Limp Home Mode

If I’d known about this, it might have been easier to understand what was going on with our car. Despite Nic, and her dad’s, best efforts, the SUV is still out of action.
We’d hoped that a little driving around would warm it up and resolve whatever issue it was working through, so we drove it up to the church on Friday. On the way there we stopped by an auto parts store to have them read the computer (they’ll do it for free if they think you want to buy some parts from them) but it wouldn’t spit out an error code. So we drove on, and I noticed that I couldn’t get the vehicle going faster than 35mph or revving above 3500rpm.

I added these facts to the list of symptoms we reported to our auto adviser, but that only served to confuse the issue. Sparks also come out of the exhaust pipe, and yesterday I started it up to keep the battery alive, and noted that debris was coming out as well. So we have:

  • The fan kicks in immediately as if the vehicles over-heating
  • The engine won’t rev very high
  • Acceleration is under-powered
  • Weird vibrating
  • Debris and sparks from the exhaust pipe

Well it turns out the first 3 things are the result of something called Limp Home mode. When the computer can’t figure out what the problem is (evidenced by it’s inability to show an error code) it puts the vehicle in Limp Home mode. A mode that limits engine use to keep the user from accidentally destroying the engine by driving too hard or too fast.

So it’s a relief to know that half the issues can be solved simply by fixing what’s causing the other issues. But it’s still a little nerve-wracking to have fire and junk spitting out the back of our car. We’re gonna have to bite the bullet it and take it into the dealership on Monday — fortunately we have warranty for another 20,000km, so it shouldn’t cost us very much. But it’s still pretty amazing to me that God let us finish our road trip home before our vehicle choked. Not quite sure how we’re going to do the rest of this weekend without a vehicle, but we’ll figure it out…

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