As science and technology keep getting better, vehicles are getting smarter, which makes them a lot safer.
Electronic stability control systems (ESCs) are a great example of these kinds of safety features. These traction control systems help you keep the car going in the right direction, and sometimes they even make the changes for you.
StabiliTrak is GM’s top electronic stability control (ESC) system. It is one of the most advanced ESCs on the market right now. But it can be annoying when your car keeps showing the message “Service StabiliTrak.”
So, what does this message mean, and what can you do about it? Find out by reading on.
What Is StabiliTrak?
StabiliTrak is the name of the electronic stability control system that is unique to GM. Electronic stability control systems are supposed to help a car stay on its path by changing the power of the engine and the brakes as needed.
The Vehicle Stability Control Module in the StabiliTrak system keeps an eye on the speed, yaw rate, and steering angle of the car. The module then decides if something needs to be done to keep the path straight.
If the car needs to be brought back on track, the StabiliTrak system will either turn on the power steering or the engine torque.
When you stop, the system will also help you keep the wheel straight. This is because, most of the time, if you try to fix a skid too much, you’re more likely to make it worse.
How StabiliTrak Works
The StabiliTrak system uses sensors to figure out how fast and how tilted the car is.
There are the following sensors:
A vehicle speed sensor can tell how fast or slow a car is going.
The yaw rate is how much you’re trying to turn your car. The yaw sensor measures this.
Steering wheel angle measures how the steering wheel is tilted.
You can set the StabiliTrak system to one of two modes:
Off means there is no electronic stability control and the brakes work normally. Not a good idea for any kind of vehicle.
On + full mode means that the system will also use your brakes to correct your path.
When you turn on your car’s ignition, the StabiliTrak control module checks all of its parts and sensors to see if anything is wrong.
When this test is done, it shows the message “System OK” for 0.5 seconds. If all the sensors are working right, the “Service StabiliTrak” message won’t show up.
What Does Service StabiliTrak Mean?
The Service StabiliTrak message usually means that your StabiliTrak system isn’t working properly. This can happen when the system breaks down or when the calibration isn’t done right.
Service StabiliTrak is explained in more detail below.
How Do You Troubleshoot Service StabiliTrak?
Before you do anything drastic to fix Stabilitrak problems, you should know that the car has not broken down. The programme is just letting you know that one of its systems might be broken.
If this is the first time the message has come up on your car’s screen, you should have a professional look at it. It’s possible that nothing needs to be done about it, but there could also be a problem with the system or the way it’s set up.
If your car shows the “Service StabiliTrak” message more than once, it could mean that your StabiliTrak system has stopped working or become out of sync. If this happens, you should have a professional look at your car right away.
There isn’t much you can do to fix the system on your own, unfortunately. But if you check the StabiliTrak system and find nothing wrong, you should still keep an eye on all the other systems in your car.
This is because a Service StabiliTrak message can be caused by a wide range of other problems. For example, your car might show the message if there are problems with the ABS or TPMS sensors.
Service StabiliTrak messages should never be ignored. It’s better to be safe than sorry if your car is trying to tell you something.
What Causes the StabiliTrak Light to Come On?
As was already said, your car might show the “Service StabiliTrak” message for a number of reasons. But here are some of the most common ones:
1. Trouble With the Input Sensor
The steering angle and yaw rate of your car are tracked by the StabiliTrak input sensor.
If the input sensor isn’t working right, it might not be able to give the Vehicle Stability Control Module accurate information.
2. Issues With the Power Steering Sensor
The sensor for the power steering works together with the sensor for the input.
This is because it tells the Vehicle Stability Control Module how much help the power steering system in your car is giving you while you’re driving.
If this sensor breaks down, it may not be able to tell your car when it needs more or less help.
3. Your Output Sensor Is Malfunctioning
The output sensor sends information about how much torque is being sent to each wheel to the Vehicle Stability Control Module.
So, if this sensor breaks down, it might not be able to give you accurate information about the power of your car’s engine.
4. Trouble With the PowerTrain
The power train system of your vehicle is made up of several parts that work together to send power to the wheels.
So, if any of these parts breaks, it might not give the StabiliTrak system enough power from the engine.
5. The Stability Control Module Is Misbehaving
The Stability Control Module is in charge of keeping your car on track and stable on the road. It does this by keeping an eye on all of your car’s systems.
This means that if the controller breaks down, it might not be able to keep an eye on all of your car’s systems as it should.
6. The ABS Module Is Defective
The Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) can tell when your car’s wheels are skidding and moves across the brake discs to keep your car under control.
If the ABS Module breaks down, it might not be able to control the brakes on your car.
7. A Faulty Controller
The controller’s job is to take all of the information from your car’s sensors and make some kind of feedback that tells you how to drive your car best.
If this controller breaks, it might not be able to give you the feedback you need to keep control of your vehicle.
8. A Bad Connection
If the GM-LAN communication line is broken, the StabiliTrak system might not be able to send information from your car’s sensors to the StabiliTrak controller.
So, the StabiliTrak system won’t be able to keep an eye on how stable your car is.
How to Reset the Service StabiliTrak Light
As was already said, you should take your car to a mechanic as soon as you see the StabiliTrak warning light.
