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What Does A Lightning Bolt Mean On A Jeep? (All Your Answer)

Jeeps tend to come with various features. While these features are helpful, they can also be confusing at times. The red lightning bolt on the dashboard of your Jeep is one such feature. 

So what does a lightning bolt mean on a Jeep? The lightning bolt that often appears on your Jeep’s dashboard is a warning light. It mainly appears when there is a problem with the ETC. This is used to warn the driver to fix the problem as soon as possible. 

If you are looking for a quick solution to the issue, you are in the right place to do so. In this article, we will be covering an overview of what lightning bolts mean on a Jeep.

What Does A Lightning Bolt Mean On A Jeep?

Lightning bolts in your Jeep are merely warning lights that are used to warn the driver regarding a specific problem. The lightning bolts were more active in older cars. 

Older jeeps had their gas pedal connected directly to the throttle. However, this wasn’t a well-wired system. As such, engineers decided to input an ETC system to provide aid to the system.

The technology might have worked quite well. However, it wasn’t by any means efficient. The ETC system had huge lags and often malfunctioned without any warning. 

That’s exactly where the lightning bolt played its role. The lightning  bolt was triggered when there were problems with the ETC. With the lightning bolt flashing, you know exactly what problem you are facing. 

How Does The Lightning Bolt Function On A Jeep?

Typically, there is no flashing lightning bolt on the dashboard. However, once your ETC faces some issues, a striking red lightning bolt will start flashing on your dashboard. 

The lightning bolt function is triggered when there is a specific problem in the ETC. In order to get your notice as soon as possible so that you can begin taking defenses, the bolt’s distinctive red hue is mostly utilized. 

When there is a relay difference between the throttle and gas pedal, the bolt is triggered. It can also be activated when the throttle and gas pedal are not working in the way they are supposed to. 

What Causes The Lightning Bolt Light To Come Out On A Jeep?

While a dysfunctional ETC is the main reason behind the lightning bolt being triggered, there are several causes behind this. We have compiled and listed some of the most common causes.

Malfunctioning Gauges:

Gauges need to be exposed to the outside so that they can judge the proper figure of what they might be working on. However, this can cause dust particles to cluster and accumulate on these gauges. 

Dust particles cause the gauges to not work properly. Even if they do work, the results shown in the display will not match what they were supposed to show. 

The best way to fix these gauges is to clean out the dust and pull out the cluster. You might also need to clean and reconnect the connector pins since they can get affected as well. 

Loss Of Speed On Blower Motor Switch:

If you notice any burnt smell accompanied by the red bolt being triggered on your dashboard, it is usually caused by the blower speed motor. 

An additional symptom that you can experience is the loss of range in the mode selector switch.  While this isn’t a very common symptom, it is still relevant to the Jeep models that were manufactured in the 90s. 

The only way you will be able to fix the issue is if you are able to catch on to it as early as possible. Once you have identified this problem, you can simply replace the blower speed motor. 

You might also need to lower the voltage of the motor if needed. You can check the voltage by connecting a micrometer or voltmeter to the wires around the motor.  

Spontaneous Cruise Control:

One of the most important and beneficial functions that can be found in any Jeep model is cruise control. Along with the lightning bolt flashes, cruise control can also cause your horns to stop working.

To fix problems associated with the cruise control, you might need to work with the clock spring. This is because when the clockspring is damaged, the connections within the steering wheel can be affected. 

The clock spring is a very small component that is located at the back of the steering wheel. Since it is a non-serviceable unit, replacing it with a new working one is the only option you have.

Pressure Dropping:

Sometimes, you might notice the oil dripping symbol along with the lightning bolt on your dashboard. This is triggered when the engine oil gets too hot, causing the pressure inside to drop. 

Sudden drops in pressure can cause your throttle to not be able to register certain important data. If you continue to ignore the problem, the entire engine might get damaged eventually. 

