What Does a Flashing Check Engine Light Mean?

A check engine light could indicate a wide range of problems. These include oxygen sensor failure, spark plug problems, a vacuum hose leak, and even something as minor as a loose gas cap. While a check engine light should always be investigated, it isn’t always a major emergency. However, a flashing check engine light is entirely different. A flashing check engine light does require immediate attention.

What Happens When Flashing Check Engine Lights Turn On

A blinking check engine light will pop up on your dashboard display when your engine misfires. This means that the engine is dumping unburned fuel into your vehicle’s exhaust system. This is a serious problem because it can rapidly raise the temperature of the catalytic converter. If the temperature is elevated too much, the catalytic converter will sustain damage and require expensive repairs. It could even start a fire in your vehicle.

Why Engines Misfire

There are primarily three reasons why engines might misfire. Most often, it’s due to an ignition system defect. Ignition system defects tend to be the least expensive to repair. Fuel system defects, a second potential cause, cost a little more to repair. These may involve replacing pricier components like fuel injectors. The third possible cause is an internal engine defect, which tends to cost the most to repair.

What You Should Do About It

While it may be technically possible to continue driving your car when the flashing check engine light comes on, it’s definitely not a good idea. If you continue driving it, you’ll risk doing more damage and you’ll end up paying more for repair costs. You could also risk an engine fire. Play it safe and pull over as soon as possible. Then, call a towing company to take your car to the nearest mechanic.

If your car has broken down and you need a tow, you can rely on the dedicated team at Barnett’s Towing. We provide 24/7 emergency towing services to stranded motorists throughout Arizona. Give us a call at (800) 722-2302 to request a tow or inquire about our affordable rates.