Troubleshooting Lincoln Check Engine Light

Est. Time: 30 min
Difficulty: Intermediate

This article will discuss 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
2010 Lincoln MKT Check Engine Light On

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 the 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 leaks, 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.

  1. Locate your Lincoln diagnostic port under the dashboard on the driver's side.Lincoln port to diagnose check engine light
  2. Plugin your OBD-II scanner and turn on the ignition. Do not start the check engine light on  Aviator Open configuration options Blackwood Open configuration options Continental Open configuration options LS Open configuration options Mark LT Open configuration options MKS Open configuration options MKT Open configuration options MKX Open configuration options MKZ Open configuration options Navigator Open configuration options Town Car
  3. Allow the scanner to turn on. Select Read Codes from the main menu to retrieve the fault codes stored in the ECU.
  4. 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, the Lincoln check engine light will reset on its own after a few driving cycles.

Common Problems

lincoln engine

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 be 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 engines 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 a carb cleaner to pinpoint 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.

Was this helpful?
We would love to hear from you. Send us tips on how to improve this article.
Send us message if you have any car questions.

Check out more guides for the following vehicle.
Troubleshooting Lincoln Check Engine Light 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.