  • Flash

Each state is a different level of alert. The light connects to sensors that monitor the powertrain associated with the vehicle’s emission system it also monitor other parameters that might be out range. The flashing of this light indicates an engine misfire. Car engines work on a combustion system. Misfire refers to an incomplete cycle within the cylinder. Over time, misfires can damage other key components in the engine such as the catalytic converter.

More About Misfires

When the check engine light is on, it may indicate a Type A misfire. This severe problem needs attention. Driving with a Type A misfire can lead to mechanical damage in the engine. With this flaw, the engine could theoretically catch fire.

A Type B misfire involves the emission system. When the car fails to meet the emission standard, the check engine light flashes a warning. Type B is a smaller misfire, but can lead to something more critical.

Type A and Type B are two of the more problematic misfires, but many issues can cause this engine anomaly. The key thing to keep in mind is a flashing light means an urgent need for service.

What to Do When the Light Starts Flashing?

A solid light needs attention sometime soon, but with the check engine light flashing, the need is graver. The driver should contact their car repair center that day and arrange to have service within a few hours. The risk of damage and fire is too great to ignore. A flashing light grabs the attention of the driver for a reason. It means the situation is critical. Waiting is not an option once the light begins to blink.

Many mechanical problems can be avoided by paying attention to sensors like the engine light. When it starts flashing, take the car to your mechanic for service quickly.

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