The Red Lightning Bolt Light (RLBL) is an Electronic Throttle Control (ETC) indicator symbol. The RLBL typically appears between two reversed brackets (parentheses) on your vehicle’s dashboard. The Red Lightning Bolt is a modern-day replacement for the Mechanical Throttle Mechanism as it were in the sixties.
It is made up of a sensor-based mechanism that measures the amount of pressure put on the throttle and sends a signal to the motor through a sensor. The light does not come on all the time. But when it does, there is significance.
My Red Lightning Bolt Light (RLBL) Is On. What Does It Mean?
When the Red Lightning Bolt Light illuminates or appears on the dashboard of your car, it is an indication of a miscommunication between the gas pedal and the throttle. What this essentially means is that the driver is being notified of a problem in the vehicle’s Electronic Throttle Control (ETC) system.
Since the gas pedal is not mechanically connected to the engine, a sensor monitors the engine and sends information to the Electronic Throttle Control when a problem is detected, which in turn notifies the driver through a lightning bolt indicator light on the dashboard.
What Should I Do When the Red Lightning Bolt Light Illuminates?
The illumination of the Red Lightning Bolt Light on the dashboard of your vehicle shouldn’t be a cause for a panic attack. Just be calm and do the following when the lightning bolt light comes on.
- Adhere to all safety precautions for your and your car’s safety.
- Pull over at a safe place and turn off the engine of the car immediately. However, if you think it’s not safe where you are at the moment, keep driving while on the lookout for the nearest mechanic. This is also a good time to reach out to your mechanic.
- Get a code reader to scan the engine and reset the throttle for trouble codes. A code reader is a simple car diagnostic tool designed to report trouble codes responsible for check engine lights and other problems in a vehicle. Scanning for trouble codes can help identify other problems in the car. In some cases, all you’d need to do after scanning the engine would be to replace the air filter or the Electronic Throttle Control (ETC) sensor, especially if the problem is a result of applying too much pressure on the gas pedal.
- Restart the engine of your car.
How Do I Perform a Restart?
Do the following to perform a restart.
- Insert the ignition key and turn it to the “ON” position but without starting the engine.
- Wait for some minutes for the warning lights to disappear.
- Depress the accelerator or gas pedal all the way down to the floor.
- Slowly release the accelerator until it returns to its original position.
- Turn the ignition key to the “OFF” position and restart while pressing down on the throttle.
Contact an authorized service center should the Red Lightning Bolt Light continue to illuminate after the restart. It may also be a good idea to seek roadside assistance at this point.
On a Final Note
As stated earlier, the illumination of the Red Lighting Bolt Light is an indication of a fault in the Electronic Throttle Control system of a vehicle. While this is not a development you should be terribly worried about, the lightning bolt light is there for a good reason and should be attended to promptly.