StabiliTrak system on Chevy, Buick, and GM vehicles is a stability control system that helps to improve the vehicle’s handling and stability, particularly in emergency maneuvers or during adverse driving conditions. The system uses sensors to detect the vehicle’s speed, steering angle, and yaw rate and then applies the appropriate brake and/or throttle to help keep the vehicle on its intended path. Service Stabilitrak and Traction Control warning lights indicate that there may be a problem with the vehicle’s stability control system and/or traction control system. This article will discuss the potential causes of these warning lights and provide troubleshooting steps to help you resolve the issue.
When the StabilitTrack system fails, the first thing that happens is that a Service Stabilitrak light and a warning message come on. A driver may notice one or more of the following symptoms:
- Engine power may be reduced.
- StabiliTrak, traction control, and ABS lights come on
- Service ESC warning light comes on the dashboard
- Stabilitrak Off shows on the instrument cluster
- Stabilitrak Initializing message
- Check engine light on and service StabiliTrak
- Transmission may go in limp mode
- The transmission may get stuck in one gear
- Loss of engine power, poor throttle response.
- StabiliTrak comes on when accelerating from a stop
- StabiliTrak not ready may display on the cluster
- Traction control light on, Service traction control
- ABS light comes on
- Service StabiliTrak light always on
- Engine light flashing
When Chevy’s StabiliTrak system fails, several warning lights will come on. The exact warning lights come on depending on the vehicle model, but traction control light is very common.
The system uses a combination of sensors and actuators to control the vehicle’s stability, including:
- Steering angle sensor: This sensor detects the angle of the steering wheel and sends a signal to the vehicle’s computer.
- Yaw rate sensor: This sensor detects the vehicle’s rotation around its vertical axis and sends a signal to the vehicle’s computer.
- Wheel speed sensors: These sensors detect the rotational speed of each wheel and send a signal to the vehicle’s computer.
- Brake control module: This module receives signals from the sensors and applies the brakes to individual wheels as needed to help keep the vehicle stable.
- Throttle control module: This module receives signals from the sensors and adjusts the engine’s power output to help keep the vehicle stable.
A list of all possible causes that can cause Chevy StabiliTrak warning:
- Defective Throttle Body Assembly
- Bad Steering Wheel Position Sensor
- Faulty Electronic Brake Control Module (EBCM)
- Brake Switch
- Bad ABS Pump
- Engines Misfires
- Bad Fuel
- Weak Fuel Pump
- Dirty fuel filter
- Parking brake locking up
- Damaged wheel hub
- Battery issue
- Corroded connection or ground
- Yaw sensor
What does Service StabiliTrak mean?
The StabiliTrak system is designed to intervene automatically and help maintain stability when it detects that the vehicle is not following the driver’s intended path or is at risk of skidding or spinning. In some cases, it may also reduce engine power to help maintain stability. When the system activates, the driver may feel a pulsing sensation in the brake pedal and/or hear a chime. Stabilitrak is a safety feature that helps the driver maintain control of the vehicle during emergency maneuvers or adverse driving conditions by detecting the vehicle’s speed, steering angle, and yaw rate and then applying the appropriate brake and/or throttle to help keep the vehicle on its intended path.
The most common problem that the Service StabiliTrak faces is the failure of one of the ABS wheel speed sensors. This warning does not affect the engine operation but can cause the vehicle to lose traction control system functions.
In technical terms, when StabiliTrak system warnings may also appear on the dashboard when there is a problem with the Electronic Brake Control Module (EBCM). A simple problem is a damaged ABS wheel speed sensor that disables the ABS and StabiliTrak system.
If Service StabiliTrak message appears or the traction control light stays on, the EBCM module will not intervene to keep the vehicle on course if you lose traction. Keep in mind that braking distance may be longer when the service StabiliTrak message is displayed.
Keep in mind that there is a difference between traction control systems such as ABS brakes and stability control systems (StabiliTrak system). The StabiliTrak system and ABS will stop working when an ABS sensor fails.
What does the StabiliTrak traction control system do?
A traction control system also known as StabiliTrak detects if there is a loss of traction between the tires and the road. The StabiliTrak system identifies a wheel that is losing grip on the road; the system automatically applies the brakes to that individual tire or reduces engine power to the slipping wheel. StabiliTrak system can apply the brakes to stop loss of traction and intervene to keep the vehicle in the intended path.
Can a dirty ABS speed sensor cause the service StabiliTrak light to come on?
Yes. When there is a problem with any wheel speed sensor, StabilityTrak and ABS get disabled even though the problem is due to the failure of only one component. That’s because StabiliTrak and Anti-lock Brake System depend on input from ABS wheel speed sensors to operate. Other car manufacturers may refer to their electronic stability control as ESC, ESP, or DSC.
What to do when the Service StabiliTrak message comes on?
