While driving, your engine stutters and a flashing Check Engine Light suddenly appears on your Chevy’s dash.
But don’t fret.
We’re here to explain all aspects of a flashing Check Engine Light in Chevy cars.
This Article Contains:
- 7 Common Causes of a Flashing Chevy Check Engine Light
- Difference Between a Steady vs. Flashing Check Engine Light
- How to Turn Off the Flashing Check Engine Light in Your Chevy
- Cost of Diagnosing the Chevy Check Engine Light
Let’s get cracking.
7 Common Causes of a Flashing Chevy Check Engine Light
Whether a Chevy Silverado or any other car, a flashing Check Engine Light (CEL) typically indicates the Engine Control Unit detected an engine misfire. Here are seven potential reasons why your Chevy could misfire:
1. Ignition System Problems
The ignition system provides a precise spark to ignite the cylinders’ air-fuel mixture. When it fails, the engine can misfire.
What causes the misfire?
Typically, this is caused by a bad spark plug, spark plug wire, ignition coil, or ignition coil wire.
And it gets worse.
An engine misfire can result in unburned fuel entering the exhaust system and overheating the catalytic converter. The ECU detects this and activates a flashing Check Engine Light to alert you to the problem.
2. Fuel Delivery Issues
Fuel system problems, such as a clogged fuel filter, faulty fuel pump, or malfunctioning fuel injector, can disrupt proper fuel delivery. These issues could create an imbalance in fuel pressure or the air-fuel mixture, leading to either too much air (lean mixture) or too much fuel (rich mixture).
When this happens, you’ll notice your engine misfiring, reduced performance, and a flashing CEL on your vehicle’s dashboard.
A loose fuel cap or gas cap and a faulty oxygen sensor (O2 sensor) could also trigger a flashing Check Engine Light. A loose gas cap can disrupt the sealed fuel system, leading to evaporative emissions issues. Meanwhile, a faulty oxygen sensor may cause a fuel imbalance by providing incorrect data to the ECU. This can impact your Chevy’s fuel economy, emissions, and overall engine performance.
Tip: Use a manufacturer-approved fuel injector cleaner for a clog-free and efficient fuel system.
3. Air Intake Problems
Several factors can contribute to air intake problems, including:
- Dirty air filters
- Vacuum leaks
- Problems with the Mass Airflow Sensor (MAF)
- Leaks in the intake manifold gasket
- Throttle body problems
These issues can cause your car to run lean, resulting in rough idling, sluggish acceleration, reduced power, and a blinking Check Engine Light. Though less common, air intake problems can also result in a rich air-fuel mixture, potentially causing an engine misfire due to combustion overload.
4. EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation) System Malfunction
The EGR system redirects a portion of exhaust gasses back into the engine’s combustion chambers to reduce emissions and control combustion temperatures.
EGR system problems resulting from blocked passages, a broken EGR valve, damaged vacuum lines, electrical issues, or a faulty EGR control module can disrupt exhaust flow. This could result in engine issues like misfires and elevated pollution levels. The Check Engine Light flashes if such a situation arises.
5. Timing and Camshaft Issues
The timing belt links the crankshaft (responsible for piston movement) to the camshaft (which manages valve operation). This connection guarantees that the valves open and close at the correct times for the engine to operate properly.
6. Compression Problems
Cylinder compression problems arise when there isn’t adequate pressure in one or more cylinders. This can occur due to worn piston rings, damaged valves, or head gasket leaks. When there’s insufficient compression in the cylinder, the air-fuel mixture doesn’t ignite properly, causing misfires and the Check Engine Light to flash.
7. Low Coolant Levels
The engine can’t maintain its proper operating temperature when coolant levels are low. This can disrupt combustion, leading to engine misfires and the Check Engine Light flashing. Low coolant levels can also lead to decreased fuel economy and increased emissions.
Next, we’ll figure out how a flashing CEL differs from a steady one and what to do in each case.
Difference Between a Steady vs. Flashing Check Engine Light
When your Chevy’s Check Engine Light flashes or blinks, it means there’s a serious problem with your engine or emission system. Such issues could harm your car and cause irreversible damage if ignored. So, it’s best to stop driving and get it checked by a General Motors technician immediately.
A steady warning light, on the other hand, usually indicates minor problems that won’t immediately affect your car’s performance or safety.
Looking to reset a flashing or blinking Check Engine Light in your Chevy?
We’ve got you covered.
How to Turn Off the Flashing Check Engine Light in Your Chevy
While the Check Engine Light can sometimes be cleared by disconnecting the car’s battery, it won’t resolve until the underlying issue is fixed. Here’s the typical process an experienced mechanic would follow:
- Once they have identified the issue, they’ll take the necessary steps to repair it. This may involve replacing faulty spark plugs or spark plug wires, a damaged gas cap, or resolving an ignition system problem.
- After the issue has been successfully addressed and repaired, they will use the OBD ii scan tool to clear the Check Engine Light codes. This action should turn off the flashing Check Engine Light.
Important: If the flashing light doesn’t clear, the auto repair shop will conduct additional tests and inspections to ensure the problem is completely resolved.
Let’s explore the potential costs of diagnosing a flashing Check Engine Light in your Chevy.
Cost of Diagnosing the Chevy Check Engine Light
Expect an initial diagnostic fee ranging from $80 to $120. Additional expenses will vary based on necessary labor, parts, and repair requirements. Here are the estimated costs for specific components:
- Spark plug: $2-$100 (per piece)
- Oxygen sensor: $20-$100
- Spark plug wires: $137-$166
- Ignition coil: $30-$300
- Mass airflow sensor: $30-$300
- Fuel pump: $620-$720
- Catalytic converter: $2,000
A flashing Check Engine Light in a Chevy usually points to engine misfires, commonly triggered by a dirty fuel filter or fuel injector, a bad spark plug, ignition coil, or problematic spark plug wires.
Irrespective of what causes it, a misfire is a severe issue, so it’s wise to consult an experienced mechanic immediately.
If you’re seeking a convenient solution, consider RepairSmith.
We’re a mobile auto repair service that can address your Chevy issues right in your driveway. We also offer a 12-month, 12,000-mile repair warranty at no extra charge.