Cars may suffer transmission problems once in a while; it could be permanent or just a temporary glitch that has hit your transmission. Limp mode is a failsafe mechanism designed to protect your car from further damage. Ideally, a car in limp mode status does not allow you to move beyond the second gear or a particular speed limit.
Transmission problems are indicated by the check engine light or the transmission light. In some cases, both these lights may light up to indicate the same problem. Your vehicle’s computer system always reads signals from every aspect of your car through various sensors. Some of this errors may not indicate a serious problem which may not be related to the transmission itself.
What do you do to get a car out of a limp mode? Perhaps the most obvious solution would be to pull it off at a safe place, turn off the ignition, and wait for the car to reset itself. If this doesn’t work, we hope this article will help you solve some of these problems.
What Do You Need
- Diagnostic Scanner for reading the engine code that may be listed as an error message.
- Car Keys for turning on the ignition
- Pliers for disconnecting the battery terminals
- Dipstick for checking the transmission fluid levels
Step By Step Instructions
1. Pull Over
You need to find a safe spot to pull over and give the car time to ‘reset’ on its own. You switch off the car engine completely and leave it at that for at least five minutes. Turning Off the car should allow the vehicle’s computer system to disable everything in the car. After 5 or so minutes, Power on the car as you would normally and try moving through the gears until you can get the highest gear shift. If you are successful, then it means that probably the vehicle’s internal computer has reset everything back to normal.
2. Turn the Ignition On and Off
Sometimes you may need to read the error code displayed on the dashboard by counting the flashes as they show up. To get it right, you must turn the ignition key to the ON position (do not start the car) 5 times after every 5 seconds to see the light on the dashboard so that you can read the error code. Check if the engine light will flash, all you have to do is to count the flashes. Each flash represents a two digit code, for example, a 2-3 code would read as flash flash, then pause after that you will have flash flash flash in consecutively followed by a long pause. You can interpret the flash codes and troubleshoot the problem.
3. Use of a Car Diagnostic Scanner
Each sensor in a car may produce coded error messages that can be interpreted by Car Diagnostic Scanner. Using the scanner is the easiest method of telling whether the car’s ignition system has failed or it was just system glitch that could correct itself. A diagnostic scanner will give the exact problem and probably the history of the transmission performance to pinpoint the exact problem.
You can also use this scanner to check for any errors in the boost deviation of the car which can be caused by a sudden stop made by the car pushing it into limp mode.
5. Check the Automatic Transmission Fluid
Considered one of the common reasons behind the limp mode. If you have a leaking or low fluid problem in the engine, it means that there is inadequate lubrication taking place, this may stall your vehicle. To check the levels of this vital fluid park your car on a level surface after a short drive, lift up the hood of the car and read the level on the dipstick. If you have low levels, it may be a leak that needs to be fixed by topping up the fluid and later on patching the leaking pipe.
6. Check the Entire Clutch
Due to wear and tear the clutch linkages and cables may be out of alignment, or you may be using the wrong type of transmission fluid for your car. If this is the case, you may need to take your car to a qualified mechanic to check on the whole transmission system and make needed adjustments.
7. Other Possible Solutions
Leaking batteries may not be linked directly to failing transmission, this leakage could result in corrosion and rusting of the wiring system. This may cause disconnection problems that may end up giving your transmission sensors the fault code.
If you do not find any fault after resetting your car by turning it off or disconnecting the battery, then these two are the most likely culprits. This requires a thorough inspection of the entire car to eliminate future stalling.
It is quite vital that you keep your car in good working condition by making sure you do not miss scheduled maintenance. An inconsistent transmission could be caused by a small thing that may not cost you more compared to waiting for the car to stall completely before taking it for the most expensive check-up.
Limp mode is the simplest way your car communicates with you that a transmission error has occurred or is likely to happen in the near future. If you don’t know how to get a car out of limp mode, you need to drive into an auto shop and get the exact problem sorted to prevent the worsening of the problem.
My final word is, you do not need to be overwhelmed by a car limp. Treat this as a notification of something that needs attention. It could be a passing a warning or a persistent one, so it is best to try the proposed simple troubleshooting steps. If nothing works,you will need the help of qualified mechanics to probe the car further. You can join us in helping others solve day to day car issues by subscribing to our blog for more information on auto problems and updates.
Video on how to get out of a car limp mode