“Service AdvanceTrac” Warning Light (What it is and How to Reset)

Last Updated on November 29, 2021

If you are the owner of a Ford vehicle, you might have come to notice a curious, yet somewhat concerning message displayed upon your car, truck, or SUV’s dash. Ford owners the world over have been greeted by a “Service AdvanceTrac” message at one point or another during daily commutes. 

AdvanceTrac problems are commonly described by Ford vehicle owners, and even the company’s most prestigious models, including the Ford F150, Fusion, Edge, Explorer, and Expedition are all susceptible to such issues.

Luckily, problems of this nature are far from the end of the line for your trusty Ford, and a solution to such issues is seldom as difficult to come by as one might believe.

Read on to learn more about AdvanceTrac, and how to handle any issues with this system as they occur.

What is AdvanceTrac?

Ford AdvanceTrac

AdvanceTrac is Ford’s proprietary version of Electronic Stability Control (ESC). This system is intended to prevent vehicle skid during extreme circumstances, thereby minimizing the risk of an accident.

Ford’s AdvanceTrac system is relatively complex in nature, and utilizes a series of sensors to monitor wheel speed, as well as various other facets of vehicle stability.

The system actually combines several individual safety systems into a single integrated system, in order to further minimize the chance of a traction-loss induced accident. The following capabilities are possessed by Ford’s AdvanceTrac system.

Anti-Lock Brake Function

Anti-Lock brake systems prevent a vehicle from skidding under panicked braking conditions. When one or more wheels lock under significant brake pressure, this stoppage is communicated to a vehicle’s ABS controller by way of a wheel speed sensor.

This software then commands the system’s ABS pump motor/valve body assembly to rapidly pulsate brake pressure to the affected wheel, thereby breaking the skid.

Related:  Why is My ABS Light On?

Traction Control Function

A traction control system compares data from speed sensors at each wheel end location. If the system’s controller detects an irregularity in wheel speed from one wheel to the next, power to any wheel that displays excessive speed will be cut, or brake pressure will be applied.

This effectively evens the speed between each of a vehicle’s four wheels, thereby remedying any prior loss of traction.

Directional Orientated Stability Control Function

Vehicles now rely upon numerous sensors to identify vehicle instability, as skidding occurs. These sensors relay a comprehensive picture of the vehicle’s orientation while in a skid, to a specified controller, which adjusts power output and brake pressure to each wheel as needed for stabilization.

Sources of feedback for this operation include steering wheel angle sensors, yaw rate sensors, and accelerometers.

Why Does the “Service AdvanceTrac” Warning Light Come On?

AdvanceTrac problems

A vehicle’s “Service AdvanceTrac” warning light can be illuminated for a number of reasons, but most often pertains to sensor-related issues. In any event, the system controller has registered a fault, which makes proper operation impossible.

The most common root causes of an illuminated “Service AdvanceTrac” warning light are as follows:

Related: How to Reset a Check Engine Light

Can You Continue Driving With the Service AdvanceTrac Light On?

When faced with an AdvanceTrac system issue, you can still drive your vehicle without any ill-effects. However, most vehicles automatically disable all AdvanceTrac related functions, when an active system fault has been detected.

While this is never an ideal situation, you are no more in harm’s way, than when driving a vehicle that is not equipped with a stability control system. 

AdvanceTrac related issues are not detrimental to a vehicle’s driveability, as is often the case when an engine or transmission-based trouble code is stored. In this instance, your vehicle is simply attempting to bring your attention to an underlying fault in its stability system.

However, it is recommended to have your vehicle’s AdvanceTrac system serviced at the first available opportunity, to restore your car’s safety to an optimal level.

In the meantime, it is also imperative to take extra caution when traversing slick or hazardous roadways, such as those encountered following wintry precipitation or heavy snowfall.

How to Reset the Service AdvanceTrac Light

best automotive diagnostic scanner

In the case of a “Service AdvanceTrac” light, motorists have little recourse but to fix the root cause behind the light’s illumination.

