One afternoon, you’re driving home from work when you notice that the check engine light turns on. It just lights up with no information as to what the problem is. Is there a major problem? Should you pull over?

Because you are worried and you’re curious to know why the check engine light pops on, you have no choice but to swing by the auto repair shop.

There are several reasons why the light may come on. If you find yourself in the same situation, do know that there’s no need to panic. Here are 4 common causes why your check engine light may be on.

Loose gas cap

Your fuel can evaporate if you have a cracked, loose or missing gas cap.  This causes the light in the corner of your dash to flicker.

Once you notice that orange-red glow of the check engine light, the first thing you need to do is to pull over and check your gas engine cap. Tighten the cap if it’s loose. Replace it if it’s damaged. The light should turn off within a few minutes once the issue has been addressed. Contact a mechanic or go straight to the repair shop if the light stays on.

Defective oxygen sensor

A faulty oxygen sensor is one of the most common issues that trigger the check engine light. Oxygen sensors fail when your engine is not receiving the correct ratio of fuel to air. The use of gas that is high in ethanol also contributes to a faulty oxygen sensor.

If ignored, this could reduce your gas mileage by as much as to 40%. It will also have a negative impact on engine performance and environmental emissions.

Wires and spark plugs needs replacement

If you get a check engine light, along with a slight jolt while accelerating, you might want to check your plug wires and spark plugs. Worn wires and plugs can clog your catalytic converter and cause a number of issues. Your car may also suffer from reduced power, fuel economy and poor performance. Be sure to take care of this replacement as soon as possible. Your car will thank you for it.

Thermostat issues

Your engine needs to get hot enough to keep the oil flowing and to burn fuel efficiently. The thermostat regulates the temperature of the engine. It opens and closes to regulate the flow of coolant.  When it gets hot, it signals the coolant to flow through the engine block. When it fails, it often gets stuck open. This causes the check engine light to illuminate.