Limp Mode In A Car: Symptoms and Solution

Limp Mode In A Car: Symptoms And Solution – It is almost impossible to go through a day without interacting with a digital interface in your car.

These days, automobiles are becoming more dependent on computers and digital technology.

Despite the positive qualities of these technologies, several downsides come with them. Limp mode is an example of these downsides.

LIMP is an acronym for Limited Power Mode. It is designed to protect the engine when problems are detected in the vehicle system.

At the extreme of the computer-powered automobiles, you’ll see the new generation of electric vehicles produced by brands such as Tesla, Ford, and the futuristic vehicle proposed by Apple computers. Each of these vehicles has integrated systems that help it operate efficiently and keep the driver and passengers safe.

Below is a detailed overview of limp mode in a car: symptoms, and solutions. However, before delving into the details, it is best to start with a brief look at the meaning of limp mode.

What is the Limp Mode?

Limp mode is a reduced-power state of a vehicle.

It is activated as a result of a malfunction in the engine, the wiring system of the vehicle, or some other faults in the vehicle.

Limp mode is usually signified by a sharp drop in speed when the acceleration is engaged. And indicators on the dashboard often point out that the car is currently in limp mode.

Common Causes, Symptoms, and Solution Of Limp Mode in Cars

The causes of limp mode vary from one car to another.

Often, you may need to scan your car to uncover the underlying problems causing your car to go into limp mode. Sometimes, if you can’t access your diagnosing machine, you can observe the Limp mode symptoms to ascertain what’s causing the limp mode.

There are some causes of limp mode that are common to most vehicles. Here are some of them and how to reset the limp mode.

Malfunctioning Sensors

Malfunctioning sensors can cause your car to activate the limp mode. Nowadays, vehicles come installed with several sensors.

Find below some common sensor malfunctions that can result in your car activating the limp mode.

For several reasons, sensors may send signals and activate limp mode:

Malfunctioning Throttle Position Sensor (TPS)

The job of the throttle position sensor (TPS) is to monitor how your engine takes in air.

The sensor is located around the spindle of your throttle to ensure the throttle stays in position. It is an integral part of the fuel management system of the car.

Once the sensor begins to malfunction and send the wrong signal, the car may activate the limp mode.


Once the TPS is faulty, the first indication is the activation of limp mode. Besides, you may get a light on the dashboard indicating a fault. Faulty TPS can contribute to high gas consumption per mileage.


Diagnose the specific problem using a diagnosing machine and change the TPS.

Malfunctioning MAF sensor

The Mass Air Flow (MAF) sensor is usually found in vehicles that use electronic fuel injection systems.


There will be excessive fuel injection into the combustion chamber.

The car may experience intermittent jerks and the car may activate limp mode to prevent further damage to the engine.


Use the diagnosing machine to check for the specific problem.

Change the MAF sensor and rediagnose it to ensure it’s fixed.

Malfunctioning MAP Sensor

The manifold absolute pressure sensor (MAP sensor) signals from the sensor are responsible for controlling fuel management, acceleration, and emission. The problem with the MAP sensor could trigger limp mode.


Problems from MAP sensors would indicate on the dashboard. You can witness overheating or a high gas consumption per mileage in addition to limp mode.


Use the diagnosing machine to figure out if the sensor is faulty. Change the sensor or bypass the sensor.

Malfunctioning Seat Belt sensors

Some vehicles come with seat belt sensors to inform the central units of the vehicle when your seatbelt is not on. It automatically activates the limp mode until you have your seat belt on.


Usually, the light on the dashboard would indicate that your seatbelt is off. Vehicles that also have sound indicators would also give off sounds showing you that your seatbelt is off.


Use the seatbelt.

However, in situations where a damaged sensor from the seatbelt is causing the malfunction, you may need to take it to an expert to have it removed, bypassed, or replaced.

