Why is my engine light blinking

When the check engine light begins to flash, it’s a clear indication of a serious problem. Unlike a steady illumination, a blinking light signals that your vehicle should stop and be immediately towed to a service center. Ignoring these alerts can lead to costly damage, transforming a manageable repair into a wallet-draining emergency.

As someone who has faced this nerve-wracking flash, I can’t stress enough how vital it is to determine the root of the problem right away. During a trip to the scenic routes of St. Paul, the flashing light turned my leisure drive into an unplanned visit to Porsche St. Paul. 

There, I learned about the intricate reasons why an engine light might come on or start flashing. The guide provided by the service center was a deep dive into how a check engine light that flashes is not just a sign that you need to worry; it’s a red flag that can’t be ignored. By taking care of it quickly, you’re not only saving yourself from the impending costly damage but also time and energy in the long run.

A Steady Light is a Warning

When your engine light turns on, it may not be a dire emergency, but it’s a warning that something could go wrong. Often it can imply a sensor going bad, or perhaps an inspection issue — normally, it’s not immediate but something you shouldn’t ignore.

What a Blinking Light Means

If your check engine light begins blinking, take heed as it could be signaling a range of issues from overheating, an oil pressure issue, to brakes, fuel line, failing timing belt, or hoses problems. It might also suggest something more expensive like a catalytic converter issue. Addressing these might save you not just money but also prevent common damage.

A Blinking Light is Bad

A blinking light is not just a minor annoyance, but a serious reminder that something is amiss with your vehicle. It’s an elevated concern, and you should head to the nearest trustworthy mechanic. Unlike a steady light, which might suggest a warning, a blinking light often denotes a situation where ignoring it is not an option.

Check Engine Light On vs. Check Engine Light Flashing

The sight of a check engine light flashing should prompt you to immediately pull over and shut off the engine. A flashing light indicates a more serious issue, possibly engine misfiring or unburned fuel in the exhaust system. These can cause critical damage to components like the catalytic converter, raising the temperature to dangerous levels. A steady check engine light may still alert you to a problem, but it’s a prompt to visit a service center for a diagnosis by expert technicians, rather than a sign to stop the vehicle immediately.

Reasons Why Your Check Engine Light is On

  • Faulty or loose gas cap, causing fuel vapors to leak and trigger the sensor.
  • Malfunctioning spark plugs or wires leading to poor performance and efficiency.
  • Defective ignition coils failing to provide necessary voltage for spark plugs.
  • Aged distributor cap and rotor (in older cars), disrupting ignition sequence.
  • Compromised fuel injectors affecting the fuel delivery to the engine.
  • Worn pistons or rings leading to compression loss and oil burning.
  • Timing issues with the belt or chain, affecting the engine’s internal synchronization.
  • Vacuum leaks or issues with the exhaust recirculation system.
  • Problems with the oxygen sensors failing to accurately measure airflow.
  • Failing catalytic converter, incapable of converting harmful exhaust gasses efficiently.

Whenever the check engine light comes on, it’s important to address the issue promptly to avoid potential damage to your vehicle’s engine and related systems.

Get Your Check Engine Light Codes Checked

It can be tough to determine why your check engine light has come on, so it’s advisable to bring your car to the professionals at Porsche St. Paul. They will run a vehicle diagnostics test, access the codes from your vehicle’s computer, and locate the problem swiftly.

Resetting the Check Engine Light

Once the source of the problem is addressed, the check engine light should turn off. Technicians may reset it manually using a diagnostics reader. If you decide to tackle it on your own, disconnecting and then reconnecting your car battery could do the trick, though there’s the drawback of losing in-car computer data.


In conclusion, paying immediate attention to a blinking check engine light is crucial for the well-being of your vehicle. Reflecting on the time when I faced this issue, the light was a stark warning that waiting was not an option. Waiting could mean risking severe damage, both to the engine and the pocketbook. 

Whether it’s a Porsche in St. Paul or another model elsewhere, a blinking light means one thing – urgent service. From overheating to failing catalytic converters, the potential problems are numerous and serious. It’s best to heed the vehicular cry for help and address it with the expertise of professional technicians. Remember, a check engine light is your first sign, but a blinking light screams for immediate action to avoid any further costly damage and ensure the longevity and safety of your drive.


Can I drive my car with the check engine light blinking?

There is no set time limit, as the severity of the problem can vary. However, it is generally not advisable to drive for more than a few miles with a flashing check engine light. If possible, have the vehicle towed to a repair facility rather than driving it so that you do not put yourself or others at risk.

Why is my check engine light blinking and my car shaking?

A blinking Check Engine light means there’s something seriously wrong with the emissions system. The shaking suggests you’re having a misfire, which is dumping unburnt fuel into the exhaust, while making the engine shake. This is usually caused by a bad spark plug, ignition coil, or wiring.

Why would my check engine light flash and then stop?

Intermittent: The check engine light blinks for a while and then turns off by itself. This indicates a possible soft failure. It can be an issue with the car’s wiring being cut or constantly being disconnected. Continuous Flashing: If the check engine light is constantly flashing, this indicates an emergency.

Why is my check engine light flashing and my car struggling to accelerate?

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.

Can low oil cause flashing engine light?

However, low oil pressure, which can be caused by low oil levels, can be a reason for the check engine light to turn on. Low oil pressure can seriously interfere with your car’s performance and disable your vehicle if not addressed immediately.

Which is worse: flashing or solid check engine light?

If the light is solid, it may still be cause for concern, but it is nothing immediate. A solid light can be as insignificant as a loose gas cap, or it could signal fuel, timing, or transmission troubles. While your car will need a diagnosis from a technician, it is not nearly so urgent as a flashing light.