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Car Limp Mode (Failsafe Mode Explained)

Updated: Jan 9

Car limp mode (also known as failsafe mode or limp home mode) is a safety feature built into most modern vehicles.

When a car enters limp mode, it means that its computer has detected a fault in one of its critical systems. In response to this fault, the vehicle will go into limp mode to protect itself and the engine from further damage.


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warning lights on a car dashboard

Symptoms of Failsafe Mode

When a car goes into limp mode, the driver may notice several symptoms, including the following.

  • Reduced power: The car may not reach high speeds and can struggle to maintain momentum on hills or when accelerating.

  • Loss of acceleration: The car may take longer to accelerate and may not be able to reach its usual top speed.

  • Warning lights: The car's dashboard may display warning lights, such as the check engine light or a warning light for the transmission or engine.

  • Reduced performance: The car's handling and braking may be affected, making it difficult to control the vehicle.

  • Auxiliary functions may stop working: Some functions not required for the car to run can stop working. This may include heating, air conditioning, blower fans, etc.

  • Limited RPM