What Does Engine Power Reduced Mean On Chevy Equinox?

The most annoying thing you can face while driving your Chevy Equinox is when you are on the highway and the ‘Reduced Engine Power’ light switches on out of nowhere. This causes so much discomfort as there’s no way you can know the exact reason why it’s turned on. So, you have to either take it home or to the garage to show it to an expert.

The Engine Power Reduced indication means that your system has faced some problems. So the maximum speed of your Chevy Equinox has been decreased. This helps minimize the engine damage that occurs due to the problem and keeps your vehicle safe. It just provides enough power so that you can take it to a mechanic and get it fixed.

Be careful not to use your vehicle for long rides in that situation. That’s because, in this mode, the engine runs differently. Driving in this mode may cause the engine’s overall lifetime to decrease.

What Does Engine Power Reduced Mean On Chevy Equinox?

When the ‘Engine Power Reduced’ warning shows up on the screen of your car, you have to understand that the total power output of your engine has been reduced. This reduced power mode is designed to avoid damage to your engine.

An integrated computer in your Chevy Equinox works as the Electronic Control Unit (ECU). It activates the reduced engine power warning when it detects any anomalies in the system.

It is possible to drive with the reduced power light turned on. This feature is known as the ‘Limp Home Mode.’

When the system detects a problem, this mode gets triggered, and the power intake of less crucial sections of the car is reduced. These parts can be the air conditioning, radio, etc.

Even the car’s overall speed gets set within a limit, which might bother you as you won’t be able to speed up your vehicle beyond that limit. Some other non-essential components of the car can also be turned off while this mode is on.

If your Chevy Equinox is showing this reduced engine power light, then probably one of the engine management sensors of the vehicle or the ECU is facing some issue. It doesn’t have enough strength to control the engine properly.

Without knowing what’s wrong, the ECU will go to a safe mode and run on minimal power so that you aren’t totally stranded.

If you drive your vehicle in this mode for too long, it might damage the engine. That’s because, in this mode, the engine runs entirely in a different way.

Causes Of Reduced Engine Power on Chevy Equinox

Some codes get stored in the OBD II system when the reduced engine power light turns on. These codes help the experts to narrow down the actual location of the problem as per the calculations of the ECU.

What you’ll need is a code scanner of good quality. A good code scanner will make this entire process way smoother.

Here are some typical problems that may cause this Reduced Engine Power warning to pop up:

1. Car TAC system

The most common thing that generally triggers the warning is a fault in the Throttle Actuator Control (TAC) system. Modern cars use this system instead of the traditional linkage and throttle body. This technology was initially brought to the market with the 1997 C5 Corvette.

The PCM monitors within the TAC system and the two Accelerator Pedal Position (APP) sensors determine if the driver wants to accelerate or not. After that, the exact throttle response is calculated from the sensors known as Throttle Position (TP).

After the module gets all the necessary information, the PCM operates the throttle by an actuator motor. This helps control the airflow in the engine. Also, the existence of dirt particles on the throttle body can trigger this mode.

2. Clutch

Reduced engine performance can occur due to clutch failure as well. If this happens, the car makes weird squeaks and noises. You’ll also experience pulsation problems.

In most cases, if you get your transmission serviced, it gets rid of the problem.

3. Connectors

A faulty harness or cable can also cause this problem in some cases. If you face a problem with the vehicle, initially check the cables, clamps, and harnesses. Make sure the connections are alright and look for signs of problems.

If you find a faulty cable, repair it instantly. Or an even better idea would be to change it permanently.

4. Oxygen Sensors

There’s an Oxygen Sensor in your Chevy Equinox that measures the exact quantity of oxygen in the exhaust gas. This sensor helps ensure the proper mixture of air and fuel there.

However, if the sensors get rusty, they usually don’t work. But if a code like P0160, an oxygen sensor-related code, shows up when you plug in the code scanner, you should definitely check it out.

5. Bad Mass Airflow Sensor

A mass air sensor that’s not maintained regularly and is defective can’t detect the airflow accurately. So it won’t be a surprise if the computer makes incorrect calculations of fuel injection quantity.

This might trigger the “reduced engine power” sensor to save your vehicle from further damage.

How To Troubleshoot Engine Power is Reduced on Chevy Equinox?

When the engine power reduces due to some problems, you can find out exactly what the problem is if you follow this method:

The first thing required here is an OBDII scan tool. It helps read the error codes that pop up on the ECM. The error codes are designed to indicate the exact portion where the problem has occurred.

Suppose there’s something wrong with the fuel pressure. The OBDII code for fuel pressure regulated control is P0090.

So, if you actually have a problem with the fuel pressure, this code should pop up on the scanner. After knowing the code, you can now look at the issue in-depth.

There are various kinds of OBDII scanners available for different prices. Get the one that you can afford, and you should be okay.

