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What Is Limp Mode BMW?

The check engine light will come on when the BMW goes into limp mode.

BMW is a luxury automotive brand constantly integrating cutting-edge technology into its cars. One of the newer features of these cars is “limp home mode.” However, many BMW owners have wondered: “what is limp mode BMW?”

BMW's limp mode is a feature that is triggered when the car's computer detects an issue in the engine or the transmission. When the BMW is going into limp mode, the car suddenly slows down, and the driver will need to head to their nearest auto repair shop or stop in a safe area.

BMW limp home mode is an incredibly important feature that could save your car from further damage, so make sure you fully understand how the system works.

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    The check engine light will come on when the BMW goes into limp mode.
    The check engine light will come on when the BMW goes into limp mode.

    What Happens In Limp Mode BMW?

    Several different things might happen when your BMW goes into limp mode. These features protect the car while allowing you to drive the vehicle to a safe area or the nearest auto repair shop.

    Limp mode can be recognized by one or more factors: check engine light, reduced speed, inability to shift past third gear, and a lowered RPM limit.

    Your BMW may also shut off other features around the car, such as the air conditioning, the vehicle won't use the turbo boost in turbo engines, and any other component that is drawing necessary power will also be deactivated.

    1) Check Engine Light

    The first thing you will notice from the driver's seat when your BMW goes into limp home mode is that the check engine light will illuminate. This means there is likely a faulty engine sensor or a problem with the transmission system.

    2) Reduced Engine Power

    The limp mode will also cause your engine to have reduced power. Having reduced engine power will help to protect the vital internal components, especially if one of these is causing an issue. The vehicle's computer will automatically limit the engine power.

    In limp mode the rpm limit is reduced.
    In limp mode the rpm limit is reduced.

    3) Lowered RPM Limit

    When the car's limp mode is activated, the vehicle's computer will also set a lower RPM limit to prevent the engine from working too hard. As a result, your BMW will likely be running below 2500 RPM when it is in limp mode.

    4) Stuck In Lower Gears

    Once your BMW has triggered limp home mode, you'll notice that your car will be unable to shift gears over third. This is because one of the functions of limp home mode is to keep the car in lower gears and prevent it from shifting gears in case the automatic transmission is causing problems.

    How Fast Will A BMW Go In Limp Mode?

    When the car is in limp mode, its speed will be limited. You won't be able to drive your BMW faster than 45 miles per hour when the limp mode is active. Driving the car any faster could cause further damage to the internal components.

    Can You Drive A BMW In Limp Mode?

    While you can drive a BMW in limp mode, it should only be driven to a mechanic who can take a look at your car. The car should not be driven for more than 37 miles after it has triggered limp mode.

    Limp mode is designed for the driver to get to a safe location as soon as possible to avoid any further damage being done to the car. In the ideal scenario, you would drive your BMW to the nearest auto repair shop.

    Limp mode is triggered when a problem has been detected in the car, so driving it slowly and gently while this mode is active is important. Trying to drive the vehicle faster could only put it more at risk of being damaged.

    What Causes Limp Mode To Come On?

    There are several different causes of limp mode in your BMW. The system is used to protect the car when something goes wrong. The causes of limp mode can vary from faulty engine sensors, issues with the transmission valve body, incorrect brake system wiring, and even something as simple as just the battery running low on power.

    As soon as the limp mode has been activated, it's recommended to head to your nearest mechanics to have your car inspected. To be safe, you need to have every integral part of your car inspected, from the brake system to the battery cables.

    Modern cars are fully controlled by computers, including parts like the fuel injection, boost control valve, throttle body, and many more, and there are sensors fitted everywhere.

    When the car's ECU detects an issue with a component, the vehicle will go into limp mode. The car's computer has several codes stored that are connected to sensors such as the pressure sensor, camshaft position sensor, boost pressure sensor, and many more.

    When the car's ECU picks up a faulty sensor, it will sift through engine problem codes and trouble codes to determine the severity of the problem. If the problem is severe, the car will go into limp mode.

    A BMW driving slowly in limp mode.
    A BMW driving slowly in limp mode.

    How To Bypass BMW Limp Mode?

    When the limp mode feature has been activated on your car, there is a severe error signal from one of the components that need to be addressed. Therefore, when attempting to bypass limp mode, the first step is to pull over in a safe area, especially if the check engine light is on.

    Ideally, switch off the engine and let the car rest for around five minutes or until the engine light switches off. This will give the car's computer time to assess the potential problem. In the meantime, it's a good idea to check the engine oil levels and the levels of other engine fluids.

    You should also check underneath the car to ensure there is no leak. Limp mode can often be activated by a transmission control unit that detects a transmission fluid leak or any other form of damage.

    In some cases, it could simply be a faulty sensor such as the throttle position sensor, camshaft position sensor, mass air flow sensor (also caused by a boost leak), or the low priority sensor. This brief stop can sometimes allow the car's systems to reboot, and any faulty sensors can be reset.

    If you don't see any physical damage to the outside of the car, and all the engine fluids seem normal, you can try to turn on the engine again. If you clear the check engine light and exit limp mode with a brief pause, still take your car in for a check-up, just in case.

    Can BMW Limp Mode Be Fixed?

    BMW limp mode can be fixed. It's highly recommended to take your car to a professional who can thoroughly inspect the vehicle and identify the problem. If you cannot drive the car or don't want to take the risk, give them a call to come to you.

    When the car is in limp mode, only drive it up to 37 miles per day for up to three days. While the vehicle is in limp mode, there is a fault that needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

    The first step to identifying the problem that triggered limp mode is to check the car's ECU and engine problem codes. The issue will likely show up, allowing the technicians to solve the problem.

    It's not always the engine and the transmission that might be causing limp mode to be activated, though. Often it's entirely different, like incorrect brake system wiring or even battery acid leaks.

    That's why it's important to get your car to a professional for a thorough check-up!

    Four steps to getting out of limp mode

    With your BMW in limp mode, you could be left stranded. You may need to find a quick fix to get the car out of limp mode and drive it to a trusted mechanic. Follow the steps below:

    1. Pull over and switch off the engine

    Make sure to pull over to the side of the road in a safe area. Switching off the engine will allow it to rest and analyze which components are causing trouble. It could be anything from an error in boost deviation to sensors.

    2. Clear check engine light

    Be sure everything is fine in the engine. Check all engine fluids, such as oil and water. Hard reset the car's computer by disconnecting both battery cables and holding them together for 30 seconds. It will drain the residual power used to store the engine trouble codes, causing limp mode to be overridden.

    3. Start the engine

    Once you've reconnected the battery and checked that everything is fine, restart the engine and wait a few minutes to see if the check engine light is gone and the car has exited limp mode.

    4. Take the car for a check-up

    Make sure to take the car in for a thorough inspection.


    Many people have been wondering: “what is limp mode BMW”? The limp mode feature in BMW is a safety feature designed to protect your car when it has a mechanical failure. Limp mode will automatically slow the vehicle down and force the driver to find a safe place to stop.