Chevy Engine Power Reduced: Common Causes and Fixes

(Last Updated On: November 15, 2023)

Chevy engine power reduced is a common issue faced by many Chevy car owners. It occurs when the car’s computer detects a fault in the engine’s electronic throttle control (ETC) or Powertrain Control Module (PCM) system. When this happens, the car’s performance is lowered to prevent further damage. The reduced engine power message is displayed on the dashboard, and the car’s acceleration and power are limited.

In most scenarios this is due to an issue with the throttle body, but we’ll make sure to cover all potential causes and how to fix this annoying message!

Understanding Chevy Engine Power Reduced Message

When driving a Chevy vehicle, you might notice a warning message that says “Engine Power Reduced.” This message is an indication that something is wrong with the engine or transmission system, and the vehicle’s performance is being limited to prevent further damage.

The “Engine Power Reduced” message is usually accompanied by the check engine light, which can help you identify the specific cause of the problem. The most common causes of this warning message include:

  • Throttle body issues: The throttle body is responsible for regulating the amount of air that enters the engine. If it malfunctions, the engine may not receive enough air, which can cause it to lose power.

    Some Malibu, Cruze, and Equinox models have been known to experience this problem due to defects in the electronic throttle control sensors.

    Throttle body issues are the cause of the engine power reduced message around 90% of the time.
  • Electrical issues: Loose wires, clamps, or harnesses can cause electrical shorts or other problems that affect the engine’s performance.
  • Fuel system issues: Problems with the fuel system, such as a clogged fuel filter or a malfunctioning fuel pump, can also cause the “Engine Power Reduced” message to appear.
  • Transmission issues: The transmission system is responsible for transferring power from the engine to the wheels. If it malfunctions, the vehicle’s performance may be limited.

Try to get this issue resolved as soon as possible, ignoring the warning message can lead to further damage to your vehicle and even pose a safety risk.

If you need help diagnosing your engine light, consider look into purchasing a scanner like in the video above!

Chevy Engine Power Reduced Light

When a Chevy engine displays the “Reduced Engine Power” message, it is a clear indication that something is wrong. The engine may experience various symptoms and signs that indicate the underlying issue.

Warning Light

The first and most obvious symptom of reduced engine power is the warning light on the dashboard. This light is usually accompanied by a message that reads “Reduced Engine Power.” It is a clear indication that the engine has entered a limp mode, and its performance has been reduced to prevent further damage.

Limited Acceleration

One of the most noticeable symptoms of engine power reduction is limited acceleration. The vehicle may feel sluggish and unresponsive when the accelerator pedal is pressed. This symptom is usually accompanied by a lack of power, making it difficult to climb hills or accelerate quickly.

Difficulty Maintaining Speed

Another sign of reduced engine power is difficulty maintaining speed. The vehicle may struggle to maintain a consistent speed, especially at higher speeds. This symptom is often accompanied by a rough idle, hesitation, or stalling.

Stabilitrak Warning

In some cases, reduced engine power may trigger a Stabilitrak warning. This warning indicates that the vehicle’s traction control system is unable to provide the necessary assistance to maintain control. The vehicle may experience a loss of traction, making it difficult to steer or stop.

Other Symptoms

Other symptoms of reduced engine power may include rough shifting, misfires, and engine stalling. These symptoms may be accompanied by a check engine light, which may provide additional information about the underlying issue.

Troubleshooting Steps

When experiencing reduced engine power in a Chevy vehicle, there are several troubleshooting steps that can be taken to identify and resolve the issue.

Here are some common steps to follow:

Step 1: Check the Air Filter

A dirty or clogged air filter can restrict airflow to the engine, causing a loss of power. To check the air filter, remove it from the air filter housing and inspect it for dirt and debris. If it appears dirty, replace it with a new one.

Step 2: Inspect the Throttle Body

The throttle body is responsible for regulating the airflow into the engine. If it becomes dirty or malfunctions, it can cause reduced engine power. To inspect the throttle body, remove the air intake hose and inspect the throttle plate for dirt and debris. Clean the throttle body if necessary or replace it if it is damaged.

Step 3: Check the Oxygen Sensor

The oxygen sensor is responsible for monitoring the oxygen levels in the exhaust system and adjusting the fuel-air mixture accordingly. A malfunctioning oxygen sensor can cause reduced engine power. Use an OBD-II scanner to check for trouble codes related to the oxygen sensor. Replace the sensor if necessary.

Step 4: Inspect the Ignition System

The ignition system is responsible for providing the spark that ignites the fuel in the engine. If it is malfunctioning, it can cause reduced engine power. Inspect the ignition system components, such as spark plugs, ignition coils, and wires, for damage or wear. Replace any components that appear worn or damaged.

Step 5: Check for Vacuum Leaks

Vacuum leaks can cause reduced engine power by allowing unmetered air into the engine. To check for vacuum leaks, use a smoke machine or propane torch to detect leaks in the vacuum lines and hoses. Replace any hoses or lines that appear damaged or worn.

Preventive Measures and Maintenance

Regular maintenance is crucial to prevent reduced engine power in Chevy vehicles. Here are some preventive measures to follow:

  • Regular oil changes: Oil changes should be done according to the manufacturer’s recommended schedule. Dirty oil can cause engine wear and tear, which can lead to power loss.
  • Air filter replacement: A dirty air filter can restrict airflow to the engine, which can cause reduced engine power. The air filter should be replaced according to the manufacturer’s recommended schedule.
  • Fuel system cleaning: Dirt and debris can accumulate in the fuel system, which can cause reduced engine power. The fuel system should be cleaned according to the manufacturer’s recommended schedule.
  • Use the proper fuel: Using the wrong type of fuel can cause reduced engine power. It’s essential to use the fuel recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Check for faulty sensors: Faulty sensors can cause reduced engine power. It’s essential to have the sensors checked regularly and replaced if necessary.

Regular servicing can help identify potential issues before they become major problems.

Frequently Asked Questions

How far can I drive with reduced engine power?

Technically, you can drive slowly when Engine Power Reduced is illuminated on the dash. However, I would advise against it and try to diagnose the issue yourself or with a mechanic.

How to reset reduced engine power light?

To reset the reduced engine power light, turn off the engine and wait for a few minutes. Then, restart the engine.

Can a bad battery cause reduced engine power?

Yes, a bad battery can cause reduced engine power. A weak or dead battery can even cause the engine to lose power and even stall.


  • Randy Worner

    My name is Randy Worner and I am the founder of I have been working on cars and trucks for almost 45 years. For the last 36 years I have taught Automotive / Diesel Technology classes for UTI, Snap On Tools, Chrysler, Pepboys, Lone Star College, NAPA and TBC Corporation.I also own a technical writing company known as Supreme Technical Services. It is ASE Gold Seal certified and Blue Seal Certified Author of auto/truck repair information.

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