What is ECT Power? When Should You Use It?

Tim Miller
ECT Power


The ECT Power mode has been engaged.

ECT Power

When to use

  • Overtaking
  • Uphill Driving
  • Towing
  • Enhanced Driving Experience
  • Driving in a Rocky Terrain

What Does ECT Power Mean? 

When the ECT Power mode is engaged, the transmission shift points are adjusted to provide more power and acceleration.

ECT power stands for Electronically Controlled Transmission Power. It is a popular feature in most automatic transmission vehicles, including Toyota, Lexus, etc. 

ETC power is a driving mode that allows you to change the transmission shift points and enables your vehicle to reach higher RPM levels before changing gears. 

This results in quicker acceleration and a more sporty driving experience.

In many vehicles, the ECT power mode can be activated by pressing a button or switch. This can be useful for situations where when you need more power, such as when merging onto a highway or when going up a hill.

When pressing the ECT power button, the light will appear on your vehicle’s dashboard as “ECT PWR” – usually green. However, this depends on your car’s brand or model. For example, in Lexus, it only appears as “PWR”. To disengage the ECT Power mode, simply press the button again.

ECT PWR button
To activate ECT Power mode, simply press the ECT Power button on the dashboard or center console of your vehicle.

One thing to remember is that a higher RPM will slightly increase fuel/gas consumption. If you want to save fuel, it’s best to keep the button off more so when going for a long road trip.

When to Use the ECT Power?

The ECT power mode can be useful in a variety of situations where you need more power and acceleration from your vehicle. Here are some examples of when you might want to use this mode:

When to use ECT power


When overtaking cars and merging onto a highway, the ECT power mode can help your vehicle accelerate more quickly and merge into traffic more easily.

Uphill Driving

Typically, automatic transmissions are known to handle uphill driving well. They can automatically sense a drop-in acceleration and shift the gears to a higher RPM. 

ECT Power can help if you notice that your car is losing speed on a hill, allowing your vehicle to power up the hill effortlessly. 


You can use the ECT power when towing. For example, you’re towing a heavy truck and realize your vehicle is struggling to drive and is shifting at very low RPM. 

In this situation, this feature will help improve the throttle response. Thus, your car will feel snappier, making your experience much easier. 

Enhanced Driving Experience 

The ECT Power is a great option to experience a sportier ride on the highway. It’ll offer you more control over your car. The feature also enhances traction control, easier acceleration, and overall better performance. 

Driving in a Rocky Terrain 

Another instance when you can benefit from the ECT PWR button is when you’re going over difficult rocky terrain. 

Here you’ll need the transmission to perform better and the throttle to be more responsive. Activating this button will give all these and help the car easily cruise through the rocky terrain. 

I’ve used the ECT Power feature on my 1997 Lexus ES 300. When I have it on, the first gear doesn’t shift till 5,200 RPM when I accelerate hard. The acceleration is quicker and more responsive when the button is on. I also enjoy my car’s sweet noise when under ECT – it’s so good. 

I like this feature and used to have it on all the time, but I now use it occasionally with the fuel prices going up.

What’s Next? 

You now know the ECT Power and when to use it. This amazing feature will give you better performances in terms of acceleration, throttle, and traction control. 

This makes it great for certain situations, such as driving uphill, on rocky terrain, overtaking, and much more. 

Have you ever used the ECT PWR button? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

Learn more

Eco Mode: The most comprehensive article on understanding Eco mode and learning when to use it.

Electronic Throttle Control Light: A well-written article to provide you with why the ETC light is on and how to fix it.

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1 thought on “What is ECT Power? When Should You Use It?”

  1. I have a picture of a dashboard symbol light that I’ve never seen before I can send it to you I’m trying to figure out what it is, if you could help!

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Information sourced from the owner's manual.