Onboard computers control almost every system in your car. Limp Mode is when the vehicle computer recognizes a problem. So, for example, when an expected signal value from a sensor is sent to the computer and the computer does not recognize it then back up programs are activated to attempt to protect the transmission or the components from any damage the incorrect sensor signal might cause by implementing emergency measures.
These emergency measures can vary, depending on the gravity of the faulty signal:
- To check engine light: might be some minor electric problem with some sensor that might have broken.
- Emergency/ critical mode: when the computer detects a dangerous signal in the transmission, for example, it will cause the tranny-fluid-line-pressure to default to ‘high pressure’; it will also turn off the transmission’s electronic shift solenoids which causes the unit to default to a single gear; it makes everything go to ‘full on’.
Even if the car is in critical mode, the driver is able to drive the car to the next town or city to repair it. This capacity is called the limp mode.
The Limp Mode condition appears as a certain code reading on a mechanic’s computer scanning tool. This will enable the mechanic to know where the problem might be and what caused it.
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