Check Engine Light Blinking And Car Shaking – The Reasons

There are many types of concerns that a car owner experiences with the vehicle in a lifetime and check engine light blinking and car shaking is one of them.

The check engine light is a sign that shows something is malfunctioning in the engine. The engine light can show up on a minor fault in your engine as well as some serious issue. 

In both cases, you should pay attention to the cause and get it repaired as soon as possible. 

Today, we will learn more about what the flashing and shaking engine light could possibly mean and what your options are. Let’s head to point!

Check Engine Light Blinking And Car Shaking: Understanding The Process!

Different sensors and actuators in your car work to detect any malfunctioning and register this information with your car’s computer system. In the case of a shaking car, the check engine light appears on your dashboard.

When this Check Engine Light blinks continuously instead of appearing steadily, it represents a more serious issue rather than one that can be avoided. 

Hence, taking the car to a professional is always a wise move. However, you should always have clarity about the causes that make an issue happen to your car.

The Possible Reasons Behind A Shaking Car

The primary culprit that makes your check engine light blinking and car shaking is a malfunctioning cylinder. 

Every cylinder in your engine is supposed to play its part or fire to pass the mixture of fuel and air in the system. 

When the cylinder does not work as expected or it does not pass the fuel and air every time the crankshaft turns, it misfires. As a result, the engine runs rough and it makes the overall car shakes and check engine light on.

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Now, why the cylinder does not play its part can be because of several reasons? The first reason can be the worn spark plugs. 

In most cases, these plugs work well for up to 100,000 miles and if you do not replace them timely, they are likely to create an issue with the cylinder’s functioning.

The second reason can be the out of order coils. Coils are responsible to produce the spark that the cylinder needs to fire whenever the crankshaft happens. 

Thus, you can have the coil checked too by a repairer and go with the replacement if it is needed.

car shaking check engine light
All these can be reasons why your cylinder does not fire when it should (Photo: depositphotos)

Some More Reasons! 

The third reason for the check engine light is on and car is shaking issue can be a faulty intake manifold gasket. These gaskets work as a seal and when the seal loses its ability, it causes the engine to overheat

Other than an overheating engine, if you can smell the coolant leak, it is a symptom that there is something wrong with the gasket. A broken engine mount also serves as a reason that is enough to produce vibration while you drive. 

The mount keeps the engine attached with the frame of the car. And when the mount wears off, you experience a shaking car. All these can be reasons why your cylinder does not fire when it should. 

This issue needs to be tackled right away as driving with the check engine light flashing and car shaking will damage the components further. As a result, it charges you more dollars, and that is not what anyone wants.

What Are Your Options On Any Of These Issues?

The first and recommended option for car shaking and engine light on is to take the car to a local dealership or the repair center where a particular brand of cars are repaired. 

As the people working here are professionals and they have the knowledge about a particular brand, it comes as an advantage.

The second option is about taking your car to an independent car repair center. Usually, repairers working at these centers work all the vehicles regardless of the brands. 

Plus they charge you less than local dealerships. Read more about maintaining your car well here Maintenance Tips.

As the third option, you can go DIY if you have sound knowledge about reading the code form using the OBD-II scanner and perform the repair accordingly. 

There are many websites out there selling the scanners and these are usually cheap devices. 

Nonetheless, an inexperienced car owner should not opt for the DIY option. It can do more damage to your car.

shaking car and check engine light
The second option is about taking your car to an independent car repair center (Photo: Toyota)

FAQs on Check Engine Light Blinking And Car Shaking

  1. Is it safe to drive if my car’s engine shakes?

If you notice continuous shaking in your automobile, it’s advisable to address the issue straight away before continuing to drive. 

Driving with the car shaking and check engine light on can result in more damaged components, ruined tires, and other costly problems that might have been prevented with a fast trip to your repair.

  1. How far can you go with a flashing check engine light on and car shaking?

Because the severity of the problem varies, there is no defined time restriction. However, driving for more than a few miles with a blinking check engine light is typically not recommended. 

To avoid endangering yourself or others, have the car towed to a repair facility rather than driving it.

  1. Can a low oil level result in a flashing engine light?

Low oil pressure is a typical reason for the check engine light to illuminate, and it can drastically impair your vehicle’s performance. If this is the case, your oil light will usually illuminate.

  1. Why is my check engine light blinking and then turning off when accelerating?

Something is amiss with your engine if your check engine light is flashing. You must pull over and turn off your vehicle as soon as it is safe to do so. 

When accelerating, the check engine light flashes, and white exhaust appears and disappears, indicating a stuck fuel injector.

car is shaking check engine light on
Observe the dashboard lights regularly and note which symbol is showing up in which color (Photo: wheelzine)
  1. When the check engine light blinks, what is the first thing to inspect?

You should always check your gas cap first. Many cars include a loose gas cap indication, which will activate before your check engine light illuminates. 

If your gas cap is loose or the seal is not tight, vapor leakage might cause the check engine light to illuminate.


Now you know that faulty spark plugs, worn out coils or a leaking gasket can be the reason for the check engine light blinking and car shaking

Observe the dashboard lights regularly and note which symbol is showing up in which color.

When you see any of the symbols in white, blue, and green lights, there is nothing to be worried about. However, yellow and red lights recommend taking your car for a checkup. 

Here, the self-diagnostic system can be a great help but if you do not possess enough knowledge, we recommend you to visit a car care professional.