Most drivers pay less attention to and don’t realize the importance of their automobiles’ throttle systems.
Due to their ignorance of the purpose of their electronic throttle control light indicator, many of them may not recognize when their vehicle starts to display symptoms of a failing throttle system, allowing the problem to worsen until the vehicle breaks down or even putting them in potentially dangerous situations.
To protect them from the damaging effects of a faulty throttle system, we have decided to educate lots of car enthusiasts on this issue.
This thorough article on the Electronic Throttle Control (ETC) system has all the information you require to understand why the electronic throttle control light on your Jeep Grand Cherokee or other vehicle illuminates and what the system as a whole does.
Electronic Throttle Control: What Is It?
An Electronic Throttle Control (ETC) is a technology used in automobiles that electronically re-establishes the mechanical connection between your accelerator and throttle.
An accelerator pedal module, typically with two or more automobile sensors, and a throttle valve that can be electrically actuated by a motor are the three main parts of an ETC system. Finally, a power train control module (PCM), often known as an engine control module, is another name for this motor (ECM).
The Engine Control Module is a computer system with computer memory, processor, and output or input surface devices that uses software to calculate the required throttle position using data from other diverse sensors. It is an electrically operated type of module unit.
Gas pedal position sensors, engine speed sensors, and control switches are a few of these sensors.
Through a closed-loop control algorithm located inside the Engine Control Module, the motor then unlocks the throttle valve to the proper angle.
What Is the Purpose of Electronic Throttle Control Systems In Vehicles?
The ease with which the electronic throttle system can be integrated into other systems, such as electronic stability control, engine, traction, and driving control, is a key benefit of having the system installed in automobiles.
An electronic control unit (ECU) by Specious / CC BY-SA 3.0. Another frequent cause of the electronic throttle control indicator lighting up is electrical issues. The electronic throttle depends on electrical impulses from the ECU for operation, and these electrical impulses can alter in any way.
When necessary, these technologies can take over the throttle to improve the comfort, fuel efficiency, and safety of your car.
In contrast to older cars, practically all modern cars have an electric throttle control system, which sends a signal to the ECM when the gas pedal is depressed.
The information in the signal is used by the ECM to send a command to the electric motor mounted on the throttle body, which adjusts the position of the valve as necessary. A closed-loop control system is then created using a position sensor to ensure that the throttle is opened correctly.
If there is no problem with your throttle system, the electronic throttle control light on your automobile won’t start blinking or turning ON. Make sure to address any issues right away.
The Electronic Throttle Control: How Does It Function In a Car?
The old-fashioned cable-operated throttle control has been replaced by an electronic equivalent in contemporary vehicles. Your throttle control is managed by the gas pedal. In older cars, the accelerator pedal is connected to the engine by a cable and joined to a linkage that is fixed to the carburetor or throttle body.
However, in vehicles equipped with ETC, pressing down on the accelerator pedal forces the mechanical linkage, which is connected to a butterfly valve housed inside the throttle body, to move inward.
The mass air flow sensor monitors the air changes when the valve opens and closes and provides this data to the Electronic Control Module (ECM) of your car. The ECM then increases the fuel amount given to the injectors to maintain the proper air-fuel ratio.
After analyzing the data, the ECM modifies the fuel injectors’ fuel flow as necessary.
What are the Benefits of Electronic Throttle Control?
The Electronic Throttle Control, which aims to ensure that the automobile’s powertrain or transmission system performs properly independent of common circumstances like altitude, accessory loads, and engine temperature, is largely unknown to automotive fans.
Additionally, the ETC works in the background to smooth out gear changes while you’re driving and to handle torque variations caused by sudden braking and accelerating.
As long as the throttle can move regardless of where the driver’s gas pedal is located, electronic throttle control speeds up the integration process of various features like stability control, driving control, precrash systems, traction controls, and other elements that require torque management.
ETC also has advantages in certain other areas, such as lowering fuel consumption, and exhaust emissions, controlling fuel mileage, and working with other technologies like a direct gas injection.
Electronic Throttle Control is just one of the automotive technologies whose engineering deals with managing faults and failures. Many ETC systems contain redundant sensors and controllers with independent software inside a control module built to look for any potential flaws or problems.
Why Does the Electronic Throttle Control Light Turn On?
