When the engine light comes on it stores a hard code. Even though your light is off you can still scan it and pick up the code. If you dont want to pay to have that done you can go to autozone. they usually pull codes for free. But beware. To work at the zone you must be completely car illiterate.
When the CEL illuminates, it stores a Data Trouble Code (DTC) in the computer. The CEL will be extinguished if the vehicle goes through 3 consecutive pass trips. A pass trip is a cycle which consists of key on, one diagnostic moniter runs, key off, and the ecm powers down. After this is done 3 times consecutivley without the original error occurring again, then the CEL will turn off. The code will stay stored in the computer until 40 warm-up cycles have run consecutivley with out the error occurring. A warm up cycle is achieved when the engine coolant tmeperature rises at least 40 degrees above engine start up temperature and achieves a minimum temperature of 160. Not until then will the code be erased.
So in short, the computer doesnt really learn to live with conditions. The code is probably still there and it needs to get pulled. A lot of the time its nothing, but you never know.