What Does a Blinking ‘Check Engine Light’ Indicate?


So the other day I was driving down Maple Avenue in Doylestown, and I realized my car's check engine light just popped up.

I wasn't sure if I should keep driving or find an auto repair shop in Doylestown to have it looked at right away.

I decided to leave it for later. A big mistake!

Once I was home, I researched and found out that according to a ]]>cost analysis by CarMD]]>, the annual cost of car repairs is rising.

Among all, one of the major problems is check-engine light popping up.

Fortunately for me, I didn’t face any issues on my way back home.

But I need to get it checked by an auto repair service in Doylestown immediately.

I’ll tell you why...

The check engine light is among the most frustrating and confusing indicator on any vehicle's dashboard.

It’s that one light constantly blinking with no information telling you what exactly could be the problem.

So what are the common malfunctions that make your car's check engine light come on?

Let’s find out.

Malfunction #1 - Oxygen Sensor Failure

This is the most common car repair, accounting for 8% of the fixes.

The O2 sensor can fail due to neglecting car repairs and engine issues such as internal leaks or burning oil.

Using a higher concentration of ethanol in your gas can also lead to the O2 sensor failure.

As the sensor works with the car's onboard sensor assembly, a failed O2 sensor can result in 40% drop in fuel economy and affect the performance of your vehicle.

The average cost of repairing an oxygen sensor is $250 - $260.

Malfunction #2 - Failing Catalytic Convertor

A catalytic convertor reduces exhaust gases. It converts harmful gases like carbon monoxide into harmless compounds.

The foremost reason for the catalyst convertor to fail is either a broken oxygen sensor or deteriorating spark plugs.

If you continue doing regular maintenance of your vehicle, the catalytic convertor won't fail. And if it does, you’ll be able to notice a decrease in gas mileage.

Your car will also not go any faster when you accelerate.

Unfortunately, the only thing that you can do in this case is to replace it at  a local auto repair shop.

The average cost of repairing is $2000.

Malfunction #3 - Faulty Fuel Cap

Most drivers don't realize that a fuel cap that is loose, missing or damaged can trigger the check engine warning light in the vehicle.

If the gas cap is loose or cracked, fuel vapors can leak out and throw the whole fuel out.

In case you see the indicator blinking while on the road, pull over and see if the cap is loose or broken.

Tightening a loose gas cap is free, but expect to spend a little if the cap needs to be replaced.

The average cost for replacing a gas cap $20.

Malfunction #4 - Faulty Spark Plugs and Wires

A broken spark plug seal will affect combustion of gas inside the combustion chamber.

When the plugs are not working right, the spark plugs will misfire.

You will notice this failure when accelerating the vehicle as it will give sudden jerks.

Most spark plugs need to be replaced at least once every 25,000 - 30,000 miles.

Ignoring a misfiring spark plug can result in permanent damage to your car’s expensive catalytic convertor.

Quick Tip

You can replace the spark plug on your own; which is a better option than getting it done by a mechanic.It will also cost you less to replace it on your own.

The average cost of replacing a spark plug is $250.

Malfunction #5 - Faulty Mass Airflow Sensor

Diesel cars run on a mixture of fuel and air entering the engine.

A mass flow sensor adds the proper amount of fuel based on the amount of air coming into the engine.

A faulty sensor leads to decreased gas mileage, causes the car to stall, and increases emissions.

Most air flow sensors fail because of clogged  up (and never replaced) air filter.

A broken MAF sensor would let you drive the vehicle for a few weeks, but it will decrease the gas mileage and eventually stall the vehicle.

Visit an auto repair shop to fix the sensor as soon as possible.

The average cost of replacing an MAF sensor is $300 - $400.

There could be plenty of other reasons that your check engine light has come on, but it is recommended that you visit a nearby auto repair shop to help you figure out what is the exact reason.

Besides, how long will you let that check engine light blink before you do something about it?

If you’ve been having issues with it, let a professional auto repair service in Doylestown have a look at it.