While it might be tempting to simply clear all pertinent codes in order to disable the system’s warning message, this is nothing more than a quick fix. This light will almost certainly reilluminate with the next cycle of the ignition, as your vehicle performs its standard system self-checks.

In the vast majority of cases, diagnosis of the issue at hand will require the use of a premium scan tool, and a trained eye. However, the avid DIY mechanic can always perform their own visual inspection in an attempt to root out obvious concerns. 

When attempting to locate the root cause of an AdvanceTrac related issue, it is advisable to carefully inspect each wheel’s speed sensor and corresponding wiring harness pigtail. Look for any signs of frayed, pinched, or corroded wires.

Also, check to ensure that all connections between these sensors and their intermediate harnesses are viable. Unplug each speed sensor pigtail from its intermediate harness to check for water intrusion.

In some cases, it might also be possible to check for supply voltage and ground at corresponding modules within the system.

Without full system input voltage, and a stable, resistance-free ground feed, the AdvanceTrac system can experience interruptions in operation. In any event, a vehicle-specific wiring diagram or pin-out reference will be required to conduct such checks.

If you are still unable to locate any obvious source of failure, or simply do not feel comfortable tackling the diagnosis of the AdvanceTrac system yourself, contact a qualified service center for further evaluation.

In some cases, a simple programming update can be installed, to rid your vehicle of AdvanceTrac related software issues. In this case, a trip to the dealership will be necessary, as such software updates tend to be proprietary in nature.

 

46 thoughts on ““Service AdvanceTrac” Warning Light (What it is and How to Reset)”

  1. My service advance Trac light came on for a few minutes in my 2010 Mercury Milan. Do I need to get it checked out? Can it be replaced/repaired? If yes how much will it cost?

    Reply
    • I would get it checked out, yes. The code will still be stored so the mechanic should be able to see what happened even if the light isn’t currently displayed on the dash.

      It can probably be replaced or repaired. It’s hard to say how much it will cost until you know exactly what the problem is. You may have to pay a small diagnostic fee for the mechanic to solve the problem, but this charge for their time is more than worth it.

      Reply
  2. On April 14, 2021 the dashboard of my 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid displayed the warnings: Check brake system, service advance track, and ABS turned off. The brakes were not reacting normally to the point that it took a lot longer to stop. The brakes felt spongy.

    On 2/14/2021 we had the same thing happening. We then thought that the 12-volt battery needed to be replaced. So we did replace it and up to April 14, 2021 there were no more problems.

    So here we are again. I don’t trust this car anymore because at any time this can happen again with some bad consequences possible. I have barely 84,000 miles on it.

    We are going to have it diagnosed by a Ford dealer but I will like some insight into this very serious safety problem.

    Reply
    • Good, a professional diagnosis is needed. It sounds like there’s definitely something wrong with the braking system, but I’m not sure if it’s as simple as air in the lines or if there is a problem with a module. Did you check the brake fluid reservoir? Any fluid missing?

      A wild guess is perhaps there is a leaking brake line and there is air in the ABS system. I’d be interested to hear back after you get the issue diagnosed by a technician at the dealership, though.

      Reply
  3. Hi, I’ve had the same issue with my 2010 Fusion Hybrid. Let the car sit with no driving during the pandemic and one tire went flat for an extended period (probably was sitting on the rim) and the battery died.
    Took it into the dealership and they diagnosed a complete replacement of the powersteering ($2200). I’ve read several forums like this and the “flat tire and/or dead battery” seems to be thematic precursor to the power steering going out and “service advancetrac now”. It seems like some people get the dealer to ‘reset the code’ and that is successful. (sometimes only temporarily). Others seem to reset codes + install a new battery to have permanent success.
    Anyone else find a solution? Or specific direction to give the dealer to make sure one can ask “Did you reset code YYYYY? I’ve read this works to restore the power steering.”

