- What is the Function of a Check Engine Light?
- Fuel Delivery System Problem
- Ignition Issue
- Vacuum Leak
- Engine Sensor Issue
- Fixing a Flashing Engine Light When Accelerating
- Know the Check Engine Light Codes
- Is It Okay to Drive with a Check Engine Light Blinking?
- How Much is Flashing Check Engine Light Repair?
- To Sum It Up
Summary: The check engine light does a fantastic job of giving an early warning sign that there’s something wrong with your vehicle. However, diagnosing the real issue can get tricky if it’s just blinking when accelerating. Usually, the problem is isolated to the engine block, with fuel delivery, crankshaft position sensor, or air intake being the possible culprits. Scanning the car using an OBDII diagnostic tool and then replacing the broken part is the initial step toward addressing the problem.
What is the Function of a Check Engine Light?
The check engine light is part of your car’s computer system. It is linked to sensors throughout the car that tracks emissions, engine performance, and fuel mixture. The light flashes once the computer system senses an issue.
The latest car models feature many sensors, including the mass airflow sensor, oxygen sensor, engine coolant temperature sensor, and throttle position sensor. If any of these computer sensors break down, it usually triggers the occurrence of a check engine light. In some instances, the issue might be with your car’s computer system.
The purpose of a check engine light is to inform you if there is something wrong with your vehicle. So, never take it lightly to avoid any accidents or inconveniences on the road.
Fuel Delivery System Problem
The fuel delivery system is another possible reason why the check engine light flashes. This happens because of clogged injectors, dirty fuel filters, or a defective fuel pump. The fuel delivery system comprises many parts that deliver fuel to the engine. If one of these parts is not functioning correctly, it can trigger the check engine light to flash.
The engine chomps more fuel whenever you accelerate. Once the fuel delivery system is not able to keep up with the demand, it will activate the check engine light.
An issue with the ignition is another possible reason behind a blinking check engine light. Usually, the common culprits are faulty spark plugs or a defective ignition coil. Any problem with your ignition will activate the check engine light, as it affects the ability of the engine to keep the right mixture of fuel and air. This can result in poor engine performance and more emissions.
A vacuum leak can also activate the check engine light. This happens because of a cracked hose, faulty gasket, or dented intake manifold. The chance of a vacuum leak is increased if you have a supercharged or turbocharged engine.
Engine Sensor Issue
A problem with the engine sensor is another reason behind a blinking check engine. As stated above, there are many engine sensors, such as mass airflow, oxygen, throttle position, and engine coolant temperature sensors. Any issue with these sensors can cause the engine light to blink. In some instances, it will cause the engine to run lean. This can result in increased emissions and poor engine performance.
Fixing a Flashing Engine Light When Accelerating
Below are some of the things you can do to fix a blinking check engine light.
Using a diagnostic tool is the first step in dealing with a flashing check engine light. This tool reads the error code and helps you figure out the main source of the issue. You can then take the right steps to repair it. Sometimes, it may be as easy as replacing a dirty air filter. Occasionally, it may need extensive work, like replacing the ignition component or engine sensor.
DIY sounds like a cost-effective option, but the stakes are high. So, it’s still better to entrust the job to qualified and licensed experts. Google ‘brake repair shop near me’ to find reputable technicians in your area who can effectively diagnose the issue and carry out the much-needed repairs.
Know the Check Engine Light Codes
Once the ECU senses a problem with the engine, the check engine light automatically comes on. Every error cached in the ECU is designated a “P” code.
When your car’s check engine light comes on, you can determine the problem by simply connecting a diagnostic reader and reading the stored codes. If you have the code, identifying the defective part becomes so much easier.
Here are the common P codes associated with the check engine light:
- P0300 – Random misfire found
- P0302 – Cylinder misfire found
- P0420 – The efficiency of the catalyst system is below the threshold
- P0455 – EVAP system large leak found
- P2463 – Restriction of diesel particulate filter (linked to the accumulation of soot)
Is It Okay to Drive with a Check Engine Light Blinking?
It is not advised to drive your car when the check engine light is on, as it can lead to an accident. However, if you need to use your car, take it easy on the accelerator and maintain a decent speed as much as possible. Upon reaching your destination, call a recovery truck to take your car to your trusted workshop.
How Much is Flashing Check Engine Light Repair?
Depending on the severity of the issue, it could be as easy and cheap as replacing the dirty air filter, which can cost you roughly $20. But, in some cases, it may need extensive work, like replacing the ignition or engine sensor. In this case, be ready to shell out anywhere from $100 to $1000, especially if a misfire is involved.
To Sum It Up
If the check engine light comes on while you are driving, it can be caused by an engine sensor issue, a vacuum leak, a fuel delivery or ignition issue, or a main mechanical issue, which can cause the engine to misfire.
Good thing, the diagnostic tool can read the error code. This helps you figure out the cause and which parts need repair or replacement. However, this is something that professionals should handle even if they have basic knowledge about cars. Keep in mind that little learning is dangerous.
Do you live in Ventura, California? Then Dependable Car Care is your go-to car repair shop. With a team of ASE-certified mechanics, we know the ins and outs of auto repair and maintenance. Apart from a flashing check engine light, we are also experts in brake repair and hybrid battery maintenance.
Call us today and book an appointment!