From emergency repairs to minor damages, your check engine light can mean a variety of things. If you’re lucky, you have a modern vehicle that can perform an accurate diagnostic check to pinpoint the damage. Otherwise, you’ll need to determine the extent of the damage on your own. If your check engine light comes on, here’s three things you can do.

1. Check for Obvious Damage

Some of the more extreme reasons for this indicator to appear will be obvious. If there’s smoke emitting from your hood, you’ll want to immediately pull over. Don’t wait for things to get worse, but find the first safe place you can stop and call a tow service, or a local mechanic. You may need to make immediate repairs before continuing. Stop by your local auto parts store or shop for free delivery on auto parts online.

 2. Inspect Common Issues

There are some common trouble spots that could cause your car to signal a check engine light. Some of these include a loose gas cap, damaged oxygen sensor or even low tire pressure. Newer cars have separate sensors for some of these issues, but older vehicles may display the check engine light for these reasons.

 3. Drive Carefully

If there aren’t any major or minor issues that are immediately apparent, drive carefully until you can take your car into a shop for accurate diagnostics. Try to reduce your speed and, if possible, don’t attempt to pull a trailer while this indicator is on. This could further damage your vehicle, depending on the issue.

Most check engine light instances will require repairs in the near future. From a replacement head gasket to headlight bulbs near me, shop online or at an auto parts store near you. Once you’ve repaired your vehicle, you may need to drive up to 100 miles before the sensor is cleared and your dash is free from warning indicators.