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Just curious how/why fault codes are generated and how they go away.

Sunday AM I went to get a Sunday paper and coming home I get a CEL. Didn't use the car the rest of the day and went to AutoZone Monday AM to get the code(s) read. Get a P0171 "too lean for a predetermined period of time" and a suggestion that the fault is with the Mass Air Flow Sensor. A few minutes and a mile or two down the road the CEL goes out and has remained out, car has been running fine through this entire little episode.

I was under the impression once a code was set it would require repair and/or driving more than a mile or two to reset?

Just wondering if this is 'normal behavior'?
 
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