If you have driven a vehicle for a period of time, chances are, you’ve been there – a point in time when you’re driving and the engine light turns on for some unknown, unexpected reason. What do you do? Pull over? Call your mechanic?

The worry is real.

When the engine light is on, there could be a plethora of reasons that impact your vehicle. Don’t fret. We’ve put together some of the most common reasons why an engine light turns on, and what you should do if it does.

Your engine light could turn on because…

…your gas cap is loose or damaged

Thankfully, this is a pretty easy fix. If your gas cap is loose or damaged, it needs fixing. The gas cap ensures that you don’t lose fuel due to evaporation. Loose gas cap, more trips to the fuel pump.

…your spark plugs must be replaced

This one certainly has an impact on your vehicle. Bad spark plugs will impact your vehicle’s performance, as well as fuel efficiency. Spark plugs come pretty inexpensive at places like Canadian Tire, so it certainly won’t cost you a fortune.

…your oxygen sensors need a replacement.

The oxygen sensors in your vehicle are responsible for measuring the amount of unburned oxygen in your exhaust system as the exhaust exits the engine. Monitoring these levels is a way of gauging the fuel mixture. These sensors last anywhere between 50,000 and 60,000 miles, and the engine light will surely go on if it’s nearing finality.

These are three of the most common reasons why an engine light would go on, so what should you do if it does happen to you while driving?

If the check engine light comes on, you should pull over when it is safe and look for any potential serious problem that would require immediate attention.

When you pull over…

1. Look for any problems related to low oil pressure or overheating.

If these are on, it means that you should shut your engine off immediately (after you’ve pulled over, of course). These would lead to severe damage and must be taken into consideration.

2. If there are no problems related to the above, check the exterior of your vehicle.

Is everything safe? Does it appear safe to drive? If so, turn your vehicle on again and make your way home.

3. Schedule an appointment.

Once you’ve determined that your vehicle is safe, in terms of low oil pressure or overheating, call your mechanic and schedule an appointment. It’s time to leave it with the professionals.

The check engine light can be a scary situation if you’re driving, though rest assured our recommendations above will help maneuver you from a troublesome situation should it arise.