I've got a 1996 850 sedan, non-turbo, with 69K on it. I was driving it home from work and decided to get a car wash at one of the touchless automatics. All was well until I came out of the car wash. I noticed the "Check Engine" light came on.
The car remains drivable. Here are my questions:
1. Could something from the car wash have caused the light to go off? I know it could have just been coincidence, but being that it went on right after the car was dried (ignition still on) I'm wondering if it had something to do with the car wash? I drove it about five miles back to my house.
2. I'm going to have to drive it on Tuesday. I'm a college student (commuter) and have two huge exams that day. I'm only 2.5 miles away from campus but alas, cannot walk due to the roadways involved.
3. Should I test it again tomorrow by taking it to church to see if the light might go off by itself? My church is only about a mile and a half away so that wouldn't be too harmful, right?
4. I've got to study for the aforementioned exams on Monday. Would it be OK if I waited until Wednesday, when I have no morning classes, to go see the mechanic? I'd only have to drive the car back and forth to school and church, with a combined total of about 6 miles there (and four starts, five if you count the one to the mechanic, he's about 7 miles from where I live).
As far as the car--I've looked around for leaks, etc and have found nothing. I'm not the most savvy person when it comes to the mechanics of cars--I know how to drive them and fill their gas tanks--and wouldn't know specifically if there is something I could check to see if there is anything serious here.
In addition to the lack of leaks, I can't notice any unusual smells. I smell the car wash soap pretty strong in the garage right now but that's it--no gas/oil smells. I've gone to this car wash before and haven't had a problem, although the soap smells exceptionally strong today so maybe it had something to do with it? Or maybe it's just some minor part that went due to age?
As I said, it does drive, and nothing feels, sounds, or looks wrong (aside from the amber light on the dash). It passed PA inspection two months ago with no problem and the engine oil has always been maintained.
Any advice on this would be much appreciated.
EDIT: I've looked around the web a bit, my gut feeling tells me it may be an O2 sensor? If it is, how much do they cost?
Edited by Pittsburgh850, 29 March 2008 - 07:10 PM.