Check engine light blinks on an off in intervals and seems to be missing?

Today while driving my 03 marquis the check engine light started blinking, after a few blinks I noticed it stopped . But a few moments later it started blinking again then stopped, so on an so on. I also noticed that the car had a immediate loss of power and it seemed like my car was missing, and while trying to give it gas it would shutter. It never killed on me but I can tell it ain’t running right. A friend of mine told me to push the brake down while car was running an in drive, an give it gas like you was going to,“power brake it”. I did, and instead of it power braking it just shook forward as if it only had 4cyl instead of 8cyl. then my buddy said its a bad “coil”, no how he knows that idk. But is that true or does anyone else have an idea what it might be???

Nobody could possibly know exactly what the problem might be without knowing the trouble codes that have been stored by the car’s OBD system. If you go to an auto parts store (Auto Zone, Advance Auto, O’Reilly, and…possibly…Napa) you can have this done–gratis. Then, come back to this thread in order to post the code(s) that were found. They will be in a format similar to “P0123”.

As to the car not having “killed”, just be glad because if it did “kill” that could have resulted in your arrest as an accomplice to murder.


A blinking Check Engine light indicates that a major misfire is occurring. And continuing to drive the vehicle with a blinking Check Engine can damage the engine and the catalytic converters in your vehicle.

You need to find out what is causing the major misfire before you damage the engine or cats.


Heading to autozone…BrB

Just make sure that your vehicle–and you–don’t “kill” anyone along the way.


OP, better bet $$- and risk-wise would be to tow it to a good inde shop and get the codes read there. They might could fix it straight way, or at least tell you what’s likely to be going on. Either that or buy an OBD II code reader and do it yourself. Code readers aren’t overly expensive. When the CEL blinks, it means there is something serious going on. Might not necessarily be expensive-to-fix serious, but it is a warning that continuing to drive the car can quickly result ins expensive-to-fix serious. “expensive” meaning in the thousands of dollars.

The only thing I will add to the above advice is that if a coil has gone bad then all of the spark plugs should be changed. Aged and misfiring plugs can kill ignition coils.
Moisture in the air can also exacerbate the problem and especially so with aged spark plugs.

I understand that Ford says plugs will last eons but in theory and in practice are often diametrically opposed.

This happened to me and I had a fouled coil pack. Here’s the fun part - The intake manifold was cracked, allowing coolant to leak onto the engine, shorting a coil & plug. At the time, I had the manifold and the one coil replaced, but over time, the other coils kept going out until I had a mix of original and aftermarket coil packs; I finally had all the coils, spark plugs, and wires replaced at once.

Like they said, don’t wait to get it fixed, or at least get the codes read.

On my last car I would have occasional episodes of blinking check engine light, usually on wet mornings, when I could barely start the car. It would run only on a few cylinders and gradually, more cylinders would catch until it was running smoothly.

This would happen once or twice per year. The car was great the other 363 days, no problems, no lights. Engine was still great at 120k when I traded it.

So a blinking CE light is not always a cause for a tow truck.

(03 passat V6)