A red lightning bolt signal in your Jeep can not only be confusing but also quite frustrating as, unlike a check engine light, it doesn’t specify where the issue lies. But, it’s easily resolvable once you know what it indicates!
If the red lightning bolt warning light shows up, it means the car’s computer has detected a problem in the car’s electrical system. This is most commonly caused by unaligned sensors, a faulty cooling thermostat, or a faulty electronic throttle body.
Keep reading to learn quick and easy ways to fix each of these issues!
Troubleshooting And Fix For Red Lightning Bolt Warning Light On Jeep
The red lightning bolt warning light on your Jeep dashboard usually indicates a few resolvable issues in your car’s electrical system. Even though you can drive with the red lighting bolt signal, it’s not recommended.
You may notice your car go into limp mode when you first notice the signal. The car won’t go above 30-40 mph in this mode. The car will also show acceleration problems, rough idle, and loss of fuel.
So, below are some of the issues that may cause a red lighting bolt signal in your Jeep, along with the fixes!
1. Car hasn’t adjusted to a new part change
In cases of a new battery change, throttle body change, ETC., your car will require a relearn.
A relearn is a process that helps your car’s sensors adjust to the new throttle body, ETC, or battery’s sensors. In simpler words, a relearn helps the car talk to its new organ.
Your Jeep must go through the process to properly adjust to a part change. If not, the Jeep may have trouble running the system properly, showing a red lightning bolt signal.
It’s always best to do a relearn as part of the pre-checks before moving on to the throttle body or thermostat.
First, take your car key and put it in the “on” position. Make sure not to start the engine. Now, you will notice two signals: the red lighting bolt and the check engine signal, which indicate a problem in the engine.
Wait for the red lightning bolt to go out. The check engine light will remain on, but wait until it stops blinking.
Now, push the accelerator pedal all the way down very slowly. And then slowly bring it back up.
Turn your car off using the ignition key and turn the engine back on. In most cases, if a relearn is needed, your car won’t show the red lightning bolt signal anymore. And the drive issues will also be fixed!
2. A faulty thermostat
The thermostat manages the car’s cooling system. The coolant in the cooling system needs to know exactly when to release it and when not to. And the thermostat helps the cooling system know that.
So, if the thermostat goes bad, you may notice the car’s temperature gauge not coming off cold. This indicates the thermostat or the temperature sensor may not be functioning properly. Which usually brings up the red lightning bolt signal.
To fix this issue, you will need to replace the thermostat. Start by removing the engine’s air intake to expose the throttle body.
Right below the throttle body, you’ll notice another intake: the coolant intake. This will expose the thermostat, which you can then remove.
Simply pull out the old thermostat. A good sign of a faulty thermostat is if the old one seems stuck open. Also, while removing the thermostat, have a draining bucket underneath, as it can get messy!
Once replaced, restart your car, and the red lighting bolt signal should go away in an hour.
Also, in some rare cases, the problem may be your Jeep’s temperature control sensor. If replacing the thermostat doesn’t seem to fix your issue, try replacing your car’s temperature sensor.
Watch this video to learn how to replace your Jeep’s temperature sensor!
3. A dirty or faulty electronic throttle body
Lastly, a dirty or faulty electronic throttle body is the most common cause of a red lightning bolt. The throttle body has various sensors that calculate and manage the amount of air intake your car is getting.
A faulty electronic throttle body can cause the car’s air intake to not work properly. Leading the car to indicate the red lightning bolt signal.
Also, sometimes the throttle body can get jammed due to carbon buildup. In that case, simply cleaning the throttle body with dedicated coolant will fix the problem. But in most cases, it’s recommended to replace the whole body.
Whether the throttle body needs cleaning or replacing, it must be removed first. So, let’s go through the process. First, locate the throttle body in your Jeep and remove the filtration part of the system. It’s located right between the throttle body and the air intake.
The throttle body should be exposed now and ready to be removed. Remove the sensor cable from the throttle body before removing the main part.
There are a few more screws that you can now take out much more easily. Remove all the screws attaching the throttle body to the system, and it should pop right out.
Be sure to avoid touching or messing with the inside plate of the throttle body. The inside plates, or flaps, are connected to sensitive sensors. To clean the inside flaps, use a dedicated solvent. And if needed, replace the throttle body very carefully.
Check out this video to learn about this whole process in more detail!
Is it Safe to Drive With a Red Lightning Bolt Signal on a Jeep?
While driving with a red lightning bolt signal on a Jeep isn’t particularly dangerous, it can be bad for your car. The red lightning bolt indicates a few issues that can harm your car if not resolved.
Your car may initially only experience problems such as rough idle, overheating or cooling, and bad fuel economy. But if not resolved, not only will it hinder your driving experience, but the issues may cause further damage to other sections of your car.
Initially, the throttle body may only need cleaning, but ignoring the red lightning bolt signal and driving the car may cause the throttle body to break down completely. You can also end up damaging your car’s engine.
Altogether, fault codes and indicator signs only show up when your car needs something fixed. So, unless it’s absolutely necessary, we do not recommend driving your car while a red lightning bolt sign is showing.
To round up today’s topic, here are some frequently asked questions. These questions will help remove any further confusion you may have:
Is it safe to replace the electronic throttle body of your Jeep yourself?
Yes, with proper knowledge, replacing the electronic throttle body yourself is quite simple. Most automobile shops may charge up to $1300 to replace the throttle body. DIY is always much cheaper.
What are the main signs of a faulty electronic throttle body in a Jeep?
The main signs of a faulty electronic throttle body are rough idle, acceleration issues, fuel loss, overheating, and starting issues. If you notice any of these signs, check for a red lightning bolt signal; if it shows, your Jeep’s throttle body may not be replaced!
What does it mean when a red lightning bolt signal shows along with the check engine light?
If your car is indicating a check engine light and a red lightning bolt sign together, the ECM has identified a problem in the car’s engine. And the red lightning bolt indicates the problem is related to the electronic throttle body or the temperature control system.
Every Jeep owner comes across a warning light every now and then. Sometimes, it’s due to a part going bad but in most cases they can be avoided with proper maintenance.
For a red lightning bolt signal, simply follow our guide to identify the cause and fix the issues accordingly. Thank you for reading!