This could be due to a change in fuel efficiency. When there is a problem with your throttle control, the electronic throttle control light in your jeep wrangler or other contemporary cars will illuminate.
Nothing to worry about if the light flashes on and off. The light typically has a parenthesis on either side and looks like a lightning bolt.
A typical car engine by Carolla / CC BY-SA 3.0. There are other issues besides the electronic throttle control light that might cause an engine to stall or misfire. One of the various issues that could cause it is throttle body issues.
The electronic throttle light may illuminate while you’re driving as a warning that your car needs repairs, particularly to the throttle control system. You won’t notice white smoke coming from your car’s engine.
This indicator indicates an issue with your ETC when it suddenly illuminates and is typically the last warning you will receive before your car’s engine performance is compromised.
Typically, the ETC receives a signal and delivers it to the throttle by making it open and close simultaneously. This happens when you have problems like a depressed throttle pedal. If this cycle is broken, there is a problem. As a warning sign, the ETC light illuminates and flashes on the dashboard.
What Causes the Electronic Throttle Control Light to Turn On?
Now that we know enough about the electronic throttle system and the components that make it up, we can go on to learn more about the electronic throttle control light.
It illuminates to notify the driver of an issue with the electronic throttle system. This provides a head-up about a problem and gives the driver time to take appropriate action.
The electronic throttle control light resembles a brief lightning bolt with two vertical lines that are bent inward on either side.
Depending on the brand and model of the vehicle, it could be red, orange, or yellow. It will illuminate briefly when you start your car, just like every other warning light, to make sure it is operational.
However, this does not imply that all cars will be equipped with an electronic throttle control light. Your owner’s manual is your finest resource for information that is as accurate as possible.
If this light continues to illuminate after starting your automobile, there may be a deeper problem. Using an OBD II reader, this can be located. Here’s a great one that we discovered on Amazon.com.
Now that you are familiar with the electronic throttle control light, let’s explore the potential reasons why it might turn on. The full list of potential causes for the electronic throttle control light is provided below.
1. Malfunctioning Throttle Position Sensor
We have previously discussed this. One of the essential parts of an electronic throttle system is the throttle body sensor. This sensor’s malfunction could result in inaccurate data being sent about the butterfly valve’s position.
This might render the entire effort useless. Depending on the vehicle, the system may activate an electronic throttle control light as the engine enters its idle condition.
2. Malfunctioning Accelerator Pedal Sensor
The electronic throttle relies on yet another sensor in addition to this one. The engine control unit receives information from this sensor about the location of the gas pedal.
A false reading can have a cascade effect on the operation of the throttle body and the fuel injection as additional calculations based on this data are made.
One potential cause of the electronic throttle control light appearing is a malfunctioning accelerator pedal sensor. But any issue with the accelerator pedal module has the potential to affect it as well.
A car’s transmission unit by Leoiii6382 / CC BY 4.0. Unlike earlier autos, your throttle controller is electrically powered rather than being connected to your throttle body by cables. On rare occasions, it fails, interrupting the broadcast.
Depending on the vehicle, the engine may reset to idle similar to the throttle position sensor. The driver will, however, undoubtedly see an electronic throttle control light.
3. A Stuck Throttle Body
As we previously discussed, a jammed butterfly valve can render the electronic throttle body completely inoperable. The system detects this circumstance as part of the diagnostic procedure and turns on the electronic throttle control light.
Anything can physically hinder the valve’s movement, but carbon buildup is the most frequent one. It affects a lot of old autos.
You’ll have to clean it up at a garage if the carbon build-up has blocked the valve. A new throttle body might be required if it’s too late for even that to stop the electronic throttle control light from turning on.
Corrosion is another likely culprit that jams the valve. The metal throttle body is susceptible to corrosion. The throttle body may corrode internally if water gets inside of it.
This can be close to the shaft or surrounding the valve. Both of these scenarios will result in a jammed valve and, of course, an electronically illuminated throttle control light.
Not the one, this. Even dirt can occasionally find its way into the throttle body. For instance, there is a good likelihood that the throttle body carries dirt if the automobile has been flooded.
These have the potential to harm the engine in addition to blocking the valve and turning on the electronic throttle control light. Therefore, in these circumstances, it is preferable to wait for a mechanic to thoroughly clean the components before starting the engine.
