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Q: Random power loss when I’m driving, worried it’s a lemon

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Sometimes, when driving, my 2011 Ford Mustang will sputter and lose almost all of the power to the wheels. It has to be some sort of ‘limp mode’ for when something is wrong with the engine. I can usually turn the car off and then back on again to get it to work properly. Very worried about what this means for the engine. This car has 71,000 miles on it so I am not ready to replace the motor just yet. What could the issue be?

A: This one is not going to be easy to figure ...

This one is not going to be easy to figure out without duplicating the condition at the same time that testing can be performed.

When a vehicle goes into “limp mode,” it receives a command from the computer triggered by a failure or specifications that are outside of acceptable range. This is designed to protect the engine from things that could cause severe damage.

There doesn’t seem to be any Technical Service Bulletins (TSB) released for the 2011 Mustang but there is evidence that this exact condition was detected on the Ford Fusion, Ford Escape, Mercury Mariner and the Mercury Milan models. Upon testing these other vehicles, a defective Electronic Throttle Body (ETB) was found to be the failure, the same throttle body that is on mustangs. For those other vehicles, Ford created a customer satisfaction program 13n03 which clearly states there is a problem with those ETB units but exclude Mustangs specifically. This program extends the warranty on the throttle body to a total of 10 years or 150,000 miles from the original warranty start date, whichever comes first.

From what you wrote, I think this is an electrical issue and not hardware, but to have a chance of being covered by Ford you must have the dealership perform the diagnosis and repair this issue. It is also a fairly complex diagnosis that required special testing computers the dealer possesses.

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