What Is Limp Home Mode in an ATV and What To Do About it

One day you may be out riding and, all of a sudden, your ATV starts operating at a low speed with the dash lights going off, sometimes even saying “limp mode”. What exactly is limp mode on an ATV, and how do you get an ATV out of limp mode? Limp mode is essentially a protection mode that your ATV goes into when a serious code has been recognized and you’re experiencing one of many issues. This mode allows you to get home safely, albeit slowly.

When limp mode comes on, it’s difficult to get it back off unless you know what the problem is and how to fix it. We’ll go over some of the most common issues that throw your ATV into limp mode and quickly discuss how to fix each one. With luck, you’ll be back on the trail in no time with your rig operating at full capacity.

limp mode on atv.jpg

Overheating engine

A too-hot engine can often be the problem that causes your rig to go into limp home mode. This is common for those that ride a lot in mud as it will cake the radiator and prevent it from working effectively.

The good news is that your engine will cool down slowly and your ATV will take itself out of limp home mode with this. You may want to install a screen or other guard for your radiator to prevent this from happening too much. If letting the machine cool down doesn’t fix the issue, you may need to look to other causes.

Oil issues

Another common issue is something to do with the oil. This can be low oil levels or even water in the oil. If low engine oil is the issue, you’ll likely see a flashing oil light on your control center. If you’ve been in the water too deep, you may have water in the oil. This is often fixed by having to completely replace the oil in the rig. Check your levels and go from there. If it doesn’t make sense to have water in the oil, keep moving down the list.

Belt slipping

A lot of ATVs can have issues with belts slipping and that will throw your machine into limp home mode in order to stop the belt from tearing. You may need to replace the belt, but look under the belt housing to see what exactly is going on in there.

Low battery voltage

If your battery is on its way out, you may experience limp home mode every now and again. The battery simply doesn’t have enough juice to get your machine to full power, so it resorts to partial power and slowly takes you home. You can fix this one with a new battery, but it’s suggested that you use a voltmeter before spending all that money.


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