As automobiles become more sophisticated with more intricate and advanced computer systems, they also become more susceptible to serious concerns regarding system errors and failures. One such error that many people may be unaware of is “limp mode,” which occurs when a car’s computer system detects a problem with the logic patterns that are sent in the engine. Should a strange logic pattern be detected, the computer will generally shut down the source of the problem. Unfortunately, if that bad logic pattern is coming from the engine, this can mean very serious and unexpected problems for the drivers.
Owners of certain Ford and Mercury vehicles have been learning about “limp mode” lately, as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced yesterday that an estimated 724,982 cars and sports utility vehicles are under investigation for problems related to limp mode. Specifically, Ford Escape and Fusion vehicles, as well as Mercury Mariner SUVs and Milan sedans, manufactured in 2009 and with model years between 2009 and 2011 are being investigated after both the NHTSA and Ford have received over 1,400 complaints from drivers who have experienced limp mode issues while operating their vehicles.
The purpose of limp mode is to reduce the speed of a vehicle that is experiencing engine problems so that the driver can either safely maneuver to the side of a road or make it to a mechanic or home without endangering his or herself or other drivers. The problem that has led to this investigation, though, is that owners are complaining that their vehicles have experienced either stalling or surging as a result of the limp mode. According to the Associated Press, three crashes and one injury have already been linked to this problem.
While the NHTSA and Ford have yet to announce a recall for these vehicles, this investigation could very well lead to one. In the meantime, concerned owners can contact Ford at (800) 232-5952 for additional information.