If you are getting a service StabiliTrak warning message on the instrument cluster for the first time, pull over as soon as it is safe and park in a safe spot. Turn off the ignition and remove the key from the ignition. Keep the car offer for at least ten seconds, then restart the engine. Restarting the engine will, in many cases, reset the stability track system and allow it to function correctly.
Which Chevy vehicles have the StabiliTrak system?
StabiliTrak system has become more common on 2015 and newer GM vehicles, including GMC, Buick, Cadillac, or Chevy vehicles such as:
- Acadia, etc.
Can I Keep Driving with the Stabilitrak Light On?
It is generally not recommended to continue driving with the StabiliTrak light on. This light indicates that there may be an issue with the stability control system, a safety feature that helps the driver maintain control of the vehicle during emergency maneuvers or adverse driving conditions. If the system is not functioning properly, the vehicle’s handling and stability may be compromised, leading to an accident.
It’s important to address the issue as soon as possible; you should schedule an appointment with a certified Chevrolet mechanic to inspect the vehicle. The mechanic can diagnose the problem and perform any necessary repairs.
If you are experiencing any other warning lights or signs of an issue with the vehicle, such as strange noises or vibrations, it’s best to have the vehicle inspected immediately and avoid driving it until the issue has been resolved.
How to Reset Chevy Service StabiliTrak
To reset the Chevy Service StabiliTrak, you will need to restart the vehicle. However, if the light remains on or comes back on, it could indicate a more serious problem, and you should have your vehicle inspected by a certified Chevrolet mechanic as soon as possible. To fix the service StabiliTrak messages and light on a GMC, Buick, Cadillac, or Chevy vehicle, a mechanic must read the fault codes from the Electronic Brake Control Module (EBCM) to determine why the light is on.
- Locate the diagnostic port under the dashboard.
- Plug in a scanner such as the YOUCANIC Full System Scanner, capable of reading and clearing Chevy ABS Fault Codes.
- Turn on the ignition and wait for the scanner to turn on.
- Select your vehicle model.
- Select Control Units, then go to Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) or Electronic Brake Control Module (EBCM).
- Select read fault codes in each module and write down all the codes and the descriptions shown. You will likely get two to three codes that point to the same problem. The most common issue, for example, is a faulty ABS wheel speed sensor. All cars have four ABS sensors. The fault code description will identify which ABS sensor is defective. For example, the code may be: Right front ABS wheel speed sensor input plausible. This means that the passenger side sensor at the front wheel is not sending a signal.
- Fix the problem, reconnect the scanner and select Clear Fault codes or Clear DTCs. Remember that you can not reset the service StabiliTrak warning without fixing the issue you found in the previous step.
- Once the code is cleared, turn off the ignition for twenty seconds, then turn it back on. Service StabiliTrak light should be turned off. If the StabiliTrak is still on, you reread the fault codes to find out which fault code prevents you from resetting the ABS / StabilitTrack light.
To turn off the service StabiliTrak warning message, you will need to read the fault codes from Electronic Brake Control Module (EBCM), fix that problem then use the scanner to clear the StabiliTrak fault codes.
Let’s explain why some of the most common problems trigger the service StabiliTrak warning on Chevy and other GM vehicles. We recommend running a full system scan to find out what is triggering StabiliTrak.
ABS Wheel Speed Sensor
One of the main reasons why service StabilitTrak comes on is because one of the wheel speed sensors is bad. These are also known as ABS wheel speed sensors. There is an ABS wheel speed sensor mounted at each wheel.
GMC, Chevy, or Cadillac vehicles have four-wheel speed sensors. First, you will need to read the fault codes from the Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) to find out which sensor is faulty.
Replacing an ABS wheel speed sensor on a Chevy or GMC vehicle is a straightforward procedure that can be performed at home with essential tools.
Steering Wheel Position Sensor
DTC C0455 and C0710 may be caused by increased resistance in the circuits connecting the steering position sensor and the electronic brake control module (EBCM) due to corrosion on the connector terminals.
The steering wheel position sensor is mounted right below the steering wheel and does exactly what the name says. It determines if you have turned the steering wheel in degrees. In turn, the steering wheel’s position determines which direction the wheel is going.
The direction of the front wheels is used to determine where the vehicle is heading. Steering wheel position, wheel rotation data received by the ABS wheel speed sensor, and acceleration from the YAW sensor are used to determine if the vehicle is driving as intended or if the car has lost traction.
The steering wheel position sensor can get out of calibration and, in turn, trigger fault codes and service the StabiliTrak warning light. The following procedure can sometimes fix StabiliTrak problems:
- Disconnect the battery negative terminal for at least five minutes.
- Reconnect the battery.
- Start the engine.
- Turn the steering wheel all the way left and right twice.
- Then drive for a minute.
Traction Control System Failure
The ABS module can fail to trigger the StabiliTrak warning and, in some cases, may also trigger the ABS light to come on. The ABS module may also be called EBCM or TCS in GM terms.
