StabiliTrak Light (Meaning, Function, And Reset)

Stabilitrak, which is another name for traction controls, is absolutely safe for your vehicle. It is an active vehicle safety system that tries to keep the wheels from losing grip and skidding when the driver does something dangerous or speeds up too quickly, even if the ground is very slippery, like when it snows. As a safety measure, you can’t ignore this light. If you keep driving without paying attention to it, you could put your life in danger. 

However, we usually get stuck in mud or snow. This means that you’ll have to figure out how to turn off the StabiliTrak system. If you’re wondering what does the StabiliTrak system mean? How does it work? What does the StabiliTrak warning light mean if it comes on? The information you need is here for you to read.

What is the StabiliTrak System?

Stabilitrak is a traction control system, which is more advanced than ESC systems. Even though any type of traction or stability control can keep you safer on the streets, Stabilitrak has been designed to give you the most stability and control.

The anti-lock braking system (ABS) has been expanded to include traction control (anti-lock braking system). When the sensors in the ABS detect wheel slippage, the brakes can be used to help you stop when you need to. Traction control systems like Stabilitrak use ABS technology, speed sensors, and independent braking for each wheel to figure out which way the driver wants the car to point. They then apply brake force to certain wheels to make sure the car stays in that position or returns to it if it starts to hydroplane or fishtail from the back.

StabiliTrak is the name of GM’s own electronic stability control (ESC) system. But other automakers have a similar system known by different names. Basically, Stabilitrak can help you stay safer and have better control of your GM car in any situation that could cause you to lose control, crash, or even die.

Service StabiliTrak Message: Possible Causes

The steering wheel, the brakes, and the traction control system are all part of the StabiliTrak system. But the malfunction could also be caused by things other than these systems. If the StabiliTrak light comes on in your car, you should stop as quickly as possible to do so. Most of the time, a problem with the traction control system, the brakes, or the steering wheel system is what causes the Service StabiliTrak message. Some of the most common reasons are a broken ABS sensor, throttle sensor, or steering angle sensor. Here are a few things that could cause this light to turn on.

Alternator failure

If your car’s alternator has failed or is about to fail, the StabiliTrak light may come on. This warning light can turn on days or weeks before other parts, especially the battery, are hurt. Checking the condition of your alternator as soon as you possibly can is something that should go without saying, but you should go ahead and do it anyway.

Malfunction of System Controller

A malfunctioning system controller is yet another common cause of the StabiliTrak warning light illuminating. This can be readily fixed by having the computer in the vehicle reset, which may require you to visit the dealership where you purchased the vehicle.

Input Sensor

Service StabiliTrak alerts show up on the dashboard when an input sensor isn’t working right. It can be caused by the speed of the wheels, how fast they turn, or the angle of the steering. You should have technicians in your area replace these sensors as soon as possible so that these problems don’t get worse.

Connection Problems

Lastly, a failed connection is another common cause of this warning sign. For example, if the negative battery cable got disconnected and then reconnected by accident, this could cause the connection to be bad. Before you can drive again, you need to give your car’s computer time to recognize and adjust the changes made by the StabiliTrak system.

Watch this YouTube video to get a further understanding of the StabiliTrak Light system.

Problems with a StabiliTrak light and how to tell?

When you have problems with StabiliTrak, there are usually a few signs that will let you know. Here are some things to look out for.

Inconsistent acceleration

If you press the accelerator pedal and nothing happens, your Stabilitrak system is broken. Check to see if your car is in limp-home mode. This mode is turned on when the system detects a problem. Your car may not move as quickly as you thought it would. If the engine turns over, but the wheels don’t move, the StabiliTrak is probably broken and needs to be fixed.

Unsteady steering

If your wheel starts to move when you are not turning it or pressing the accelerator, your Stabilitrak may not work. If you try to steer and the wheel moves all over the place, there may be a problem with the control unit.

Strange sounds

Strange sounds, like rubbing or grinding, could be a sign of a problem with Stabilitrak. Some drivers say they hear whirring sounds when the system stops working. You could take your car to a repair shop and have experts check it out.

What to do when StabiliTrak Light comes on?

How to reset Service StabiliTrak?

When you see that your car’s service StabiliTrak warning light is on, you should pay close attention to the problem and try to figure out what could be wrong and how to fix it. Since the StabiliTrak warning light means something is wrong, the steps below will help you fix the problem.

