Troubleshooting Dodge Ram Electronic Throttle Control Problems


An electronic throttle control system relies on sensors and other electronic components to function correctly. But when any part of the system malfunctions, a warning light or message will prompt you to troubleshoot the issue.

The electronic throttle control system in a Dodge Ram can experience problems if the truck’s battery is weak, causing a low voltage condition. Besides that, dirty MAP and boost sensors will also lead to similar problems. The gas pedal and its sensors are also important to check, as they can become problematic. Lastly, consider that the throttle body might require a replacement if no other solutions work.

The following sections will help you understand the problems your electronic throttle control system can experience. You’ll also discover why those problems occur and what solutions you can use to resolve them.

Why Is My Dodge Ram Saying Service Electronic Throttle Control?

You’re seeing that prompt on your instrument panel because there’s an issue affecting the electronic throttle control. As you’ll see below, there are indirect problems elsewhere in the vehicle that can trigger the same warning.

Here’s why your Dodge Ram is experiencing issues with its electronic throttle control:

Weak Battery

The electronic throttle control prompt you see on your dashboard can be quite concerning, as it suggests a significant problem with the system. But before you troubleshoot it, check your battery health first.

A weak battery or one at the end of its lifespan can cause problems with the electrical and electronic components on board. That’s because a weak battery can’t maintain the correct voltage levels necessary to operate them.

When voltage levels are too low, you’ll experience malfunctions that can affect the throttle control.

You should start your troubleshooting by focusing on the battery, as it’s the quickest and most straightforward issue to rule out. If that’s the root cause, you’ll save plenty of time and effort by checking it first.

How to fix it: Your battery will become weak when too much of its charge has been drained. For example, you might have left the headlights on while the engine is off. That’ll cause the battery to drain without being recharged by the alternator.

Meanwhile, an older battery that’s been in use for over 3 years or so can also wear out, causing the same outcome.

You can recharge the battery if it’s still relatively new. However, an old battery should be replaced entirely.

Read: Dodge Ram 1500 Has No Heat – How To Diagnose Problem?

Dirty Boost Pressure Sensor

Another reason your electronic throttle control is problematic is due to a dirty boost pressure sensor. This is a well-known issue when it comes to this particular truck model.

As the name suggests, the sensor continuously measures the boost pressure inside the intake manifold. It collects data and supplies it to the onboard computer, which then adjusts the fuel volume and ignition timing to maximize efficiency.

When the sensor becomes dirty, it can no longer collect and supply accurate data. As a result, the throttle control won’t work correctly as fuel and ignition timing are imbalanced.

How to fix it: You can solve this problem by cleaning the dirty boost pressure sensor. However, you must remember to be gentle when cleaning the inside portion to avoid damaging any part of the component.

Spray the sensor with brake cleaner to clean the sensor. Let the spray break down any build-ups around the sensor, then wipe it down with a clean and dry cloth.

You can then use a pick to clean the internal portion of the sensor. But you must be extremely careful not to break any internal parts, which will cause you to replace the sensor with a new one.

Read: Dodge Ram 1500 Noise In the Front End – How To Diagnose? What’s The Cause Of the Problem?

Dirty MAP Sensor

Aside from the boost sensor, another sensor that can cause electronic throttle control problems is the manifold absolute pressure (MAP) sensor.

Contrary to popular belief, a MAP sensor differs from the boost sensor described above. As the name says, a MAP sensor measures absolute pressure. But the boost sensor measures gauge pressure compared to atmospheric pressure.

In any case, a dirty MAP sensor can also affect the electronic throttle control. Over an extended period, the sensor will experience a buildup of impurities from the air that flows through it. 

That will prompt the electronic throttle warning you see on the display.

How to fix it: MAP sensors are also cleaned with spraying and wiping. However, you’ll want to ensure that you use an electronic spray or one explicitly tailored for MAP sensors.

As before, spray the sensor and let the spray break down any buildups. Then, gently wipe everything away with a dry cloth.

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Faulty Accelerator Pedal And Sensor

The electronic throttle control system in your Dodge Ram consists of several sensors and electronic components. Some of those sensors are attached directly to the accelerator pedal you push down on with your foot.

The sensors there measure the precise position of the accelerator pedal. The data it collects is then sent to the onboard computer, so the engine accelerates proportionately.

Given its position near your foot and close to the floor, the pedal and its sensors can become dirty over an extended period. That dirt can affect the sensors and prevent them from functioning correctly.

However, the pedal and sensor combination can eventually wear out and become faulty. The car will sense that fault and trigger the warning telling you that a throttle control problem is occurring.

How to fix it: Firstly, try cleaning the accelerator pedal and sensors to ensure they can function correctly. Removing the pedal from the vehicle temporarily would allow you to clean it more thoroughly.

However, if the pedal and its sensors are clean but still won’t function correctly, you’ll have to replace them with a new set. This is the most likely solution if the vehicle is old and the pedal has seen plenty of wear.

Read: What Are Jeep EcoDiesel Problems?

Defective Throttle Body

After you’ve considered all of the above and none of it helped, the final thing you’ll want to check is the throttle body itself.

The throttle body is a valve that opens and closes to let air into the engine. The valve moves proportionately based on how far you’re stepping on the accelerator pedal. Of course, all of these things happen thanks to the electronic throttle control and its sensors that feed the system correct data.

Unfortunately, a defective throttle body will cause problems for your vehicle. The throttle control will sense that and prompt you with a warning, calling for you to troubleshoot the issue.

How to fix it: When there’s a defect or other fault with the throttle body, there is no solution but to replace the whole unit entirely.

Given that it’s a significant investment, you’ll want to ensure that you troubleshoot all of the other electronic throttle control problems before you do that.

Read: How To Track a Car Location Online?

Final Thoughts

The Dodge Ram utilizes an electronic throttle control system. When that system experiences problems, it will trigger an indicator light or an error message on the instrument panel.

A weak battery can trigger these warnings. That’s because weak batteries cause low-voltage conditions that lead to malfunctions in the vehicle’s systems. However, dirty boost and MAP sensors can also trigger the same issue. A dirty or damaged accelerator pedal will also lead to problems, as will a problematic throttle body.

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