Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: What could cause my ESP light and ETC light to come on while driving?

asked by on

For the last week I have had a slightly rough idle, not as bad as I've experienced in other vehicles but in my Patriot, which I have owned for about 6 months, it caused the ESP light and ETC light to come on. This prevented me from going over 40mph and the lights went off after I turned the vehicle off and turned it back on again. This has happened twice. The first time the check engine light went off before I could get to Autozone to find out what code it was throwing. This time happened on my way to work. I'm just trying to get a feel for what may be causing it. The first time it was idling rough but down when I started the car. This second time it was revving up to about 3k rpms when I started the car. Both times the lights came on after I was already driving it and the idle seemed fine. The car is due for an oil change but I didn't think this had anything to do with my idle. I live paycheck to paycheck and I'm trying to have an idea of what kind of repair I'm looking at.

My car has 54100 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Hi there. I wouldn’t get too worried. It is normal for the ESP and ETC lights to come on when the Check Engine Light (CEL) does. They are Electronic Stability Program and Electronic Traction Control. Both are tied into the ABS system.

If the engine or transmission is not working properly, these systems will be disabled. The lights come on to inform you of this. If the engine is rough at idle, it is misfiring. The engine computer can detect even the slightest misfire. When it does it will set a code and turn on the CEL. The code will remain stored even if the light goes out.

Misfires can damage the catalytic converter. This is why the computer will only allow you to go 40mph. It reduces the power output of the engine to prevent more damage. Have the codes read out for you if you wish. Misfire codes are P0300-P0304.

For the rough idle, you will still need someone to diagnose why it is misfiring. If I were to guess, I would think you have a bad ignition coil. There is one for each cylinder. If you would like to have all of this checked, a certified technician from YourMechanic can come to your car’s location to diagnose the rough idle (as well as any other problems) and can advise you on any suggested or urgent repairs.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
  • Home
  • Questions
  • What could cause my ESP light and ETC light to come on while driving?

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: The ESP light turns on and car stops

Hi. As you probably know, ESP stands for electronic stability program. If the car detects the wheels are spinning or there is a danger of skidding into a turn, it will illuminate the ESP light. If the ESP light flashes...

Q: Is it bad when oil gets into the throttle body?

Hello, I believe what you are describing is a problem with your PCV valve. A bit of oil in the throttle body is not going to harm your motor and is certainly not going to cause it to blow up....

Q: Misfiring

Engine misfires can be caused by many different problems and are generally caused by either a spark or fuel issue or in some cases, a combination of both. Spark related problems generally will result from things like ignition coils, crankshaft...

Related articles

P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the...
P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...
How Much Does a Mechanic Make in Vermont?
Automotive technician jobs in Vermont have an average mechanic salary of $37k, with some mechanics earning a salary of $53k.