Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

What Does the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) Warning Light Mean?

What Does the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) Warning Light Mean?

Electronic Stability Control (ESC) came about as a result of anti-lock brake systems (ABS) advancing over the years. ABS only activates when you step on the brake pedal, but what about the rest of the time? That’s where electronic stability control steps in. Like the ABS, the electronic stability control program monitors the rotational speed of the wheels and other parameters such as the steering angle. If the computer detects a loss of steering control or traction, the computer can reduce the engine power and/or engage the brakes to try and retain control of the vehicle.

There are many names for electronic stability control, but they all perform similar functions. Refer to the owner’s manual for specific information on how ESC works on your vehicle.

What the ESC light means

The light on the dash could have multiple meanings so it is important to understand how your particular system works. Generally, the light will illuminate when the computer is actively trying to maintain control. This light will stay lit only while 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 shut off manually.

Most vehicles that have a button to turn on the stability control should also have “off” written underneath the symbol so you will know the difference between a malfunction and the system being off. If a malfunction has been detected, the system will be deactivated temporarily until it is remedied. You will also need to ask a certified technician to scan the car’s computer for codes to help identify the issue.

Is it safe to drive with the ESC light on?

While electronic stability control can help you keep control of the 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 keeps illuminating, slow down so that the car is easier to control. Any issues preventing the stability control from operating should be addressed as soon as possible too. There are times when you need to turn the stability control off, but you can leave it on for the most part.

If your vehicle’s stability control isn’t working properly, our certified technicians are always available to assist you in diagnosing any problems.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

How to Find the Keyless Code on a Ford Explorer or Mercury Mountaineer
Many Ford Explorers and Mercury Mountaineers were manufactured with an option known as the Ford keyless entry keypad. Some models refer to it as SecuriCode as well. It...
P0121 OBD-II Trouble Code: TPS "A" Circuit Range Performance Problem
P0121 code definition Throttle Pedal Position Sensor/Switch (TPS) A Circuit Range Performance Problem What the P0121 code means P0121 is a generic OBD-II code which indicates that the Engine Control...
How to Get a Louisiana Driver's Permit
s licensing program. The first step in this program is to obtain...


Related questions

Q: How do you fix the ESC

Hello, thank you for writing in. There are several issues that can occur when it comes to faults with the electronic stability control. If the light has come on, then the first step should be to have the vehicle scanned...

Q: What is making the airbag light come on over and over?

If your airbag light is on then your airbag system is disabled and would not deploy if in an accident. The airbag light coming on needs a technician to scan for codes and diagnosis of the code or codes received....

Q: Warning lights blinking irregularly on 2012 Hyundai Veracruz

On most vehicles, when a warning light is illuminated the system may have experienced a fault and will generally store a fault code. Sometimes the fault code will remain stored even if the system does not detect the problem anymore....