Electronic Throttle Control Light: All That You Need To Know

Most drivers overlook the throttle system’s significance in their vehicles, and they pay less attention to the system. So when their vehicle begins to exhibit symptoms of a failing throttle system, a lot of them might not know because they don’t know the function of their electronic throttle control light indicator, leaving the fault to build up until the vehicle breaks down or even lead to dangerous situations.

We have decided to enlighten many car enthusiasts on this subject to save them from the destructive effects of a damaged throttle system. Constructed here is a comprehensive article that encompasses all you need to know about the Electronic Throttle Control (ETC) system to know the meaning of when your electronic throttle control light jeep grand Cherokee or any car illuminates and also what this entire system is all about.

What is electronic throttle control?

An Electronic Throttle Control (ETC) is a technology for automobile vehicles, which connects the gas pedal to your throttle electronically, restoring the mechanical link. An ETC system comprises three significant components; an accelerator pedal module, usually with two or more car sensors, a throttle valve that can be electrically operated by a motor. This motor is often called an electric throttle body and, finally, a power train control module (PCM) or Engine Control Module (ECM).

Electronic Throttle Control System


The Engine Control Module is an electrically control type module unit, a computer system designed with computer memory, processor, and output or input surface devices that use software to figure out the needed throttle position through calculations from information gotten other various sensors. These sensors include the gas pedal position sensors, vehicle or engine speed sensor, and control switches.

The motor then unlocks the throttle valve to the right angle through a closed-loop control algorithm inside the Engine Control Module.

Why Do Vehicles Have The Electronic Throttle Control System?

A significant advantage of having the electronic throttle system installed in vehicles is that the component can easily be connected to another system, including electronic stability control, engine, traction, and driving control. These systems can take control of your throttle when needed to enhance your vehicle’s convenience, fuel economy, and safety.

As oppose to old vehicles, almost all modern vehicles have an electric throttle control system, so applying pressure on the gas pedal transmits a signal to the ECM. The ECM uses the signal’s information to transmit a control signal to the electric motor placed on the throttle body that changes the valve’s position accordingly. A position sensor then creates a closed-loop control system that makes sure the throttle is opened the right way.

The electronic throttle control light on the car won’t start blinking or turn ON if there’s no fault in your throttle system. Make sure you fix any fault found immediately.

How Does Electronic Throttle Control Work?

The electronic throttle control is the modern version of what was operated by a cable in old cars. The gas pedal controls the job of your throttle control. In old vehicles, the gas pedal is connected by a cable that links it to the engine and is joined to a linkage fixed to the carburetor or throttle body.

But for vehicles with ETC, when you apply pressure on your accelerator pedal, the throttle cable forces the mechanical linkage inward, joined to a butterfly valve built within the throttle body.

As the valve opens and closes, the mass air flow sensor checks the air changes and transmits this information to your vehicle’s Electronic Control Module (ECM), which then elevates the fuel amount sent to the injectors to maintain the correct air-fuel mixture. When the ECM has processed the information, it makes the necessary fuel flow changes at the fuel injectors.

What Are Electronic Throttle Control Benefits?

Most car enthusiasts are unaware of the Electronic Throttle Control’s benefits because this its goal is to make sure that the car’s powertrain or transmission system operates optimally regardless of predominant situations, including altitude, accessory loads, and temperature of the engine. The ETC also functions in the background to enhance gear shifting’s smoothness while driving and taking care of the torque changes relating to quick stopping and accelerating the vehicle.

Electronic Throttle Control speeds up the integration process of some features such as stability control, driving control, precrash systems, traction controls, and other aspects that need torque management, provided the throttle can move regardless of the location of the driver’s gas pedal. Also, ETC gives benefits in some areas, such as reducing fuel consumption, exhaust emissions, fuel mileage control, and functions along with technologies like direct gas injection.

Many of the engineering involved in automobile technologies, including Electronic Throttle Control, handle fault and failure management. Several ETC systems have sensors and controller redundancy with independent software inside a control module designed to inspect possible faults or errors.

What Does It Mean When The Electronic Throttle Control Light Comes On?

This might be a result of a change in fuel economy. 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. The light usually resembles a lightning bolt with a reserved parenthesis on either side.

When the electronic throttle light comes on while driving, it may be a warning sign that your vehicle needs repair, especially from the throttle control system. You might not see white smoke coming out from the engine of your vehicle.

When this light comes on abruptly, it means you have an issue with your ETC, which is usually the last warning you will get before your car’s engine performance becomes affected. Usually, when you have issues like a depressed throttle pedal, the ETC gets a signal and sends it to the throttle by making it open and close simultaneously. If this cycle is interrupted, it signifies a fault. The ETC light turns on and flashes on the dashboard as a warning signal.

How Much Does It Cost To Fix Electronic Throttle Control?

To fix an electronic throttle control costs between $580-$700, including jeep electronic throttle control repair cost. A mechanic’s labor costs between $100-$125, minus taxes and fees, and repairs in other parts may also be required. Because this part of the car is a key part of every vehicle’s internal system, the repair cost can be as high as $670. Also, some other factors play a role in the cost of repair. For example, if your vehicle’s throttle control is in an open area or visible and accessible, it will cost lesser to repair. It may be about $520 or even less.

But if your vehicle’s throttle position is very complicated and hidden, it will be very pricey because a lot of disassembling will have to be done, including taking off the air filter box and intake manifold. The price may increase, as high as $700 for repair. If your car is new, this may also contribute to increasing the price for the repair.

