Red Lightning Bolt Symbol in a Jeep

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If you are like me, you may not understand all the warning lights that are on your Jeep dashboard or maybe you might. Most of the common 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 body mechanism with a sensor-based one. It measures the pressure which you put on the faulty throttle control sensor and sends it, through electronic sensor to a motor which opens the throttle in direct proportion to this pressure.

Red Lightning Bolt Symbol in a Jeep
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What Does Red Lightning Bolt Symbol in a Jeep Mean?

The Red Lightning Bolt Symbol in a jeep means that your jeep’s Electronic Throttle Control has a problem. The throttle body could be damaged or stuck, causing the lightning bolt to turn red.

What Should I Do When the Red Lightning Bolt Sign Flashes On?

Older car models connected the throttle body 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 economy. That’s when the Electronic throttle controls module was developed.

This technology of warning light 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 Jeep dashboard.

When you see this light appear, it means that the communication between the throttle and gas pedal body is not happening as it is supposed to. In this case, you should also check engine light.

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 accelerator pedal reset or take it in to a mechanic if the reset doesn’t work.

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How Do I Reset My Electronic Throttle Control System?

When the red lightning bolt symbol appears on your Jeep’s dashboard, it may mean that that the pedal position is not lined up properly causing there to be miscommunication with the sensors resulting faulty throttle control sensor readings 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 ignition 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 or the warning 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.

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