Can a Wheel Speed Sensor Cause Limp Mode?

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What could cause limp mode in a vehicle? Transmission-related issues and some other situations are known to put your car into limp mode. But can a wheel speed sensor cause limp Mode when it’s faulty?

That’s a critical question to ask, but the short answer is that the wheel speed sensor cannot cause limp mode, but there are other things you need to know.

We will try our best to answer it accordingly. In this article, we will explain Limp Mode, the causes, and how to get your car out of it.

Firstly, what’s the connection between a wheel speed sensor and the transmission or any other system in a car that could lead to “Limp Mode?”

What is Limp Mode?

How To Get Your Car Out of Limp Mode

A car is said to be in Limp Mode when the computerized systems detect a critical transmission or engine fault and hibernate some important components.

When a vehicle gets into Limp Mode, the speed reduces drastically, and most of the car’s components, such as the AC would turn off automatically.

Also, when a car is in Limp Mode, you may feel that your engine is unstable when you try to accelerate the car. The transmission might also be unstable and force you to drive at a low speed. Limp Mode is activated by the computerized system in your car.

Cars manufactured from the late 1990s to date are packed with computerized systems. These systems are hi-tech and can easily detect a lot of things. It is these computerized systems that also make it possible to troubleshoot a car when certain signals appear on your dashboard.

Causes of Limp Mode

  • The check engine light has been showing on your dashboard for a long time
  • Failed transmission
  • Insufficient fluids/oils
  • Malfunctioning of certain sensors, such as the wheel speed sensor
  • Damaged cables/wires

Can a Wheel Speed Sensor Cause Limp Mode?


The information provided by the wheel speed sensors is utilized by many other systems to run the car efficiently. When the wheel speed sensor provides wrong data to the ABS system and traction control, the computerized systems may be forced to suspect and enable a somewhat “safe mode.”

But the wheel speed sensor doesn’t actually put your car into Limp Mode; when the wheel sensors are bad and inconsistent, the ABS computer may interpret “loss of traction.”

This can result in severe hesitation and could cause a “traction limited” icon to illuminate on your dashboard. A fault with your car’s wheel speed sensors can cause a significant drop out at low speeds but doesn’t actually activate Limp Mode.

For your car to be placed “Limp Mode,” a system must have recognized and stored an error code for too long. Limp Mode puts your car into a “Limited Functioning Mode” – it doesn’t pose any harm. Instead, the computerized system is trying to bring you to fix a potential damage detected in your car.

How To Get Your Car Out of Limp Mode

Stuck in Limp Mode? Here are a few proven ways to get your car out of Limp Mode.

Method one:

  • Relax and keep on drive at the low speed
  • Park the car at a seldom part of the road, or drive home
  • Switch the transmission to “Park” and turn off the ignition
  • Wait for a while (maybe 10 – 20 secs) before turning the engine back on.
  • Drive the car and check if it is out of Limp Mode

Method two:

Call on your trusted mechanic to work on the car, troubleshoot the systems, and fix whatever was wrong. This may be costly, depending on faults detected by the mechanic.

Method three:

  • Use an OBD2 Scanner to clear the illuminated error signals on your dashboard.
  • Always top up your car fluids when due.


It is advisable always to check up your car regularly and pay attention to even the slightest issues you may notice. If you’ve been thinking, “how can a wheel speed sensor cause limp mode,” the simple answer is that wheel speed sensors don’t actually cause Limp Mode.

Ensure that your car gets serviced at intervals. You can also get some handy devices that help to troubleshoot and fix common automobiles issues.

An OBD2 Scanner is one of such DIY devices you need to get as a car owner. In all, proper maintenance and tune-ups will keep your car in good shape for as long as possible.

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