If you need to switch off the ESC system, you can do so by pressing and holding the "ESC Off" switch for five seconds. After doing this, an "ESC Off" alarm will appear on the odometer and the ESC warning light will illuminate. The most common cause of an ESC light is that the system is off or that the wheel speed sensors are faulty. But while these are the most common causes of an ESC light, they are not the only things to look out for.
Below we've highlighted the four most common reasons why your vehicle's ESC light might be on Founder, owner and lead author of Mechanic Base. I have been repairing cars for over 10 years, specialising in advanced diagnostics and troubleshooting. I have also been a driver and drifting mechanic for over 7 years. While electronic stability control can help you maintain control of your vehicle, it can't do everything for you.
Try to keep the light off as much as possible. If you are driving in slippery conditions and the light continues to illuminate, reduce speed to make the car easier to control. Any problems that prevent the stability control from working should also be resolved as soon as possible. There are occasions when it is necessary to disengage the stability control, but you can leave it on in most cases.
Electronic stability control (ESC) came about as a result of the advancement of anti-lock braking systems (ABS) over the years. So while you probably won't encounter any problems while driving if you have the ESC light on, the first time it comes on it could end up causing a serious accident. ESC can also come on when using a spare tyre with a different diameter to the rest of the car's tyres. Under normal operating conditions, the ESC light should only come on when you start the car for a couple of seconds and then switch it off.
This is because the ESC system restores stability by turning on the ABS and applying the brakes to each of the tyres, which means that as you drive down the road, the brakes can start pumping and turn off, even if you're going 80 mph down the motorway. Electronic stability control (ESC) can also be called electronic stability programme (ESP) or dynamic stability control (DSC). This mechanic once spent half a day troubleshooting an ESC system that activated erroneously at high speeds, only to discover that the problem was a battery with a dead cell. If your vehicle is still under warranty, take your car to the dealer to have the ESC problem properly diagnosed.
Your vehicle's ESC system works by monitoring each wheel speed sensor and then adjusting the brakes to accommodate any discrepancies it notices. If the ESC light flashes when you drive normally, that means the system is activated, and is trying to keep the vehicle under control. But just because the ESC light comes on while driving doesn't necessarily mean you have a problem. The ESC light is there to alert you when there is a problem in the electronic stability control circuit or that your stability control system is currently in use.
However, if the ESC light comes on when it shouldn't or stays on all the time (when the system has not been turned off), it is not a safe driving condition.