Check Engine Light Flashing Car and Sputtering

Last Updated on January 14, 2023 by Leepu Da Maxim

The moment a user can see the check engine light on and sputter, it means that there is some kind of mechanical failure or damage to the engine. In this type of situation, you should immediately check the engine with an experienced mechanic.

Key Takeaways

  • If you see blinking check engine light and hear a sputter then it means your engine has misfired
  • If your engine misfire for any reason then it can damage the catalytic converter
  • If the catalytic converter is damaged then the temperature of the engine will rise quickly which can damage the engine also
  • It is not wiser to drive a car while the check engine light is blinking as it can damage internal components of your car

Check Engine Light Flashing Car Sputtering – Main Tips 

The Motor Check Light FlashesThe moment the engine check light flashes, it means that the engine has a serious fault
Stopping The VehicleThe driver must have the vehicle, as this is an emergency
Analyze The SituationThe driver should try to detect strange sounds or unusual behavior to know if he can continue to drive
The Motor Check Light Does Not FlashWhen the engine check light does not flash, it means that there is a minor engine failure
Diagnosing The VehicleA vehicle diagnosis can detect the error code, so you can know the specific problem of each vehicle 

Can I Drive My Car With The Check Engine Light Blinking?

When the check engine light starts blinking, users don’t know if they should stop or keep driving. Therefore, to avoid further technical damage to your vehicle, we recommend that you follow the steps below.

1. Check Engine Light Flashing

Of course, this icon is usually incorporated in all vehicles to alert the driver that something bad is happening inside the engine. So, it can be an icon shaped like an engine that is combined with a red or yellow light. In most cases, this icon is usually located just behind the steering wheel in the middle of the vehicle’s dashboard.

In many cases, this light may start flashing for a few seconds. This being the case, this is not a very serious problem. On the contrary, when the light continues to blink for more than 6 seconds the driver should check this. In short, this could be an emergency problem for vehicle mechanics.

2. Stopping The Vehicle

If the driver has verified that the check engine light continues to flash for more than 6 seconds, then the driver must stop. In particular, this is an important aspect of the safety and protection of the driver himself and other people. When the light continues to flash for more than 6 seconds, it means that there is a problem of some gravity.

That’s why the driver should slow down gently and approach the side of the road. This way, the driver will have the chance to check some basic aspects of the engine before continuing.

On the contrary, if the driver does not stop the vehicle, then there could be an increasingly serious problem. The problem may be aggravated since the driver has not stopped the vehicle.

3. Knowing The Problem

In many cases, the driver will have the possibility to apply his criterion and common sense in this problem. On the occasions when the check engine light is illuminated and fixed, the driver can probably continue his journey. Anyway, here it is necessary to pay attention to the strange behaviors or noises that the vehicle may produce.

Here it is important to realize if the car can be kept straight and the person can drive as he has always done. In this way, the driver can detect if the vehicle is facing one of the sides. Strange sounds, especially inside the engine or under the hood, are important to be able to detect when it is a major problem. 

Of course, when smoke or steam is coming out of the car, it is a clear sign that something is wrong. In other words, this is the precise moment for the driver to apply each of his or her senses to detect what is wrong with the car. This step is important to decide if the driver can continue to drive his damaged vehicle.

4. Applying The Solution

Today, special technological equipment is required to diagnose a vehicle problem. Even the same tools can be very useful to prevent future inconveniences in the mechanics of the car. On many occasions, there is technological equipment that can be used by any person. However, not all car drivers have access to this type of technology.

Anyway, here the classic solution is always to visit a mechanic to get a professional opinion. If the driver does not know a reliable mechanic he should consult at least two different mechanics. This way the driver can decide who is the most suitable person to repair his vehicle. In most cases, the check engine light comes on when something goes wrong. 

Why Is Your Check Engine Light Flashing?

In the vast majority of vehicles, a set of warning lights are incorporated to inform different situations to each driver. That’s why each of these lights has a certain meaning that today can be identified very easily. Among all of them, the engine check light is one of the most classic and very important symbols to consider.

In particular, this light comes on when something is not right within the mechanics of the vehicle. In these cases, a red or yellow light illuminates this icon on the dashboard of the vehicle. So, one of the vehicle’s sensors will not be working properly when this engine check light comes on.

In these cases, the check engine light comes on and may start flashing or remain steady. Of course, this check engine light comes on every time the driver starts the vehicle. However, the normal situation here is that the check engine light only comes on for 6 seconds and then goes off. In turn, when the check engine light comes on, it is related to some error code.

A vehicle scanner can detect what that error code is. In this way, it is very easy to know what the specific problem is according to the error code. Beyond that, it is important to consider what the reasons are for turning on the check engine light. Some sensors or components within the engine’s large mechanical system may be malfunctioning.

The driver also can pay attention to unusual sounds or vehicle agitation. These two symptoms are very clear when it comes to a failure within the engine or vehicle mechanics. When the warning light stays on, it means there is a minor fault inside the car.

Conversely, when the engine check light keeps flashing and blinking, it means there is a serious fault. So, when this happens it is important to consult a mechanic about what the real problem is. The vast majority of today’s vehicles meet all the requirements to be diagnosed by vehicle scanners. 

Most Common Causes Of Engine Check Engine Light

1. Damaged Fuel Cap

Sometimes there can be a steam leak in a defective or cracked fuel cap. It could also be a more serious fuel system problem due to a leaking top.

So, here it is important to replace the fuel cap with a good one. This way, the engine check light should go out and it is also recommended to consult a mechanic on many occasions.

2. Catalytic Converter Failure

The catalytic converter is one of the important components of a vehicle’s exhaust system and is responsible for controlling emissions. In this way, the car will no longer release such harmful gases as carbon monoxide. In particular, the catalytic converter transforms these gases into less dangerous ones for the environment.

When this component begins to fail, then the vehicle performs less well and fuel efficiency decreases. Beyond being a costly component, it will have to be replaced anyway. Besides, as time goes by without the replacement of parts, the driver aggravates the problem and spends more and more on fuel every day.

3. Oxygen Sensor Failure

This sensor is responsible for working in the exhaust system by measuring the amount of oxygen. In this way, each vehicle’s computer can adjust the exact fuel-air mixture inside the engine so that combustion occurs.

Of course, when this sensor fails then the vehicle produces more emissions and uses more gasoline. While this is not a serious problem, it does require a mechanic to take care of the situation so as not to aggravate the problem.

4. Faulty Mass Airflow Sensor

This particular component is responsible for determining the amount of air needed to be mixed with the fuel for internal combustion. In many cases, a bad installation can be made or the air filter is simply dirty. Here the fuel efficiency and the vehicle performance decrease until the problem is solved.

5. Ignition Coil Failures

The engine check light comes on when there is some kind of failure in the ignition coil. A failure in this component can compromise your vehicle’s ignition. Here the vehicle’s ignition will become increasingly difficult as the ignition coil failure becomes more severe.

5. Spark Plug Failures 

Each of the spark plugs incorporated in any vehicle has a certain life span. That’s why it can be very common for the engine check light to come on when the spark plugs are defective or have reached the end of their life. Here there is simply no other solution than to add new spark plugs.

6. Charging System Failures

Finally, another very common problem is the improper operation of the vehicle’s battery. The vehicle battery is essential to start the car. However, it could also be found in another component of the vehicle’s electrical charging system, such as the alternator.