How Do I Reset My Electronic Throttle Control?

Rough idling of your vehicle’s engine can sometimes be due to a change in the throttle body position sensor calibration position. To correct this change, you need to follow these steps on how to reset the electronic throttle control light.

how to reset the electronic throttle control light

Step 1: Diagnose your vehicle for any trouble codes and get it fixed. Then check your Powertrain Control Module system for any fault and also the car engine for any air leakage. You need to give special attention to your PCV system, filter cap seals, and dipstick for faults.

Do not reset your ETC if the codes relating to the airflow sensor, the absolute pressure of manifold, and wrong idle speed are detected or if the service engine light is ON. But if you have everything in order, you can continue with the resetting process.

Step 2: Bring your engine to the normal functioning temperature, ensure that the ignition timing is set to the manufacturer’s specifications. Turn off your radio, heater, rear window defogger, and air conditioner to prevent overloading your engine, which will negatively affect your throttle plate’s position. Then ensure that our front wheels are in the neutral position, facing straight. After this, you can now reset your throttle control.

Step 3: Release your gas pedal fully. Turn ON your ignition without igniting your engine for about 2 seconds, then turn OFF the ignition for 10 seconds. Turn ON the ignition again for 2 seconds and turn it OFF for 10 seconds. This will notify your computer system of the new position of your gas pedal and closed position.

Step 4: Now turn ON your ignition for 3 seconds, immediately the time elapses, press the gas pedal five times, and release the pedal within 5 seconds. Relax for 7 seconds, and then press your gas pedal down for about 20 seconds, till your engine check light stays ON and stops fluctuating. After 3 seconds from the time the light stops fluctuating, let go of the gas pedal.

Step 5: Start your engine and allow it to idle. After about 20 Seconds, rev the engine several times to be certain the idle speed is within the manufacturer’s specification. That’s it! You are all done. If you are unsuccessful, turn OFF your ignition for about 60 seconds and repeat the process.

What Happens When The Electronic Throttle Control Goes Bad?

If you have bad throttle control, then you will most likely experience these few symptoms:

Intermittent throttle Control

As opposed to older vehicles, the throttle controller operates electrically, instead of cables running from the throttle pedal to your throttle body. In a few situations, the signal is interrupted. This can be due to a faulty sensor, or relay; this will cause the throttle controller to be unable to receive signals and give out intermittent throttle control. Sometimes, this can cause your vehicle’s engine to knock down, or you will not be able to control the throttle pedal.

Throttle hesitation or accelerating problems

A faulty throttle controller can make your engine develop issues with acceleration or might cause a negative effect when you engage the throttle, like causing your vehicle to stop while running. This can lead to poor performance and safety risks if the fault is not repaired immediately. Not having full control of your throttle can result in accidents.

Drastic changes in fuel economy

When your throttle control is damaged, it can lead to high fuel consumption, which might be due to a miscommunication linkage between your throttle controller and the engine’s air-fuel mixture, which is controlled by your airflow sensor. You might perceive a gas smell if there is a leakage from the damage.

How Do You Fix Electronic Throttle Control?

An ETC can last for a very long time. Most times, it lasts throughout the vehicle’s life span. However, like any other electrical or mechanical device, there are possibilities that it will falter. So when the electronic throttle control light jeep patriot comes ON, it can be caused by a shifting throttle body, damaged relay, or sensor. After you’ve had that fixed, and the problem persists, then it could be that your throttle control is completely bad; cleaning the throttle body might not work, we advise you to replace it. We will give you the appropriate method on how you can change your throttle control:

Step 1: If your throttle control is bad, then the engine check light is ON, now use a scanning device to scan your vehicle. If the code reads P0121, this code can signify different things, but it means your throttle is bad, and you need to change it.

Step 2: The throttle control is located on top of your engine, so just remove the air duct first, loosen the throttle clamp, and then unbolt it. Now you have to unplug the electrical connection. You can use a screwdriver to pry the connection off. Unbolt the four bolts holding the throttle in place. After that, you should be able to slide off the throttle from its assembly.

Step 3: Get a new throttle control, and it’s preferable to get a new one. The remanufactured ones are not that good. So you put a new gasket in and place your throttle properly and then bolt it back on. Then plug in the electrical connection and tighten it.  Place back the air duct and tighten its clamps.

Step 4: Now put on your engine, and as the engine comes on, you will notice it is idling too fast. Do not be bothered about this; it has to go through the idle relearn process. You have to use the reset process described above to get your engine operating as it should, or you can call your mechanic. But after the throttle control is reset, watch your engine running smoothly. You can see videos similar to this to also help you out.

Final Words

So that’s all you need to know about the electronic throttle control system on automobiles. You should now know the consequences of when your electronic throttle control light jeep compass comes ON and what to do. Always remember to check your electronic throttle control light along with other indicators while driving so you know on time if your throttle system is faulty to avoid further damage or risky situations.

Osuagwu Solomon

Osuagwu Solomon is a certified mechanic with over a decade of experience in the mechanic garage, and he has over five years of experience in the writing industry. He started writing automotive articles to share his garage experience with car enthusiasts and armature mechanics. If he is not in the garage fixing challenging mechanical problems, he is writing automotive repair guides, buyer’s guides, and car and tools comparisons.

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