4. Electrical Problems
Electrical problems are yet another frequent reason for the electronic throttle control indicator to illuminate. Any change in the electrical impulses from the ECU, on which the electronic throttle depends, can affect how it operates.
In some circumstances, the operation of the device may also be hampered by external magnetic or electrical fields. But most contemporary automobiles are outfitted to combat this.
In some unusual circumstances, the ECU transmits improper electrical impulses. The first of them could be corroded or spliced wiring or loose connections in the wiring.
Unreliable signals may be sent from the ECU to the throttle body as a result of this poor wiring. The diagnostic system can quickly detect this by activating the electronic throttle control light.
Mechanical failure is a further factor. The electronic throttle control light may come on as a result of a mechanical issue with the pedal’s connection.
It may send signals infrequently or result in a total loss of signal from the ECU. This holds even when the gas pedal module is malfunctioning.
How Much Does Electronic Throttle Control Repair Cost?
Including the cost of the Jeep electronic throttle control repair, repairing an electronic throttle control runs between $580 and $700. Absent taxes and fees, the labor of a mechanic ranges from $100 to 125 dollars, and additional repairs to other parts might be necessary.
The cost of repair can reach $670 because this component is essential to every car’s internal system. The cost of repair is affected by several additional elements as well.
For instance, it will be less expensive to fix your car’s throttle control if it is in a visible and accessible location. It might be as little as $520.
However, it will be highly expensive if your vehicle’s throttle position is sophisticated and concealed because a lot of disassemblies will be required, including taking out the air filter box and intake manifold.
A car’s engine coolant by EvelynGiggles / CC BY 2.0. Any coolant lines that are directly attached to the throttle body should be caped to prevent coolant leaks and air from entering the system.
The cost of restoration might rise to as much as $700. This could also raise the cost of the repair if your car is brand new.
How to Reduce the Cost of Repairing an Electronic Throttle Control?
As we all know, some indications that the electronic throttle body is malfunctioning include the check engine light turning on, hesitancy when accelerating, and jerky gear shifts.
Clean the original body to see if that resolves the problem or gets rid of any extra junk before deciding that the complete electronic throttle body needs to be replaced.
This component can easily become clogged over time with dirt, carbon deposits, pollutants, or other debris that could impair its functionality and prevent it from opening and shutting as required.
Some car owners will view this as routine maintenance in the long term to save money on electronic throttle control repair costs.
By removing the air intake pipe, unplugging any obstruction-causing hoses or wires, and removing the electronic throttle control or body from the upper intake manifold, you can quickly gain access to this component.
This would be a good opportunity to inspect the throttle body gasket and perform the throttle body replacement after you complete this, or after the mechanic completes this for you.
Additionally, you must check the air intake system for any broken parts, such as frayed or damaged rubber hoses, which can be allowing air into the system.
To avoid coolant leaks and air entering the system, you should make sure that any coolant lines that are directly connected to the throttle body are caped.
If any of these suggestions fail to resolve the problem with the electronic throttle body and control, you may have to accept the fact that the cost of replacing the electronic throttle control will now be unavoidably higher than you had anticipated.
What Occurs When an Electronic Throttle Control Malfunctions?
In and of itself, the electronic throttle control light is not a concern. It only serves as a warning that there is a problem with your car’s undercarriage.
But there are a few more signs you may watch out for in addition to the electronic throttle control light. Being alert to these can help you identify problems even before they worsen.
Here is a list of every possible problem that could go along with the electronic throttle control light.
1. Interrupted Throttle Control
Instead of cables flowing from the throttle pedal to your throttle body, like in previous automobiles, your throttle controller is electrically powered. The transmission is occasionally interrupted.
This can be the result of a malfunctioning sensor or relay; as a result, the throttle controller won’t be able to receive data and will only sometimes provide throttle control. This may occasionally result in the engine of your car knocking down or leaving you unable to control the throttle.
2. Acceleration Issues and Throttle Hesitations
When you apply the throttle, a malfunctioning throttle controller may result in your engine having problems accelerating or may have an adverse consequence that causes your car to stop while it is still moving.
A throttle position sensor (TPS) by The RedBurn / CC BY-SA 4.0. The engine may reset to idle like the throttle position sensor, depending on the vehicle. An electronic throttle control light will, however, surely be visible to the driver.
