How To Reset BMW Limp Mode?(Causes and Solutions)

BMW is a very reliable car with a myriad of incredible features and safety protocols. Unless you are previously aware of it, you might be puzzled by the term “limp mode” on BMW. 

In “limp mode,” the BMW reduces its speed, stops performing some tasks, and activates the check engine light. Some internal error activates this limp mode for safety purposes of the BMW. You need to reset the system to get out of this limp mode.

I have gathered all the necessary information on the BMW limp mode including the symptoms, reasons and the reset procedure. 

What is BMW Limp Mode?

BMW limp mode is basically a helpful safety feature. Suppose, there is a serious problem in one of the components of your BMW that could cause a huge damage. 

In such circumstances, the BMW reduces the operations of a few select components of the BMW to prevent this damage. 

For example, the speed, radio, air conditioner, shifting gears- these stop receiving the power from the engine. 

The car will only have enough power to take it to the repair shop or a safe place. That is why, this mode has another name called “limp home mode”. 

In short, the limp mode on BMW acts as a safety measure to prevent further damage to the car. It does the job by setting off warning lights to notify the driver and shutting off unnecessary car elements.

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How to Reset the BMW Limp Mode?

Once the BMW enters the limp mode, you need to perform a series of actions in order to reset it. I have followed this sequence of instructions and successfully restored the BMW back from the limp mode.

Restart the engine

The first thing you need to do once the limp mode is activated is to pull the brakes. Get the BMW to a safe spot or to an auto repair shop and completely turn off the engine. 

Keep the BMW at rest like this for a minimum of five minutes so that all the mechanisms are disabled. After the time has passed, restart the engine.

Refill the transmission fluids

The next thing you need to do is check on the transmission fluids inside. Make sure the BMW is parked on a flat surface during this. If the fluids are too low, refill it up to the appropriate point. 

In case the fluid is too dirty or burnt, you will need to replace the remaining fluid with new ones too.

Get rid of the check engine light 

In this step, you need to manually make the computer forget the codes that cause the check engine light to come on. Firstly, disconnect the battery and its cables. 

Hold the cables together for about 30 seconds and then leave the entire thing alone for half an hour. Once you reconnect and start the engine, the limp mode should be reset.

Use an OBD2 scanner

This is the last step of resetting the BMW limp mode. If you see that the previous steps didn’t manage to bypass the limp mode yet, get an OBD2 scanner. 

OBD2 scanner will read the codes stored inside the system and identify the faulty components. The best option is to replace those parts properly in order to get out of the limp mode.

What are the Symptoms of a BMW Limp Mode On? 

I have noticed a few recurring symptoms on a BMW when it enters the limp mode. Being aware of these will help you figure out the situation a lot faster. The symptoms of a BMW limp mode are- 

  • Check engine light is on
  • RPM will decrease and become less than 3000 rpm
  • Reduced driving speed between 35-45 mph
  • Air conditioner, heater stops working
  • Can’t shift gears, especially above the third gear
  • Transmission performance is low
  • The engine overheats
  • Turbo boost turns off
  • Engine power is low

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What are the Causes of BMW Limp Mode?

Now, the limp mode is activated when the Electrical control unit of the BMW identifies something wrong with a certain component. 

There are a few anomalies within the car which activates this limp mode. I have compiled the causes for this mode right below:

Low Transmission fluid level

In BMW, oil or coolant works as the transmission fluids. These have a specific level marked to complete the transmissions perfectly. 

If the level of these transmission fluids get too low, the transmission is interrupted. As a result, the BMW enters limp mode.

Clutch or transmission failure

The entire transmission system is made of several components. Any kind of fault in this system disrupts the transmission of signals. 

For instance, a bad solenoid, wrongly installed linkage can bring about clutch failure. Moreover, fault in the gearbox prevents changing gears and causes transmission failure.

Broken wiring

Broken wiring fails to deliver the signals to the computing system of the BMW. The wires can break due to force or debris. Corrosion from battery acid leaks is a big reason for wire damages. 

Boost control problems

If the turbo boost of the BMW crosses the set value range, it sets off the limp mode. The pressure sensor of the turbo boost or control valve can be faulty which results in overboost. Apart from overboost, boost leakage can also lead to the BMW activating limp mode.

Malfunction of the sensors

When any of the sensors related to the operating system of the BMW sends the wrong signal, limp mode activates. This can be any of the speed sensors or the TPS, MAP sensors. 

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Below, I have answered the most common questions that might come into your mind about the BMW limp mode. This section will satisfy the last bit of curiosity you might have regarding this topic.

Can I Drive My Bmw In Limp Mode?

Yes, you can drive the BMW in limp mode. But it is recommended to drive it only until you can get it somewhere to fix the issue. Driving the BMW in limp mode for a long period of time will only cause more serious damage. 

How To Get The Bmw Out Of  Limp Mode?

You can get the BMW out of limp mode by restarting the engine after resting it for a while. Additionally, you can connect the battery cables and refill the transmission fluids. If needed, use OBD2 scanner to diagnose and replace specific parts. 

When Can I Not Drive On Bmw Limp Mode?

You can’t drive in the limp mode when the check engine light is flashing frantically. The engine overheats and creates noises in the transmission system. Temperature and oil light both turn on. It is too risky to drive while these things happen.

Which Sensors Malfunction Cause Bmw Limp Mode?

The signal sensors cause limp mode when they malfunction. Speed sensors, MAP, MAF, TPS, MPS- these are the sensors which send wrong signals and cause BMW limp mode. 

What Is The Maximum Speed In Bmw Limp Mode?

The maximum speed during the BMW limp mode is 45 mph. It is because the limp mode limits the speed to be in between 35 mph to 45 mph. The maximum possible RPM can be 3000 in this mode.


The limp mode is introduced in BMW for a serious reason. It always indicates some sort of issue or problem within the system. So, it would be wise not to ignore whenever your BMW enters the limp mode. 

Instead, diagnose and figure out the causes of the limp mode and work on fixing it. With just a few simple steps, you can easily reset the limp mode even on the road. 

However, if the problem is too serious and you are unable to reset it yourself, contact a professional. Any BMW repair shop will readily tow your BMW and get it out of the limp mode. 

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