Is it Safe to Drive While the Check Engine Light is Blinking?


When talking about blinking, know that while a cat’s eye blinking is normal, a car’s engine light blinking isn’t. 

In fact, it’s a sign you shouldn’t ignore.

An engine is the powerhouse of your vehicle; thus, most people are perturbed at the sight of the check engine light blinking. 

Nothing can beat the unsettling feeling within you more than driving in the middle of nowhere and seeing this light flickering in your car.

Before you overthink the situation, hold your calm!

Just take a moment to notice if your car is acting differently than usual and ask yourself a few questions.

6 Questions to Ask Yourself When Your Engine Light is Blinking

  1. Is your car surging? 
  2. Is it shaking abnormally?
  3. Do you hear unusual sounds from it? 
  4. Is your car running rough?
  5. Do you smell gas?
  6. Is your car sputtering?

If you don’t notice any of the above changes in your car, then you’re safe to continue driving until your car stalls.

However, you should remember that your car won't stand by you for too long without having its engine tended to. 

So, have it fixed as soon as you can. 

You can read this DIY automotive repair guide if you want to learn to fix things around your car.  

There are several reasons behind the engine light blinking, some might be serious and others minor.

3 Common Causes of a Blinking Check Engine Light

Here’s a list of most common causes of a flickering check engine light, which indicate you’re safe to continue driving.  

1. Failed Oxygen Sensor

An oxygen sensor monitors unburned oxygen from the exhaust in your car. 

This is an essential component as it keeps a check on your fuel consumption.

Wondering what a faulty oxygen sensor does?

It provides faulty information to the computer system in your car and is the primary cause for decreased mileage and increased emissions. 

If you do not identify this cause early on, it may cause you about $2,000 damage as you'd need to replace your catalyst converter. 

2. Faulty Gas Cap

Your check engine light could also be blinking due to a loose or broken gas cap. 

This can cause the fuel vapors to leak, putting out the whole fuel system. 

This is another cause of reduced fuel mileage and increased emissions.

If you don't find any strange car behavior and no jerking, then be sure that a faulty or loose gas cap is the cause of your check engine light blinking. 

A gas cap barely costs you $3.

Thus, it’s always advisable to pull up, check if the cap is tightened and if it seems damaged, then get it replaced. 

3. Faulty Spark Plugs

Spark plugs are responsible for initiating combustion in your engine. 

You know that faulty spark plugs are the cause of a blinking check engine light when your spark plugs misfire. 

You’ll notice this as soon as your car jolts on acceleration.

Don't delay replacing your spark plugs every 100,000 miles as that's how long they last in vehicles manufactured after 1996. 

Regular servicing will avoid the blinking of your check engine light and save you all the trouble and money in repairing faulty parts of your car. 

Here’s why regular maintenance of your car is crucial.

If you live in Doylestown, A&G Customs can help with your timely servicing and repairs, check codes stored in your car’s computer, make recommendations, and replace faulty car components for you.

Feel free to contact them in your dark hours, they’re always just one call away from all your automotive needs - 215 669 3072.