    Reply
      • Sean, Ive had the same issue with my 2012 flex the TPS tire low pressure light, followed by advance track and door ajar light flashes as well short after that all ACCESSORIES shut off but engine stays running for a sec then everything that was on comes back as normal. Any thoughts?

        Reply
        • Please check your tire pressures. Aside from that, I’m wondering if there is an electrical issue like a bad ground that is triggering all those lights at the same time. Check that all grounds are clean and tight, including the main ground at the negative battery terminal.

  4. I have a 2014 f-150 and today for the first time I have three warning lights come on at the same time. The ABS, the check brake system and the service advancetrac. Never had the slightest issue before.

    Checked the brake fluid level as I just had the oil changed and it was fine.

    Checked for leaking brake fluid–no issues there.

    What next????

    Reply
    • Sounds like a bad wheel speed sensor, maybe. The best thing to do is use a scanner to check the output of each wheel speed sensor. If one isn’t registering, that’s the problem wheel. Then you can use that data to determine if the sensor itself is wrong or if there is some other mechanical or electrical issue elsewhere in the system.

      Reply
  5. I have a 2011 Lincoln MKX and after changing to new battery I have service advancetrac light on now. I had a tire with low pressure also but after adding Air the pressure illumination light went away.

    Reply
  6. What a crock of garbage. 1 year old car and it shuts down. I’m already sick of all the other automated junk that doesn’t work on this car. Now my wife cant drive her car safely. Way to go ford!

    Reply
  7. My 2018 F150 had the same track lock problem with my Power steering drive mode and many others. Found issue two ground wires under the hood driver side fender well actually behind my airbox . It’s a bad connection And over torqued which cracks The connector. Install new Connector everythings fixed .

    Reply
  8. the service advancedtrack light on my ford f150 2012 fx2 came on after I installed a 2-inch level kit on the front side of my truck… what solution is needed to avoid further problems?

    Reply
  9. most likely its the big circut fuse on the positive battery terminal , it has 2 computer harness leads going to it held on by 2 10 mm nuts,,,,,,and 1 14mm bolt holding the big fuse on the terminal…remove and replace, problem solved

    Reply
  10. I have a 2012 Ford Fusion SE that had a flat tire and caused the power steering to go out. Even though there is a recall on this model for the power steering, the dealership told me it wasn’t due to the recall and was gong to cost with everything fixed $4,000.
    I decided to drive the car without power steering for a year and took it to pep boys to get a new tire. I don’t know what they did, but the power steering has been working fine for a couple of years now. They never mentioned anything.
    About 6 months later my stereo speakers started popping whenever I would hit any kind of small bump in the road. So no stereo and no speakers for almost 9 months. Whenever they do come on, the sound is great but it doesn’t stay on long. The steering wheel lights no longer work nor the gear shift lights.
    Recently, I had another flat. I took the car to Walmart to get a new tire put on. Now the dashboard lights say a car door is open (they are all closed) and it beeps and flashes service breaks and service advance track.
    The breaks could def be replaced but they don’t show any sign of being worn out. I just have to push them a little harder than my other car. I don’t know what advance track is, but it always was on when I had no power steering.
    Last night I changed 2 fuses. Number 38 and 39 for the radio and subwoofer/amp and to my complete shock the stereo is working great, the speakers are not popping and not going out when I hit a bump.
    My question is, could all of this other stuff be fixed by simply changing a fuse?

    Reply
    • AdvanceTrac is Ford’s stability control system. Why did the dealer tell you the recall didn’t apply to your vehicle?

      It sounds like you have several unrelated issues going on. If those fuses blow again, I would pay for an electrical diagnosis from a qualified technician to help you narrow down the problem. I suspect you may have a short or a bad ground somewhere in the electrical system. The power steering may or may not be related. I believe that is an electric power steering rack so it’s possible.

