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What Is the Ford Limp Mode?

by Natalie Lyda

A wide variety of Ford vehicles come with a program, controlled by the vehicle's computer, whose function is to reduce the vehicle to minimal performance standards, in the case of a vehicle component being at risk of failure. This program's informal name is a "limp mode."


Limp mode engages when a vehicle sensor indicates that a vital component is not working properly. By modifying the vehicle's acceleration and shifting capabilities, limp mode allows drivers to navigate their Ford vehicles home, or to a nearby service station. By allowing the vehicle to continue with limited operation capability, limp mode helps eliminate the cost of towing and dangers of roadside breakdowns.


Once a Ford vehicle has begun to operate in limp mode, a driver can rectify its malfunction by taking the vehicle to a mechanic who has the ability to plug into the vehicle's diagnostic port and read any problem codes put out by the vehicle's computer. After diagnosing the issue and repairing the vehicle, the mechanic will be able to reset the limp mode program.


Ford vehicles operating in limp mode will not perform according to their normal standards and will be slow to accelerate and maintain speed. Use caution while driving a vehicle in limp mode to avoid causing a traffic hazard and seek assistance to remedy the vehicle's performance problems as soon as possible.

About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.

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  • Car dashboard image by Andrejs Pidjass from