Limp Mode: What is it and how do you fix it

Modern vehicles contain numerous safety systems that can help the driver in a variety of scenarios. ABS and cruise control, for example, can significantly improve your safety and driving pleasure. But there is one function in particular that requires special attention: limp mode.Limp mode in car

Not everyone is a vehicle specialist, and it may be rather frightening when your car begins to behave strangely for no obvious reason. If your car suddenly slowed down and the ‘check engine light’ turned on, you would be concerned and possibly bewildered. Don’t worry, we’re here for you!

In this article, we’ll delve deep into the Limp mode. Nonetheless, you’ll get to know every answer to the following questions:

  • What is the Limp Mode?
  • How does the Limp Mode work?
  • What causes the Limp Mode?
  • How do you tell you’re in Limp mode?
  • How to fix Limp Mode?

Ok, let’s dive in!


What is the Limp Mode?

Limp mode, often known as ‘limp home mode,’ is an automobile security feature that activates when the engine or gearbox control unit detects a failure. When it detects a problem, limp mode turns off less vital sections of the automobile, such as the air conditioning, and reduces the vehicle’s speed. This is to guarantee that the malfunction does not cause any major damage and that the automobile can ‘limp home’. The limp mode feature is intended to alert you if there are problems with your vehicle’s mechanisms that could be dangerous and must be addressed promptly.

How does the Limp Mode work?

When powertrain components identify a malfunction, the transmission control unit or engine control unit uses rigorous calibration to stop the motor. This mode, as the name implies, disables and decreases the influence of secondary systems such as air conditioning, radio, and screens on overall performance. This immediate shutdown assists you in avoiding anything serious and driving it to safety. The limp mode is your car’s way of alerting you to a serious problem that needs to be handled right away.

What causes the Limp Mode?

Limp mode

The limp mode in the car is activated for a variety of reasons. Let’s have a look at some of them. To minimize further damage to your vehicle, stop the automobile and do not drive for long after using the mode.

  • Transmission Fluid Level Is low
  • Wires Issues
  • Sensors Malfunction

Transmission Fluid Level is low

Transmission fluid is a lubricant that prevents excessive friction between the transmission system’s components. It shields the transmission from damage and stress. If the fluid level rises above a specific threshold, the pressure in the transmission system drops, leading it to malfunction. If there is a problem with the transmission in an automatic transmission vehicle, the automobile will automatically enter limp mode. When the transmission control unit detects that the vehicle’s clutch is broken, damaged, or defective, the limp mode is also engaged.

Wires Issues

All of the car’s electrical wires are connected to the engine. The engine provides power to all of the moving parts. The electrical system is an important part of the car, but it is also quite delicate. Various elements such as engine heat, extreme cold, moisture, and grime can all affect the wires. The broken cables could cause interference with the car’s other systems, triggering the limp mode.

Sensors Malfunction

The car features several sensors that aid in its operation. The speed sensor, for example, determines how fast the car is moving. The throttle position sensor measures the amount of pressure you apply to the accelerator foot, while the manifold absolute pressure sensor sends direct manifold data to the engine’s management unit. If the control unit does not receive reliable data from several sensors, it enters limp mode. It’s a good idea to double-check all of the sensors to make sure they’re all working properly.

How do you tell you’re in Limp Mode?

If you are driving and your automobile enters limp mode, you will notice several symptoms. Limp mode reduces the amount of power available to the engine and transmission. Let’s see more:

  • RPM and speed limits.
  • Performance seems poor.
  • Stuck in Gear Mode.
  • The is Check Engine Light on.

RPM and speed limits

RPM will be less than 3000, with a speed limit of 35-40 mph, and you will be unable to move into third gear. This will make driving on roads impossible, and the best thing you can do is take it to a repair or a safe location to inspect it.

Performance seems poor

If you hear your engine whirring and whining, it is most likely caused by the malfunction and slow acceleration. Depending on the model of your car, you may be unable to move the gear above the third one, or you may be unable to shift gears at all.

Stuck in Gear Mode

In automatic transmission autos, the mechanism may limit the gear shift. In most circumstances, the transmission will not move into third gear to protect the engine. You can’t drive very fast if the transmission isn’t above third gear.

The is Check Engine Light on

A system malfunction that causes it to overheat usually triggers the limp mode. The check engine light will flash or illuminate; in certain scenarios, the screen will also inform you of the reason for the use of the limp mode. If your engine has overheated, get off the road to a safe location and let it cool down. The cooling procedure will assist in preventing further damage to your car.

How to fix Limp Mode?

