Bought First Car And Check Engine Light Turned On Got Error Codes At Autozone. Please Help

I want to be ridiculously detailed in my question so i get the best answers possible. A week ago i bought a used 2005 ford taurus with 98,000 miles. When i test drove it, i didn’t see anything wrong with it and got so excited i bought it right then. Right after that, i took it to a ford dealership to get the car inspected. I know. I got everything backwards. But! Good news is after the mechanic looked at the car for a few hours, he didn’t find anything horribly wrong. He did make a few observations though

he said:

-the fluids could use a flushin and refill (i got an oil change, so that’s one down)
-the battery isn’t the original and didn’t fit perfectly, but it was a perfectly good battery and tested well with a strong charge
-spark plugs are original and he recommended replacing soon, but that so far so good
-serpentine belt is original, but doesn’t need replacing

So, great! I got an oil change and made an appointment for a 90k mile service a month and a half from now in late march to get the basics done. Spark plugs, coil, wires redone, fluids flushed, engine tune. All that. So at this point, everything is fine

A few days later i notice in the morning when i start the car (it was about 40 degrees outside) it took a second longer to turn on. Usually when i start the car, it’s instant. Like ru-ruuuuum. But this time it was ru-ru-ru-ruuuum. Like, two extra’s ru’s! Not more than a second, but noticable. That’s when the check engine light turned on

I bowed my head down, let out a few 4 letter words and then drove down to autozone to get the error codes.On the drive there, nothing felt any different. Acceleration was good, when i was idle at a stop light, i wasn’t shaking like crazy and it was just more of the same. Still, i got it checked.

What it said on the receipt the guy printed out for me:
Cylinder misfire detected – random cylinders
the powertrain control module monitors the crankshaft speed and has detected a misfire condition

Probably cause
1)ignition system fault – spark plug(s), ignition wires, coil
2) vacuum leak
3)injector fault
4) high or low fuel pressure


I’m not car savvy, but in my head i’m thinking as i read this receipt that it’s the spark plugs since the mechanic said i needed new ones anyway. But, i’m not smart enough to figure this out and i realize this. So i call up the dealership

I get a random guy that says he has no idea and that i need to bring it in for a diagnostic that cost $95. Well, thanks but no.I hang up and call the specific mechanic that looked at my car at the dealership and the convo goes something like this

Me: what do you think it could be? What’s a cylinder misfire?
Him: could be anything. I wouldn’t know without looking at it. Do you notice anything strange when driving it? Anything different than you would expect?
Me: Not really. If the check engine light wasn’t on, i wouldn’t know there was anything wrong with it
Him: Then go ahead and continue driving it. Don’t worry about it and just come in for your 90k mile service. That may take care of it
Me: Great! (hang up)

Since that call, i don’t really notice anything wrong. Sometimes when it’s cold and i start the car, it takes an extra second to start but once it’s warmed up, if i go inside a store and come back and start the car again, it starts normally. The gears shift smoothly, acceleration is still good on the freeway. Today when i got on the freeway to come home, i noticed it was a little slow to get to 60, but i wasn’t exactly pounding my foot down on the gas either. I’m still learning what this car is like when it accelerates and stuff, so the way it is right now may be normal for all i know.

Please help me out here. Is it serious enough to pay the $100 and take it in for a diagnostic and see what it is, or should i just wait until my appointment a month from now when i do the 90k mile service to get it taken care of?

fyi: i can’t change the appointment to be sooner because this is a service i have to save money for and it’ll take that long for me to get all the money together

Answers for The Question

  1. Rob
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