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Why is My Check Engine Light Flashing and Car Shaking?

There are few things worse than seeing the Check Engine light come on. The orange-yellow light will immediately catch your attention. It will be a distraction in the same way a loud noise will be.

Moreover, if you are alone and far from home, it can be frightening. Do you carry on or pull over and wait for assistance?  Despite the temptation to carry on, that will be a mistake. Carrying out a few checks is beneficial.

Knowing what you are looking for will be a benefit. So, why is my check engine light flashing and car shaking? If you are asking yourself this question, check out the information below.

The Information about check engine light flashing and car shaking

What to look for?

Firstly, is the light still flashing or did it just appear to flash? As it is in the middle of the dashboard, it will be easy to see it. It is engine-shaped and is red or yellow.

Can you be sure that it is flashing?  For example, is the light going on and off for over 6 seconds? If the answer is yes, then you have a problem. If the light is just on, the prognosis is not as bad. Despite there being a problem, you should be able to continue on the journey.

If the flash is ongoing, however, continuing could severely damage the car. To illustrate further, stop the car if you risk facing a much heavier bill.

If you need to stop

Regardless of how inconvenient stopping is, not stopping will be worse. Continuing to drive will damage the car. After you have stopped, it will give you a chance to assess the damage.

In addition, some cars will provide information about possible problems in the manual. If that is not the case, then there are diagnostic apps.

More on the point there are many different apps for different phones, so select one accordingly. Prices will vary, but they are not expensive.

Other problems

Next, you must look for other issues. The light flashing may only be part of the story. In the same way that the light can alert you to an issue, your senses can do the same.

Thus, check to see if any noises are coming from the engine. Also, are you able to control the steering wheel and drive in a straight line?  Moreover, inspect the car to see if there is smoke coming out_ either at the front or behind the vehicle.

Is the car steady or can you feel it shaking? Besides using equipment, your senses can take you a step closer to a diagnosis.

Why is the light flashing?

Fortunately, manufacturers have fitted devices to the cars that alert the driver to danger. Lights flash for many reasons and the only common link is it’s bad.

In the case of the engine light, the fact that it turns red shows you it can mean danger. Also called the Malfunction Indicator Light, it alerts you to a fault the computer has noticed.

As there are 300 codes for faults, you will want to know what is wrong with your vehicle. Some of the main problems are:

Problems with the oxygen sensor

The job of the sensor is to specifically check the oxygen in the exhaust system. Thus, the computer has the information passed to it and that regulates the fuel and air mix. The car will use more fuel than it normally would when there is a fault. Therefore, the car will produce more emissions than usual.

Fuel cap fault

When there is one, the engine fault light will come on. Here it could be that there is a crack in the cap. Indeed, in this case, it could be due to a vapor leak. If it is the upper part of the fuel system, it could be profoundly serious. The first thing to try is tightening the cap. If the light does not go off despite that, stop and seek help.

Catalytic converter fault

This limits car exhaust emissions. The Catalytic converter purifies harmful gases such as carbon monoxide. Failure to correct this will mean that still more money will be spent on fuel.

Spark plugs

Regular replacement of these should be on the to-do list. If you have not done this for a while, it may be all you have to do to sort the problem. Also, this could be the cause of the vehicle shaking.

Charging system fault

In addition to checking spark plugs, the battery needs to be regularly checked. It is equally important and doing this could stop the need for a jump start.

Light on and car shaking

When the light is on and the car is shaking as well, there are other issues. Firstly, you should consider that the cylinder is malfunctioning. All cylinders should fire and move air and fuel through the system.

As a result of this not happening, the engine will not run properly. The shaking will become apparent when this happens.

Problems causing the light to come will also be responsible for the car shaking. It could be spark plugs but could easily be coiled. It is from them that the sparks come.

Thus, when the spark does not appear, it is time to have them checked. A third option will be issued with the intake manifold gasket. Because they work as a seal, a fault leads to overheating. Smelling coolant is a further indication that it could be the gasket at fault.

Hence, you need to find the answer to this: why is my check engine light flashing and car shaking?” The next part to check is the engine mount.

Additionally, you might feel vibrations if it is this part of the engine that is broken. With the mount no longer on the car frame, there will be shaking. 


It can be a frightening experience when either of the incidents happens. If you are responsible for a car, you should go above and beyond safety precautions.

You should monitor your car even when there does not appear to be anything wrong. Fortunately, manuals do give information when specific incidents occur.

Apps that analyze issues can also be a great help. Finally, if you are not able to deal with this, visit a mechanic.

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