They will help you figure out what the problem is, which can be serious sometimes. Getting rid of a problem as soon as you notice it can save you a lot of trouble.
But sometimes, the “Service StabiliTrak” message might just be a small mistake on the part of the car.
Stop the car and turn it off to find out if that is the case. At least 30 seconds should pass before you start the engine. If it was just a mistake, the message should go away.
But if the message keeps coming up, you should take the car to a professional repair shop or a dealer near you to find out what’s wrong.
How Much Does It Cost to Fix Service StabiliTrak?
How much it will cost to fix your Service StabiliTrak will depend on the dealer or repair shop and a number of other things. They include the kind of car you have, what’s wrong with your StabiliTrak system, and how long it takes to figure out what’s wrong.
In general, a simple diagnosis or part replacement will cost between $100 and $300. Fixing problems with the StabiliTrak system that are more complicated could cost up to $500.
How long it will take to fix the problem will depend on how long it takes your dealer or a nearby mechanic. But the process is likely to take at least an hour, and a full diagnosis could take anywhere from 3 to 5 hours.
Is Warranty Available for Repairing Service StabiliTrak?
Since the service Stabilitrak light can be caused by many different things, the warranty for this problem will also be different.
For example, if your car’s engine doesn’t have enough power because the fuel injector or spark plug is broken, your warranty may cover a full refund or rebate.
But if the problem is caused by damage to the GM-LAN line, which sends data from the car’s sensors to the StabiliTrak controller, you might not be able to get a full refund or rebate under your warranty.
In general, the cause of the Service StabiliTrak message will determine whether or not your warranty covers fixing it. If the problem isn’t too big, your warranty might cover the cost of labour and/or new parts.
But sometimes you may have to pay for the repair yourself or find a warranty that covers service on your car model.
Can I Drive My Car if It Says Service StabiliTrak?
Yes, you can. But if you don’t have that feature, you might not be able to keep control of your steering or brakes.
If you notice this, pull over and turn off the car. You should also let the car sit for at least 30 seconds before starting it to see if the service StabiliTrak message goes away.
You can still drive your car with the Service StabiliTrak light on, though, since there are no safety issues. This just means you won’t be able to use that part of your car.
What Happens When StabiliTrak Is Off?
When you turn off the StabiliTrak system in your car, it makes the car less stable. To put it simply, if you do this, it will be harder to keep control of the steering wheel and brakes.
Because of this, you shouldn’t turn off this feature unless you have a good reason to, like if you’re driving on a very icy road.
If you don’t, you could hit another car or cause an accident yourself.
How to Turn Off StabiliTrak
Sometimes, turning off StabiliTrak gives you better control of your car, especially when you’re trying to get out of a sticky situation.
Since StabiliTrak reduces overall power, turning it off might help you get through muddy conditions without too much trouble.
Start your car and press the StabiliTrak button until a bar shows up on the screen. This will turn off this feature. After you do this, the feature will no longer work.
Still, you should have your StabiliTrak system on most of the time to have better control of your car as a whole.
How to Turn Off Traction Control on Other Vehicles
If you drive a different make or model of car, your owner’s manual will tell you how to turn off the traction control feature.
In most cars, the main menu has a single button for each function. Once you find it, all you have to do to turn it off or uncheck it is press the button.
How Do I Fix Service StabiliTrak?
As was already said, fixing the problem with the service StabiliTrak is a bit trickier. This is because it could be caused by many things.
But you can still solve this problem by:
If your car’s fuel injector is clogged, you should have the engine checked.
If your spark plug is broken, you should replace it.
Having the engine of the car checked for problems with the fuel line or fuel filter
If you’ve already done that, you can try to reset the computer in your car. To do this, you need to take the battery cables off. First, unhook the negative end. Then you should put everything back together and start your car.
If these steps don’t fix the service StabiliTrak warning light on your dashboard, you might need to talk to an auto repair shop or dealership about getting a new computer system for your car.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The rest of your questions about the StabiliTrak system should be answered in the next section:
What Does It Mean When My Equinox Says Service Stabilitrak?
This means that something is wrong with your car’s StabiliTrak system or with one of its other systems. If the light stays on, have a local repair person look at your car.
What Does Service Stabilitrak Mean on a Cadillac?
This means that something is wrong with your Cadillac’s StabiliTrak system. Because of this, you should get your car fixed as soon as you can.
What Does Service Stabilitrak Mean on Chevy Malibu?
The electronic stability control system in your Chevy Malibu could be having trouble. So, it needs to be looked at as soon as possible to fix the problem.
What Does Service Stabilitrak Mean on GMC Terrain?
The StabiliTrak system in your GMC Terrain might be broken. So, get your car checked right away to avoid an accident.
What Does Service Stabilitrak Mean on GMC Acadia?
The StabiliTrak system on your GMC Acadia could be broken. If this is the case, you should get your car looked at as soon as you can.
What Does Service Stabilitrak Mean on a Chevy Equinox?
The StabiliTrak system in your Chevy Equinox could be broken. Since this feature is designed to help you maintain control over your car, it is best to address the problem as quickly as possible.