The computer system that controls your car has a built in safety feature called Reduced Power or Limp Mode which is designed to get the car where it is going but under low engine power. If a glitch appears in the operating system that controls vital components such as the throttle actuator the computer will go into a Power Reduction (limp) before a check engine light can be triggered. Most of the time it takes being in this mode for some time before the check engine light will illuminate.
As a car ages it begins to developed a substance call Coking which resembles a thin brown tar on its throttle bore actuator and butterfly. When this happens the response time between the throttle pedal sensor and the actuator increases causing a problem. This condition can be accompanied by either throttle pedal or throttle actuator trouble codes. Other systems can create a limp mode condition, this is the most popular by far.
The throttle actuator bore is located at the inlet of the intake manifold under the hood.
The cost for this repair is surprisingly inexpensive. You will need throttle bore cleaner and shop towels which together will run about $22.00 (US) at any auto parts store or Amazon.
Reduced Power Repair
How to Service Reduced Power Problems
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