ESC works most effectively when your car's tyres are correctly inflated. Underinflated or overinflated tyres can affect your car's ability to grip the road. They can also affect the performance of your car's ESC. The most common cause of an esc light is that the system is switched 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, specializing in advanced diagnostics and troubleshooting. I have also been a driver and drifting mechanic for over 7 years.
It is important to understand how your particular control system works because the ESC light on the dashboard could have multiple meanings. Generally, the light will illuminate when the computer is actively trying to maintain traction control. This light will remain on only as long as the vehicle is not under control. If the light stays on constantly, it is likely that a malfunction has been detected or the system has been manually shut down.
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 in use. But just because the ESC light comes on while you are driving does not necessarily mean you have a problem. Electronic stability control (ESC) may also be called electronic stability programme (ESP) or dynamic stability control (DSC). Electronic stability control (ESC) came about as a result of the advancement of anti-lock braking systems (ABS) in new cars over the years.
If the ESC light flashes when driving, it means that the system is activated and is trying to keep the vehicle under control. However, if the ESC light comes on when it shouldn't or stays on all the time (when you haven't turned the system off), it is not a safe driving condition. Your vehicle's ESC system works by monitoring each wheel speed sensor and then adjusting the brakes to accommodate any discrepancies it notices. So, while you probably won't encounter any problems while driving if you have the ESC light on, the first time it acts up you could end up causing a serious accident.
This mechanic once spent half a day troubleshooting an ESC system that would come on incorrectly at high speeds, only to discover that the problem was a battery with a dead cell. ESC can also activate when a spare wheel with a different diameter to the rest of the car's tyres is used. Like the anti-lock braking system, the ESC system controls the rotational speed of the wheels and other parameters such as steering angle.