Red Lightning Bolt Symbol in a Jeep

| Last Updated: September 8, 2021

If you are like me, you may not understand all the warning lights that are on your Jeep’s dashboard or maybe you might. Most warning lights are pretty much straight forward but what does the red lightning bolt symbol in a Jeep mean?

Quick aside, this is why having a good OBDII Scanner is a good idea!

The red lightning bolt indicates that there is a problem with your Jeep’s Electronic Throttle Control (ETC). This is a system that replaced the mechanical throttle mechanism with a sensor based one. It measures the pressure which you put on the throttle and sends it, through sensors to a motor which opens the throttle in direct proportion to this pressure.

Photo credit:

What Does Red Lightning Bolt Mean on Jeep?

Older car models connected the throttle and gas pedal through a cable. The pressure you applied to the gas determined how much the throttle opened and, therefore, how much gas was released.

This system was not very efficient and resulted in high fuel consumption. That’s when the Electronic throttle control was developed.

This technology started appearing in cars from around 1990 and is designed to do away with the old mechanism. It is, however, not immune to mechanical faults and the way you know is through the red lightning bolt light on the dash board.

When you see this light appear, it means that the communication between the gas pedal and the throttle is not happening as it is supposed to.

In such an instance, you will need to perform a gas pedal reset which we will discuss a little further down this article.

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

If the ETC light comes on while you are driving, you don’t necessarily need to stop. You may continue driving but your Jeep needs to be looked at. You may need to do a pedal reset or take it in to a mechanic if the reset doesn’t work.

Photo credit:

How Do I Reset My Electronic Throttle Control System?

When the red lightning bolt symbol appears on your Jeep’s dash, it may mean that that the pedal position is not lined up properly causing there to be miscommunication with the sensors that control the motor which opens and closes the throttle.

The extent to which the throttle opens and closes is determined by the gas pedal position. When you drive your Jeep for a specific amount of time, the gas pedal will get out of alignment, and resetting it is quite easy.

To reset it, turn your key to on without starting the car. Next, depress the gas pedal all the way to the floor then let it up again.

Next, start up your car and press down the throttle to see if your Jeep responds. If you keep having issues with the throttle and the red lightning bolt light remains on, you will need to have a mechanic look at it and get it sorted.


The ETC light coming on is not usually cause for major concern but it does need you to pay attention to it. You can still drive your Jeep but make sure to take care of the issue by doing a reset or having a mechanic look at it.

If the light starts to flash on and off though, it means you definitely need to take care of it as soon as possible.

Who Worked on This?



A master of organization, Brian helps keep everything running smoothly for Your Jeep Guide.

No Jeep yet but we’re working on that!



Cory loves his XJ and frequently thrashes it through the hills. He’s constantly fixing something.

“What fenders?”

Check Us Out!


' ); } ?>

Leave a Comment