Have you ever encountered an issue with your vehicle saying “maximum drivetrain output not available”?
This is a drivetrain malfunction problem that happens with some vehicles. There are many reasons why this occurs, but one of the most common triggers is a transmission or engine malfunction.
Hence, if you want to protect your engine and transmission, it is best to switch your car into the safety mode. By doing so, it limits your engine output and prevents it from more serious problems. When you have a malfunctioning drivetrain, many things are often the culprit. For instance, it could be due to steep inclines, overtaking, and when you accelerate abruptly or intensely.
When you encounter this problem with your drivetrain, you may also come across some symptoms including power cutting, rough ride, and intense shaking. So, if you are wondering why this issue is happening to your vehicle, and you want to solve this problem, keep reading to learn more.
Why The Maximum Drivetrain Output Not Available Issue Occurs
First of all, let’s find out what the drivetrain malfunction even means.
Basically, this type of malfunction is a hardware kind of a malfunction error. You encounter this issue with your vehicle when the computer or the ECU detects an engine or transmission malfunction.
The specific error message you may find is this: Maximum drivetrain output not available. Drive moderately.
Once this happens, your vehicle switches automatically in limp mode or safety mode. Hence, the ECU limits the torque production to prevent more damage from happening to your transmission and engine. This also helps you to drive your vehicle to your destination without causing more issues to your car.
Your engine generates power, which is then transferred to your wheel via your drivetrain. At the same time, your transmission is responsible for controlling your gearbox ratio, which helps in maintaining optimal engine speed.
When certain components are unable to perform normally, the drivetrain malfunction occurs. There are a few common reasons that trigger this malfunction:
1. Overused spark plugs
If aside from a drivetrain malfunction, you also encounter some engine misfires, this means that your spark plugs are overused or old. Hence, the only way to fix this problem is by changing all of the spark plugs immediately. You need functional spark plugs to enable fuel combustion in the combustion chamber. When there is a good quality of sparks, this ensures optimal combustion.
With this in mind, you need to make sure that your spark plugs are in good condition to ensure the correct functioning of your engine. But in the case of engines powered by diesel, these do not have spark plugs, which is why this should not be a concern at all.
2. Defective ignition coils
Your vehicle’s ignition coils provide electricity required to produce spark plugs. But when you have malfunctioning coils, there will be insufficient power produced, which can lead to poor sparks. As a result, you may encounter certain symptoms including power loss, rough idling, and misfiring because your ignition coils or spark plugs are no longer functioning well.
This is why when you encounter some malfunctions to your drivetrain output, the first thing to diagnose would be your engine coil and make sure that it is not the one at fault.
3. High pressure fuel pump failure
Another reason behind a drivetrain malfunction issue as you accelerate is when you have a faulty high pressure fuel pump. This component transfers fuel from your tank to your engine. It compresses fuel that creates high pressure in your fuel lines. When there are issues with your high pressure fuel pump, there will be an inconsistent level of fuel supply, which creates a surge or even a random power loss.
4. Catalytic converter issue
Your catalytic converter is responsible for cleaning the exhaust emissions of your vehicle. It ensures the right chemical reaction that converts gasses such as the NO2, NO and CO into less harmful gasses such as the CO2, as well as water vapor.
When there is a clog or buildup in the catalytic converter, this slows down or even stops the exhaust emission rate, which builds pressure in your exhaust unit. Thus, it clogs your combustion chamber and causes an engine stalling problem as pressure increases. Therefore, drivetrain malfunction can also occur.
5. Damaged fuel injectors
The fuel injector is responsible for injecting fuel into your combustion chamber. When you have a faulty fuel injector, it is unable to do its job correctly, which can then cause power loss and poor combustion. Hence, drivetrain malfunction may occur.
These are just some of the common reasons behind a drivetrain malfunction issue, although there are a few more causes that can contribute to this problem such as poor mass airflow sensor, blown head gasket, and a malfunctioning turbo, to name a few.
Symptoms to Look Into
When you notice the maximum drivetrain output not available error message, you may also notice certain symptoms at the same time. These all depend on the cause of the issue, this is why you should take note of the root of the problem for the best troubleshooting techniques.
Among the symptoms that may come with this problem includes:
- Noticeable vibration and shaking
- Power cut or rough idling
- Engine misfiring
- Problem with starting the vehicle
- Excessive smoke from your exhaust
- Drivetrain malfunction message on your screen
- Transmission stuck in just one gear
When you experience a drivetrain malfunction error, the first thing to do is to restart your engine. You need to pull over and turn the engine off and just let it sit for about 5 to 10 minutes. This will enable your vehicle to reset its drivetrain malfunction error, which can allow you to drive to a service center.
In case it is already in limp mode, you can keep driving but be sure to have your car checked immediately by a specialist.
However, if your car remains unresponsive even after restarting, you need to do an engine check. Inspect for oil spills and transmission fuel leaks, as well as odd smoke or noise. Sometimes, you may have starting issues when your vehicle has been parked for a long time during the cold weather, which impacts the battery. If you have a discharged battery, jumpstart it to check if it helps fix the issue.
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It is never fun to encounter an issue with your vehicle such as seeing the maximum drivetrain output not available error. Thus, it is best to determine the root of the problem and address it based on what is causing it. We hope this post has been helping you fix this issue correctly for your peace of mind and safety.