Jeep Wrangler JK: Electronic Throttle Control Warning Light

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This article applies to the Jeep Wrangler JK (2007-present).

According to reliable industry reports, those Jeep Wrangler owners most often affected by issues pertaining to the electronic throttle control warning light are owners of the 2007-2008 Jeep Wrangler. These owners complained that the warning light persistently appeared on the dashboard of their vehicle and would return even after they'd cycled through the ignition multiple times. Let's examine a few key points affecting the electronic throttle control warning light in your Wrangler, as well as go over some important questions and answers related to this technology.


Electronic Throttle Control (ETC) Warning Light

What is ETC?
Electronic Stability Control, or "ETC" as it is often shortened, is a type of technology that identifies and warns a driver that his or her vehicle has started to skid or is about to skid due to poor traction. It improves traction in order to protect the vehicle from losing control and overall stability while in motion. The technology can be enabled or disabled at any time by the driver.

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Figure 1. ETC warning light.

ETC Light Displays on the Dashboard
It is common for the check engine light to display alongside the ETC warning light when poor traction is an issue. It's a good idea to run your diagnostic trouble codes (DTC) to get a clear picture of what's wrong with your Jeep. Here's what you'll need to do:
  • Use an on-boarding diagnostic scanner or run the codes manually.
  • Place your key inside the ignition cylinder and turn it to the "ON" position.
  • Do not start your engine.
  • Turn the key to the "OFF" position.
  • Repeat for three passes without stopping.
  • End with key in the "ON" position.
  • Write down your DTC, which will display on your odometer after a series of dashes.
  • Notify your local Jeep dealer or mechanic about the results of your reading.
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Figure 2. Use an on-board diagnostics scanner.

The Relationship between ETC, Lift Kits and Larger Wheels
If you've recently added a 2-inch (or higher) lift with 33-inch (or higher) wheels, you might need to disengage the ETC technology on your Jeep Wrangler. Otherwise, you might notice the ETC warning light persistently appearing on your dashboard, without a clear way of how to resolve the issue once and for all.
Jeep advises Wrangler owners who have added a lift, in combination with larger than normal (e.g., 30 inches) wheels, to disable the technology on their own or visit a local dealership where a mechanic can do so free of charge.
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Figure 3. Electronic Stability Control tests can be performed on your Wrangler.


Frequently Asked Questions

How do I remove the check engine light?
Perform five key cycles to remove the light from your dashboard.

Is it normal for my engine to drop in power when the light is on?

Yes! Don't panic; simply cycle your ignition or disable the technology if you've added a lift kit to your Jeep recently.

Does severe weather impact ETC?
In some cases, severe weather can impact ETC, particularly when there is a drastic drop in temperature. For an easy fix, regardless of weather conditions outside, it's highly recommended that you add a full can of injector cleaner to your fuel tank every 10,000 miles. Next, spray out your throttle body using a high-quality cleaning solvent. Finish the job by taking your Jeep for a drive to release any trapped odors (e.g., carbon buildup). This simple DIY tip will save you a great deal of money and frustration.