Why is Your Audi’s Check Engine Light Flashing?
Posted on November 17, 2019 by Keith Cox
Audi offers reliability, economy, and practicality while refusing to compromise on style and luxury. This can seem like a big ask, and yet Audi vehicles are able to deliver this impossibility time after time and model after model. It is for this reason that many motorists simply cannot drive any vehicle other than Audi, as nothing truly compares to the amazing driving experience offered by this reliable German brand.
However, without the correct knowledge and maintenance practices, even the most beloved of cars will start to struggle and fail. With this in mind, in this article we will explore some of the most common reasons why your Audi’s check engine light may start flashing and discuss what to do about it.
What is the check engine light?
The check engine light is found on your Audi’s dashboard in clear sight when driving. The light is controlled by your vehicle’s onboard computer, also known as the OBD or OnBoard Diagnostic system. When an issue with the engine is detected, the computer will trigger this light to shine.
The check engine light is an important safety feature of your car, designed to detect potentially-dangerous engine issues quickly and alert the driver. This monitors your Audi’s engine, preventing costly failures or damage, and also safeguards you as a driver and those around you from a dangerous driving situation.
There are many reasons why your check engine light may light up, from the basic to the more serious, but no matter the cause, any illumination should be checked as soon as is safe to do so to prevent a more dangerous issue from occurring.
The Common Culprits
1. Loose Fitting Gas Cap
Probably, the number one reason as to why this warning light will illuminate is a loose-fitting gas cap. This will cause your OBD to detect an engine issue due to leaking fuel vapors, which are able to escape because the gas cap hasn’t created a tight seal. This is most commonly caused by driver error and rushing at the fuel pumps. So to prevent this, be sure to check your gas cap is properly secured before driving away. Should your check engine light illuminate, this should also be the first place you check, as securing the gas cap can save the cost of a trip to the auto repair shop.
2. Oxygen Sensor
The O2, or Oxygen Sensor, can also be a leading culprit for check engine light illumination. It can signal more serious issues with your Audi’s catalytic converter and should be investigated and repaired by a mechanic at the earliest opportunity.
3. Spark Plug Issues
The sole purpose of your Audi’s spark plugs is to ignite the fuel and air mixture in your engine to kick start and maintain the combustion process. However, if these become worn out or start to fail, you’ll first notice that your Audi will start to misfire. If this ignition misfire occurs often enough, it can trigger your OBD to assume the fault is with the engine and illuminate the check engine light.
It is recommended that your spark plugs at replaced at a minimum of every 25,000 miles and should be serviced often as part of your ongoing maintenance practices to prevent premature deterioration.
4. MAF Sensor Failure
The Mass AirFlow, or MAF sensor can also cause your engine to misfire more often should it develop a fault. The misfires caused by the MAF sensor are known as lean misfires, which is where the air-to-fuel ratio becomes misaligned, making the fuel in the engine difficult to ignite. Like the spark plugs, if this happens often enough, the OBD will likely assume an engine issue and illuminate the light as a result.
5. Catalytic Converter
The most serious outcome on this list, the check engine light may also illuminate due to issues with your Audi’s catalytic converter. The catalytic converter is a mini science lab found in your tailpipe. It is responsible for converting harmful engine gasses into much safer emissions. If this part fails, then your Audi will become dangerous to you and those around you and will trigger the warning light. This will need immediate repairs by a professional.
Keith Cox Autobahn
Whatever the cause of your Audi’s check engine light is for illuminating, the friendly team at Keith Cox Autobahn are on hand to help. We are perfectly situated for drivers in the Bellingham, WA area, so call or stop in anytime to speak to our experts.