1. Pullover

When your StabiliTrak warning light comes on, the first thing you need to do is find a safe place to pull over.

2. Turn the car’s engine off.

After finding a safe place to pull over, turn off your car’s engine for about 20 to 30 seconds, this will allow all systems to reset.

3. Turn on the car’s engine.

After the suggested time, start the car. The warning light should go out. But if it keeps coming on, you may need to talk to a professional auto mechanic who can carefully figure out which part of the StabiliTrak system is broken and causing the warning light to come on.

Why do Stabilitrak and Traction Control Turn Off on Their Own?

When your engine starts to misfire, the computer turns off your stabilization and traction control, and if you wait too long, your traction control and Stabilitrak service lights will come on. A misfire can be caused by many things, like a spark plug wire that isn’t tight enough.

A flashing engine light usually means there is a problem with the engine, so why would a problem with the engine cause the traction control and Stabilitrak to stop working? Both systems need the engine speed to be steady. So, GM programmed the car so that if the engine didn’t start right, those systems would turn off to keep the driver safe. The good news is that if you fix the misfire, both problems will go away on their own.

How much does StabiliTrak repair cost?

The parts of a car’s traction control system (StabiliTrak) can be fixed or replaced for between $80 and $190. While labor replacement fees or costs are included in this price, they can be anywhere from $30 to $50, depending on the manufacturer.

Some cars with Service Stabilitrak alerts may need to have their sensors replaced. This will cost between $200 and $400 per car. There is no clear reason for the service StabiliTrak alert, so you should think about all of the possible reasons before deciding what to do next. If none of these ideas work, you should bring your car to a mechanic.

Is StabiliTrak the same as the traction control system?

No, it’s not. Both look like they do the same thing, which is where the confusion comes from. But there are a few things that are different. The Traction Control System helps your car get back on its wheels when the roads are wet. But it only works when the car is stopped and wants to move forward. To get you going, the Traction Control System will carefully control how much power the engine sends to each wheel.

The StabiliTrak System, on the other hand, only works when the car is moving and fishtailing. It will know what’s going on and take over the brakes and engine to help you get back on your feet. The Service Stabilitrak light, on the other hand, usually shows up with the Service Traction Control message.

Stabilitrak vs. Electronic Stability Control

Is the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) system that comes standard in some vehicles similar to the StabiliTrak that comes standard in your Chevy or GMC, or is it different? Yes, it is different! As a traction control system, StabiliTrak is more advanced than electronic stability control (ESC) devices. Even though having traction or stability control of any kind can help keep you safer on the streets, StabiliTrak has been designed to offer the highest level of composure and stability possible.

Is it safe to keep driving with the Stabilitrak light on?

If you turn off StabiliTrak on your own, there’s nothing wrong with the system, and you can drive normally. Just be aware that if you turn off the system, there will be no traction control. This means that if the road is wet, you might see the tires spinning and skidding. Follow the rules to avoid any accidents. But if StabiliTrak is turned off because something is wrong, you need to get it checked out. You can’t tell if it’s safe to drive until you figure out what the trouble codes mean. In some situations, you might be able to drive without traction control until you can get the car fixed.


How important is StabiliTrak?

Stabilitrak helps you drive straight by keeping an eye on your vehicle’s steering, brakes, and traction and making adjustments as needed. This system uses sensors to find out where the steering wheel and tires are and checks to see if they match the direction your car is going.

How do I fix the service StabiliTrak warning?

First, press the traction control system (TCS) button on the steering wheel of your car. Then, press it again to turn it off. After that, press and hold the control button for a few seconds. The service StabiliTrak light will then go out.

How much does it cost to fix StabiliTrak?

Even though Stabilitrak is a very complicated system, repairs are surprisingly cheap. The average cost to fix a Stabilitrak is between $80 and $200. That’s not bad for a car repair, especially since these systems can be so complicated.

Does StabiliTrak affect acceleration?

Traction control does change how fast you go, but it slows you down, not speeds you up. Some people think, wrongly, that having more grip means you can floor it. They think that the traction control will keep your tires on the ground.


The Service StabiliTrak should never be ignored, just like any other warning message. It’s a sign that something is wrong with the Stability Control System in your car. If you see the warning light on, you shouldn’t drive your car until you have time to look into it. Make sure to pull over and try to fix this issue. But if the light stays on for a long time, you may need to call a professional auto mechanic to help you fix the problem.

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