If you notice both of these symbols together, we advise you to stop your vehicle and turn off your engine as soon as possible. Let your engine cool down. Once everything has cooled down, you can drive your Jeep normally. 

Quick Flashing:

If you have recently changed the LED lights or repaired them, you might experience some quick flashing lightning bolts. There is nothing to be scared of about this issue since it isn’t one that causes any problems. 

The LEDs can flash quickly to show that the connections between the battery and the lights are weak. In addition, it can also be due to the fact that you used an LED outside of its scope of capability. 

You can try to reconnect the LEDs in an attempt to get them to work normally. If even that doesn’t work, replacing them with a more stable bulb is the best option. 

Traction Control Issues:

The traction control in your vehicle is responsible for making sure that the vehicle runs in a straight line no matter which direction you steer. 

This is done with the help of data gathered from the sensors built around the vehicle. However, corrupted data can cause the traction control to not respond properly, thus affecting the vehicle’s throttle.   

The best way to fix this problem is to fix the sensors themselves. Usually, these sensors cause the traction control to gather faulty data. You can try to patch these sensors up or simply replace them with new ones. 

How Do You Reset The Red Lightning Bolt On A Jeep?

Even after fixing the issue associated with the red lightning bolt, the signal might not disappear immediately. In such cases, resetting the bolt is the best and most effortless option that you can follow. 

Follow the following step-by-step procedure to rest the red lightning bolt on your Jeep. 

Step 1: Turn On Ignition

Insert the ignition key into its place and turn it to the “on” position. However, do not activate your car. 

Step 2: Press Pedal

Press your gas pedal as hard as you can. Once it is touching the ground, let the pedal get back to its original position. 

Step 3: Turn Ignition Fully

Turn on the ignition fully and make sure to start the vehicle this time. You can heat up the engine slightly before starting the Jeep in case your car is parked in a cold or damp place. 

Step 4: Depress The Pedal

Hit the pedal and depress it again. Make sure to check whether the engine is working properly and whether the lightning bolt signal light has been extinguished. 

Is It Safe To Drive With The Red Lightning Bolt Light On?

No, it is not safe to drive with the issue the lightning bolt signal is warning you about is still active. Not only is it a huge safety concern, but driving with the problem still persisting is uncomfortable. 

Typical problems associated with the ETC include inconsistent acceleration. This can cause your Jeep’s speed to go beyond your control at a very deadly speed. 

In addition, your electric throttles could fail, which can cause the entire engine to misfire eventually. As such, you should avoid driving your vehicle as soon as possible when the red lightning bolt appears. 

Once the problem has been patched up and the red lightning bolt no longer flashes, you can drive your Jeep without any worry again. 

How Much Does It Cost To Fix A Red Lightning Bolt On A Jeep?

The total cost that you are expected to spend on fixing the red lightning bolt will depend upon the exact problem that you are facing. While there is no exact figure, we have provided a breakdown of the costs below. 

Cost Of Parts: 

The cost of parts will depend on the exact parts that you will be required to spend. Whether you will need to replace the sensors, connectors, or wire, the average cost of these components doesn’t make much difference.

You can expect to pay around 20 to 50 USD depending on the components you are replacing. 

Cost Of Labor:

The cost of labor is optional since many people often do this patching up on their own without any external help. If you are going to hire a mechanic, expect to pay around 80 to 100 USD. 

Do note that the labor cost is set at an hourly rate and will depend on the shop on how they charge you.


Now that we are at the end of this article, we are hopeful that we have been helpful to you in your endeavors. Even if you do face this problem anytime soon, you will know exactly what steps to take to tackle it. 

While patching it up might not be easy, we advise you to try to solve it on your own. Not only will it allow you to save more money, but you will also gain more technical knowledge. 

Of course, that doesn’t mean we are discouraging you from visiting the mechanic. If you are unsure how something might work, you are more than welcome to hire a mechanic to help with this task. 

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