You’re driving down the road when all of a sudden, your check engine light blinks – a real stress trigger. “Now what?” you say to yourself. The good news is that it may not be a big problem, but you should have the car checked out by a certified mechanic right away.
It’s Important to Know Why the Check Engine Light Blinks
A car’s check engine light can indicate several different issues, and many can cause severe damage if not resolved quickly. When the check engine light starts blinking, it’s a sign that the catalytic converter is having problems potentially caused by varying issues. The fixes for these problems can range from inexpensive to costly. Following are a few of the most common causes behind a blinking check engine light.
- An ignition coil has failed
- The fuel injector has failed
- Mechanical issues in the engine
- Spark plug and spark plug wire problems
- Bad engine valves
- Loose electrical connections
- Damaged wires
- Loose or damaged vacuum hoses
Should I Drive the Car if the Check Engine Light is Blinking?
You shouldn’t drive your car if the check engine light is blinking (or worse, solid in color) – at least not until you’ve had it checked out by an experienced auto mechanic. Ignoring engine issues will end up causing you unnecessary expenses.
If the engine misfires, fuel can be forced into the exhaust system and the catalytic converter. The catalytic converter catches carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and nitrogen oxides which it then transforms into harmless compounds. In order to do this, it performs at extremely high temperatures. When too much fuel makes its way to the catalytic converter because of a misfiring engine, the fuel can ignite, damaging it. Catalytic converter replacement costs start at about $1,000 and can be much higher for some vehicles.
Misfires can also affect fuel cylinders, oxygen vacuum lines, sensors, and other essential components. If you’re able to turn off the engine the moment it starts misfiring, you could end up avoiding a hefty repair bill. Just be sure to treat the problem seriously – and don’t drive your vehicle until you’ve obtained a proper diagnosis.
If your check engine light is blinking, have it checked out right away. If the check engine light is solid, play it safe and have your car towed to a certified auto mechanic.
Take a Blinking Check Engine Light Seriously
Any check engine light is a reason to be concerned because it indicates a problem that could end up damaging the engine. An intermittent blinking check engine light that goes off after a couple of minutes may not be an indication of a serious problem, but it still needs attention. If your check engine light is a solid color, turn off the engine asap and have it towed to a qualified mechanic. Whatever you do, don’t drive the car until you’ve had it checked out.
Contact us today if the check engine light blinks in your car.