How To Fix Chevy Equinox Reduced Engine Power?

A proper diagnosis has to be performed to find a proper fix for this problem. The process is not that straightforward.

This message has numerous reasons to pop up on the dashboard that further complicate things⁠. Another thing to note is that the potential cause for this warning to show up varies depending on the model of your vehicle.

You can follow these methods to fix your reduced engine power problem:

Check for Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs)

Get a code reader or scan tool and check for DTCs. These can show you the right direction to help you in further diagnostics.

You should remember that acquiring these codes doesn’t mean that the diagnosis is complete. They show you a direction to where you should begin the analysis.

As mentioned before, the primary cause of this problem can be that there’s something wrong with the TAC system. These codes will tell you exactly where the problem might’ve occurred. Then you can do what’s necessary to resolve that issue.

Look Up Technical Service Bulletins (TSBs)

The vehicle manufacturers often issue Technical Service Bulletins (TSBs). These can also be very helpful when trying to solve this kind of problem.

TSBs basically help out by documenting repair procedures for the most common issues. And this helps fix the problem almost all the time. And some TSBs address this particular problem faced by some car owners previously.

In most cases, you’ll see that a TSB already exists that documents the best repair procedure for the problem that your vehicle is facing. Following this procedure will save you both money and time.

Consult the Factory Repair Information

You can also consider consulting the factory repair information before repairing the vehicle yourself.

As mentioned before, the exact reason that’s triggering the warning depends upon the model of your vehicle. And without proper research beforehand, you might end up chasing your own tail.

Another reason to access the latest repair manual is to find elaborated diagnosis instructions. These instructions may help you get closer to resolving your vehicle problem.

However, you have to correctly diagnose the problem before moving on to the repair. Moreover, acquiring the appropriate knowledge beforehand will make the process smoother.

How To Bypass Chevy Equinox Reduced Engine Power?

If you face a problem regarding your car, you can fix it all by yourself. However, there might be some exceptional situations. Other than that, you should be able to fix them all.

Let’s give you an insight into the exact bypass process:

Check The Cables

The most popular thing that triggers the ‘Engine Power Reduce’ mode is loose cables and clamps.

The first thing to do when you face this kind of problem is to check if there are any loose wires or connections in your vehicle. If they need repair, then do it and reconnect them afterward.

Check Sensors

Make sure that you properly clean the oxygen sensor. When the sensors malfunction, it’s probably because of the dirt that’s hampering its workflow.

If the sensor is not functioning correctly, you must clean it or replace it with a new one.

Check The Throttle

If you’re facing a problem in the throttle or near the throttle sensor, you can always override the device. And when the opportunity arrives, get them replaced.

These are not so costly, so replacing them shouldn’t be an issue.

Airflow Sensor

Another major part that can cause the vehicle to go into ‘Limp Mode’ is a faulty air flow sensor.

The sensor is generally placed beside the air filter. Also, check the sensor after you’re done cleaning the whole thing. And if the problem persists, change the sensor.

Electric Control Unit

If there’s any problem with the Electronic Control Unit (ECU), then there’s a high chance that you won’t be able to fix it by yourself.

You must take technical assistance from an expert. However, you do have the option of purchasing a brand new unit to replace the old one.

Catalytic Converter

Another reason that causes the reduced engine power warning to light up is the clogging that occurs in the catalytic converter.

This part is generally found under the car. Replacing this part can cost you a few thousand bucks. So, taking it for repair is a better option.

Check Battery

Sometimes the battery can lose its performance due to loose connections and corrosion.

To take care of this problem, you’ve just got to reconnect the cables and remove the corrosion. A better option would be to replace the entire battery and get a new one.

Transmission Fluid

There’s a chance that the low level of transmission oil can also trigger the reduced engine power mode.

To get rid of this issue, check if the transmission oil level is correct or not. If the level gets down too much, fill it up. And if it still doesn’t work, replace it.

Is It Safe To Drive Chevy Equinox With Reduced Engine Power?

It’s the worst idea to drive your car with reduced engine power. The concept of the reduced engine power mode is so that you can limp your Equinox back into the garage or the workshop.

However, it’s not suitable for long periods of operation at all.  Moreover, if you’re riding on a highway and are limited to 40MPH, it’ll surely be a safety risk.

Also, the engine operates differently when the power is reduced. So, it can result in unstable speed, jerky shifts, and terrible gas mileage.


The Engine Power Reduced mode in a vehicle can be activated for a variety of reasons. Different problems have their own solutions, which must be carefully considered. Also, there are multiple ways of solving these problems.

So hope you now have a better grasp of what engine power reduced means on Chevy Equinox now. Go forth and drive your Chevy to your heart’s content. Just don’t go overboard with it if you face any engine issues!

Similar Posts