My Check Engine Light is Flashing. What Does That Mean?

A flashing check engine light is a cry for help from your automobile.

A regular check engine light is a request for help. However, a flashing one is an urgent cry for help. Basically, a flashing check engine light means your engine runs so poorly that the catalytic converter is at risk of damage.

Many things can cause an engine to run poorly. Usually, it is a misfire condition causing raw fuel to be deposited into the catalytic converter. Unburned fuel causes the converter to overheat, destroying its ability to function properly.

This problem can be as easy to fix as replacing the vehicle’s spark plugs. A misfiring spark plug causes fuel in that cylinder not to ignite. This causes the unburned fuel to reach the catalytic converter.

Another potential problem is an ignition coil may not be firing, causing the spark plug not to ignite the fuel in the cylinder. On vehicles with older ignition systems, a faulty distributor cap or distributor rotor can cause the misfire. Vehicles using spark plug wires can have a damaged plug wire, causing the spark plug not to fire.

A burnt intake or exhaust valve can lower compression. In more severe cases, this causes a misfire. Again, the unburned fuel enters the catalytic converter.

Should your vehicle suffer a flashing check engine light, do not ignore it. Have your vehicle serviced by a qualified professional as soon as possible. Remember, ignoring the light will certainly cost more money.

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