OBD II systems monitor the vehicle's emission control system performance and notify the driver when defects that cause an increase in air pollution are identified. These systems have the ability to alert the driver of a problem using a Check Engine light (also known as a Malfunction Indicator Light, or MIL) located on the vehicle's dashboard. OBD II also stores important information about a detected malfunction that will help a repair technician identify and correct the problem. Early diagnosis and timely repair benefit air quality, may improve fuel economy, and can prevent major repair bills.
Should I continue to drive my vehicle if the Check Engine light stays on or is blinking?
If the Check Engine light comes on, take your vehicle to a licensed repair station as soon as you can to have the problem diagnosed. A blinking or flashing light indicates a malfunction that should be addressed immediately to avoid serious damage to the engine or emissions control system. Check your owner's manual for repairs that may be covered under your vehicle manufacturer's emissions warranty
From Bureau of Automotive Repair Website
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