Troubleshooting the “Engine Malfunction Reduced Power” Message on Your BMW or MINI Cooper

Tim Miller

Encountering the “Engine Malfunction Reduced Power” message on your BMW or MINI Cooper’s display can raise concerns.

This comprehensive guide will help you understand the causes behind the message and the steps you can take to address the issue effectively.

What Does Engine Malfunction Reduced Power Mean on BMW?

The appearance of the “Engine Malfunction Reduced Power” message on your iDrive or MINI Connected display indicates that your engine control module (ECM) has detected a fault in the operation. This leads to reduced power output for safety reasons.

While the exact error message might differ between various BMW and Mini Cooper models, the underlying meaning remains consistent. Essentially, it informs you that the engine power is reduced.

engine malfunction reduced power bmw mini cooper
“Engine Malfunction Reduced Power” message on the iDrive or MINI Connected display

It’s also accompanied by the half-engine light on the BMW or Mini Cooper instrument cluster.

haft engine light bmw mini cooper
Half engine light on the BMW or Mini Cooper’s dashboard

Can I Drive With the Engine Malfunction Reduced Power Message on BMW or Mini Cooper?

Yes. When faced with this message, your vehicle enters a protective mode known as “limp mode.” While this results in reduced engine performance, acceleration, and top speed, it allows you to continue driving your vehicle to a safe location or a repair facility. 

However, don’t drive for an extended period or under heavy loads, as this could exacerbate the problem and lead to more extensive repairs.

To figure out what’s really going on and fix it right, it’s smart to hook your ride up to a diagnostic scanner. Think of it like getting a checkup at the doctor’s office. This scanner talks to your car’s computer and tells us exactly what’s wrong. So, don’t wait too long; let’s scan and fix it up!

What Causes the Engine Malfunction Reduced Power Message on BMW or Mini Cooper?

The causes behind the “Engine Malfunction Reduced Power” message can vary, but they often include issues such as:

Faulty Oxygen Sensor

Oxygen sensors play a pivotal role in maintaining the optimal air-fuel mixture for combustion. Their failure can lead to poor engine performance, reduced fuel efficiency, and emissions problems.

High-Pressure Fuel Pump Failure

Modern BMW engines rely on high-pressure fuel pumps for efficient combustion. Malfunctions in these pumps can result in insufficient fuel delivery, causing reduced power output, rough idling, and even stalling.

Ignition Coil Problems

Ignition coils are essential for generating the sparks required for combustion. Failures in these coils can lead to misfires, rough running, and decreased engine performance.

Mass Airflow Sensor (MAF) Issues

The MAF sensor measures incoming air, influencing fuel injection. Dirty or failed sensors can lead to poor performance, reduced fuel efficiency, and hesitation.

Vacuum Leaks

Unintended gaps or cracks in the vacuum system can disrupt various engine components reliant on vacuum pressure, causing erratic idling, poor acceleration, and decreased performance.

How to Fix Engine Malfunction on BMW or Mini Cooper

To address the “Engine Malfunction Reduced Power” message effectively, follow these steps:

Step 1: Check for visible problems

Perform a visual inspection of the engine bay. Look for loose wires, disconnected hoses, and apparent damage that could contribute to the issue. While not always the case, visible problems can sometimes be rectified without professional assistance.

Step 2: Read the codes to identify the cause

Remember that some OBD2 readers can read only the generic codes (PXXXX). BMW or Mini Cooper is more complex than most cars and has many manufacturer-specific codes. You will need a BMW/Mini Cooper scan tool to read error codes stored in the vehicle’s computer system. These codes provide insights into the specific issue.

  • Plug the BMW scanner into the OBD-II port.
  • Switch the ignition key to the “ON” position without starting the engine.
  • Turn on the BMW scanner device. Navigate through the scanner’s menu to access the “Read Codes” function.
  • Interpret the codes using OBD2 Codes Lookup.

Step 3: Repair the malfunctioning parts

Based on the error codes and diagnostics, a trained mechanic can identify the exact problem and recommend necessary repairs or replacements.

Step 4: Clear the code to reset the message

If you’ve fixed the problem and the message persists, it’s recommended to use the scanner to clear the diagnostic trouble codes from the ECM’s memory.

What’s Next?

We hope you find the BMW Engine Malfunction Reduced Power guide helpful.

If you have trouble with the diagnosis and repair procedure, please leave a comment in the comment section below.

Additionally, don’t forget to check out our Dash Light Lookup to understand BMW/Mini Cooper warning lights and their meanings.

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Information sourced from the owner's manual.