The check engine is a warning light that advises you to visit your local auto technician for an inspection of the issues that may be present with your car and to repair or correct them.
There are many different reasons why the check engine light comes on, but some of the main ones include low fuel pressure, failure of a throttle position sensor or oxygen sensor, drive-by wire issues, and problems with tire pressure monitoring systems.
The light can also come on when there are problems with emissions, engine vacuum leaks, or a faulty ignition system.
Blinking Check Engine Light – A blinking check engine light means that there is no trouble code stored in the computer’s memory. But the light may still come on periodically to indicate a malfunction of some kind.
It could be anything from a loose gas cap to a faulty oxygen sensor. There are many reasons why this light would blink, but it is essential that you have the problem diagnosed by a professional mechanic familiar with your car make and model.
The check engine light comes on and then flashes for one second, or stays on longer, to indicate the check engine has detected a problem with your car’s emissions system that needs attention. When this happens, the check engine light should stay on until the problem is corrected.
What does it mean when your check engine light flashes then stop?
This is usually a sign that your Check Engine light was on and the light turned off. The most common reason the check engine light turns off is because you turned it off with the key and pressed reset.
If it’s not that, then there could be an issue with your fuel delivery system, your ignition system, or some other sensor. You’ll need to have a qualified technician diagnose it for you to know for sure what’s wrong.
With my car, the Check Engine light was on and when I went to AutoZone to get it to read, I was told that the code that came up was P0301 which is the timing belt. It turned out NOT to be a timing belt but if you have an issue with your engine, this is one of the first things that will show up.
What does it mean when the check engine light flashes 3 times?
The Check Engine or Service Engine Soon light on your dash may flash a few times and then go off. This is often an indication that there’s been some sort of a diagnostic fault code generated by the engine’s computer (called the DTC, for “Diagnostic Trouble Code”), and then stored in memory.
But there are other possible reasons for the light to flash, too. We’ve seen some cases where it was a loose or open ground connection, others where it was a bad sensor or voltage reference, etc.
The most common cause of this is the key position. Often times when you turn the key to start the car but do not crank it, it will blink 5 times.
The reason for this is because you turned the key to ‘start’ instead of ‘run’ and once you turned it to run it stopped blinking. Something else that may cause it to blink is if your battery has just been disconnected.
If you disconnect your battery, usually when you reconnect it, and go to start the car, the check engine light will blink 5 times before going out again.
What does it mean when check engine light flashes 10 times?
If your ‘Check Engine’ light flashes 10 times, it indicates that the Check Engine light has been on for a short period of time and then turned off. The number of flashes corresponds to the number of times the light was on.
It also indicates that there is a pending DTC stored in memory. The Check Engine Light may flash 10 times because there is an electrical or mechanical malfunction in the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) or wiring/circuitry associated with the PCM.
Codes P0xxx-P14xx, U0xxx-U1xxx are manufacturer-specific and should be researched using OE manufacturer’s diagnostic codes, service data codebooks, or scan tools with manufacturer-specific software modules.
You can drive around with your check engine light flashing for a while. Usually, it is not too serious. If you are having a problem with one of your emissions components (like a bad catalytic converter or O2 sensor) then the emissions light will stay on and not flash.
If you know that you have a bad emission component, it’s wise to take it in for repairs so that the check engine light goes off and does not come back on again. If you have just one minor problem, such as a loose gas cap or dirty air filter, the computer can compensate for some time and make the emissions system run properly.
If the light is flashing, it generally means that there is a problem with one of the emissions systems that the computer is not able to compensate for.
The OBDII standard includes a special case where if the catalytic converter has failed, or is failing, then after a few cycles of operation and non-operation (on-off), it can disable itself and not operate again until the fault has been corrected.
This is because when an emission-related component fails or begins to fail, it can emit harmful byproducts into your engine and exhaust system. It’s better to disable that component (the CAT) than to allow these fumes into your passenger compartment.
Robert Anderson is a world class motorhead who rebuilt his first carb at age 10, his first engine at age 15, and completed his first full hotrod build when he was just 18! Previously, he has ran a part warehouse, delivered pizzas, and managed the service department for a $20 million/year revenue dealership. Robert knows cars like few others and he is passionate about sharing his knowledge.