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What Does Red Lightning Bolt On Dash Mean?

The red lightning bolt on the dashboard means something wrong or malfunction concerning the electronic throttle control system in your vehicle. The system generally deals with the pressure you put onto the throttle and transfers it through the sensors to a motor that opens the throttle directly proportional to the pressure.

Now, as we know that the electronic throttle control system performs a vital task; thus, its maintenance regularly should be done correctly. Otherwise, we would likely face specific unexpected issues. We can generally drive our car with the light of the system being on but remember to reset or repair the faults as quickly as possible.

Here, our article will help you in guiding the methods and procedures required to reset the faulty lightning bolt in the electrical throttle system. So, let’s begin with a discussion of the topic.

What Does Red Lightning Bolt-On Dash Of Car Mean?

In older cars model, we usually observe the throttle and the gas pedal connected through the cable. The opening of the throttle system determined by the pressure exerted by the gas is on its release. However, this system was pretty expensive as it requires high fuel consumption.

Thus, another system named the electronic throttle system developed in the late ’90s. As everything has its drawback and so do this system. This system is determined or indicated by the red lightning bolt light present on the dashboard whenever a fault observed.

The emergence of this light is the improper communication between the pedal and the throttle system of the car. In such cases, we need to perform the gas pedal procedure, and soon we’ll find the answer to the question.

Symptoms Determining The Red Lightning Bolt-On Dash

The red lightning bolt in the car usually controlled by the system named electronic throttle control (ETC) system. So, this system generally in charge of connecting the accelerator pedal to the throttle. It uses the mechanism by which fluid flow managed by constriction. If the system is not working correctly, we could observe the red lightning bolt on the vehicle’s dash.

There could reside a variety of symptoms for determining the issue in the throttle control system. Among them, the most common ones listed below. So, let’s have a look with a brief description of each.

1. Car Won’t Accelerate Or Lacks Power When Accelerating.

You will observe changes or face difficulty while accelerating your vehicle, and thus, it is the first sign determining the fault in the throttle control system. In such cases, your car cannot accelerate the way it should or as smoothly as it does previously.

Also, if you notice or identify that your vehicle is accelerating, the exact opposite of the above situation. Then there is a high percentage that the engine is facing some malfunctioning.

All these signs and symptoms resemble the faulty electronic throttle control system. Thus, the throttle sensor fails, and hence the red lightning bolt is seen over the car’s dashboard.

2. Engine Won’t Idle Smoothly Or Idles Too Slow.

Here is another sign of failed throttle system. Whenever you face or experience engine misfire, stalling, or rough idling while stopping your car, this signifies the damage or faulty sensor.

Thus, your car must maintain a constant or idle engine speed when it is idle. For this, the continuous level of fuel delivery is mandatory for having a properly working sensor that determines the light on the dashboard.

3. Facing Trouble While Accelerating

In this case, your control unit will face difficulty in changing gear. More clearly, it feels a bit sticky and slower to switch between the gears. Generally, we will see cars accelerating but within a range of about 20-30MPH.

It falsely limits the power supply generating from the accelerating pedal. It also feels like the vehicle fizzles out initially, or may second gear won’t uplift or go any faster than this speed.

4. Investigate Engine Lights Coming On Along With The Accompany

Most of the time, the engine lights mean nothing, but on the other hand, they mean a lot, like something catastrophic is happening. So, we generally can’t ignore these lights.

After all, the fundamental reason behind switching one of the lights through sensors determines the issues related to the throttle position sensor. And indirectly the cause of red lightning bolt on the dash of the car.

There may also reside certain signs regarding the faulty throttle control system, like the sharp decline in the fuel economy or your miles per gallon. In such cases, you will observe that your vehicle can’t go as far as earlier with the same quantity of fuel used as before. Then this is a clear symptom or sign that it’s time for you to visit a trusted mechanic to guide you in solving the problem. Also, it helps you know the correct cost according to the repair needed, then try to keep your car running safely and at an average performing level.

How Much Does It Cost To Fix The Red Lightning Bolt?

The red lightning bolt is the light controlled by the electronic throttle control. It usually regarded as the crucial part of the internal system of each car. Therefore, the cost of repair, fixation or resetting is pretty high but long-lasting.

The average cost lies between the range of $640 to $800, excluding the servicing charge. However, price variation may usually observe from place to place and car to car.

Frequently Asked Questions-

So,here are some of the frequently asked questions about meaning,function of the red Lightning bolt in car?-

What Does The Lightning Bolt On The Dash Mean?

The lightning bolt on the dash means that there is a problem with the electronic throttle control system in your vehicle.

What Is The Function Of The Red Lightning Bolt In Car?

The red lightning bolt in the car usually controlled by the system named electronic throttle control (ETC) system. So, this system generally in charge of connecting the accelerator pedal to the throttle. It uses the mechanism by which fluid flow managed by constriction.

What Is the Red Lightning Bolt On A Choke Control?

The red lightning bolt is the light constrained by the electronic choke control. It is typically viewed as the essential piece of the inward arrangement of every vehicle.

What Does It Mean When Your Throttle Control Light Is Red?

When you see the red warning light this means means that the gas pedal and throttle are not communicating properly.

Can You Drive With Electronic Throttle Control Light On?

If you see the ETC light while driving, there is no need to stop but it is best to take your car in to the auto shop for a full diagnostic. If there are no other illuminated warning lights visible or issues with acceleration, then continue to drive but make sure that you either perform a reset  or take it to a mechanic for a check over.

How Do You Reset The Red Lightning Bolt On The Dashboard?

The red lightning bolt symbol on your dashboard may be trying to tell you that the pedal position has shifted, so there is an increased chance of miscommunication between motor-control sensors. This is caused by misalignment of the gas pedal over time. It’s easy enough just to reset it though and can be done in less than 10 minutes.


The red lightning bolt on the dash or the ETC light is usually a huge concern. But we expect you to draw your attention to it before its condition worsen. Although you can drive your car with the light switching on, we recommend you visit the mechanic or perform the reset procedure soon.

We hope all the readers are pleased with the article and have no more issues related to the matter. If your doubts regarding the topic persist, comment below in the comment section. And we will answer all your questions as soon as possible.