How to fix a Red Lightning Bolt on Dash

Vehicles have signs and warnings indicating any issue that may arise from the different parts of your vehicle. Most car owners don’t know the function of some components in the car and as such won’t be able to detect the reason for some signs and warning a car might be giving. One of the many signs or warnings your car can give is the red lightning bolt on the dash.

This sign simply tells you that there is an issue with our electronic throttle control which can be because of an electronic throttle control issue, electrical system malfunctions or even a faulty sensor.

A red lightning bolt on the dash is one reason for cars to break down. This is because it sends electricity from the battery to power up the electronics of your car. Sometimes it can start out causing the car to have issues.

What Does It Mean to See a Red Lightning Bolt on Dash?

Seeing a red lightning bolt on the dash implies that the electronic throttle control system has some defect and that the electronic throttle control has lost the ability of both the gas pedal and throttle to contact what is supposed to happen to enable its function.

A red lightning bolt on the dash can also mean having an open circuit between two components in the electronic throttle system.  It can also signify a problem with your dashboard display screen like having lines across it.

Signs that Indicate that Your Electronic Throttle Control System is Bad

There are other signs to watch out for other than the red lightning that appears on the dash. You must know these other indicators, so you don’t fall victim to using a bad electronic throttle control, and paying a huge sum of money when it is beyond repair.

Intermittent Flashing of The Indicator Light

After doing a pedal reset, you discover that the red lightning bolt flashes intermittently, then it is a sign that the electronic throttle control is faulty.

Fuel Mileage Decrease

A decrease in fuel can also indicate other car problems, but when a sign of fuel mileage decrease is associated with a red lightning bolt on the dash then your car has an electronic throttle control problem.

The problem in acceleration: Most times a faulty electronic throttle control can lead to acceleration problems causing your car to stop while in motion.  If the fault is not fixed immediately, not having control of your throttle because of a faulty electronic throttle control system can lead to an accident.

What Causes an Electronic Throttle Control to Become Faulty?

The easiest way to detect the cause of a faulty electronic throttle is by reading the diagnostic trouble code. The common cause of electronic throttle control malfunction included.

Faulty Pedal Position Sensor or Module 

The electronic throttle control includes the accelerator pedal position sensor and an accelerator pedal module. The pedal position sensor sends the current position of the pedal to the control module then the control module uses this information to communicate with the position of the throttle sensor and establish the current position of the throttle.

So, when any of these parts is broken there will be trouble with the code and the system won’t function.

A Stuck Throttle Body

Having a stuck or damaged throttle body won’t make your car system work the way it should work. It will significantly affect your electronic throttle and eventually paralyze the whole system.

Throttle Control Sensor Malfunction

The throttle control sensor is in charge of telling the electronic control unit the current position of the throttle body so having a malfunctioned throttle control sensor,

the electronic control unit not getting the necessary information about the current position of the throttle body won’t be able to know the perfect fuel and timing ratios to adjust everything else this will lead to engine code.

How to Fix a Red Lightning Bolt on Dash?

A red lightning bolt on the dash means that the pedal position is not properly lined. It can cause the sensor which controls the motor that opens and closes the throttle not to contact.

We will look at three methods of fixing a red lightning bolt on the dash

Method 1

Step 1: 

Turn your car key in the ignition on without starting the car. Wait until all warning lights go out, though the check engine light might be on.

Step 2: 

Press your car’s gas pedal to the floor and release it slowly until it’s back to its original rest position. Turn your key in the ignition off.

Step 3: 

Start your car and press the gas pedal down again to see if your car responds and if the red lightning bolt sign has disappeared from the dash.

Method 2

Resetting the red lightning bolt on the dash can be easily done if the reason is a faulty electronic throttle control system. This is achieved by disconnecting the battery of your car then waiting for about five minutes and reconnecting back.

Start your car to see if the red lightning bolt will come up again. If there is no success after trying the battery disconnecting method, you may want to try the next method.

Method 3

To unplug the negative terminal cable underneath the steering column in your car leaving the positive terminal cable attached.

If after trying all three methods, your car still displays the red lightning bolt sign, you may have to consult a certified mechanic to check for the reason the red lightning bolt on the dash is displaying and get it sorted out.


How much is the cost of fixing a faulty electronic throttle?

Fixing an electronic throttle control is dependent on your location and the hours it takes to get it fixed. Most times the cost ranges between $300 and $1,500. It could be higher or lower depending on the kind of car you own, and the design.

What is the meaning of Red Lightning in A Car?

A bolt of red lightning which is the electronic throttle control indicator symbol is the lightning bolt in between parenthesis or reverse brackets. It shines or gives a light alert warning if there is a problem or fault in the electronic throttle control system. Immediately you see the red lightning in your vehicle, you should know that there is something wrong with your throttle system, and you need to get that checked out as soon as you can. Driving around with a faulty throttle system isn’t good for your vehicle in any way, even for your safety.

Can I drive my car with the Throttle Control warning light on?

Driving with your car displaying the throttle control warning light on the dash is not safe as this can result in a more serious issue than just having a drop in fuel efficiency or acceleration decrease problem. You shouldn’t be driving with any warning signal turned, except it is merely an electrical malfunction.

What is the main cause of Throttle Control Failure?

The main cause of a faulty and nonfunctional throttle control system is internal contamination accumulated in the throttle body causing the throttle valve to be stiff and able to move properly. Thereby causing problems with the control of air supply to the engine.

Can Throttle Control Malfunction make your car not start?

When your car’s throttle position sensor is bad, it makes the car throttle body not function properly. This could make it stay shut and if it shuts, your car engine won’t receive air and won’t start. When you notice a slight malfunction with your throttle control, immediately move your vehicle to the mechanic to carry out a thorough examination of the vehicle and solve the problem.


Having the red lightning bolt on the dash is not always a serious issue but like any other issue, your car might experience, it must be given attention and carry out the necessary steps to get it fixed as soon as something goes wrong else it leads to a more serious car problem.

As discussed in this article, a red lightning bolt on the dash indicates an electronic throttle control problem.

Although the electronic throttle control system is not the most important component in your car, it is one of the most important components of your car and as such must be taken seriously when issues arise.

If after following all steps discussed in this article to reset the red lightning bolt on the dash and it keeps flashing on and off, take your car to a certified mechanic and get it fixed as soon as possible.

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