What Does a Flashing Check Engine Light Mean?

Automotive
What Does a Flashing Check Engine Light Mean?
Mary Jane Rosenberg Mary Jane Rosenberg
What Does a Flashing Check Engine Light Mean?

Check engine light indicates engine or exhaust problems. With the widespread use of catalytic converters in new cars, it found its way into our vehicles. 

It is part of the so-called on-board diagnosis and should indicate engine problems. It intends to draw the driver’s attention to the exhaust system’s errors that could lead to increased emissions.

Numerous sensors that can influence the engine control lamp are built into modern vehicles today. This can range from dirty spark plugs to a severe defect in the engine management system.

 If the engine control lamp lights up, you should quickly head to a workshop to get to the bottom of the cause. The operating instructions or the logbook for the respective vehicle often provide information about what to do when the engine control lamp lights up.

What does the engine check light look like?

The blinking check engine light is usually yellow. When it lights up, the indicator light shows a symbol in the form of a stylized motor. 
Some people recognize this motor symbol as a fish or a submarine. However, the symbol and location should be listed in the owner’s manual for that particular car.

The engine control lamp lights up when the ignition is switched on

When the ignition is switched on, the engine control lamp usually lights on. This is mainly used to check whether the engine control lamp is working. 
Please pay attention to all other control lamps in the dashboard that light up when the ignition is switched on From time to time, ensure that they are working correctly. 
If the engine control light does not light up after starting, you should have it checked and repaired. The correct function of the engine control lamp is essential and also mandatory. 
However, the moment after starting the engine, the engine control lamp should go out.

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Flashing check engine light
Flashing check engine light

Flashing check engine light is turned on continuously

If the engine control lamp lights up continuously, it can indicate a defective lambda probe. The lambda probe measures the engine’s exhaust gas’s oxygen content and uses it to supply the engine control system, which uses this data to ensure an ideal air-fuel mixture.

The engine may acknowledge the lambda probe’s defect with a loss of power or an uneven engine run, but in any case with increased pollutant emissions. Sometimes, only the lambda probe cable has come loose or is damaged.

Error is stored in the fault memory
Error is stored in the fault memory

Error is stored in the fault memory

In most modern vehicles, an error message is stored in the fault memory. It happens every time the engine control lamp does not go out immediately after starting the engine or if it lights up while driving. 

You can read the fault memory in the workshop with a special diagnostic device, making it easier to isolate the fault or defect. The engine control lamp can also light up briefly while driving, indicating a temporary fault or a discrepancy in the exhaust system. 

It can also happen if there is a loose contact on a connector of the sensors or the connector’s contact surfaces are contaminated.

The engine control lamp flashes
The engine control lamp flashes

The engine control lamp flashes – switch off the engine

If the engine control lamp flashes continuously, caution is required. Usually, the flashing indicates a severe fault in the area of ​​the engine or the exhaust system. 

However, the error’s severity causing the light to blink may vary from model to model. Some experts recommend stopping when the engine control lamp flashes if it is safe to switch off the engine.

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