Can I Drive with Reduced Engine Power? (Yes or No)

Can I Drive with Reduced Engine Power

An engine is a major part of a car as it houses all the components needed by a car for proper functioning. Over time, some parts of the engine may get faulty and without immediate attention to them, may result in reduced engine power.

But the question is, can I drive with reduced engine power?

You can drive a car with reduced engine power but the car may not be fun to drive. The possibility of driving a car with reduced engine power depends on why the engine is down on power. In some cases, it is OK and safe but in other cases, it is risky to drive with reduced engine power.

What Does Reduced Engine Power Mean?

Reduced engine power means the car’s performance has been limited as a result of a system failure or underlying problem.

In cases where this happens, there will be a ‘reduced engine power message. This message is an indicator to the driver that the car’s engine is no longer working optimally.

‘Reduced engine power’ messages are usually triggered by the car’s computer when it detects something wrong in it.

An engine should work fine all things being equal, but unfortunately, this is usually not the case, a car may experience reduced engine power due to some engine problem that develops over time.

There are usually so many possibilities when trying to troubleshoot the cause of reduced performance. The possibilities range from; low oil to sensor issues, the faulty fuel pump, excessive back pressure, etc.

Can I Drive with Reduced Engine Power?

Whether one can drive with reduced engine power will depend on why the engine’s power is reduced, some cause requires that the car shouldn’t be driven while others allow driving. The reason for the engine problem will give an answer to this question.

If the reduced performance is because of low oil, mass air flow sensor issue, or a mechanical issue it is not advisable to drive the car.

Driving in such conditions could result in engine failure, risk of fire, etc. It is better to leave the car idle until the problem has been fixed.

For some modern cars, it is usually safe to drive with reduced engine power because of the ‘limp home mode’ function.

When this light comes on, it shows that the car cannot exceed a particular speed and assistance should be called for as soon as possible.

How Long Should I Drive with Reduced Engine Power?

A car shouldn’t be driven for long with reduced engine power, irrespective of the cause. It has been established that some cause of reduction in engine performance allows the car to be driven while others don’t to the point of stalling.

If a car is experiencing reduced performance, what should be at the forefront of the driver’s mind is a solution to the cause and an increase in performance. However, this will not be achieved if the car is being driven all day long.

Driving for a long time with reduced engine power irrespective of the cause is dangerous and risky. You will be putting yourself and other road users in harm’s way because of the risk attributed.

Is it Safe to Drive with Reduced Engine Power?

It is important to question the safety of driving a car with reduced engine power, if not for the driver’s sake at least for that of other drivers that are unaware.

Some drivers can be reckless not considering the possible result of their actions. Hence the question, Is it safe to drive with reduced engine power?

Modern cars unlike the older ones, it is relatively safe to drive with reduced engine power. Modern cars have a series of lights that comes on when some part of an engine isn’t functioning as it ought to, the ‘reduced engine power’ light inclusive.

This light coming on means the car has entered a ‘limp mode’, meaning the engine isn’t functioning optimally but driving in this mode doesn’t pose many risks.

In this mode, the car won’t be able to go above the minimum speed, driving won’t be enjoyable, and there will also be poor fuel economy.

Other than the model and year of production determining the safety of driving with reduced engine power, the root cause of reduced performance will also be a safety determinant.

For some causes like; problems with a bad mass airflow sensor which results in an incorrect reading of the air-fuel ratio or low engine oil, it isn’t safe to drive around. Driving under such conditions will only result in engine failure or fire.

The overall cost of repairs, in the long run, may even outweigh temporarily driving with reduced performance. Therefore, irrespective of the level of safety it is better not to drive the car and seek help from auto experts.

Disadvantages of Driving with Reduced Engine Power?

Although it is relatively safe to drive with reduced engine power there are some disadvantages to doing so. Here are a few;

Poor Acceleration

Reduced engine power means the car’s performance has been limited due to underlying issues in the engine. The car will not be able to go above a particular speed thereby making it difficult for the person driving to accelerate or increase speed even when there is a need for it.

Longer Driving Time

You will definitely spend longer time on the road than usual because the car can’t go beyond a particular speed limit. In addition to having to drive for longer than usual, the drive will not be enjoyable.

Risk of Safety

Depending on the root cause of the problem, it may not be safe to drive the car around. You will be risking your life and that of others especially if you do not know what to expect. This disadvantage is really particular to much older cars that do not have technical components.

Increased Cost of Fuel and Repairs

Reduced engine power reduces fuel economy, you will have to spend more money on buying fuel more than usual. In addition to the increased cost of fuel purchase, you may end up spending more o repairs and replacement of damaged components.


Irrespective of the safety implication of driving with reduced engine power, help should be sought.  It is advisable to seek help from auto experts to fix the problem and increase the engine performance, by doing this you are saving yourself a lot of time (due to poor acceleration while driving), and money (cost of fuel purchase and repairs).

Reduced engine power can make it really difficult to drive a car or even result in engine stalling amongst other signs.  In the long run, the disadvantages of driving with reduced engine power aren’t worth it, so it’s better to find a fix rather than driving around with it.