On my way through the mountains my engine light started flashing and the car was running rough. I slowed down and drove it straight to my mechanic’s garage, about 28 miles. After reading the forums I am a little worried I may have done serious damage. I did put the car in neutral and basically coasted for over half of the trip thinking that if I wasn’t accelerating I was helping…anyway, when people say you shouldn’t drive the car does this mean at all or can you drive it like I did to get it to the garage. Towing wasn’t an option as I didn’t have cell signal for the majority of the time. I am really hoping I didn’t cause $100s in damage! It’s a 06 Subaru Outback.
It beats walking on those roads and might save your life. Flashing means that the engine should be turned off, but only if you can be relatively safe. Yes, there could be serious damage to catalytic converters as well as the engine.
Sounds like one of your coils died and you had a misfire condition. Some vehicles are smart enough to shut down the injector pulse to that cylinder so as to prevent raw fuel entering the exhaust and the Cat…Cats hate that. But I bet you will be just fine…as long as you didnt starve the engine of oil they are hard to kill.
Fix the misfire and off you go…
Its not in the same class as the oil (pressure) light, yet it flashes to get your attention where it would be easy to miss the oil light coming on for a few minutes where real damage can occur.
Yeah the cat would be my worry but you might have a 70,000 mile EPA warranty on them if abuse is not suspected.
You are right, in this situation coasting was better than accelerating. If that happened to me I’d pull over and ask a passing motorist for assistance, to either give me a ride or phone for a tow truck. But that could be even more dangerous, who knows. At this point you know one thing for certain, you made it home safely. If something’s been damaged, it’s just some hunk of metal and nuts and bolts holding it together, easy enough to fix. For a price.