Check Engine Light Flashing

A flashing CEL (Check Engine Light) is something serious to be concerned about. A blinking CEL indicates that your vehicle’s engine is misfiring, which could severely damage your catalytic converters.

A misfire is when one or more of your engine’s cylinders are not providing power to the vehicle, with raw fuel possibly running into the catalytic converter. Engine misfire is a severe condition that requires immediate attention to avoid expensive repairs.

Repairing this condition immediately is important to save you money and keep your vehicle running longer. The longer the vehicle is misfiring the more damage will occur. Even a non-flashing light could indicate a less serious misfire.

Finding out what’s wrong and how to fix it

This article will cover the following topics:

  1. 1. Your next steps
  2. 2. Getting the vehicle’s data
  3. 3. Viewing the repairs and costs for your vehicle
  4. 4. Your options

Next steps

The best way to diagnose and repair a check engine light problem is to use an Innova tool such as an Innova 5110. Innova tools read your vehicle’s diagnostic system and uses the Innova app RepairSolutions2 to generate a report with most likely fix for your check engine light.

Misdiagnosing or ignoring a misfire can be very expensive. Typically the parts required to repair a misfire can be expensive and replacing the wrong parts does not address the cause of the misfire, possibly causing further driving to the vehicle.

Furthermore, ignoring an engine misfire (even the vehicle drives “fine”) can create the need for very expensive repairs later, such as replacement of a catalytic converter (which can cost on average $1,500), or even the replacement of the entire engine (potentially upwards of $5,000).

The worst case scenario is a car owner who keeps driving the vehicle because it “seems like it’s driving just fine.” If you ignore a flashing check engine light it is entirely possible that the vehicle burns up the catalyst and causes engine damage. The fix would then be something severe and extremely costly like a catalytic converter(s) or engine replacement which cost on average $1,150 and upwards of $5,000 respectively to fix.

Maintaining your vehicle and addressing issues like a misfire quickly maintains vehicle safety, fuel economy and longevity.

Getting your vehicle’s data

1 – Purchase a Tool
A tool is required to pull information from the vehicle so you may view it.
We recommend the Innova 5110.

2 – Download Innova App
Download the Innova RepairSolutions 2 app.

While the tool is able to display some data pulled from the vehicle, the app will be able to provide more information such as the repair and costs needed for your vehicle’s repair.

The app will work with your tool, so please wait for your tool to arrive or you may visit any of our retailers to purchase it today.

3 – Get Report
Setup your account with your tool by following the instructions here.

Then create the report following the directions here.

You should receive a report that appears similar to the one below.

Viewing the repairs and costs for your vehicle

1 – Tap the Engine Element
If your check engine is on, your report should display the red Engine element on your report.
Tap this element to view the details.

2 – View your repair
Your Engine report will display.

Providing you information on the code, the fix needed, and the parts needed for repair.

Your Options

At this point, you have two options.
1. You may attempt the repair on your own now knowing the repair needed, and the needed parts for the repair.
2. You may take the vehicle to repair shop now knowing roughly the cost of repair for your issue.

Innova does not recommend ignoring a check engine light even if the vehicle drives ‘fine’ as this can create the need for very expensive repairs later, such as replacement of a catalytic converter (which can cost on average $1,500), or even the replacement of the entire engine (potentially upwards of $5,000).

Maintaining your vehicle and addressing issues like a misfire quickly maintains vehicle safety, fuel economy and longevity.