The engine is the heart of the automobile. It is the machine which generates mechanical energy from another source of energy. When you step on the gas pedal, you are basically putting a greater demand on your engine to produce more power. If the internal combustion process is going smoothly, then your engine should be able to give you this power. As a result, your vehicle will move faster as you apply more pressure to the gas pedal with your right foot.
However, there may be rare times when your vehicle experiences reduced engine power. You will easily notice when this happens because stepping on the gas pedal won’t cause your vehicle to go fast. In fact, you will see a “Reduced Power” warning light illuminate on the dashboard. In some model vehicles, the “Check Engine” warning light is used for this instead. Either way, your vehicle will move very slowly, and downshifting will be quite difficult.
Therefore, reduced engine power means there is some kind of problem with the engine itself or another component or system which is responsible for helping the engine run. For instance, a bad car battery could cause reduced engine power because the battery is responsible for charging the starter motor. If the starter motor receives a weak charge, it won’t be able to crank the engine sufficiently. Even if the engine turns on, it will be extremely weak in terms of power. Other causes of reduced engine power may include transmission issues or a faulty alternator.
What to Do
As soon as you notice reduced engine power, you need to get your vehicle home immediately. Some newer models have a special “Limp Mode” which is designed to give you just enough power to get your vehicle back home. You’ll still have weak acceleration and terrible gas mileage, but at least you won’t be stranded somewhere. Avoid taking your vehicle on fast roads like the interstate until you get the problem resolved.
Also, do not turn on any car accessory that you don’t need to use. This means no radios and preferably no air conditioner use. You don’t want to stress out the engine any more than necessary. If there is an auto mechanic closer to your location than your home is, then try driving to their business instead. Because if you take your vehicle home, you’ll need to bring it to a mechanic anyway. So, you might as well take it to a mechanic while you’re on the road if you can.
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What to Expect
In many cases, the reduced engine power might not even be any big deal. There may be a glitch in the engine control unit or in one of its corresponding sensors. Sometimes you can just turn off the vehicle and then turn it back on to clear away the Reduced Engine warning light. But if the problem is truly real and not some glitch or error, then the warning light will come back on again. You’ll never know for sure what the problem is until you have a professional mechanic perform a diagnostic check on it.
Whatever the results of the diagnosis are, you should listen to them. The diagnostic scanning tool never lies because it communicates with your engine control unit and is given a special error code in response. The error code signifies the exact nature of the engine’s problem. Once you learn about this problem, you need to fix it if you ever want to have normal engine power again. You won’t be able to drive your vehicle safely on the road until you do this.