Flashing “check engine” light then stops – meaning and solution

Are you worried about the flashing check engine light in your car? You may be wondering what this means and how to fix it. You’re not alone! In this post, we’ll uncover the meaning behind the flashing check engine light, common causes of the issue, and potential solutions to help you get your car back on the road.


As a driver, seeing a flashing check engine light can be alarming. However, if the light stops flashing and remains illuminated, you can take a breath of relief as it is not an emergency situation.

What does it mean?

When the check engine light flashes, it indicates an urgent issue with your engine that requires immediate attention. On the other hand, if the light stops flashing and remains steady, it indicates a less severe problem that can be resolved without causing any major breakdowns.

What could be the problem?

Some of the common reasons for a check engine light to flash include:

  • a misfiring engine
  • a faulty catalytic converter
  • a damaged oxygen sensor
  • a failing ignition coil

When the light remains steady, it could indicate:

  • a loose gas cap
  • an issue with the mass airflow sensor
  • a damaged spark plug

What’s the solution?

In either scenario, it is best to take your car to a trusted mechanic for diagnosis and repair. Ignoring the issue can lead to costly engine damage and safety issues while driving.

Pro tip – It is advisable to invest in an OBD-II scanner to check for errors in your car and take necessary actions before the problem turns severe.

What is a Flashing Check Engine Light?

A flashing Check Engine Light (CEL) is a warning sign that there is a serious problem with your vehicle’s engine that needs immediate attention. Unlike a steady CEL, a flashing CEL means that there is a major fault in your vehicle’s ignition, fuel or emission system that can cause significant damage if ignored. If your car’s Check Engine Light flashes and then stops, it is a sign that the problem is intermittent.

Common reasons for flashing CEL include:

  • a faulty spark plug or ignition coil
  • a failing catalytic converter
  • a clogged fuel injector or exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) valve
  • a malfunctioning oxygen sensor

If you experience a flashing CEL, pull over safely to the side of the road, turn off your vehicle’s engine, and contact a professional mechanic to diagnose and fix the problem promptly. Ignoring a flashing CEL could result in expensive engine repairs.

What Does it Mean When the Check Engine Light Flashes and Then Stops?

A flashing check engine light, followed by it stopping, could indicate a serious problem with your vehicle that requires a prompt solution.

Here’s what it could mean and what you should do:

  1. Misfiring engine: A flashing check engine light could be an indication of an engine misfire, which could cause damage to other engine parts. You should pull over and turn off the engine immediately. Get it checked by a mechanic.
  2. Catalytic converter damage: A damaged catalytic converter can cause serious engine problems and reduce fuel efficiency. A flashing check engine light followed by a stop could mean that the catalytic converter has overheated, and you should get it checked as soon as possible.
  3. Faulty spark plug or ignition coils: A flashing light could indicate an issue with the ignition system, most commonly spark plugs or ignition coils. You should get it checked by a mechanic to avoid long-term engine damage.

Remember, a flashing check engine light is a sign that the problem is serious, so it’s critical to get it checked out immediately to prevent further damage or issues with your car.

Common Causes of a Flashing Check Engine Light

A flashing check engine light is an indication of a severe engine misfire. Common causes may include a faulty ignition coil or spark plug, clogged catalytic converter or exhaust system, damaged oxygen sensors, or a loose gas cap.

A flashing check engine light should not be ignored and immediate action must be taken to avoid potential damage to your vehicle. Ignoring this warning sign could result in costly repairs down the line.

If the light comes on then stops, it might indicate that the issue was temporary, so you need to have your engine checked to determine the underlying cause of the flashing light.

Checking the engine diagnostic code with an OBD2 scanner is a simple, effective way to diagnose the problem. In case of any issue, immediately consult an experienced mechanic to correctly diagnose the problem and take appropriate action.

Diagnosing the Problem

When a check engine light flashes and then stops, it usually indicates a severe problem with your vehicle’s engine that requires prompt attention.

Meaning: A flashing check engine light indicates a critical engine problem that needs to be addressed immediately. It could indicate issues such as a damaged catalytic converter, misfiring engine, or other serious problems that can cause severe engine damage.

Problem: Ignoring a flashing check engine light can lead to severe engine damage, expensive repairs, and higher emissions output. Continuing to drive can also put you and others on the road at risk if a sudden engine failure happens.

Solution: When you see a flashing check engine light, it’s crucial to stop driving your car and address the issue immediately. The best course of action is to take your vehicle to a reliable mechanic who can diagnose the problem and make the necessary repairs to prevent further damage. Don’t ignore the problem to save costs because it might lead to costly repairs in the future.

Potential Solutions

A flashing check engine light that then stops can indicate a severe issue with your car’s engine that needs immediate attention. Ignoring this problem can lead to costly repairs and even engine failure.

Here are some potential solutions:

  1. Get a diagnostic test: A diagnostic test can identify the issue and prevent further damage to your engine. Take your vehicle to a mechanic or an auto parts store to perform a diagnostic test.
  2. Check your gas cap: A loose or damaged gas cap can cause your check engine light to flash. Check your gas cap and replace it if necessary.
  3. Replace spark plugs: If your spark plugs are faulty, it can cause your check engine light to flash. Have your mechanic check if your spark plugs need replacement.
  4. Replace oxygen sensor: The oxygen sensor measures the amount of unburned oxygen in your car’s exhaust system. A damaged sensor can cause your engine light to come on. Have your mechanic replace the oxygen sensor if necessary.

It is crucial to address any check engine light issues immediately to prevent further damage to your vehicle.

Pro tip: Keep a record of any check engine lights and have them repaired as soon as possible to keep your vehicle running smoothly.

Preventative Maintenance

Preventative maintenance is key when it comes to avoiding car trouble, including the dreaded flashing check engine light that then stops. This occurrence could indicate a number of potential problems with your vehicle, including issues with the engine, transmission or emissions system. If your check engine light is flashing and then stops, it is important to take action, as it could be a sign of a serious issue.

Firstly, identify the issue by utilizing a code scanner or diagnostic tool, which can communicate with your car’s onboard computer system and determine the problem.

Some potential solutions may be as simple as replacing a faulty spark plug, while others may require more extensive repairs. Whatever the issue, it is always best to address the problem sooner rather than later to avoid more extensive and costly repairs down the road.

Always practice routine maintenance such as oil changes, tire rotations, and checkups to prevent check engine light from flashing again.

Pro tip: Don’t ignore check engine light. Prevent costly repairs by addressing any issues as soon as they’re discovered.


In conclusion, a flashing check engine light is a cause for concern that should not be ignored. It indicates that your vehicle’s engine is experiencing a serious problem that could potentially cause damage if left unchecked.

Some common causes of a flashing check engine light include:

  • Engine misfires
  • Faulty oxygen sensors
  • Catalytic converter problems

It is recommended to pull over immediately and turn off the engine, then schedule an appointment with your mechanic as soon as possible to diagnose and fix the issue. Ignoring a flashing check engine light could lead to more significant and costly damages to your vehicle in the long run. Hence, it is always wise to get to the root of the problem as soon as possible to prevent further damage.


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