If the defect is not fixed right away, this may result in subpar performance and safety risks. Accidents can happen if your throttle control is compromised.
3. Substantial Changes In the Fuel Economy
High fuel usage can result from broken throttle controls, which may be brought on by a breakdown in communication between the throttle controller and the air-fuel ratio of the engine, which is managed by the airflow sensor. If there is a leak as a result of the damage, you might smell gas.
4. Stalling or Misfiring Engine
The electronic throttle control light is not the only problem that can cause an engine to stall or misfire. Throttle body troubles are only one of the many problems that might lead to it.
5. Harsh Idle
You may have every cause to believe that your throttle is malfunctioning if your car idles rougher than usual. The electronic throttle control light will typically be present in addition to it, making the problem fairly clear.
6. Exhaust Black Smoke
This can also be brought on by a variety of factors, such as oil leaking into the cylinders. However, a problem with the electronic throttle control light, particularly in older vehicles, can also result in increased pollution.
7. Difficulty Turning On the Engine
It can be a throttle-related issue if you have trouble starting the engine or cannot start it at all. The throttle control system’s incorrect signals might not be supplying the correct amount of gasoline and air needed to start the engine.
Of course, other problems like a damaged starter motor, a discharged battery, a malfunctioning fuel pump, etc., might also have the same result.
8. Vehicle Goes In Limp Home Mode
Most automobiles have this fail-safe feature known as a limp-home mode. This is activated when the vehicle’s ECU notices a problem. To prevent more damage, it limits how fast the car may go.
The car may enter a limp-home mode for several reasons, but an illuminated electronic throttle control light can indicate that the throttle is malfunctioning.
How to Fix Electronic Throttle Control: A Step-By-Step Process
A considerable time can pass during an ETC. It often lasts the entire life of the car. However, there is a chance that it will malfunction, just like any other mechanical or electrical gadget.
Therefore, a moving throttle body, a faulty relay, or a damaged sensor could all be to blame for the jeep patriot’s electronic throttle control light turning on.
Cleaning the throttle body might not solve the issue, thus we urge you to replace the throttle body. If the issue still exists after that has been resolved, it may be that your throttle control is fully defective. We’ll explain the proper procedure for changing your throttle control to you:
Black smoke from a truck’s exhaust by Photohound. Oil pouring into the cylinders is one of the many variables that might cause exhaust black smoke. But an issue with the electronic throttle control light, especially in older cars, can also lead to more pollution.
Electronic Throttle Control Reset
To start the car without starting it, turn the key to the “on” position. Wait three to five seconds before gradually depressing the gas pedal. After releasing it, press the pedal once more to lower it halfway. At the midway point, hold the pedal for 5 seconds before releasing it gradually.
Press the gas for 10 seconds after waiting 10 seconds. As soon as the diagnostic test mode II turns on, the engine light will begin blinking. After letting go of the pedal, wait another ten seconds before applying further pressure.
As soon as the electronic control unit resets, the check engine light ought to begin to flash.
Release the gas pedal after the ten seconds are up, then turn off the ignition.
The electronic throttle control ought to have restarted.
Note: Try the procedures again if the reset was unsuccessful. The reset can be prevented by a temporal difference of just a few seconds.
Electronic Throttle Control Replacement
Between the air intake and the intake manifold on the top of the engine, locate the electronic control.
Check your owner’s manual to check if the new throttle control needs to be initialized (using a scan tool) after installation.
The negative (black) battery cable should be disconnected and then set aside.
Slide the air intake tube off by loosening the air intake clamps with the screwdriver. You might need to disconnect any electrical connectors or hoses that are connected to the air intake, depending on the car. Make use of your manual.
Push the tabs down and take the connector off to unplug the electrical connectors from the throttle control. Use a screwdriver to pry back the tabs on some automobiles.
The fasteners holding the intake manifold and throttle body together should be removed using the ratchet and the appropriate-sized socket.
Take the throttle lever off. The throttle control gasket should then be removed using the screwdriver.
The throttle control gasket can be cleaned with brake cleaner and a fresh cloth. If the TC gasket is not in excellent shape, replace it.
Install the new electronic throttle control and the replacement throttle control gasket.
Using your fingers, snugly tighten each bolt holding the throttle body in place one at a time. The bolts should then be tightened using the ratchet.
