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 1,000 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
  1. Home
  2. Questions
  3. 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: Seven warnings came on, can't shift from park to drive - 2001 Mercedes Benz CL600

Hello. From the symptoms you describe it would appear that your vehicle may possibly have a faulty stoplight switch. The stoplight switch lets the computer know that the brakes are being applied, so that the vehicle can be safely shifted....

Q: Jeep tries to start, but doesn't.

This sounds to me like the starter is cranking over very slowly. This can be due to the starter motor being weak and in need of replacement or the battery being weak and in need of a charge or replacement....

Q: When I unplugged the TPC it runs like a new truck

Hi there. If when you remove the TPS (throttle position sensor) and the engine runs better, then there could be an issue with the MAP (manifold absolute pressure) sensor. Check the MAP sensor and see if the harness is good...

Related articles

How Do Power Car Windows Increase Passenger Safety?
Power windows are responsible for approximately 2,000 emergency room visits every year. When a power window closes, it exerts enough force to bruise or break bones, crush fingers, or restrict an airway. Though...
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...
What are the Car Pool Rules in Hawaii?
Hawaii is widely regarded as a land of vacation and relaxation, and as such, its scenic roads and routes are far better known than the state’s freeways. But, as with all...