      Good luck on your search, and don’t just replace the fuses if they blow again; make sure you get an accurate diagnosis of the problem. Fuses are there for safety to keep the car from catching on fire, so you’ll need to find the root cause before this can be resolved for good.

      Reply
  11. 2015 Ford Fusion Hybrid – Service AdvanceTrac came on a couple of months ago and i stopped and turned off the car and back on and everything was fine but the check engine light was on but the car ran fine. then every once in awhile very inconsistently as im driving and the engine goes from driving in electric to right when it switches to the gas engine Service AdvancTrac comes on again and i have to turn the car off again and back on and everything is fine again. It seems to only happen right when its switching from electric to gas that it happens but it doesn’t happen every time just some times. Im so confused, iv searched the internet for anyone with a similar issue and i get a lot of the Service AdvanceTrac issue but nothing like mine.

    Reply
    • Also if i keep driving without turning the car off and drive while the Service AdvancTrac warning is on its only drives while on the electric battery and if i drive long enough and i run the electric battery down i can go any faster than 15 MPH and even on a full battery i dont get past 40MPH

      Reply
      • I am not sure what the issue is. I think this is something that would be best handled at a local shop, where they can hook up a scan tool and determine which sensor(s) are the root cause of the problem.

        Reply
  12. Same thing happened to my 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid on December 2, 2021. Dashboard displayed the warnings: Check brake system, service advance track, and ABS turned off. The brakes were not working normally and it took a lot longer to stop.
    Had to drive really slow to get home from work. The next morning everything was working so I drove straight to my trusty mechanic. They said I have to take it to the Ford Dealer based on the error codes. I had the same thing fixed a couple of years ago by my mechanic, but I guess since it came back will have to pay the dealer.

    Reply
  13. 2011 F150 Planuim. Advance Track light came on and the power steering emediatly stopped working causing a manuel hard non assisted fight to steer the truck. Any idea why?

    Reply
    • Not sure. I would hook up a scanner to see why the AdvanceTrac light came on. It may show you one or more sensors have failed to operate correctly.

      Reply
  14. My AdvacneTrac warning light came on along with my Park Brake light (same time) when I had to slam on the brakes from hitting a lady who pulled out in front of me (just missed her my speed was 65 on the freeway I barley missed her. I have a 2011 Lincoln Navigator. Could it be just the “box” that needs to be replaced? Looking to do this as cheap as possible. Any ideas would be helpful.

    Reply
    • I don’t know. Check your brake fluid level to make sure you still have plenty of brake fluid. If it were me, I would not cheap out on brake issues. Take it to a shop and have them check it out to make sure it’s safe. The park brake light often comes on just before braking system failures, and often the kind that leave you without any brakes at all.

      Reply
  15. I have a 2013 Ford Edge. My Service Advance Trac light comes on as well as the traction control light that says off and the car sliding light comes on too. Then the light to indicate what gear you are in ( P, R, N, D, S) all go off. If you shift the vehicle, a big thud happens and sounds like the transmission is falling out of the vehicle. If you shift it from Park to Drive or Reverse a few times, it will finally go. Took it to Ford and they did a system update. Happened again a week later. Sometimes it happens everyday and sometimes it might go 2 to 3 weeks before it happens again. Today it happened right when I started the vehicle. Haven’t even moved. Most of the time it happens when you put it into park. Also did it when I drove to the end of the street. Haven’t heard anyone say anything about the thud when shifting from the transmission with these lights on. Getting frustrated with it. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Reply
    • Sounds like it may be an issue with the transmission, but I’m not sure. This is the type of issue I think would be wise to pay for a diagnostic from a good shop. Getting the diagnosis wrong on this could cost a bunch of money replacing perfectly good parts.

