The check engine light, also known as the malfunction indicator lamp (MIL), is a warning indicator that appears on the vehicle's dashboard. It alerts the driver when the vehicle's onboard computer system detects a problem in one of its main systems. However, there are two different types of check engine lights - solid and flashing - indicating different levels of severity.
Solid Check Engine Light
When the check engine light is solid, it means that there is a problem with the vehicle that needs to be addressed. This could be anything from a loose gas cap to a malfunctioning oxygen sensor, but it is typically not an urgent problem. The vehicle can usually still be driven, but it is important to have it checked by a mechanic as soon as possible to avoid further damage.
Some common causes of a solid check engine light include:
- Faulty oxygen sensor
- Loose or damaged gas cap
- Malfunctioning catalytic converter
- Issues with the mass air flow sensor
- A worn or damaged spark plug or ignition coil
- Malfunctioning throttle position sensor
Flashing Check Engine Light
A flashing check engine light is a much more serious warning. When the light is flashing, it indicates a problem that is severe enough to cause damage to the vehicle's engine or other important systems or parts. In this case, it is essential to stop driving the vehicle immediately and have it towed to a mechanic for repair.
Here are some common causes of a flashing check engine light include:
- Misfiring engine
- Damaged or clogged fuel injector
- Damaged or clogged EGR valve
- No air supply
- Faulty ignition coils or spark plugs
- Failing alternator or battery
Ignoring a flashing check engine light can damage the vehicle, resulting in more expensive repairs in the future. It can also cause it to emit more pollutants and use more fuel, which harms the environment - and your wallet.
In conclusion, the difference between a solid and flashing check engine light is the severity of the problem. A solid check engine light indicates a problem that needs to be addressed but is typically not urgent. A flashing check engine light indicates a severe problem that requires immediate attention to avoid further damage. It is always important to have the vehicle checked out by a mechanic as soon as possible when the check engine light appears, regardless of whether it is solid or flashing.
Is Your Check Engine Light On?
If your vehicle's check engine light is on, either flashing or solid, we invite you to visit our shop at Auto Centric in Grand Rapids, MI. Our team of mechanics will be happy to help you and your vehicle to get back on the road ASAP!