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How to Bypass Reduced Engine Power

February 20, 2024 | Victor Lukasso

Have you ever been driving on the highway and suddenly noticed that your vehicle started to slow down, and all efforts made to speed it up proved abortive?

Well, I’m sad to announce that your vehicle just ran into a reduced engine power trouble which will often require the intervention of a mechanic to resolve.

When the reduced engine power warning light comes on, it helps protect the engine and transmission from damage by reducing the vehicle’s performance.

Many different things can cause reduced engine power, including a clogged exhaust system, faulty spark plug, defective fuel injectors, a failed turbocharger, faulty ignition wiring, or an issue with the fuel system.


In some cases where the cause isn’t severe, you might be able to bypass reduced engine power and get the engine back to normal.

However, bypassing a reduced engine power is not always the best solution, as it might cause severe damage if not done properly.

Continue reading as we walk you through the meaning, causes, and fixes for reduced engine power.

What is a Reduced Engine Power?

Reduced engine power is also known to some people as the limp mode is a safety feature designed to reduce the engine performance to protect the transmission and engine from damage.

Once the error comes up on your dashboard, your car will start driving at a capacity lower than it used to.

Reduced engine power can occur for various reasons, including a clogged exhaust system, faulty spark plug, defective fuel injectors, a failed turbocharger, faulty ignition wiring, or an issue with the fuel system.

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Also, if you’ve been driving with an overheating engine, the car will likely go into reduced engine mode, causing reduced acceleration.

This is a severe issue that should be addressed immediately by turning off the engine and calling the attention of a mechanic.

Causes of Reduced Engine Power

Some of the common reasons for a reduced engine power warning coming up on your dashboard include the following:

  1. The oil level is too low
  2. Faulty spark plug
  3. An issue in the fuel system/fuel cap
  4. Connectors
  5. Faulty distributor
  6. Faulty MAF sensor
  7. Car TAC system
  8. Problem with the exhaust system

1. The motor oil level is too low

Engine oil is crucial for the proper functioning of engine components. If the oil in your vehicle is low, the engine power will reduce due to the friction between these components.

READ > How Long Can an Engine Run Without Oil

This often leads to overheating and, if ignored for a long will cause the engine to knock.

2. A Faulty spark plug

Spark plugs are necessary for causing a spark and then power in the engine; if any spark plugs get damaged or worn out during driving, your car should slow down.

This can be addressed by getting a spark plug replacement.

3. An issue in the fuel system

An issue with components such as the fuel filter or fuel pumps could result in reduced engine power.

Also, if your car is running low on fuel, your engine power will be reduced until it finally gets to a stop.

In addition, a Faulty or loose gas cap can lead to power loss, endeavor to ensure your fuel tank is properly closed.

4. Connectors

A loose coil connector will cause the engine power to reduce. Thus, it’s advised to seek a mechanic’s help to diagnose and fix this.

5. Faulty MAF sensor

The mass airflow sensor helps the ECU regulate the amount of air-to-fuel mixture that gets into the engine.

It does this by measuring the amount of air that flows into the engine and sending it across to the unit, which uses the data to ensure your car runs smoothly.

Once this sensor becomes bad, it’s advised that you change it as soon as possible to avoid reduced engine power.

6. Car TAC System

TAC, a synonym for a throttle actuator control system, controls fuel injection and timing.

Damage to this unit will cause the check engine light to come on, accompanied by reduced engine power which can be dangerous.

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7. Problematic Exhaust system

If the exhaust cannot get rid of exhaust gases from the tailpipe probably due to a clogged catalytic converter, a Faulty oxygen sensor, or issues with the muffler.

The car engine power will be reduced if the problem persists for a long time and could result in severe damage if not fixed on time.

Bypassing Reduced Engine Power

If you are experiencing reduced engine power and want to try to bypass it, here are a few things you can try.

However, it’s advised that you seek the service of a professional mechanic to avoid causing more damage to your car.

1. Turn off the engine and wait

If a signal problem causes the reduced engine power, you can simply turn off your vehicle and turn it back on in the next 10 minutes.

If the car runs fine, this should be essential, but the reduced engine power light stays illuminated on the dashboard.

2. Check the fuel system

If there’s fuel in your car and the engine power starts reducing, you should check if the fuel pumps or filters are working perfectly.

Also, if the issue is with a loose fuel cap, simply tighten the gas tank and wait a few minutes before starting your vehicle.

But If there’s no fuel in your gas tank, kindly refill the engine to bypass the reduced engine power warning.

3. Check the Oil Level

The next place to check is your car oil level. You can use an oil dipstick to ensure it’s at the recommended level.

You can take your car to a mechanic if you don’t know how to do this.

4. Check your Catalytic converter

Another method to bypass reduced engine power is to check and change your catalytic converter.

This change might be costly, but restoring your engine power will go a long way.

5. Check the Sensors

All sensors are necessary for the proper functioning of the car, but in this case, you should concentrate more on the MAF sensor and the oxygen sensors.

If any of these sensors start failing, the ECU cannot regulate the air-to-fuel mixture coming into the engine, affecting your engine performance.

6. Check Wirings

Another important part to check out is if there’s a fault in the vehicle’s wiring harness.

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The control unit relies on the charge from the battery to receive signals from the sensors; any defect in the wiring will lead to malfunction.

Ensure to inspect all wiring and connectors; you can call a mechanic if you don’t know how.

7. Check the Exhaust System

If you suffer leaks or damage in any components in your exhaust system, you’ll encounter reduced engine power.

This is so because, asides from releasing exhaust gas out of the car, the exhaust system controls and uses the pressure from the exhaust to propel the car forward.

Just as seen in a PWC, if there happens to be a leak in the exhaust, there’ll be reduced engine power.

You must inspect for these issues and fix them as soon as possible.

8. Check the Engine Control Unit

You should also try updating the firmware of your ECU, as the problem might be a result of its inability to pick up correct signals from the sensor.

This is advised when the car runs fine, but the reduced engine power warning light is displayed on the dashboard.

9. Check the Engine

If you feel that the cause of the reduced engine power is from the engine, you can check the spark plugs and ignition system for faults.

If any of these systems are faulty, then you may need to get them replaced.

Again, working on the engine can be very complex, and we’ll advise calling the attention of a mechanic for engine repairs.

Tips for Avoiding Reduced Engine Power

While it may be possible to bypass reduced engine power in some cases, it is always best to try to avoid it in the first place.

Here are some tips for avoiding reduced engine power:

  • Perform a regular car maintenance
  • Avoid overloading your vehicle
  • Only use high-quality fuel
  • Drive responsibly


How do you reset engine power reduced?

To reset the engine power reduced warning, turn the vehicle off and switch it back in the next 10 minutes.

Alternatively, you can remove the negative battery terminal for a few minutes to drain the energy from the ECU before reinstating and starting your vehicle.

What triggers reduced engine power?

Low fuel levels or an issue with the fuel system are the most common things that trigger a reduced engine power warning.

Can I drive my car if it says engine power is reduced?

It’s not advisable to dive on an engine power-reduced signal since except you know that the cause is a minor fault that won’t cause much damage.

However, it’s advised to park immediately and call a mechanic.

Is reduced engine power serious?

Yes, a reduced engine power warning is serious and can lead to engine damage if not addressed on time.

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Meet Victor Lukasso, the owner of V. Auto Basics. Through this blog, Victor Provides Insights on the latest tips, maintenance, repair, and techniques in the automotive world.