Just as you unplugged the electrical connectors, re-plug them.
The screwdriver can be used to tighten the clamps as you reinstall the intake hose.
The negative battery cable should be replaced and tightened.
A hand-held OBD II scanner by Arp. If this light stays on after starting your car, there might be something more serious going on. This can be found with an OBD II reader.
Accelerator Pedal Position Sensor Replacement
With the hood open, find the accelerator pedal position sensor on the firewall.
The two 10 mm bolts on the side without the wire harness must be taken out to remove the lid.
Slide the bracket between the various parts to remove the remaining two bolts from the sensor’s bracket after unplugging the wire harness from the sensor’s housing.
The sensor is connected to the gas pedal by a cable. Since the sensor is on a spring, you must twist it to release the cable’s tension and remove the hooked end of the sensor. Remove the nut holding the bracket to the cable by using the wrench.
As you now remove the bolts, grasp the nut on the opposite side with an adjustable wrench. You’ll need the bracket later, so save it.
As you wrap the cable around the sensor, you might need to twist the spring to make a place for it.
Replace the housing cover, tighten the bolts holding the cable and bracket together, and clamp the bracket and housing cover.
Replace the final two bolts holding the housing to the firewall and reconnect the wire harness.
Drive the vehicle to check the sensor’s functionality.
The Butterfly Valve Cleaning
Ensure that the car is parked in an area with good ventilation.
Find the negative (black) battery terminal, wiggle the cable out of the way, and take it off.
To access the throttle body completely, you must. The clamps holding the air intake hose in place can be released and removed with a Phillips screwdriver or a TORX wrench.
Remove other objects that are in your way if you have to. The air intake hose should then be taken off. If your car has many air intake hoses, only one should be taken off for cleaning. As you remove the hose, be mindful of any wires or electric contacts.
Spray the air intake hose’s interior with the throttle body cleaner. Allow the cleanser a few minutes to completely dissolve any leftovers before cleaning the air duct of debris, varnish, and grease with a toothbrush and towel.
Next, use the same cleaner to spray the throttle body’s interior. To avoid covering the area with cleaner, use little sprays. Where sticking occurs on the valve plate, be sure to spray the valve plate and the throttle body.
After allowing the cleaner to dissolve the crud, clean small sections of the throttle body’s metal at a time with the towel and toothbrush until the entire surface is clean. The butterfly valve must not be moved!
Once the interior and exterior of the throttle body have been thoroughly cleaned, have a helper turn on the ignition, but not the engine. You should be able to clean behind the valve plate with the butterfly valve open. As you wipe the valve plate to remove any varnish, use the flashlight to view it more clearly.
You can gently push the valve open if it won’t open; don’t force it. When you push too hard, the lever system and gear will fail, necessitating the replacement of the throttle body. To clean it, gently insert a toothbrush or piece of cloth inside.
Repeat the cleaning process until the valve plate and throttle body are clean. When done, keep the hood open until the cleaner has completely evaporated.
Air intake hose replacement and reclamation. Any additional parts you removed should be replaced, then tightened. To prevent an additional check engine light message, make sure they are properly tightened.
Start the car. It could take a little while to start, but it should move along quickly. The car should idle without any problems. As soon as you depress the gas pedal, the idle should react.
That concludes our discussion of how to fix electronic throttle control on cars. By now, you should be aware of what to do when the electronic throttle control light on your Jeep Compass illuminates.
Always keep an eye on your electronic throttle control light and other indicators while you’re driving so you can identify any problems with your throttle system early on and prevent any damage or dangerous circumstances.
A throttle position sensor (TPS) by The RedBurn / CC BY-SA 4.0
Jim Wicks is the founder of MotorVehicleHQ. With over two decades of experience in the automotive industry and a degree in Automotive Technology, Jim is a certified car expert who has worked in various roles ranging from a mechanic, car dealership manager, to a racing car driver. He has owned more than 20 cars over the past 15 years. Ask him about any vehicle you see on the road and he can tell you the make, model and year. He loves the aesthetics of all things cars, and keeps his vehicles in pristine condition.
In his free time, Jim enjoys getting his hands dirty under the hood of a classic car or taking long drives along the country roads. His favorite car? A 1967 Shelby GT500, a true classic that, according to Jim, “represents the pure essence of American muscle.”