Typically, a “low engine power” warning light on your dashboard means that your vehicle’s performance has been reduced to prevent engine damage. Your vehicle’s computer, also known as the “electronic control unit” (ECU), went into low power mode after detecting a system failure. In other words, the “low engine power” warning light coming on is your car’s way of notifying you that it has entered the limp home mode.
This can prevent your vehicle from accelerating correctly. Even if the vehicle’s power does not decrease immediately, its performance may decrease the next time you drive. In some cases, the car’s ECU can even shut off the fuel supply to the engine, making the vehicle uncontrollable.
Depending on your vehicle type and the problem detected by the ECU, specific error codes will be displayed in the Electronic Control Module (ECU) memory.
P0120-P0124: This code indicates a pedal or throttle position or circuit problem.
P1125: Indicates a faulty system or component; may vary by make and model of vehicle.
P1518: Indicates a flawed system or a faulty system component, may vary by make and model of vehicle.
P2111: This code means that the throttle actuator control system is blocked.
P2135: Indicates a problem with the accelerator pedal position (APP), accelerator position (TP) sensor or switch, or A/B voltage correlation.
The best way to properly diagnose and repair a car is to take it to a local service centre and have it checked by a certified mechanic.
What should I do if the “Low Engine Power” light comes on?
If you are driving and the low engine power light comes on, you should first test your car at home or in the garage immediately. If you are already at home, do not attempt to drive.
GM Models with Throttle Assembly Problems: Some GM vehicle models are known to suffer from underpowered engine problems due to a failure affecting the throttle assembly. Typically, you will be alerted by a DTC P2135 and a general “engine low power” warning light on the instrument panel. If your GMC vehicle is one of the makes and models mentioned above and has reduced engine power, have it immediately checked by a certified GM mechanic.
Ford F-150 Charge Air Cooler: A similar complaint reviewed by the National Highway Traffic Administration found that Ford F-150 trucks built between 2001 and 2013 with a 3-inch turbocharged direct-injection engine, 5 litres would suddenly Reduce engine power at high speeds. The company service bulletin states that the charge air cooler (CAC) is the cause. This is because it can accumulate moisture for some time while driving the truck at high speed in wet conditions.
Can I fix the low engine power problem at home?
Typically, your vehicle’s “low engine power” light will appear along with a DTC in the computer’s memory, indicating a particular sensor or system problem. However, it would help if you did not immediately assume something is wrong with a specific part or procedure described in DTCs.
The error can also be related to a completely different wiring, circuit, connector, or even a completely different component or system. Sometimes engine problems cause many obviously problematic cables or parts connecting numerous actuators and sensors to the electronic control module (ECM). So, initially, it is necessary to check the condition of the “mass” of the engine, including the battery terminals. Insufficient grounding will cause currents and voltages to drop, causing driveability problems. Use a digital multimeter to properly check the motor ground.
This will make it easier to find damaged, rusted, or loose connections that could damage sensors, system circuits, or actuators. If you find any DTCs, check the specific components or circuits the code points to before replacing them to make sure they are faulty. Disconnect the connector and check it for corrosion or dirt. Pull-on the wires on the harness connector to see if they are loose. Check the connections at both ends of the wire to ensure the links are correct.
What should I do if I cannot solve the problem of low engine power myself?
Many of the issues that can cause your car’s engine to lose control require immediate attention. However, it would help if you did not panic, as many of these problems can be easily solved with some basic knowledge and a little research. Taking your car to a repair shop can be more expensive than doing the repairs yourself, but the benefits of their innovative scanning tools and readily available hardware will save you a lot of time and headaches.
The mechanic will perform a complete and thorough scan of the vehicle before doing any work on it to determine the exact location of the problem. When finished, you should receive an offer for parts and labour.
What should I do if the “Low Engine Power” warning light is not on in my car?
If your vehicle does not have a “low engine power” warning light, but you feel the engine is running poorly or going into limp mode, you should do your best to find out what’s wrong immediately. You can also pre-scan the vehicle if you think there might be a problem. It is essential to drive the car idle until the problem is fixed.
Otherwise, it can further damage the car and make more expensive repairs. Keep in mind that a problem with one system can spread to other systems. The DTC that activates the “Low Engine Power” warning light can trigger additional warning lights inside your vehicle’s instrument cluster.
Air Filter: A clogged air filter will not generate an error code and can be easily repaired and replaced.
Fuel Pump: Fuel pump problems are harder to diagnose, and replacements can be expensive. If your car is running poorly, or you are trying to start it but can’t, and no lights are on on the dashboard, the fuel pump may need to be replaced.
Tire pressure: Low tire pressure by itself will not impair your vehicle’s performance, but it can cause friction on slippery roads. This can cause a noticeable difference in driving dynamics.