What is Limp Mode?

Limp mode is a preventative measure that a car uses to avoid further damage to the engine or transmission when there is a fault. Also known as “limp home mode”, it’s main purpose is to get you to safe place or garage using limited performance.

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Limp Mode
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Whether your engine or transmission is faulty, it’s more than likely that your car will run in limp mode. Although annoying when it happens, the reduced performance prevents further damage being caused to other components of your car. Whilst your car is in limp mode, it’s highly advised that you drive to a garage or straight home.

Symptoms That Your Car is in Limp Mode

Reduced performance is the main and most obvious symptom of a car that’s in limp mode but if you are in slow traffic, you may not realize the lost performance. However, other symptoms can include:

  • Check engine light is on
  • The car won’t rev past 2,000 RPM
  • Slow gear changes (automatic transmission)
  • Low boost for turbocharged vehicles
  • Air conditioning system isn’t working as it should

The best way to diagnose that you are in fact in limp mode is to plug your car into an OBD2 scanner. This will pinpoint the exact fault with your car and possibly get your car out of limp mode by clearing any error codes.

How to Bypass Limp Mode

The obvious answer to bypassing limp mode is of course to fix the faulty part. However, limp mode may be caused by very minor things and if you are confident that it won’t cause further problems, you may wish to bypass limp mode. This is ideal for when you are embarking on a long journey or far away from your home or a mechanic.

The three main methods to get a car out of limp mode are as followed:

  1. Park in a safe location off the road, turn the car off for 5 minutes or longer and then restart it.
  2. Disconnect the car’s battery and wait for 5 minutes.
  3. Use an OBD2 scanner and attempt to clear any faults.

If limp mode still persists after attempting the three methods above, there is clearly an underlying fault that needs to be addressed. Limp mode is there for a reason and it helps to prevent more expensive repair bills.


As frustrating as limp mode is, it serves an important purpose of getting you home or to a garage. Regardless to how small or large the problem is, it’s a preventative measure to reduce expensive damage to the engine or transmission.

Limp home mode is a feature of any modern vehicle and in order to successfully diagnose the issue, we strongly recommend investing into a diagnostic tool. Even the cheap units are more than enough to show you any issues and clear the error codes.

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