This is why the car is in limp mode, but no check engine light on

Your car is made of unique parts that play ultimate roles for your smooth and safe driving at all times. Don’t even think of what you can see, may it steering, brake pedal, light switches, and extra, there other features like limp mode carry a significant role for your driving. 

What is the limp mode?

A limp mode is a feature in your car that acts as a security and activates when the transmission or engine encounters issues. 

When the limp mode is activated, some least essential parts in your car will function less or get temporarily deactivated. For example, a car’s speed will be reduced or this safe mode feature will switch off other features like air conditioning.

In other words, the limp mode is one way to inform you your car has serious issues in the mechanical parts, and immediate concern is needed. The reason for the limp mode to switch off such essential components in your vehicle is to ensure the issues occurring do not continue to be a major threat.

Usually, an engine that enters limp mode will cause the ECU to automatically show the check engine light in the car’s dashboard, but sometimes, the limp mode can get activated with no warnings.

Because of this, you may not know that the engine will get into safe mode unless you know what the symptoms are, but we will get on this later on.

So, what causes the engine to enter the limp mode, but with no check engine light on? 

Entering limp mode without showing the check engine light is rare, but it does occur. This, usually, happens because the electronic control unit (ECU) has a fault and doesn’t read the signals right. Other issues, although very rare, can be the car components that trigger limp mode don’t emit the signals to the ECU.

If this happens, it’s good to check the wires because they can be faulty, and they’re also a cause of limp mode because they can trick the ECU into believing that there is some problem when there is not.

A limp mode relies on the car’s computer, a system that is connected and monitors all parts of the vehicle. When there is any fault in the car, the computer receives signals, and depending on the nature of the fault, the computer system activates alarms such as limp mode.

Through the car’s computer, it will send a reaction on limp mode to work on essential parts, switch them off, or slow functioning to prevent more damages.

If your car has entered into a limp mode, but there are no warnings, here are some signs you should know:

1. Issues with wiring 

Sometimes wires in the transmission or engine can develop faults like connecting incorrectly and getting broken due to corrosion. This means the engine won’t function as required, and this signal will be detected by the car’s computer that will, in turn, activate the limp mode.

2. Issues in engine boost control

Your car engine is designed to operate on boost. Sometimes, the boost can be leaking or get “over boosted.” Overboost results due to issues with a boost pressure sensor, boost control valve failure, wastegate hose fault, or wastegate problems.

If the engine boost control encounters such issues, the engine control system will have an engine power limit.

3. Issues with the Transmission system

Your car may be entering into limp mode due to issues detected in the transmission system. Common problems that can arise from transmission include:

  • Damaged shift solenoid.
  • The level of transmission fluid is getting low.
  • Transmission valve.
  • A sensor has a fault.

4. Damaged engine Sensors

If engine sensors such as O2, boost pressure, engine temperature, and MAF have problems, your car will enter into limp mode.

Symptoms of limp mode

Here are the symptoms of limp mode

  • Reduced engine power
  • Check engine light
  • Lowered RPM limit
  • A stuck in gear

How to fix limp mode

If your car reverts to limp mode, you need to fix it immediately. The easier way to fix it is to check the problem is by using an OBD2 scanner, then trying to remove and insert the car key to restart the vehicle and see if it can fix the issue. If it persists, it is advisable to take the car to a mechanic for inspection. 

Can a car go into limp mode for no reason?

No, a car will not go into limp mode without any reason. The limp often activates when there is a fault or abnormality in the transmission, engine control unit, but also in electrical wires.

Whenever the car signals are abnormal, the vehicle will revert to limp mode to prevent further damage to the car. These signals arise when the engine, sensors, or components or wiring, are faulty, there are transmission issues, low levels of brake fluid, and dysfunctional clutch and brakes. 

Do sensors have anything to do with a car entering limp mode without any warning?

A faulty sensor alone can not make the car revert to limp mode, but if any of the sensors send wrong signals to a car’s computer, the limp mode will turn on. Sensors like MAP, TOS, and MAF, can misfire and activate the limp mode. 

What sensors can cause limp mode?

The sensors that cause limp mode include TPS, MAF, and MAP. 

Can a bad fuse cause limp mode without warning?

A bad fuse can cause limp mode without warning. This is because the fuse is what protects the car’s circuits like a transmission. So when the fuse blows, the transmission will revert to limp home mode. This explains why the vehicle becomes sluggish. 

Is the limp mode problem serious if it has no check engine light on?

The limp mode, whether with check light on or off, signals a problem in the transmission system. In other words, it is a fail-safe feature that is designed to keep drivers safe in case the transmission has issues.

Most vehicles do not have strong integration between the transmission control and the engine; therefore, transmission problems will not send trouble codes through the OBD of the engine; instead, the TCM conveys the error code through an obscure channel and forget about it.

This implies that the limp mode problem is serious whether with the check light on or not. 

Does getting out of limp mode solve the problem?

No, getting out of limp mode does not solve the problem that caused it but instead ignores it. The best way to solve this is by inspecting or checking the car for the root cause of the limp mode and fixing it.

If it is a transmission wire that is unconnected, ensure you connect it properly. The “limp mode” is not a problem but a signal that warns you when there is an abnormality or danger in your car. 

How much does it cost to fix the limp mode issue?

A car can revert to the limp mode for various reasons, which can require many repair costs to fix the problem. Generally, the fixing costs can range from about $50 to $500 or even more expensive depending on various factors.

The factors include the cause of the limp mode, the mechanic you visit, your location, and even the car model you have. But the primary factor is why the car went to limp mode. 


Your car’s engine entering into limp mode only signals that your vehicle has mechanical issues that need to be attended to before they lead to other major problems. Therefore, once you see problems like engine flush lights, engine loss of power, switch off other least essential car parts, you need to take action and check your engine and transmission systems. 

Limp mode is designed to help you know when your car has problems that can affect your car’s performance. For you to fix these issues, check out the transmission system, wiring, engine sensors, and engine boost control unit.

If you find these features are abnormal, take action and make them be in the usual way. If you can’t fix these issues yourself, take the car to a mechanic, and you will get the solution.

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