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E36General discussion and technical help for (E36) 1992-1999 3 series cars. 318, 323, 325, 328.
I'm pretty sure it'll stay on until you clear it (because what if something is right on the threshold and it cross over, triggers the CEL, then goes back on the good side again. There's still a problem, but you don't know. I'd fix the problem, clear all codes (autozone will loan you the tool for free if you don't already have one), and drive 20-30 miles. If the problem is fixed, the light won't come back on.