      Reply
  16. My wife has a 2013 f 150 Ecoboost. The Advance trac light will come on and then it will not have any turn signals or 4 way flashers. Took it to a Ford Dealer to have it fixed they said that the steering column module was bad. She said order part and fix it 3 weeks later the part came in dealer installed it, everything worked no advance trac light then about 10 days later the light came on again and no turn signals again you can stop turn the truck off restart it and everything works again as it should. then again for no reason it will come on again. Also when the advance trac light is on so it shows the traction control light is on. The dealer has had it for three days now and say then can not find any reason for it to keep coming on. Give me your best guess as what might be the cause for the light coming on. Thanks

    Reply
  17. I have 2016 F-150 4WD. When my advance trac warning comes on I lose throttle input from idle or a stop. It creates a dangerous situation as I cannot accelerate when pulling out into traffic or turning from a stop or red light. I end up rolling through an intersection at very low speed and it takes time to eventual get up to speed. Once cruising throttle response is ok and I can accelerate. The dealer could not get it to reliable replicate but did find fault with the pedal assembly. Made sense so I had it replaced. Didn’t get a half mile from the dealer and it happened again. First the article states you can drive with no ill effects. My situation is quite dangerous. Any guidance where to try next. The deal is on the path of changing parts.

    Reply
    • Much of the time the Service AdvanceTrac light is on because of a bad wheel speed sensor or something similar. In a case like that, you usually can drive without too much of an issue, you just might not have ABS or traction control.

      Your situation sounds different. If there is a problem with the pedal assembly, it may not be detecting throttle input correctly. That could explain why you can’t pull away quickly from a stop.

      I could see a bad pedal assembly triggering a Service AdvanceTrac light, although it is a very different issue than the original article had in mind; I would expect another warning light to be on at the same time, or perhaps the vehicle would even enter limp mode. The factory service manual should have a detailed description of all the failures that could potentially trigger this warning light.

      My next step would be a thorough electrical diagnosis. Check every single sensor (and wiring) that the AdvanceTrac system reads data from. To do this, you will need a factory service manual from Ford. You should be able to find one online. Electrical diagnostics can be a difficult and time consuming process, but it can save you a lot of money when the alternative is the parts cannon.

      Reply
  18. I just got the A-trac, hill assist, drive mode issue after swapping my spare for my rear passenger tire on my 2018 F150 STX. I threw the original in the bed and drove it to the shop to fix the flat during my lunch break. Came back to the office and continued home afterwards. Almost as soon as I drove off the parking lot the error message came up. It like it knew the tire was missing. A few miles down the road, the tps warning came on. The next day the tps showed the missing sensor and the A-trac fault went away. Second day the tps came back on, still with only the spare, and after leaving my office the ATrac came back. There seems to be connection between the TPS sensors and the A-trac system. After putting my original tire back on, all is good again.

    Reply
    • Some vehicles have TPMS sensors in the wheels. Other systems use the wheel speed sensors to determine if a tire is flat. You’ll have to check which type of system your F-150 uses, but some are more sensitive to change than others.

      TPMS sensors in the wheels can be recalibrated by a special tool that most tire shops have. If your truck uses the wheel speed sensors instead, you may have a button on the inside of the cabin that you can hold to reset the tire pressure monitors. The button should look like the icon on the tire pressure warning light.

      Reply
  19. That issue is because a wire from the power steering to the battery is loose. look for any messed-up wires under there.

    Reply
  20. Thanks Sean.
    I have a 2017 Navigator. The ABS, Advanctrac and traction control lights came on today. No obvious performance issues.
    Are the speed sensors inside the hub assembly? I just replaced both front hub assemblies 2 weeks ago.

    Reply
  21. We have a Ford Expedition EL 2010, My hub went out on the front driver side which caused my ABS and Service AdvanceTrac to come on. My husband’s a mechanic so it wasn’t a big deal to fix what went wrong. My question is does he need a scan tool to clear the codes.

    Reply
    • I don’t think he will need a scan tool if he ends up doing the work on his own. If I’m wrong, you should be able to get those codes cleared at an auto parts store. They have scan tools available.

      Reply

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