Flashing Engine light



01 town and country awd van. 144k. engine light started flashing. lost some power. puttering noise at exhaust. any ideas?


Get the codes read for free at a nationwide parts store and post back with the results.


Flashing means you should really do something about it or risk burning up your catalytic converter…


Don’t drive it if the light is flashing.

This almost certainly means misfire, though you need to get the codes to verify and give clues. E.g. it might be specific cylinders and the codes will tell you which to look at, or it might be multiple/random which tells you to look at different things.

Out of curiosity, how old are your spark plugs and wires?


An engine light means you have a problem and it is telling you have have it checked. They will be a code stored that can help you find the problem. Many auto parts stores will read the code for free.

A FLASHING engine light means you should not drive the car any further, there is a chance of damage. Driving it may change a minor problem to a big one.


I agree with Caddyman, cigroller, and Joseph Meehan.

While a steadily illuminated Check Engine Light (CEL) can be dealt with as soon as it is convenient, a flashing CEL is indicative of a problem of fairly major proportions, and continued driving will result in damage of an expensive nature.

If you don’t believe us, you can open your glove compartment, take out the Owner’s Manual, and read what the vehicle’s manufacturer says about this issue. More than likely, it will tell you the same thing, namely–get it to a mechanic right away before you cause more problems than now exist.


There are numerous possible problems that can cause loss of power and puttering noise st the exhaust. Since the CEL light is flashing you can safely assume that your problem can cause further engine damage if not corrected before driving the car any further.

Have the car towed to your trusted mechanic.


was just informed it was the ignition coil. apparently there was no signal going to #6 cylinder. easy fix?


By whom were you informed of this and on what basis? I’m not saying it wouldn’t make sense, but a bad wire or plug can lead to no spark. How was the coil pinpointed as the source of the problem?

And yes, it is usually a very easy fix - though I have not spent much time under the hood of this year/model.


Sounds like more diagnosis needs to be done. The spark voltage could be fine out of the coil, but ‘leaking’ before the spark. Could be a bad coil. Could be a bad spark plug. Typically, these can be checked and corrected fairly quickly. Hopefully it is not a circuit problem between the ECM and coil. This is where the problem gets expensive, but these problems are extremely rare. It’s almost always the spark plug, coil, or wires.


dropped it off with my mechanic. he diagnosised it. he mentioned how he got to that diagnosis, but unfortunately i missplaced the scrap paper i scribbled them on.

we got new plugs and wires within the past year… is the ignition coil usually part of that tune up?
let me know if you got any questions i should ask, its all FM(F*#ing Magic) to me, so any help is much apprecitated.


An ignition coil would only be replaced if it malfunctions, so it isn’t part of a tune-up though it ought to get a visual inspection & some boot grease when new wires go on.

If this is a shop that you trust and the plugs/wires are fairly new then I would go with their diagnosis as it is completely consistent with the misfire - in this case as long as the misfire code was P0306 (the 6 on the end is for cylinder 6).

Do you have a quote for the coil? Just FYI I have an earlier generation of this van and can change the ignition coil in about 15 minutes with nothing but an 8 or 10mm socket. It is a breeze. I think your generations coil might be a little harder to reach but it is normally as simple as pulling the plug wires, undoing 4 little bolts, it lifts right off and then installation of the new one is just the reverse. If you were to decide to play with it yourself the only important thing you should do is 1) number the plug wires and coil towers with permanent marker so that all the wires go back to the right place, and 2) dab some dialectric grease around the inside of the wire boots before you put them back on.

You should also consider replacing the #6 plug & wire.