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4112No Check Engine Light on 1988 535is

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  • bassfishman
    Jan 14, 2006
      Others may have this problem. I have a 1988 BMW 535is (actually
      manufactured in 4/87). This year the state of California required
      me to have a "Smog Test" performed (a $90 rip-off for a 10 min test
      and inspection).

      Took my car to the local smog test place and the car passed the
      emissions test but ending up failing because "your check engine
      light is not operating". The tech pointed out on the instrument
      cluster where the light should be.

      I have had this car for about 4 years now and had never seen that
      light operate before so looked in my owners manual only to find
      there was no description of a Check Engine Light. All the other
      lights were described in typical BMW detail. I then did some
      research on the internet and found others had the problem too and I
      printed out several pages of stuff. Also, I have passed this smog
      check before without the light. It was clear to me that this car
      was not manufactured with a Check Engine Light.

      I went back to the smog test place with owners manual and internet
      pages in hand to explain that my car does not have a Check Engine
      Light. I got absolutely nowhere with that. The tech told me that
      California prints a manual of what he has to check on each car and
      he as to certify all those things. Anything not working is a failed
      test.

      He did say he would call several BMW dealers and see if he could
      validate what I was saying. He called me back several times after
      talking to a few service managers at various dealers in the area
      only to tell me they all said my car was manufactured with a Check
      Engine Light.

      So I went to my nearest dealer and talked to the service manager who
      looked up the electrical diagrams based on the date of manufacture
      of my car (4/87 even though its called an '88). He confirmed that
      this car does not have a Check Engine Light and made copies of the
      applicable pages for me along with the cover page of the manual.

      I went back go the smog shop and provided this info and only then
      got my car smog certified.