Every car owner dreads a flashing check engine light, no doubt. But it gets even scarier if the check engine and traction control come at the same time. So, what’s the likely cause for the two lights to come on?Check Engine Light Flashing And Tr
Check engine light flashing and traction control light coming on at the same time could be alerting you of a misfire or a malfunctioning traction control system. Malfunctioning vehicle speed sensor or wheel speed sensors could also be causing the lights to come on.
This article gives you more info about the most common causes for CEL and traction control lights to come on at the same time, possible fixes for this issue, and other related helpful information you need to know.
Why your check engine light is flashing and traction control light on
When your traction control light and the check engine light lights come on at the same time, then the car computer is simply warning you that something is wrong with your car engine system.
When these two show up at the same time, most car owners get confused as they don’t how to fix them.
But you just need to understand the simple fact that the car computer will activate the traction control light when it detects a problem. The issue could be a malfunctioning traction control system, malfunctioning vehicle speed sensor, or malfunctioning wheel speed sensors.
Since the check engine light is also flashing on at the same time, it will give you a clue as to why the traction light is on. You’ll just need to scan for the error codes that triggered the CEL and then look up what they mean.
This will give you a good starting point when diagnosing what triggered the traction control light to come on.
However, keep in mind that the check engine light flashing is mostly regarded as a universal sign of engine misfire, which is caused by one of the cylinders not working to its full capacity.
The reason behind this issue could be anything from worn-out spark plugs to a failed ignition coil, clogged or faulty injector, low cylinder compression, and so on.
The traction control light will also come on due to a variety of reasons including bad wheel speed sensors, bad steering angle sensor, bad steering rack, programmed issues with the traction control system (TCS), manual override of the TCS button, or if your vehicle is in limp mode.
How to fix traction control light and check engine light on?
There’s no predefined procedure for fixing the traction control light and check engine light. This is because there are multiple reasons why the two warning lights will come on at the same time.
For instance, one car owner in this forum shared his experience with the check engine light and traction control light coming on at the same time.
One car owner with a similar experience mentioned they found the problem to be a bad mass airflow sensor and needed replacement. Another user in the same forum pointed out leaking fuel modules as another possible cause.
In another forum thread, a car owner dealing with the same issue of the two lights coming on had the mechanic do an oil change which helped solve the problem.
Most experienced car owners in this thread, however, advise you to first ensure that you don’t have a loose gas cap before you go to your mechanic or dealership for a professional diagnosis.
For this Redditor with the same issue, the mechanic ruled out it could be a misfire. Another Redditor claimed to have found too much water in the brake fluid as the culprit that triggered the two lights.
There are just many possible reasons why CEL and traction control lights may come on at the same time!
With this in mind, the only way to be sure is to have the diagnostic trouble codes pulled from the car computer. These will help point you in the right direction when trying to figure out the kind of problem your vehicle engine system is experiencing.
Keep in mind that a basic scanning tool may not show the errors. The free scanning report at the local auto parts shop may also not help you find the error.
So, the best way to go about this issue is to have your car diagnosed by a professional with a quality scanner capable of retrieving not just the engine codes but also the stored as well as pending/current trouble codes.
Bottom line: You should have your car computer scanned for diagnostic trouble codes to help find where the problem is and fix it.
What if check engine light, traction control light and cruise control light are blinking?
In some cases, the check engine light, cruise control light, and traction control light will all come on at the same time. If this is the problem you have with your car, this is your part.
Believe it or not, this issue is mostly caused by a loose gas cap. If you scan your car computer and it pulls out a trouble code for EVAP system leak, first check the gas cap condition before you take your car to the repair shop or dealership for a professional diagnosis.
Make sure the gas cap is tight in place and in good shape. If the problem doesn’t go away after tightening the gas cap, you can then go to the dealership for professional help.
In some cases, an unplugged MAF sensor issue/fuel sensor issue could also activate all the 3 lights on your dash. If you had recently changed an air filter, you may have forgotten to plug the MAF sensor back in, causing the lights to come on.
A misfire is another possible reason behind the CEL, TCS, and cruise control lights coming on. This is especially true if you’re on cruise control and try going uphill; the car engine can misfire and set off the lights.
Overall, if you have these lights in ON, you should first check if you have correctly tightened the gas cap.
If the gas cap is okay, then you may need to have the trouble codes for the illuminating check engine light scanned to help diagnose the problem.
Is it safe to drive with engine light flashing and traction control light on?
Generally, we advise against it whenever the check engine light comes on flashing. This is because it indicates a critical issue that requires your immediate attention. If ignored, such an issue has the potential to cause more damage to your car engine.
So, if the traction control light is on and the engine warning light is flashing, we don’t recommend you continue driving your car. You should consider pulling over and having your vehicle towed to a professional for inspection of the lights and advice on the necessary repairs.
However, if the traction control light is the only light illuminated on your dash, then it may be fairly safe to drive your car. But keep in mind that the light flickering or lingering means the traction control system isn’t working.
Thus, if the conditions are slippery are wet, however, you’d want to take extra caution when accelerating your car or taking turns. The system will not engage when the road conditions become adverse and you and your car are likely to face potential dangers.
Can an engine misfire cause the traction control light to come on?
Yes, an engine misfire can cause the traction control light to come on. if the engine misfire is so severe, it is capable of producing enough jolt to affect the stability of your car.
The traction control system will then detect this change in stability and cause the traction control light to come on.
When this light comes on, your car may get into limp mode, making it unable to accelerate beyond around the 30mph mark.
When the engine is experiencing a misfire, the check engine light will also normally start flashing. Your car engine may also start shaking, and rough running—all of which are additional symptoms of engine misfires.
It is best to have your car diagnosed for error codes to help find out if it has an engine misfire or if it is an entirely different problem causing the traction control light to come on.If you notice that your traction control light is flashing, it could be a sign of a problem with your car’s traction control system or other related components. However, this issue could also be associated with other common problems, such as car sputtering or flashing car shaking. To learn more about these potential causes and what you can do to fix them, check out our articles on car sputtering and flashing car shaking. These articles provide helpful tips and insights on how to troubleshoot and solve these issues, so you can ensure the safety and reliability of your vehicle.
Frequently Asked Questions
It is safe to drive with the traction control light on in most cases as long as the road conditions aren’t wet and slippery. The TCS light usually comes on to let you know that your car computer has detected an issue with your traction control system. If you must drive in adverse road conditions with TCS light on, then be extra cautious about how you drive. Be careful when accelerating and taking turns as it can be dangerous to yourself and your car.
Check engine light flashing, traction control light on, and engine running rough is most likely an indication of cylinder misfire. We advise you to have your car checked for the diagnostic trouble code to help find out the underlying problem so it can be fixed on time.
The traction control system cannot cause engine problems since the system isn’t directly connected to the car engine. However, if the system is faulty, it may indirectly create engines for the problems. For instance, when the TCS is malfunctioning it causes a loss of traction as the wheels start to slip. This forces the engine to work harder, increasing engine tear and wear and reducing fuel efficiency.
That’s all you need to know about engine light flashing and traction control light on. A blinking check engine light usually indicates the computer has detected a critical issue capable of damaging the engine, so you should stop driving your car when it starts flashing. The traction control light is activated when the computer detects a problem with the traction control system, either a faulty component or a sensor.
We recommend having your car’s computer trouble codes retrieved to help shed light on what the issue causing the flashing check engine light and traction control light on could be. Your mechanic will carry out a full inspection and diagnosis of the issue and make or suggest the necessary repairs to help fix the problem.