Transmission “Fail-Safe” or “Limp” Mode

When a transmission fault is detected by the OBD-II system, the transmission may go into fail-safe (or “limp” mode as it is also called) in order to protect the transmission from internal damage that could be caused by the fault.  While in fail-safe (or limp mode) the transmission will be locked in either 2nd. or 3rd. gear.

The purpose of the transmission fail-safe mode is to allow you to drive home or to the nearest repair facility to have the transmission checked out.  While in limp mode, you should limit your speed to between 35 and 40 mph.  Driving at increased speeds or for a long distance while in fail-safe will cause the transmission to overheat, which can quickly damage friction clutches, seals and other internal transmission components.

Note: A transmission in fail-safe (or limp mode) will sometimes correct itself when the engine is shut off and restarted.  So, if you find yourself in this situation, find a safe place to pull off the road and shut the engine off.  Wait one minute and then restart the engine.

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