Reduced Engine Power Warning Light

March 28, 2017

There is never a good time for this message, and, though the warning appears, vehicle performance is the most troubling part of this feature. Your vehicle may have one of a few types of warning. You may see a light come on that says ‘Reduced Power’, or there may be a message indicating the vehicle has purposefully initiated ‘Limp’ mode. In either case, this will be accompanied by possibly harsh downshifting, total power loss until the vehicle is moving slowly, and an unresponsive engine.

What Does the ‘Reduced Engine Power’ Warning Light Mean?

Modern vehicles which use this feature are pre-programmed to limit the performance of the vehicle to prevent further damage. When specific faults are detected electronically, the engine control module begins the process of limiting vehicle speed, gear range, and engine power. This can be caused by engine trouble, transmission faults, or even a bad battery.

Get it diagnosed by a professional

Can I Drive With the Reduced Engine Power Warning Light on?

Driving with the reduced power light or message displayed is possible, but this feature is called ‘Limp Home’, which is as much as the vehicle should be driven (within reason). There is not much risk of driving in this mode, since the vehicle will not be a pleasure to drive, acceleration will be poor, gas mileage excessive on some vehicles, and shifting gears is jerky at best.

In addition, some vehicles may disable the radio, or other non-essential accessory components. The short answer, it is best to tow the vehicle if it must travel further than a few miles. In general, it is not a good idea to operate a vehicle in limp mode, due to the overwhelming possibility of becoming stranded.

How Do I Fix the Reduced Engine Power Warning Light?

While there is no universal repair to get a vehicle out of reduced power mode, there is one thing that is certain, the vehicle is in need of professional diagnostics. Often times, shutting down, and restarting a vehicle will temporarily clear the issue, but it will come back eventually in most cases.

It is important to note that the warning light should be heeded any time it is displayed, and continued use of the vehicle may cause severe damage, or leave driver and passengers stranded.

About the Author

RepairPal is the leading online source of auto repair resources and estimates. With many ASE Master certified mechanics on staff who have decades of experience, RepairPal knows all the fine points of car repair.

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