What does it mean when the esc light stays on?

If the ESC light stays on, it means that your vehicle is not under control. And if the ESC light stays on for an extended period of time, your ESC may be malfunctioning, or the system has been manually deactivated. If your ESC was manually disabled, there is a button on your car that you can use to reactivate it. The light on the dash can have multiple meanings, so it is important to understand how your particular system works.

Generally, the light will come on when the computer is actively trying to maintain 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. 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. The most common cause of an ESC light is that the system is off or that the wheel speed sensors are faulty. But while those are the most common causes of an ESC light, they are not the only things to look for. Below we've highlighted the four most common reasons why your vehicle's ESC light might be on.

If you are driving in slippery conditions and the light keeps illuminating, reduce speed to make the car easier to control. If the ESC system determines that the vehicle is not responding correctly to steering, it is able to take corrective action. You will feel your vehicle apply the brakes to the wheels individually, and the light will flash on and off, but not stay on. Electronic stability control (ESC) came about as a result of the advancement of anti-lock braking systems (ABS) over the years.

Under normal operating conditions, the ESC light should only be on when the car is started for a couple of seconds and then turn off. You can search by vehicle year and make, to see a list of models that have ESC as a standard or optional feature, as well as which models do not have ESC as an option at all. All major car manufacturers offer some form of ESC; these systems can be found in cars, trucks, SUVs and even motorhomes. Electronic Stability Control (ESC) can also be referred to as Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) or Dynamic Stability Control (DSC).

But just because the ESC light comes on while you are driving does not necessarily mean you have a problem. Systems like traction control and anti-lock brakes help us maintain control during acceleration and braking, but electronic stability control (ESC) is designed to prevent you from losing control in other circumstances. If your vehicle is still under warranty, take your car to your dealer to have the ESC problem properly diagnosed. But if one of the wheel speed sensors is completely disconnected or giving erroneous readings, then your ESC system is in trouble.

This mechanic once spent half a day troubleshooting an ESC system that was erroneously activating at high speeds, only to discover that the problem was a battery with a dead cell.

Georgia Wolley
Georgia Wolley

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