Etc Warning Light

Throttle Control Warning Light (ETC) – Symptoms & Info

In Engine by 10 Comments

Almost all cars after 1990 were equipped with some kind of electronic computer that was supposed to control the functions of the car.

This computer is called an ECU or PCM and is included with every car you buy. In addition to an ECU, there are many other small electronic components such as an Electronic Throttle Control (ETC). ETC has a very important function to perform.

In older cars, the throttle position was determined by a cable that opened the throttle depending on how hard you pressed the accelerator pedal.

However, a direct connection between the throttle valve and the accelerator pedal was not efficient. The car owners experienced increased fuel consumption. Therefore the throttle control unit was developed.

What is the ETC Valve?

This unit makes an important decision every second you drive your car. The ETC collects information from the accelerator and then from the engine to decide how far to open the throttle.

Throttle Body Symptoms

When you press the pedal, an electronic signal is transmitted to the ETC that causes the throttle to open or close wide. If you drive fast and press the pedal fully down, your car’s ETC will detect the situation and keep the throttle wide open to let in the maximum amount of air.

Alternatively, the throttle valve will open slightly if you are only driving to keep the air-fuel mixture at the optimum level.

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The throttle control unit is necessary to ensure that you get the optimum amount of power from your engine. If it fails, you will face countless problems in your daily driving. That’s why the ETC light in your dashboard illuminates when problems occur.

This light indicates that there is a problem with the ETC and you should have it checked as soon as possible. The ETC light is normally the last warning you will receive before your engine performance is affected. This is something you can’t afford, so we have made a list of symptoms associated with ETC failure.

Problems Associated with The Electronic Throttle Control

There are a variety of problems that can arise in an ETC. The good thing is that each problem has its own specific code. If something goes wrong, the ECM or ECU triggers the fault code, which causes the ETC to light up in your dashboard.

As soon as the light comes on, you should see a mechanic. The mechanic will attach an OBD2 scanner to your car and check the fault code. This code will tell the mechanic exactly what the problem is. Once he has learned of the problem, the mechanic can make the necessary repairs and delete the code from the system to turn off the fault light.

If you know the associated symptoms, you can make the diagnosis yourself without spending money on a mechanic.

1. Non-Responsive Throttle

Throttle Body

The first sign of a failure of the throttle control is a non-responsive throttle. This occurs when you press the throttle but do not get a quick response in terms of faster acceleration. You will feel a weak throttle response and sometimes a tremor before your car accelerates.

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One possibility that may occur is if the ETC does not receive proper electronic signals from the accelerator. The ETC will only work properly if it receives correct signals. It is possible that a relay is defective or a wire has come loose from the ETC. Whatever the problem, you will inevitably lose throttle response.

In the worst case, you may not get any throttle response at all, which will cause your car to stop in the middle of the road. Once this happens, you should contact your nearest certified mechanic who has the necessary expertise to deal with such a situation. If you are a DIY mechanic, you can even take a look at the throttle unit to see if there are problems with the throttle wiring or the throttle position sensor.

2. Hesitating Throttle

If the ETC is damaged for any reason, the throttle control light in your dashboard will illuminate. A damaged ETC sends incorrect signals to the throttle position sensor and your throttle will behave incorrectly. This hesitation is slight at first, but increases until a time comes when the accelerator is no longer responding to the throttle at all.

In addition, a hesitant throttle response poses a safety risk to you and other road users. You could be involved in an accident and damage property or lives. To be on the safe side, you should consult your mechanic at the first sign of failure.

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3. Poor Fuel Economy

If the ETC light in your dashboard is flashing, it is possible that the mileage of your vehicle is affected. Conversely, poor fuel economy may also mean that either your TP sensor is not operating in accordance with the standards or your ETC light is about to fail.

You may feel that you visit the service station more often. This is because an irregular throttle valve disturbs the air-fuel mixture to such an extent that you sometimes burn more fuel than necessary. A rich fuel-air mixture can seriously damage your fuel economy and make it expensive for you to drive around in your car every day.

4. Limited Acceleration

When things get serious about ETC, you might not only see a throttle indicator light come on in the dashboard but also feel that you can’t accelerate your car more than up to a certain point. This situation is intentional and is done by the ETC to protect the engine from damage. This is called “limp” mode, a safe mode to protect the internal parts of the engine.

Replacement Cost

The ETC is an expensive engine component, and as it is electronic, its cost is sometimes non-negotiable. In most cases, you don’t need to change the ETC, but if you do, you can expect to spend more than $200 – $300, and that too depends on the make and model of your car.

10 thoughts on “ Throttle Control Warning Light (ETC) – Symptoms & Info ”

  1. engine light was on took car to mechanic and said that the test shows throttle sensors needed replace, so it was replace but the engine light went back on and now the mechanic said its the catalytic converter needs to be change. 3 years ago i had the catalytic replaced, what could be the problem with this 2005 grandpree pointiac

    1. Lol…
      Old pontiac issue! Its probably limp mode…power saving… its the accelerator pedal sensor. Very common for these cars to have that issue.

  2. I have a 2016 Jeep Limited. Electric Throttle Light came on with a bit of hesitation when trying to accelerate. Took to dealership was told it is the oil temperature sensor that was causing that light to come on. Reading what you have written one doesn’t have anything to do with the other. Am I wrong??

  3. Very informative and gave great starting place for me. It confirms what i explained to my company yesterday. Now that theres a more specific idea on possible repairs instead of just my description of condition, hopefully it’ll be taken more seriously.

  4. Hi I recently purchased a car and when I take my foot off the accelerator the car tends to jolt. I purposely drove on a quiet road slowly taking my foot on and off the gas pedal constant slight jolting. I have had engine mount changed my mechanic cant seem to find a problem. I cant afford to keep paying out and noone knows what it is please can you solve this problem or got any idea so i can ask my mechanic to check what you suggest out ?Thankyou

  5. I’m glad I visit your website, I think I found the answers I needed, it makeS a lot more sense than what the mechanic In the dealership told me, he’s telling me my cooling system has a small leak, does that make any sense?

  6. My 2011 Ram has been good so far. today the truck would not start. It just clicked now the electronic throttle light is on. I can jump start it and it runs. What do you think?

    1. Our 2011 Dodge Caravan is in the shop right now with the exact same problems as you describe. Also, our Malfunction Indicator Light was on. Dealer just picked it up for service, a week later… Lights were not on. Did you find out what was wrong with your Ram?

  7. Hi, I just wanted to ask if anyone knew why my etc light comes on only when it’s cold out like below 30 and after 4 to 5 minutes of running I have a 2008 Dodge Avenger and this light comes on only when it’s cold out but if I restart my car it goes off it still runs fine and nothing is affected other then when I’m stopped or in Park the air blows cold.

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