Electronic Throttle Control Warning Light Mean

electronic throttle control dashboard warning light

An electronic throttle control (ETC) warning light indicates there is an issue with the engine’s electronic throttle body or the system. The throttle control warning light will normally light up briefly each time you start your vehicle, and then go off. This is nothing to worry about. But if the light stays on, or comes on while you’re driving, it indicates there is an issue with the engine’s electronic throttle body or the system.

How throttle control system work

Electronic throttle control is a system integrated with your car’s computer. It utilizes a control module operated by the accelerator pedal and an electronic throttle body (air control valve – ACV) on the engine. The electronic fuel injection (EFI) system is also controlled by the Electronic Throttle Control. All three devices and systems work together enabling precise engine speed modulation.

When you push the gas pedal down, the ETC system opens the ACV’s internal butterfly valve to admit greater airflow to the engine while the EFI increases fuel flow. Thus the engine speeds up. At the same time, the ECU adjusts the timing of both the engine valves and ignition in accord with programmed profiles that will produce smooth and powerful engine acceleration.

Most air control valves include a throttle position sensor (TPS). The TPS provides a signal back to the ECU confirming that the air valve is responding precisely as it is commanded by the ECU.

What does the electronic throttle control light mean?

The electronic throttle control (ETC) light indicates that there is an issue with the throttle system. The throttle system includes the throttle body, accelerator pedal, sensors, and wirings. The electronic throttle control system controls and monitors the position of the throttle.

While older vehicles use a cable that’s linked directly to the throttle body, most modern cars accomplish this feat through sensors and your vehicle’s ECM.

Like the check engine light, traction control light, or other warning lights, this light tells you a problem exists that may require corrective action. See your car’s owner’s manual for further information.

Causes of Electronic Throttle Control Warning Light,

The most common causes of an Electronic throttle control warning light coming on are listed below:

  • Sensor Malfunction: A faulty throttle position sensor (located on the air control valve) can cause the electronic throttle control light to come on.
  • Faulty Accelerator Pedal Position Sensor: A faulty throttle position sensor (located on the air control valve) can cause the electronic throttle control light to come on.
  • ACV Butterfly Valve Motion Inhibited: Valve unable to move smoothly from idle position to wide open position
  • ETC System Electrical Problems: Intermittent or loss signal from or to the ECU or from gas pedal module.

How do I fix my electronic throttle control warning light?

First you need to scan for OBD2 Trouble Code (DTC) using OBD2 scanner.  Then you can take your code to the internet to find the cause of your fault and how to fix it. Once you know what the problem is and how to fix, you can purchase the necessary replacement parts and install them. Once everything is fixed, it’s time to erase the codes. Plug your scanner back in and erase the trouble code. You might need to confirm the changes. We recommend rescanning the engine to be sure they are gone. You will also see the warning light goes off.

If you can’t find the information you need online — or you don’t feel comfortable attempting repairs yourself—and the warning light on the car is still illuminated. We recommend getting to the service station to find out what the problem is or consider calling your local dealership for help.


The content contained in this article is for entertainment and informational purposes only and should not be used in lieu of seeking professional advice from a certified technician or expert mechanic. We encourage you to consult with a certified technician or mechanic if you have specific questions or concerns relating to any of the topics covered herein. Under no circumstances will we be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on any content.

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