A while back, my '03 taurus SES V6 suddenly stopped as if out of gas, so I went and got a gallon and put it in, even though the gas gage registered almost 1/4 tank. since i had the car only a few days, I figured the gas gage was way off . Anyway, the car then started as if nothing happened. But, after a couple of weeks, and 400-500 miles, it suddenly happened again, to my wife. This time, with the gas gage registering 3/4 tank. After a few minutes, it started again as if nothing happened. So I presume that something else is going on, and I never ran out of gas the first time, but my going for gas allowed enough time to elapse for whatever reason. And, it just turned 90000miles and the “check engine” light came on today. Coincidence??
You should get the code read, any AutoZone and many other auto parts chain stores will read the code for free. I suspect you will get a code related to the evaporative vapor recovery system, stuck purge valve or something.
If it is a vapor recovery code, it could be something as simple as overfilling the gas tank. If you fill past the first click of the pump nozzle, the gas could expand as it heats up in your gas tank and get forced into the vapor recovery canister and causing a problem when the purge valve tries to vent the vapors to the engine.
But get the codes read first. Making guesses, no matter how educated, can result in a lot of expensive parts being replaced. When you have the code, post back and you will get better educated guesses.
When the “check engine light” came on, a code should have been stored by your car, automatically. Many auto parts stores can retrieve the code(s) right in the store parking lot, free of charge. The Advance Auto parts in my town does this.
Have the code(s) read, write them down and report them here, by number such as: PO305 (not just word description).
Also, which engine do you have?
Whether the codes relate in any way or not remains to be seen. They could be a clue.
thanks to both of you for great replies. i will check the code. my engine is 3.0 DOHC