Throttle Malfunction - 2013 Dodge Dart SXT Rallye Long-Term Road Test

2013 Dodge Dart SXT Rallye Long-Term Road Test

2013 Dodge Dart SXT Rallye: Throttle Malfunction

October 8, 2013

2013 Dodge Dart SXT Rallye

It felt like our 2013 Dodge Dart was running out of gas. There was no response to my throttle inputs and the car was losing speed. I was in the middle of a busy Los Angeles freeway and suddenly I was unable to keep up with traffic. I floored it. Nothing.

Traffic was light. I had been cruising in a pack at a steady 65 mph when I realized there was a problem. Now the Dart was down to 50 mph and it continued to slow. I floored it again. Nothing.

I checked the gas gauge. It read three quarters of a tank. All other gauges (there are only two) read normal, but there was a very red warning light lit on the instrument cluster. It looked like two backward parentheses and a lightning bolt. I had no idea what it meant.

I moved the car carefully to the right and onto the shoulder, but I kept it moving. I desperately wanted to make it to the next exit so I wasn't stuck on the freeway, which is very dangerous.

A quarter mile later I was on the off ramp and I could feel some throttle control coming back, like the Dodge's engine was once again getting fuel. Luckily there was no one else exiting at the time. At the end of the ramp I made a quickly right and pulled into the first parking lot.

I stopped. Suddenly the car felt normal again, but the warning light was still on. I opened the owner's manual. The light was telling me that the Dart's electronic throttle was malfunctioning. New cars no longer have a cable that connects the throttle pedal to the engine. It has been replaced by sensors, so there's no longer a mechanical connection between the two. And our sensors had done broke as they say in NASCAR.

So I threw it in Park and turned the car off. I waited a few seconds and fired it back up. No light. Normal throttle response. Reboot successful. And the rest of my drive to work was uneventful.

We'll keep an eye on this and let you know if it happens again.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 14,901 miles


  • rmhpmi rmhpmi Posts:

    Hooray for Dodge/Fiat quality! Never. Again.

  • nukedetroit nukedetroit Posts:

    What have I been saying all this time? This. Car. Is. [non-permissible content removed]!

  • This reminds me. I just love the idea of electric only steering (not the electronic assist but the only electric kind)

  • oh, and seriously, with all the fancy screens in cars anymore why, oh why is it that they still use only obscure dash lights to tell you things. How about accompanying the dash light with a nice readout on the multifunction display saying "throttle malfunction" --- and no error codes stored in the car after that? I'd take it to the dealer rather than work after it pulled that one.

  • bassrockerx bassrockerx Posts:

    "our sensors had done broke as they say in NASCAR." thats funny? hope it gets stuck wide open throttle next time.

  • reminder reminder Posts:

    Yikes! There have been countless innovations in every area of the auto industry. Safety has enjoyed a huge increase in just the last 20 years, with ABS/Airbags/Traction Control/chassis design you name it. But, some things needn't be made complicated to make them better. There are plenty of vehicles on the road that use the drive-by-wire systems and with great success. (My Honda uses it.) The old cable systems did the heavy lifting for a long time. I bet the cat behind the wheel was wishing for some old tech about the time he reached the parking lot.

  • noburgers noburgers Posts:

    scary. instead of the CEL they must have anticipated this happening often enough to have its own light

  • noburgers noburgers Posts:

    I disagreed with @nukedetroit in a previous post--now I want to take it back and agree with him. It may or not be first year jitters but this car falls apart frequently. Freaking Italian Auto Turd (FIAT)

  • stovt001_ stovt001_ Posts:

    @nukedetroit: What I wonder is why, since you made up your mind about every car from an entire region, past, present, and future, at the moment you registered your screen name, do you waste your time reading about things you don't like? You learn nothing

  • pezzy669 pezzy669 Posts:

    Wow I wanted to like Dodge/Chrysler when they began their entire product revamp/refresh. The Dart has fallen flat on its face and their lineup quality has not seemed to improve much. Seems to be they are back to their innovative and stylish 90's days. You know the mid-late 90's Chrysler. Innovative features, stylish package which you may be lucky to break 100k miles without major engine, transmission and/or suspension work. Experience - '96 Grand Voyager (family car) and '99 Neon.

  • nukedetroit nukedetroit Posts:

    So, what, stovt? You can only attack me, since the car is completely indefensible? Have a tissue.

  • agentorange agentorange Posts:

    The only place I would be driving it would be the dealership to get the codes read. I can just about put up with an ignition off reset for the ICE or a Bluetooth system, but for the motor, hell no.

  • hybris hybris Posts:

    I have dealt with broken throttle cables before and its down right terrifying in Kansas City afternoon traffic. (Imagine near LA levels of traffic all going 55-70 mph) At least with a cable might be able to fix it yourself with a pair of pliers or a multi-tool. Get this to the dealer ASAP!

  • canddmeyer canddmeyer Posts:

    If this was my vehicle I'd be visiting a dealer before my car killed me.

  • Wish unionbuster was here to comment.

  • noburgers noburgers Posts:

    ahh, this is more like the old days on Insideline. At least the blog is generating traffic

  • gslippy gslippy Posts:

    I love my 09 Sedona, but it just suffered this same fate (but no dedicated TPS light). The out-of-warranty repair cost $800+, which included replacement of the throttle body & position sensor, and reflash of the ECU. But my van is otherwise quite reliable. :) This tale should settle any doubts about the Dart - yuk.

  • Has the recall been performed? There is a recall for this particular issue.

Leave a Comment

Past Long-Term Road Tests

Have a question? We're here to help!
Chat online with us
Email us at
*Available daily 8AM-5PM Pacific
Call us at 855-782-4711
Text us at ED411