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Q: Started running rough when ESC light came on

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The other day I was driving my 2011 Kia Soul and the ESC light came on on the dashboard. I didn’t think much of it until I stopped at a light and could barely accelerate when it turned green. Couldn’t believe it, in a car with 12,000 miles on it. I hit the ESC switch and it was pretty much fine. Is this problem isolated to the ESC system or is it a bigger electrical issue?

A: Thank you for writing in about this problem...

Thank you for writing in about this problem. The Electronic Stability Control system (ESC) could have been activated due to driving conditions (wet, dusty, etc.). However, the light should turn off when the conditions warrant (dry, no slip). Sometimes the ESC light will illuminate due to a loose or faulty connection at one of the wheel sensors. There could also be an issue with the steering angle sensor. If this sensor is faulty, it would cause symptoms similar to what you experienced. The lack of adequate acceleration means that the ESC system was active. The system works by reducing engine power and applying the brakes at the wheel where slip is sensed. If the ESC lamp stayed illuminated after the vehicle was turned off, then back on, it would indicate that a fault was stored in the computer. If that is the case, it would be a good idea to have a certified mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, perform an ESC diagnosis on the vehicle.

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