Related symptoms include:
- Illumination of ABS,
- The brake light comes on
- TCS indicator lights
- Loss of communication with the module.
- Loss of one or more wheel sensor inputs.
- Intermittent functionality.
These lights often come intermittently and may flash or turn on briefly when driving over bumps. For example, a common problem with COrveteces, Cadillac Deville, and Seville is DTC C1214 indicating a solenoid valve relay contactor coil circuit open.
Replacing the EBCM module at the dealership can be very expensive and cost between $900 and $1500. A more affordable alternative is removing your faulty model and shipping it for repair to a specialist who repairs them. Several companies offer EBCM repair services on eBay.
It is not uncommon for service StabiliTrak to come on along with the check engine light. This can happen for several reasons ranging from:
- bad spark plugs,
- faulty ignition coil,
- defective throttle body,
- bad mass airflow sensor, etc.
The engine can shut off the stability and traction control when it misfires.
To find out, you read the fault codes. It is recommended to read the codes from the EBCM and powertrain control module (PCM), where check engine codes are stored. Address the check engine light first, as in many cases, that will reset the service StabiliTrak warning.
Most auto part stores can scan the check engine light for free. The codes stored in the PCM should be enough to determine why the check engine light and service StabiliTrak are on.
In most cases, vehicles can be driven with Service StabiliTrak as long as no other system are disabled. The vehicle can only be driven as long as the brakes are functional. The vehicle will operate without StabiliTrak (stability control). While stability control systems have become more common on newer vehicles, 2010 and older vehicles typically do not have stability control.
If you continue driving with the Stabilittrak light on, you should go at a safely reduced speed, minimize quick acceleration, or take turns too fast.
Do not drive if the BRAKE light comes on. If StabiliTrak and BRAKE lights come on, the vehicle may lose all braking functionality or do so while going. This can be dangerous and can lead to an accident. For more help, consult your auto mechanic or dealer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I drive my car if it says service Stabilitrak?
It is possible to drive with the service StabiliTrak light on. The problem you will experience is that the vehicle will not intervene and keep your vehicle on the intended path if the tires lose traction with the road surface.
If the service StabiliTrak light is on, drive carefully and don’t exceed the speed limit. Reduce speed if road conditions are poor. Call your auto mechanic for advice.
How to Turn Off StabilitiTrack Off?
The following steps will allow you to disable the StabilitTrack manually. If the service StabiliTrak light always stays on, see the next section’s steps on learning to read and clear StabiliTrak fault codes.
Locate the TCS button on the dashboard.
Press the TCS button until the StabiliTrak Off or Traction Control symbol shows off.
How much does it cost to fix StabiliTrak?
To troubleshoot the service StabiliTrak message on the DIC, most owners spend between $115-$150 in diagnostic alone. The diagnostic procedure reads the fault codes from the ABS module and makes sense of those codes.
Once the codes are read, you may be looking for $180 to $1500 to fix a StabiliTrak problem. The most common problem is a faulty ABS wheel speed sensor, which is probably the cheapest repair you can efficiently perform yourself. ABS wheel speed sensor replacement at the dealership or auto repair shop can range between $250-$400.
Steering angle sensor replacement is also a problem that can trigger StabiliTrak and can cost between $550-$900 at a repair shop.
ABS module failure is the most expensive repair and can range between $850 and 1500. Consider investing in a GM Diagnostic Scanner so that you can at least read the fault codes. Most likely, the problem is a bad ABS wheel speed sensor that you can replace for under $100.
List of possible fault codes that can trigger service StabilitTrak error.
- C0561 – ABS Disabled
- P0121 – Pedal Position Sensor
- C0035 – Left Front Wheel Speed Sensor Circuit
- C0036 – Left Front Wheel Speed Sensor Circuit Range/Performance
- C0037 – Left Front Wheel Speed Sensor Circuit Low
- C0040 – Right Front Wheel Speed Sensor Circuit
- C0265 – Engine Code: EBCM Relay Circuit
- C0041 – Right Front Wheel Speed Sensor Circuit Range/Performance
- C0042 – Right Front Wheel Speed Sensor Circuit Low
- C0045 – Left Rear Wheel Speed Sensor Circuit
- C0046 – Left Rear Wheel Speed Sensor Circuit Range/Performance
- C0047 – Left Rear Wheel Speed Sensor Circuit Low
- C0050 – Right Rear Wheel Speed Sensor Circuit
- C0051 -Right Rear Wheel Speed Sensor Circuit Range/Performance
- C0052 Right Rear Wheel Speed Sensor Circuit Low
- B0790 B0706 – transfer case neutral range indicator control circuit low voltage/open.
There may be other fault codes related to StabiliTrak failure.
We hope you find the Chevy Service StabiliTrak Warning Message guide helpful. Check these troubleshooting and repair guides for more help on your Chevrolet.
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