What Does It Mean To See a Red Lightning Bolt Symbol in a Jeep

One of the most intimidating things that can happen while driving is when you see a red lightning bolt symbol in a Jeep. What does it mean and what should you do if you see it? In this article, we will explore the meaning and importance of red sign and how to react if you see it while driving.

Red Lightning Bolt Symbol in a Jeep

A malfunction with your Jeep’s Electronic Throttle Control is indicated by a flashing red lightning bolt (ETC). This is a system in which the traditional throttle cable has been replaced by an electronic sensor. There are sensors in the throttle that communicate that information to a motor that opens the throttle in direct proportion to the amount of pressure applied.

What Is Electronic Control Throttle, ETC?

If your car’s dash displays a red lightning bolt, it may be because of a problem with the Electronic Throttle Control (ETC). The traditional mechanical throttle has been replaced by a sensor-based system known as Electronic Throttle Control. Its job is to detect how hard you press on the gas pedal and relay that information to the motor so that it can adjust how much air it lets in. However, this sensor was not standard on earlier models of automobiles. Instead, they used the gas pedal cable that runs from the throttle.

What Does It Mean To See a Red  Lightning Bolt Symbol in a Jeep
Source: counterman.com

Older car used gas pedal-to-throttle cables. In this case, your gas pedal pressure determined how much the throttle was opened, which controlled how much gas was discharged. This method was inefficient and wasted fuel. Then ETC was created.

This is a new feature that was added to Jeeps in 2012 and 2013, and it can be helpful if you’re having trouble keeping your Jeep on the road.

Also Read: Jeep Wrangler Towing Capacity

What Does It Mean To See A Red Lightning Bolt On Jeep Dash?

If you’re like most people, when you see a red lightning bolt symbol on your Jeep, you probably associate it with some sort of Jeep-related emergency. In fact, the symbol is often used to indicate that there’s a problem with the vehicle that needs to be fixed as soon as possible. But what does the meaning of this particular icon really stand for?

Even ETC can have problems with how it works. And if it has a problem, the red lightning bolt on the dashboard lets you know. When you see a red lightning bolt on the dashboard, it means that the Electronic Control Throttle has stopped talking to the gas pedal. So, when you see this warning sign, you should know that the gas pedal and the throttle are not talking to each other the way they should.

What Do I Do If My Electronic Throttle Control Light Comes On?

If you are driving and see the red lightning bolt light or the ETC light on your dashboard, you do not have to stop your car. Just drive as fast as you can to the nearest auto repair shop to have your car’s electronic throttle control (ETC) checked. You may need to reset the pedals, which you can do yourself if you know what you’re doing. If that didn’t work, you should take your car to a mechanic you trust.

Symptoms Of A Faulty Electronic Throttle Control

When you see a red lightning bolt symbol on your dashboard, it means that the ETC (electric transmission control) has gone bad. This system is responsible for controlling the flow of electricity in your Jeep and can malfunction if it’s not properly maintained. If you experience any of the following symptoms, it’s best to have your Jeep looked at by a mechanic:

  • The Jeep won’t start
  • The engine stalls randomly
  • The headlights go out
  • The dashboard lights flicker or go out altogether

Acceleration Problems

There are situations when your car speeds up for no particular reason. It’s possible that this is a symptom that your ETC is broken, so keep an eye out for it.

Mileage Decreased

A drop in fuel mileage is one of the indicators that occur most frequently when there is a problem with the ETC. This symptom could also point to other underlying concerns. However, if you notice this symptom together with the fact that your car periodically displays a red lightning bolt light on the dashboard, you can draw the conclusion that your ETS is broken.

High Idle or Stalling Engine

It indicates that your ETC is not functioning very well if you encounter random surges in idle speed. You may probably also encounter engine misfiring, rough idling, or stopping in addition to the intermittent idling that you have been observing. There is also the possibility that the idling speed of your vehicle is either too high or too low.

How To Reset The Electronic Throttle Control System?

If a red lightning bolt symbol appears on the dashboard of your Jeep, it may indicate that the pedal position is not aligned properly, which results in a breakdown in communication between the sensors that control the motor and the motor’s ability to open and close the throttle. This can be remedied by realigning the pedals.

The amount the throttle must be opened is dependent on how far the gas pedal is depressed. However, after a lengthy trip, the gas pedal can shift out of place, leading to misunderstandings. But there’s no need to panic; resetting your car’s security system is a breeze.

Follow the steps to reset ETC:

  • Turn on your car’s key without starting it.
  • Then depress and release your car’s gas pedal.
  • Start your car and press the gas pedal again to see if the red lightning bolt symbol is gone.

If the throttle problems continue, though, and the red lightning bot sign remains displayed, you’ll need to see a mechanic.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the ETC light on a Jeep?

The electronic throttle control light jeep wrangler or other modern vehicles will come on when there is an issue with your throttle control. If the light comes on and off, there is nothing to worry about. 

What does it mean when the ETC light comes on?

This light informs you of a problem with the Electronic Throttle Control (ETC) system. If a problem is detected while the vehicle is running, the light will either stay on or flash depending on the nature of the problem.

How do I reset my electronic throttle control on my jeep?

Make sure that the accelerator pedal is fully released. Turn ignition switch ON and wait at least 2 seconds. Turn ignition switch OFF wait at least 10 seconds. Turn ignition switch ON and wait at least 2 seconds.

How much does it cost to fix the electronic throttle control?

If it’s the electronic throttle controller then the replacement cost can range from $300 to $1,500 depending on the location and time to complete the job.

Can I drive with the throttle control warning light on?

It is not safe to drive with an electronic throttle control light. While you might be lucky and only have a drop in fuel efficiency or a slight drop in acceleration


There is no reason to panic if you see a red lightning bolt or ETC warning light on your dashboard. However, just like any other problem with your car, this one requires your full attention and the appropriate actions to resolve it. If resetting the pedals doesn’t solve the problem, have a mechanic check your car’s Electronic Throttle Control. If the pedal reset does the trick but the ETC or red lightning bolt light remains blinking, it’s time to take the car in for service. If a red lightning bolt icon appeared on your dashboard, this article would have told you everything you needed to know about it. I really hope this essay was of some use to you.

Andrea Barbuti
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