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What "Reduced Engine Power" means for your car

What "Reduced Engine Power" means for your car

What "Reduced Engine Power" means for your car

Your car is a vital tool that supplements your everyday lifestyle, and therefore it has to be able to deliver consistent and reliable performance. As a result, many drivers get concerned when they put their foot down. The car only delivers a minimal amount of power accompanied by the haunting "Reduced Engine Power" error message. With today's engines, your car suddenly going into limp mode is an indicator that the Powertrain Control Modules, also called the car's computer, has identified a system failure and intentionally slashed the car's performance.

This mode acts as a failsafe that is meant to keep your engine from getting damaged as a result of this failure. In some instances, the vehicle will show the warning lights first and may not cut the power until it is driven next. In other cases, the car may be rendered unusable as the PCM chooses to stop fuel supply to the engine completely. For some vehicles, this warning light indicating power reduction will go on alongside the Check Engine Light and Check Traction Control light. These lights can't be turned off at the touch of a button. Hence you will be required to identify and fix the underlying problem to get rid of them.

What's the cause?

The Reduced Engine Power message does not directly point to a specific problem with your engine. Before diagnosis, drivers are left to contemplate, out of the many possibilities, what could be the cause for this error message. The triggers for this message also vary for different manufacturers, models, and year of manufacture. However, experts have been able to identify some of the most common triggers for this mode.

In most cases, vehicles enter this mode when they realize problems with the Throttle Actuator control system. One common cause for the Limp Mode is a badly position pedal or throttle. This mode can also be prompted by issues with the TAC system's circuitry. A vehicle may also enter this failsafe mode upon realizing problems with its PCM's. Lately, vehicles are fitted with numerous modules that work in tandem towards the good performance of your vehicle. A failure in one of these modules can possibly cause the car to enter this mode. In some vehicles, this mode is entered to prevent further damage to vital engine parts when cooling issues are detected.

Faulty pressure pumps limit the level of power the engine is able to put out. The resulting sluggishness can also make a vehicle enter limp mode. This mode can also result from problems with the car's oxygen sensors, which are meant to determine the air to fuel ratio during combustion. This error could also point to a bad mass airflow sensor or a problem with the Engine Control Unit (ECU).

What should you do?

Fixing this error message will require patience and some doing. The intricate nature of a vehicle's engine, especially the modern ones, makes it moderately difficult to diagnose the underlying problems accurately. These error messages are also not precise and can be triggered by a myriad of technical issues. Hence diagnosis is not easy. However, there are a few things to do that can help you quickly return your vehicle to top performance.

You will need to enlist the help of a professional to help you get the proper diagnosis and effect a relevant fix to the underlying problem. With the help of these professional and appropriate scan tools, you can download and check for Diagnostic Trouble Codes. These DTC's help you get a clearer picture of where the problem came from. The resulting report will help you with subsequent diagnostics. This report contains the relevant OBD-II codes, each with its own interpretation.

One of the common error codes, across all vehicles as stipulated by the Society of Automotive Engineers, indicating problems with the Throttle Actuator Control system is the P0120 to P0124, which typically show issues with the positioning of the pedal or throttle. A P2111 error indicates that the TAC system is stuck open. It would be commendable if you also checked the Technical Service Bulletins released by your car's manufacturer. These bulletins contain valuable information on the most appropriate repair procedures for your situation. You may also consult the factory repair information for your car's specific make, year, and model to get a clearer understanding of why your vehicle went into limp mode.

In case of such a problem, it would be best if you had your vehicle towed to a reputable local shop for professional help instead of taking matters into your own hands. Having a professional look at your car will guarantee you the best possible fix. They are also equipped with the appropriate scan tools and experience to help swiftly return your vehicle to proper performance. In case your vehicle requires major repairs and replacement of parts, we recommend that you acquire new parts from a trusted dealer such as Partsmax Autoparts Warehouse. While used parts may be available cheaply, they may have underlying problems due to wear and tear, which could only trigger further problems with your vehicle.