checkenginelightAt some point you may have experienced the check engine light coming on in your car, and continued to drive for a bit before taking it to the shop to get checked out. But what does it mean when it is flashing instead of just lit up? This is often a sign of a more serious issue, and you should stop driving your car immediately. There are a few possible reasons that the light will start blinking.

Catalytic Converter Issue

The light flashing on and off is often a sign of a condition where the catalytic converter is being damaged. There is a misfire in the engine causing the temperature to rise, which sets off the light. More severe misfires can raise the temperature to over 1000 degrees Celsius and start melting the ceramic internals of the catalytic converter. Less severe misfires cause a drastic increase in emissions, and can quickly lead to a larger misfire if not repaired.  If you continue to drive, your vehicle may sustain more damage, which may run you repair costs up to $2000 or more. Catalytic converters are quite expensive, and many vehicles contain more than one.

Mechanical Damage

When the light flashes, instead of just coming on, it means there is some kind of mechanical damage. Often you will be able to tell that there is something wrong with your vehicle by the way it is running in addition to the flashing light. This can be the result of a variety of engine issues, including failing ignition coils, fuel injectors, engine computer, spark plugs, spark plug wires, or engine valves. The initial problem may be an easy fix if done right away, however prolonged driving will compound the issue into a more serious problem. When the light starts to flash, you should immediately pull over safely off the road and turn off the engine.


Once you have stopped driving and gotten your vehicle to a repair shop, they can scan the engine’s computer for fault codes. There are hundreds of different misfire issues that can throw codes in your engine’s computer, causing the check engine light to come on. Scanning for the misfire cause can help your mechanic get started on diagnosing and fixing the correct problem right away.

At Autologic of Greensboro, NC we are equipped to address vehicle maintenance needs all year round. Come in right away if your service light is on so we can find a solution and get you back on the road. Our staff is committed to providing quality services with integrity. Contact us at (336) 510-7823 or come see us at 1223 Grecade St., Greensboro, NC.