Are you wondering why you have a flashing check engine light? Sometimes, it flashes and then stops.
Should you be worried? What does it mean?
Well, I’m here to let you know that your concerns are valid. A check engine light will either stay on continuously or flash on and off. This can give a really uneasy feeling or even a feeling of panic in my experience.
In this post, I’ll be taking you through everything you need to know about the check engine light going on and off while driving.
Let’s dive into it!
Now, your check engine light is one of the OBD2 warning systems in your car. When that light comes on as you drive, the computer is telling you it has found a problem in the car.
And, if the check engine light flashes on and off while you’re driving, it means it’s a serious problem and you’d need to get it looked at right away.
But, if it’s only on and stable, it could be any of so many numerous causes. It could be something as seemingly little as your gas cap is loose or something as bad and expensive as needing a new catalytic converter.
Table of contents
What Does it Mean When The Check Engine Light Comes On And Goes Off While Driving?
While you’re driving your car down the road, the computer is constantly running a bunch of tests on your car’s systems.
It’s an endless system of testing to see if anything is wrong. And every few minutes when it’s done testing, guess what? It starts all over again and tests all the systems.
If it finds a problem, and in the next test it finds it again, after a certain amount of tests coming positive, it turns on the check engine light for a trouble code for a system that it has found the problem in, then it turns the check engine light on.
But it doesn’t stop there. It keeps testing and then if it doesn’t find that problem again over the next series of tests, it will turn the check engine light back off.
I’ve experienced some situations in the past where there was gasoline in the tank that was a little weak, and then, once another tank of gas was put in, the light went off and never came back.
So I knew it was just a little bit of bad gas. It just means that your car’s computer system is so sensitive that it can collect small imperfections and warn you about them.
And then, when they get even smaller, it says “don’t even worry about them”. But of course, if you’re curious about what’s going on, you get a scanner and have it scanned because if you don’t remove the battery, the historical code will be stored for quite some time so you’ll be able to see what it thinks was wrong.
But, if it comes on and goes off, I wouldn’t even worry about it myself as long as the car runs okay.
In our modern computer-controlled society, you have to realize that there are some things you want to worry about and other things you just wave off as just another one of those computer glitches that you’re going to live with.
FAQs on Flashing Check Engine Light
Can Low Coolant Cause Check Engine Light?
Yes, low coolant can cause your check engine light to come on. The reason for this is, that when the temperature outside falls, the coolant in your engine becomes thicker and doesn’t flow as easily. This can cause a low coolant level which triggers the check engine light.
Miscommunication can occur when the coolant level sensor is faulty and sends the wrong signal to the car’s computer.
One common reason that the check engine light comes on is that there’s no dedicated light or gauge for coolant.
If the level of coolant gets too low, it will no longer be able to effectively keep the engine cool. As a result, the engine will start to overheat.
What Does It Mean When Your Check Engine Light Flashes 10 times?
When you turn on your ignition and your check engine light flashes 10 times, it simply means that the ECM has not run its OBD monitors. This is not really a code. The monitors will eventually run and pass after driving for a while.
Read: Car Struts Leaking
Should I Stop Driving With The Check Engine Light On, Blinking, or Flashing?
If your check engine light comes on, don’t freak out. It may not be that big of a deal. There could be times when the check engine light coming on could be due to something more serious.
But in such cases, it would be accompanied by certain symptoms such as the car shaking, not starting properly, or you’re seeing smoke, and so on.
If you notice any of these kinds of symptoms, then you have to pull over and see what’s happening.
Most importantly, as a side note, if your check engine light is accompanied by a high-temperature gauge reading or the oil pressure light going on, you’d need to shut the car off immediately.
Ugo is a passionate car enthusiast with a Bachelor of Electrical and Electronics Engineering degree and hands-on experience in troubleshooting and fixing automobiles.
I combine my electrical and mechanical engineering knowledge with practical skills to address car-related issues.
My love for cars and dedication to educating others led to the creation of Fixandtroubleshoot.com!