Speed Sensor

The vehicle speed sensor (VSS) modifies the function of the engine by constantly measuring the transmission output of your car.

In a nutshell, it measures the speed of the wheel and uses the information collected to modify the engine function.


The function of the limp mode is to keep the engine safe. When there is a problem with VSS, the engine goes into limp mode.


Diagnose with a machine to ascertain the fault. Change the VSS.

Wiring Problem

Problems with the network of wires in the vehicle can activate the limp mode. When debris hits the wires repeatedly, it leads to broken or damaged wires.

Besides, high temperatures in the vehicle systems can lead to underperformance in the wire.


Inability to send signals and conduct charges around the vehicle.


Use a diagnostics machine to figure out the faulty wire or fuse and fix it to remove the car from limp mode.

Low Fluid Level

Low transmission fluid and oil in the engine can cause low pressure in the engine resulting in dysfunction or damage.

As a result, the control system of the vehicle launches the limp mode to prevent the car from getting damaged.


Usually, there would be indications on the dashboard showing that the oil level is below the required amount.

In situations where the indicator is faulty, you may notice that the vehicle is overheating or that the oil gauge is excessively black.


Top up the engine and transmission oil in your vehicle to correct the limp mode.

Damaged Solenoids

The job of the solenoid is to control the flow of transmission fluid during gear engagement. They allow the vehicle to change from one gear to another.

A problem with the solenoid can activate the limp mode transmission to prevent erratic behavior of the car.


Erratic gear shifts, delayed gear shifts, as well as poor performance during transmission.


It is best to change the whole transmission to solve the problem permanently. However, note that gear and gear parts are quite expensive. Thus, prepare your mind for the cost.

Damaged Mechanical or Electrical Parts

Damages to mechanical parts of the vehicle may also result in limp mode.

Worn-out spark plugs, damaged oil packs, and failed fuel injectors are some of the common problems that threaten the engine.

These faults can activate limp mode in a car. A failed clutch can also cause the car to activate the limp mode

How much does limp mode car repair cost? 

The cost of fixing limp mode varies based on the source of the problem. However limp mode car repair costs can range from $70 to $1000 or even more depending on your location and the part of the vehicle you are repairing or replacing.

Frequently Asked Questions About Limp Mode 

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about the limp mode in vehicles.

Will driving in limp mode damage the car?

No. limp mode is not designed to damage the car. It, however, helps keep you within the pre-programmed speed limit when driving a faulty car. The limp mode would be reversed when you fix the faulty component of the car or when you bypass the sensor. However, you would burn more fuel driving the same distance you could cover if your car’s working properly.

How long can you drive a car in limp mode?

There is no limit to the distance your car can go when it’s in limp mode. The only downside is that you will not be able to boost your acceleration when your car is in limp mode. The feedback your car gets in limp mode is that there is a mechanical or electrical problem with the car and it is not safe to drive the car beyond a certain speed. Therefore, the car forces you to stay within this speed limit for the duration of your journey.

Do all cars have limp mode?

No. Not all cars have limp mode. Cars that don’t have computer integration come with limp mode enhancement. They have other kinds of security systems to check the driver’s speed and keep passengers safe.

How do I get my car out of limp mode?

The first step to take when solving limp mode problems is to diagnose the vehicle to determine the underlying problem. Once the problem is identified, the next step is to fix or change the problematic part.

Wrap Up

Often, situations surface in cars that are not easy to diagnose.

Before most cars go into limp mode, it gives some indications on the dashboard showing you that something is wrong with the engine, wiring, or any other part of the car that may result in limp mode. Once these indicators show up, it is best to take the car for a checkup.

Early diagnosis and solutions may prevent your car from going into limp mode or further damage to your engine. Determining the causes of limp mode can be time-consuming and vexing. You may need to get the help of an expert to make it easier.

Drastic loss of power is one of the most common feedback or symptoms you see in your car to help you know if your car is in limp mode.

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