What Is Limp Mode On Cars?

Cars have a lot of safety features to protect you, but they also have ways to protect the car as well. Limp mode is one of those features. Limp mode is activated when the car’s computer system detects an issue that could damage the engine or transmission. It reduces power to lessen the load on these crucial parts, but still allows you to drive the car home or to the closest repair shop. The vehicle can cut power by limiting the amount of throttle used, the ignition timing, and the RPM, but it can also put the car in one fixed gear — usually second or third — to limit how fast you can go. Limp mode can be scary when it first kicks in. The first thing you’ll notice is that the check engine light comes on. If the car is misfiring, it may shake, and the check engine light might flash. If there’s a transmission issue, you’ll likely be locked into one middle gear, so the car will feel very sluggish when accelerating from a stop. If you’re almost home or close to a repair shop, your best bet is to drive straight there. Make sure you keep your eye on the temperature gauge, and if the car begins to overheat, shut the engine off as quickly as possible and call for a tow truck. The top three things that will make the limp mode activate include engine misfiring, overheating, or a bad sensor.