The check engine light is a warning signal that helps you to quickly detect when there is an issue with your vehicle. The check engine light shows that your car needs to be serviced as soon as possible. Your vehicle should be diagnosed by a mechanic and should be serviced, so it doesn’t develop into a more serious and expensive problem to fix.
A blinking check engine light indicates a more serious issue with your vehicle. This means that the engine is misfiring and unburned fuel is getting into the exhaust system. The temperature of the catalytic converter is raised and this can cause critical damage. If you notice a blinking check engine light starts you should immediately stop diving. Pull over, shut off the engine, and have your car towed to a nearby service center for repair.
Here in this article, we would briefly discuss how to fix a blinking check engine light.
Why Is My Check Engine Light Blinking
There are several reasons why the check engine light blinking, and they include the following:
- Spark plugs.
- Ignition coils.
- Distributor cap.
- Fuel injectors.
- Pistons and rings.
- Timing belt or chain.
- Cylinder head.
Blinking Check Engine Light
Check Spark Plug
The spark plug ignites the compressed fuel and air mixture by creating the spark that is enough to start the engine. Overheating and carbon build-up decrease the lifespan of a spark plug. This can lead to check engine light comes on, the engine taking too long to respond, decreased acceleration, and engine misfires. Proper maintenance should be carried out on the spark plug and should be replaced if damaged.
Faulty Ignition Coils
The Ignition Coil is part of a car ignition system. It converts the voltage from the car battery to the required amount of volts enough to trigger the spark plug which ignites the engine air-fuel mixture.
When your vehicle detects a faulty ignition system, the check engine light will turn on. You can use a multi meter to test the ignition coils of your car. Alternatively, you can use a spark tester to check the ignition coil.
Follow these steps to use a spark tester:
- First, plug the tester into the coil.
- Then attach the ground wire.
- Plug in the coil connector.
- Now adjust the spark gap to the correct measurement.
- Finally, start the engine.
- If there is a spark, then the blinking check engine light was from a faulty ignition coil.
A loose gas cap is one of the common reasons for the check engine light coming on. The gas cap is also known as the fuel filler cap and it prevents dirt, debris, and dust build-up from entering the gas tank by serving as a reliable seal. Due to the frequent removal of the gas cap whenever fuel is about to be added to the vehicle, it is often subjected to being worn out.
A worn or failing gas cap will produce some symptoms that should alert the driver of potential damage. Some of the symptoms include the cap not tightening properly, the fuel smell from the vehicle, and the check engine light coming on. If you detect an issue with the gas cap, have your vehicle diagnosed by a professional mechanic for a proper checkup and have the blinking check engine light turn off.
Check Cylinder Head
The cylinder head contains the inlet and exhaust valves, and spark plug. The symptoms of a worn or damaged cylinder head include overheating, poor engine performance, oil leaks, drop in coolant level, smoke, rough running, and misfiring which would all lead to blinking check engine lights.
If your vehicle is equipped with a temperature gauge, you would see it begins to climb. The main cause of a cracked cylinder head is often engines overheating. The cylinder head can cracks as a result of thermal stress when the engine gets too hot. Click here to read on easy fixes and causes of engine overheating.
A fuel injection system provides the car engine with the correct amount of fuel under all the engine operating conditions. Fuel is injected into the engine through an injector by spraying fuel into the engine. While the Engine control unit (ECU) controls the amount of fuel to inject based on several sensor readings.
The ECU determines the amount of fuel to inject based on several sensor readings derived from the oxygen sensors, throttle position sensor, mass air flow sensor, and the engine coolant temperature sensor.
A bad fuel injector would lead to either too much or not enough fuel being delivered to the engine. This will cause blinking check engine light comes on which indicates a problem.
Other symptoms of a bad fuel injector include poor engine performance issues, car failing or struggling to start, vehicle misfiring, rough idle, engine failing to reach its full RPM, and smell of fuel.
Check Pistons and Rings
The piston rings help regulates oil pressure and the amount of oil consumed by the engine. The piston is required for the operation of the car engine. The piston is located inside the cylinder, it connects to the crankshaft through the connecting rod. As the piston moves up and down the inlet valve opens and closes. When it moves downward, the piston rotates the crankshaft creating power to propel your vehicle.
The Pistons must form a tight seal against the cylinder walls to achieve complete and efficient combustion. The seal is created by a series of piston rings that envelop the piston. As the engine wears out over time, the piston rings and the seal also wears due to the movement of the piston.
A damaged or worn-out piston ring, would result in too much smoke produced from the exhaust pipes, excess oil consumption, poor acceleration, excessive oil intake, poor vehicle performance, and check engine light flashing.
Check Timing Belt or Chain
The timing belt ensures that the engine inlet and outlet valves open and close simultaneously at the correct times. The check engine light can get triggered by time or mileage for a belt change, or by a discrepancy in the intervals between the crank position and cam position sensors. This all indicates a stretched belt or jumped belt tooth.
A bad timing belt can also lead to a rough idle. When the teeth on the belt are worn or broken it can cause the belt to slip out. A broken timing belt while driving can lead to immense damage to the engine.
What Does a Blinking Check Engine Light Mean
A blinking check engine light indicates a serious issue with your vehicle. This could mean a lot of things but you need to pay attention to the signs that you will be getting from your car. You should take your vehicle to a nearby mechanic’s workshop for diagnosis and repair.
In conclusion, a check engine light blinking shows damage or issue with the car engine. You should take your vehicle to the mechanic workshop for a proper check-up before this issue escalates to much more severe damage.