So, how to get out of limp mode?
If you’ve experienced this situation while driving then this is probably the first question that came to mind.
The limp mode can often happen unexpectedly and unpleasantly surprise the driver.
But as you’ll see there are a couple of simple things you can do to get out of limp mode.
Besides this article, you also have our video on the same topic which you can watch on our YouTube channel.
WHAT IS LIMP MODE IN A CAR?
Limp mode is a safety feature and warning system on your car that is activated when there is an engine problem, usually a more serious one.
Its main task is to prevent any major damage to the engine and its systems while letting you, in most cases still drive and reach help.
It’s activated by your car’s computer when it detects a problem through various sensors and modules.
So, in most cases, limp mode means reduced engine revs which then leads to less power and a poor response to the gas pedal.
In some cases, the computer may also switch other less important functions on your car.
HOW TO REACT TO LIMP MODE WHEN DRIVING?
Besides knowing how to get out of limp mode it is important to know how to to react when it happens.
Especially if it happens while driving. In this case, it’s a pretty unpleasant experience since there’s a sudden and unannounced loss of power and throttle response.
So, how to react to the limp mode in this case?
The most important thing to remember is: don’t get scared and lose control.
When it happens, try to stay calm, in control of the car and immediately start slowing down.
Look for the closest place to get off the road, stop the car, and turn off the engine.
After that, try to apply some of the tips shown in the next part of the article.
Worth knowing is there are usually tell-tale signs that warn you that something is wrong well before limp mode happens.
These may be the check engine light, brief losses of engine power that last a couple of seconds, constant rough idle, periodic engine misfires, and else.
A common scenario of limp mode is that all of a sudden, in the middle of driving, the check engine light (and/or other warning lights) comes up on the dash and your car loses power.
Often times the revs are reduced to for instance 2000 rpm and in worst cases, the engine may lose power completely.
HOW TO GET OUT OF LIMP MODE ON YOUR CAR?
1. TURN OFF THE ENGINE, WAIT AND START IT AGAIN
This is the first and easiest way to get out of limp mode on your car.
Once you’ve stopped the car safely turn off the engine, take out the key, and wait for a couple of minutes.
Then try to start the car again. If the check engine and other warning lights go away and the car reacts normally, try to continue driving but with caution.
Also, the check engine light may stay on, but if the car reacts normally, continue driving, again with caution.
2. CHECK THE ENGINE FLUIDS
Next tip, try checking the engine fluids when the engine cools down.
A low fluid level can often trigger the limp mode.
This goes double for cars with automatic transmissions. If you have a car like this, be sure to check the transmission fluid level.
3. TAKE OFF THE MINUS BATTERY TERMINAL CONNECTOR
If all of this doesn’t work, try taking off the minus terminal connector from the battery.
Take it off and leave it off for about 10 minutes and then return it.
The point of doing this is to try to reset the car’s computer. This is, at least from personal experience, the most successful method.
But I would recommend not doing this with more expensive cars that have more complicated electronic systems so you don’t cause even more problems.
If you maybe don’t know how to take off a battery terminal connector. click here to read more on that topic.
4. USE AN OBD TOOL
If you happen to have an OBD tool at hand, try to connect it and try to erase the check engine light error or other errors, and then try to start the car.
This is an option for knowing how to get out of limp mode on your car that is certainly worth trying.
Besides this and what is maybe a better option since you have an OBD tool, read the codes and perhaps determine the reason for the limp mode.
Who knows, you might even be able to solve the problem. It’s a long shot, but worth considering.
For more information on how to use an OBD tool, click here.
Please take notice that all of the tips recommended here are a first-aid measure, not a solution.
These are means of temporarily getting yourself out of trouble and perhaps being able to continue to drive.
Know that limp mode doesn’t appear for nothing. It is usually a sign of a serious problem that should be solved as soon as possible.
So, when the first limp mode happens go straight to a mechanic if you’re not planning to solve the problem yourself.
Otherwise, if you ignore the problem, it will almost certainly repeat within a short time and you’ll again be putting yourself in a tight spot.
Written by: Sibin Spasojevic
Former car technician, life-long car and DIY enthusiast, author for Despairrepair.com