What Does Service StabiliTrak & Traction Control Mean?

Both Service StabiliTrak and traction control serve the same purpose.

The terminology differs depending on the vehicle brand. Chevrolet, GM, and Buick cars usually feature the StabiliTrak system, while other brands feature the term traction control.

For new car owners it’s important to learn what does Service StabiliTrak and traction control mean.

These features helpyour vehicle remain stable during poor driving conditions. They also prevent your cars from tumbling over when the need for drastic maneuvering occurs.

What Does Service StabiliTrak & Traction Control Mean

What is StabiliTrak/Traction Control?

StabiliTrak/traction control is a collection of components in a vehicle. This systemworks to ensure that drivers can get a good handling experience with their cars.

A couple of sensors and modules located in different parts of the car help the StabiliTrak/traction control system maintain the car’s balance.

The signals sent by the system to the vehicle’s computer help it to adjust its speed and power.

The system works automatically while users are driving their cars. Drivers may experience a chiming sound or feel the pedals pulsating when it is active.

When Does StabiliTrak/Traction Control Become Active?

It typically becomes active when the sensors detect the risk of skidding or spinning.

A key part of focus ofStabiliTrak/traction control system is the tires. The entire setup focuses on surveying whether the wheels have enough grip over the tire.

If one of the tires lose grip, the StabiliTrak system takes measures to help it regain control. It usually completes this process by either turning on the brakes of the wheel or reducing the amount of power provided to it by the engine.

Service StabiliTrak/Traction Control Indicator Light

The Service StabiliTrak/traction control indicator light appears next to the speedometer of the car.

It’s meant to signal that the mechanism responsible for maintaining the vehicle’s stability has come across an issue.

Once the indicator turns on, the system automatically takes a few actions to let the owner know that their vehicle needs servicing.

Among them, a reduction in engine power is the most noticeable one, which will affect the overall performance of the car.

A car with the Service StabiliTrak lights on is extremely vulnerable to accidents. It also affects other parts of the car. Thus, the Service ESC light and Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) light also comes on alongside it.

After the engine, the transmission of the vehicle gets affected the most when the StabiliTrak/traction control system faces an issue. Users may notice it to not switch between gears or even transition into limp mode.

Common Causes of Service StabiliTrak/Traction Control Light Turning On

Service StabiliTrak/traction control light usually turns on due to a lack of servicing. It can also be an indication that some other parts of the vehicle are not performing properly.

1. Issue With Throttle Body

The throttle body assembly is a crucial component of a vehicle that is responsible for pumping power and regulating its speed. It’s comprised of a lot of intricate parts. A defect on any of them can cause the indicator lights to come on.

2. Problems in Steering Wheel

No other parts of a car directly affect its handling than the steering wheel. It contains a few sensors that relay commands of the drivers to the vehicle regarding which way the car should move. If one of them faces an issue, it triggers the warning light.

3. Fuel Issue

Fuel is the single greatest source of energy supply to a car. Any issue relevant to it will cause the Service StabiliTraklight to turn on. Among them, the most common one is if the car contains low-quality petrol.

4. Lack of Maintenance

Constant maintenance is necessary to ensure the car receives proper fuel intake. If the fuel filter accumulates too much dirt over time due to ignorance, it will affect the StabiliTrak/traction control.

Another scenario can be if the fuel pump becomes weak.

5. Other Possible Reasons

It can also happen if the parking brakes get locked. Furthermore, it will also start flashing if any of the system’s sensors or the wheel hub gets damaged.

A common scenario in all of these causes is the role the components play in maintaining the car’s balance. Given the sensitivity of the situation, it can directly affect the StabiliTrak system.

Steps to Take if the Service StabiliTrak/Traction Control Light Comes On

Whenever you see the Service StabiliTrak/traction control light come on, assume your car is in grave danger.

Any drop in the performance of the vehicle’s stability can result in it becoming susceptible to accidents and harm.

If the warning light turns on while driving, it’s best to look for a safe location and stop your car immediately. Once you have parked it, stop the ignition and take the key out of the vehicle. After that, call a mechanic to tend to it.

It is also worth noting that the Service StabiliTrak warning light might turn on suddenly by mistake.

However, it’s best not to take any risks and park your car once you notice it. In that scenario, restarting the vehicle might solve the issue.

Can You Keep Driving Despite the Service StabiliTrak/Traction Control Lights Are On?

Choosing to continue driving despite the Service StabiliTrak/traction control light flashing is a bad idea.

The risks of a car spinning out of control and causing a lethal accident are significantly high if the stabilization system is underperforming.

Losing control over your car while driving makes the driver prone to a variety of harms.

Compromising your vehicle’s handling can be disastrous especially if you live in a snowy area or one with rough terrain.

Conducting a thorough inspection is necessary before driving the car in case the Service StabiliTrak/traction control light is on. Furthermore, it’s best to have it checked by a professional mechanic in case it emits noises and vibrations.

How to Reset Service StabiliTrak and Traction Control?

You can reset your vehicle’s Service StabiliTrak/traction control if it flashes without any reason.

Ideally, the system becomes active anew once you restart the car. However, if you still see the light staying on, there is a way through which you can turn it off manually.

Start by identifying the port that connects the stabilizing system to your car. Usually, it can be found right beneath the vehicle’s dashboard. Plug a scanner into it to scan for faults in the ABS codes.

Once you give ignition to the car the scanner will automatically start analyzing the traction control’s health. You have to find a device that matches the model of your car for it to work properly.

The scanner will provide you with codes after reading the modules. Typically, it produces two to three codes that point to a similar problem.

Mostly, it happens when there’s a fault in one of the ABS sensors.

You can fix the issue by reconnecting the sensor to the car and opting to clear the false codes or DTCs. Turn off the car’s ignition for 20 seconds once the codes are removed. Once you turn it back on, the Service StabiliTrak light won’t be on.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

How much does it cost to fix StabiliTrak?

Though these systems are quite complex, but the price to fix themis surprising affordable. You have to spend in the range of 80-200 USD to fix StabiliTrak.

Will StabiliTrak cause reduced engine power?

Not always. But if the computer system detects an issue, it can reduce the engine power to protect the passengers.

Is it possible for worn brake pads to cause traction control light to come on?

Yes, worn brake pads can trigger the traction control light to turn on.


It’s perfectly normal for a novice driver to not know what does Service StabiliTrak& traction control mean.

Although the terms may seem intimidating, both essentially mean the indicator light that signals a problem in the vehicle’s stability.

Choosing to ignore it will significantly increase your risks of crashes and accidents. Therefore, it’s vital that you check your car’s components and systems are in working order.

In such scenarios, it’s best to seek the help of a professional mechanic. Although you can reset the system by yourself, expert service will help ensure your car is at peak performance.

Therefore, you will be safe while driving in extreme weather conditions.

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