The ESC light appears because the car is activating traction assistance at that very moment. Now, if this is happening out-of-context (like, it’s constantly lit all the time), there might be a wheel sensor issue, a tire alignment problem, or a faulty anti-lock brake module.
Your car's ESC light flashing is not something to ignore. Instead, it warns that something may risk your vehicle's integrity. To ensure your safety on the road and prevent symptoms from worsening, you must learn the reasons behind the warning and what to do about it.
At the first sign of a flashing ESC light, we recommend communicating any concerns with a technician for professional assistance. Catching potential problems early on can save you time and money in the long run.
If you also notice the check engine light active, the tires slipping when accelerating, and a growling noise when braking or accelerating, there's an issue.
When your car tires start slipping, the ESC (Electronic Stability control) kicks in to keep you in control. It uses the anti-lock brakes and power control module to reduce power to the slipping wheel, so your car doesn't lose traction and spin. However, when the ESC works, the light turns on briefly. But, as soon as you restore traction, the light should turn off.
You might also notice both the ABS and ESC lights steadily on the car's dashboard. In addition, the vehicle might suffer more slips when accelerating on slippery roads.
The wheel speed sensor checks how fast each wheel spins and tells the ESC (Electronic Stability Control) module. If a wheel or group of wheels slips, the ESC uses the brake and power control modules to adjust these wheels' power, preventing them from slipping. If the speed sensor is faulty, the traction control and anti-lock brakes may flash when they shouldn't. Also, if there's an issue with the sensor, both the ABS and traction control shut off, flashing the warning lights.
You might also notice a "check engine" light on the dashboard.
The steering angle sensor tells the anti-lock brake and traction control systems which way the car is going and how fast it's turning. If the readings from the sensor are wrong or unstable, the ABS and ESC systems may turn on at the wrong times or even turn off completely if the problem is serious enough. Consequently, the vehicle is prompt to slip depending on road conditions.
You might also notice the ABS, "Check Engine," and ESC lights on the car's dashboard.
The ABS prevents your tires from slipping while braking or accelerating, helping you to control your vehicle in harsh driving conditions. If the ABS isn't working, it'll turn off, and your brakes may lock up on slippery roads.
You might also notice a "check engine" light flashing on your car's dashboard, indicating a deeper problem.
The ESC has an on/off switch that you can activate for specific driving conditions. If the switch is not functioning or there's a problem, the ESC warning light will stay on steadily.
Notice if your vehicle's braking and acceleration are slippery on wet roads. In addition, you might also notice a "check engine" light on the car's dashboard.
Tires with similar rolling distances are essential for vehicles with electronic stability control; each tire's length when spinning should be equal. Unfortunately, different tread designs and tire brands have different rolling distances, even if they're the same size. Also, worn tires have various measures than new ones. Using mismatched tires confuses the wheel speed sensors, triggering traction control or anti-lock brakes even while driving straight. This may also disable the ABS or ESC systems.
Explore the following typical inspection results that show a potential cause for the symptom and select the one you believe is similar to your vehicle's issue.
This image shows a faulty wheel speed sensor. In this case, a failing wheel bearing damaged the sensor.
A customer reported a noise coming from their vehicle's left front wheel. The noise started as a hum but got louder and felt like a rumble. A week ago, the ABS and traction control lights also appeared on the dash.
The mechanic test-drove the vehicle and found the ABS and traction control lights on the dashboard. The left front wheel's noise got louder when doing a right turn.
During a vehicle health inspection, the mechanic found a loose wheel bearing on the left front wheel, making a loud noise. They fixed the wheel bearing and replaced the wheel speed sensor and tone ring, which had been damaged.
After repairs, the mechanic used a scan tool to ensure the speed sensor worked adequately. The ABS and traction control systems are restored and can work with the electronic stability control (ESC) system.
Dynamic stability control. Electronic stability program. Engine power. Stability control light.