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Reduced Engine Power and How to Fix It

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Have you ever, for a moment, thought of how it would be if there were no cars? Having to walk to work, escort your kids to school on foot, and practically run all your errands on foot? Pretty hard, isn’t it?

The importance that cars have in our daily lives cannot be underestimated. Movement from one location to another on land is a breeze thanks to having them around.

A typical modern car has more than sixty sensors installed to ensure safe and efficient driving if you didn’t know.

However, a slight interruption to these sensors can result in several error lights on your dashboard illuminating. Though error lights like the low-pressure tire light can be ignored, some are quite critical, like the reduced engine power light, which cannot be ignored.

In this post, we will look at what does reduced engine power mean, its causes, and some fixes for the same.

Power Engine Reduced – Here’s what you need to know

Reduced engine power simply means that your car lacks the required capacity to accelerate properly and function optimally.

When this happens, you will notice the engine light goes on. In such a case, your car’s Engine control unit, commonly known as the ‘car’s computer,’ triggers the reduced power mode to avoid damaging the engine.

It is important to note that not all cars have the reduced engine power light and hence you can’t check engine light to know there is a problem. In some vehicles, the warning is displayed on the car’s screen.

Common causes of Reduced Engine Power (and how to fix them)

Several factors can cause the error engine light to come on. Finding the exact cause should be the first step in getting a fix. Since modern vehicles are highly computerized, it is easy to scan the car with a scan tool and pinpoint the exact problem in the car’s system. 

Engine power is reduced by the following: 

1.      Loose wires

Your vehicle has multiple wires that connect different parts for the car to run. If one of these wires becomes loose, it can lead to a malfunction in one of the systems. 

This problem is usually the easiest to diagnose and repair. However, if you cannot pin the malfunction to a loose wire or ground, it is vital to have a mechanic take a look. 

Fix: the first thing is to disconnect your car battery. Then proceed to inspect the connections to ensure that they are all in place. If you find a loose wire, reconnect it. However, avoid dealing with exposed wires that can shock you. 

2.      Faulty engine control unit (ECU)

With modern cars relying on several sensors and modules to function, the ECU becomes an integral part of the vehicle. It serves as the communication point for every system – modules and sensors installed in a car. 

Fix: the ECU is practically a computer, and it is safe to let an expert mechanic handle its fixing. Additionally, diagnosing this cause requires expert tools that you may not readily have. 

3.      Fault with the charging system 

The electronic components used in modern cars are incredibly reliant on battery energy. Not only that, the battery provides the power required to ignite the starter and ensure that the car is kept running. 

In cases where the battery power reduces, these systems’ functioning is also inhibited, which can trigger the engine to enter a fail-safe mode. 

Fix: depending on the car model, you can either recharge or replace the battery to fix this problem. In some instances, cleaning the terminals can help restore the battery’s recharging ability, which could be all that’s needed. 

4.      A clogged catalytic converter 

Modern vehicles have catalytic converters to help with reducing air pollution. The converter ensures that the harmful carbon monoxide released by the vehicle is converted into harmless carbon dioxide as it passed through the exhausts.

Since it is illegal to drive a vehicle without/with a faulty converter, modern cars will let you know when the converter is not functioning as it should. 

Fix: like with the engine control unit, repairing a catalytic converter can be quite costly and may require professional aid. 

5. Faulty throttle body

For your car to efficiently regulate air intake, the throttle body has to be in good shape. However, there are times when damage is caused to this part, affecting how much air can go into the engine when you increase pressure on the gas pedal.

If this system breaks, it becomes difficult to inject more fuel that’s needed to increase acceleration.

Fix: the throttle body is a delicate valve that should be handled by the experts. You might not know where or how to access the throttle position sensor, but an expert mechanic will. 

Is it safe to drive with the engine power reduced?

Yes. You can continue driving with reduced engine power. However, it is not a recommended practice. As you might know, in some scenarios, driving at very slow speeds is dangerous for you and other road users.

Additionally, some causes of reduced engine power can lead to a seized engine, which makes it impossible to drive your car. Therefore, when the reduced engine power error light turns on, it is only safe to tow your car to the nearest mechanic to get it checked, if you can’t resolve the problem yourself.

How much does it cost to fix engine power issues reduced?

The cost of fixing a reduced power engine will significantly rely on the cause. Some causes like a loose wire are quite cheap to resolve. On the other hand, a faulty ECU may require you to spend thousands to fix the problem.

It is also essential to note that labor costs can significantly vary from one mechanic to another should you choose to have an expert help you out.

Should I DIY Fix or Hire a Mechanic? 

Whether or not to hire a professional mechanic can be determined by the severity of the problem. You can go the DIY route for a simple fix like cleaning the battery terminals or reconnecting loose wires.

However, when it comes to the more complex fixes that also require expert tools, it is safe to seek a professional’s help.

Working with a mechanic will help save on time and prevent the chances of causing more damage to the car by making novice mistakes.

Final take 

Modern vehicles are a marvel. They are easy to drive and ensure enhanced safety while on the road, but they are not exempted from wear and tear.

Ultimately, it is essential to note that the kind of care and maintenance you give your vehicle is vital. If well serviced, your car’s systems will run smoothly. However, a poorly maintained vehicle is likely to run into problems that will trigger the reduced engine power light to come on.

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