The limp mode necessitates a thorough analysis and a trip to the local auto shop. If you find yourself stranded on the road, you might want to attempt any of these simple fixes:

  • Check all the fluid levels. Examine the engine oil, coolant, transmission, brake level fluid, and power steering fluid. Ensure that all of these fluids are at optimal levels and that no debris has accumulated in them. If you have an automatic vehicle, transmission fluid is a must-have item on this list.
  • Inspect the air filters. A clogged air filter could be the source of the dreaded limp mode. If the engine doesn’t get enough air, the limp mode kicks in. Cleaning or replacing these items may be all that is required to get your car out of limp mode.
  • Check trouble codes. An OBD2 scanner can help you diagnose the problem by looking for trouble codes recorded in the car’s control unit.
  • Clean Mass Air Flow Sensor. The MAF sensor, which regulates the air-fuel mixture in the engine, might become clogged. The dirt on the sensor delivers incorrect values to the control unit, triggering the limp mode. Simply cleaning it with an electronic cleaner will restore functionality to your vehicle. Remember not to put your hands on the sensor.

Our Recommendation

The best way to resolve limp mode is to take your vehicle to a mechanic for an inspection. This way, you can resolve whatever issue the limp mode function protected your vehicle from. If you are unable to drive to a service center right away, or if you are too far away, request that they come to you.

It is dangerous to drive your automobile in limp mode for long periods, so get it to a mechanic as soon as possible. Some people consider limp mode to be an inconvenient feature that prevents their car from working effectively and prevents them from getting where they need to go.

This is disappointing because the feature is intended to keep you secure and prevent anything serious from happening. Ignoring limp mode or the ‘check engine light’ for fear of a major, pricey repair is not a wise idea. Sometimes limp mode indicates a problem that is simple to resolve, such as a fluid leak or a wire that has to be reconnected, thus it is not always an expensive issue.

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Watch the video below to learn more


How do I fix limp mode?

To fix limp mode, you need to identify and address the underlying issue causing it. It’s best to take your car to a qualified mechanic or dealership to diagnose the problem and perform the necessary repairs.

What can cause limp mode?

Limp mode is usually triggered by a significant problem with the engine, transmission, or other critical systems in your car. Common causes include sensor malfunctions, transmission issues, engine problems, or electrical faults.

How do I know my car is in limp mode?

When your car is in limp mode, it will experience reduced power and performance. You may notice limited acceleration and a restricted top speed, and the vehicle’s dashboard may display a warning light or a message indicating the car is in limp mode.

How slow is the limp mode?

The speed limitation in limp mode can vary depending on the specific issue and the car’s make and model. However, generally, the vehicle’s speed will be restricted to a significantly lower speed than normal driving conditions.

Is it OK to drive in limp mode?

Driving in limp mode is intended as a temporary measure to get you to a safe location or a repair facility. It’s not ideal for extended driving, as the vehicle’s performance is limited, and you may be risking further damage to the car’s components.

Can low fuel pressure cause limp mode?

Yes, low fuel pressure can cause limp mode in some vehicles. Insufficient fuel pressure can lead to engine misfires and other performance issues, triggering the car’s limp mode to protect the engine from further damage.

Can a bad fuel pump cause limp mode?

Yes, a faulty fuel pump can cause limp mode. If the fuel pump fails to deliver an adequate amount of fuel to the engine, it can result in reduced power and performance, prompting the car’s computer to activate limp mode.

What is the limp mode in Benz?

The limp mode in a Benz (Mercedes-Benz) refers to the same state as in any other car. It’s a protective feature that the car’s onboard computer activates when it detects a severe problem, reducing engine power to prevent further damage.

What cars have limp mode?

Most modern vehicles, including cars from various manufacturers, are equipped with limp mode as a protective mechanism. If a serious issue is detected, the car’s computer will activate limp mode to prevent potential damage.

Can you drive a Mercedes in limp mode?

Yes, you can drive a Mercedes in limp mode, but it’s not recommended for extended periods. Limp mode is designed for short-distance driving to reach a repair facility safely.

How long should you drive in limp mode?

You should aim to drive in limp mode for the shortest distance possible, preferably just to get to a nearby repair facility or a safe location. Extended driving in limp mode can exacerbate the underlying issue and potentially cause more damage to your vehicle.


The limp mode is the car’s safety feature that prevents the engine from being abused while it is in a weakened state. This mode ensures that no extra strain is placed on the vehicle and that all functions are optimized until the problem is identified.

And that’s all for this article, which talked about the things you need to know about Limp Mode. That being said, the answers to the following questions were discussed:

  • What is the Limp Mode?
  • How does the Limp Mode work?
  • What causes the Limp Mode?
  • How do you tell you’re in Limp mode?
  • How to fix Limp Mode?

Hope you learn a lot. If so, kindly share it with others. Thanks for reading; see you around!

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