In this article, we go over common problems that trigger Lincoln's check engine light. You will also learn how to read check engine codes yourself on Lincoln Aviator, MKS, MKT, MKZ, Navigator, Town Car, or any other 1996 and newer models.
Lincoln check engine light may come on due to something as simple as a loose gas cap, but it can also indicate an engine and even transmission problem.
What does Lincoln check engine light mean?
Lincoln check engine light comes on to alert the driver there is something wrong with your engine, emissions, or transmission.
A fault code that can help you understand the problem gets stored in the Engine Control Unit (ECU) and can easily be retrieved with an OBD-II scanner.
Lincoln check engine light may come on due to something as simple as a loose gas cap, but it can also indicate an expensive problem.
If your Lincoln check engine light is flashing, it means the engine control unit (ECU) has detected a misfire.
It is not recommended to drive if the check engine light is on. Driving with a flashing check engine light can cause damage to the engine and catalytic converter.
Common symptoms you may notice when your Lincoln check engine stays on.
- Rough running
- Engine Misfire or juddering
- Lack of power
- Poor throttle response
- Unusual sounds
- Smoke from the exhaust
If an evaporative system leak, such as a loose gas cap, you may not notice any performance issues, but fuel economy may decrease.
With the check engine light on, the first thing you need to do is read codes and find out is what faults are stored in the ECU.
You can take your car to the workshop for a full diagnosis or get a hold of an OBD-II scanner and read the codes yourself.
Auto parts stores may allow you to borrow the scanner to read the codes.
How to read codes
For this procedure, you will need an OBD-II scanner.
- Locate your Lincoln diagnostic port under the dashboard on the driver's side.
- Plugin your OBD-II scanner and turn on the ignition. Do not start the engine.
- Allow the scanner to turn on. Select Read Codes from the main menu to retrieve the fault codes stored in the ECU.
- Write down the codes and research what each system means. The fault codes are only the starting point. Consider all possible problems before you replace parts.
There is no point in clearing fault codes if you have not fixed the problem. If you don't fix the problem but clear the codes, the check engine light will turn back.
If you fix the problem but do not clear the codes, your Lincoln check engine light will reset on its own after a few driving cycles.
Common causes of check engine light on Lincoln vehicles.
- Bad spark plugs
- Oxygen sensor
- Catalytic converter
- MAF sensor
- Faulty ignition coils
- Vacuum leak
Fuel Pressure Sensor: The fuel pressure sensor can be a source of engine running issues accompanied by a check engine light on many V6 engines. Usual symptoms vary from hard starting or not starting to lack power and black smoke from the exhaust. Luckily, the sensor is not expensive, and it is quite easy to replace. Code: P0193 - fuel pressure sensor - circuit high
Fuel Pump Module: Truck-based SUVs, such as Lincoln, have a fuel pump driver module mounted on the chassis member. This module controls the speed of the fuel pump. As it is exposed to elements, it can eventually fail due to condensation and dirt contamination. This will cause the engine to stall and usually not able to restart. Code: P1233 - Fuel pump driver module off-line
Vacuum Leaks: It is not rare to have a random cylinder misfire on a Lincoln. Tracing down the source of the problem can be tricky, as it usually happens sporadically. In addition to checking spark plugs and ignition coil, you should also inspect the intake for eventual vacuum leaks. Code: P0300
Evaporative Emission Control (EVAP) System: An EVAP system has many plastic hoses and lines that can get brittle and break over time. This causes various leaks, usually very small and hard to trace. Finding a leak is best by testing the whole system with a smoke machine. Codes: P0456 Check Engine - Small EVAP Leak
PCV Valve: Older Lincolns that have V8 Modular engine can suffer from an engine running extremely rough on idle and low speeds, or even stalling. If this is combined with code-combo P2195, P2197, P0171, and P0174 combo, it is almost certainly caused by a large vacuum leak. The first thing to check is PCV valves and hoses, as they tend to break, causing a sudden vacuum leak. Use either smoke generating machine or carb cleaner to pin-point the leak.
Throttle Actuator: Newer V6 Lincolns are seemingly prone to throttle related issues. In most cases, this is caused by a throttle actuator stuck in one position, or it cannot open all the way. This will cause stalling, especially under hard acceleration. Replacing the throttle body assembly is the only solution. Code: P2112 - Throttle Actuator stuck
Fuel: Many 2005 or newer Lincolns can have a check engine light going on at the end of autumn when the temperatures drop. If there are no other apparent symptoms, this can easily be caused by an engine computer detecting a possible misfire when the engine is started. This usually happens because a summer-blend of fuel is still used. Code: P0316 - misfire detected on startup