What is Limp Mode?
Limp Mode, also called Limp Home Mode, is a safety feature in your vehicle. The computer system that runs your car detects a problem that, should the vehicle continue at full operating capacity, could damage the engine or transmission. Often the failure is in a sensor or other monitoring system that tracks how your vehicle is supposed to operate. Limp mode is a way to reach a repair shop or your home without causing further damage to your engine or transmission.
What Will Change When a Vehicle Enters Limp Mode?Limp mode is a safety feature and can activate in situations where it feels anything but safe. Your engine will slow down, can be stuck in a middle gear, and the climate controls and radio may shut off. Limp mode gets you safely to your home or mechanic to fix the computer fault before it can cause more severe damage. When your vehicle enters limp mode, the best thing you can do is remain calm, safely slow down, and decide if you need to stop or have only a few miles to drive to get home or an engine repair shop. You don’t want to attempt to drive a vehicle in Limp Mode for long distances.
How Will I Know my Vehicle is in Limp Mode?
Your first sign that your vehicle is in Limp Mode is often an illuminated check engine light. While the check engine light can come on to respond to many different conditions in your vehicle, it normally illuminates when the car enters limp mode. Next, your engine will slow, and you’ll be unable to accelerate to speeds over 35-45 miles per hour. You may also notice that auxiliary systems like climate control or entertainment shut themselves off.
How Far Can I Drive in Limp Mode?
As long as your vehicle continues to drive smoothly and doesn’t begin to make strange noises or overheat, you can continue driving it in limp mode. If the check engine light is flashing, you should stop driving as that may indicate a severe issue that may require significant engine repair. The sooner you stop and have someone hook up a diagnostic computer to determine the cause of Limp Mode activation, the better. You can also stop, turn the engine off and wait at least 60 seconds before restarting to see if the limp mode is still activated. Even if limp mode deactivates, you should take your vehicle to a service center for a diagnostics check.