Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Check engine flashing? Can't recreate problem...

asked by on

I drove my car about a mile this morning, just dropping somebody off for work. On the way back (literally maybe a mile round trip), the check engine light started to flash and then eventually just stayed lit. Nothing seemed to be acting any differently than usual, so when I got home, I decided to pull the negative on the battery to reset the CEL, drove it a few miles trying to see if the problem would reappear, and it wouldn't. Check engine light hasn't come on.

Sometimes the electric doors will automatically lock themselves... hadn't happened in a long time but did today while I was peering in the engine as it ran (since looking at it while it was off wasn't showing me anything obvious). Luckily, I have a second key.

Drove the car again for a few miles, literally the same trek I made this morning, doing it 2-3 times, and nothing happened with the CEL again.

What do I try next?

My car has 180000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Usually when the check engine light is flashing, this indicates a misfire on one or more cylinders. I would first recommend having the trouble codes checked with an OBD2 scanner to determine what codes are stored. Then I would enlist in the assistance of a qualified mechanic to inspect your vehicle for ignition issuesrelevant to the code that has been stored in your powertrain control module. It is possible that you could have a faulty spark plug, spark plug wire, or ignition coil. Those are the most likely parts to cause a misfire.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
  1. Home
  2. Questions
  3. Check engine flashing? Can't recreate problem...

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Engine is misfiring and Check Engine Light is on - 2002 Toyota Tacoma

Hello. A flashing Check Engine Light is a sign that the computer has detected an issue that could potentially damage the vehicle's emissions components. I would recommend scanning the trouble codes when the light is flashing in order to determine...

Q: What is the light reminder?

The light reminder exists to tell you when you have left the lights on. If you turn your vehicle off, and open the driver’s door, but have not turn off the lights, then a buzzer will sound to alert you....

Q: Car won't start

Hi there. It sounds like the starter or its circuit has failed. Have the battery properly tested with a digital tester that provides current voltage, cold cranking amps, and state of health. If that checks ok then the starter or...

Related articles

How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
P2428 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Gas Temperature Too High Bank 1
P2428 code definition A P2428 trouble code signifies that the PCM has detected a problem in the exhaust gas temperature sensor circuit in bank 1, which subsequently contains the number one...
P2103 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle Actuator Control Motor Circuit High
P2103 means there is a fault with the throttle actuator control motor circuit, likely due to a defective electrical component or part.