“Service StabiliTrak” Warning Light? (What It Means and How to Reset)

Has a “Service StabiliTrak” warning message recently appeared on your dash? If so, you may be anxiously wondering what it means and how much the repair bill is going to be.

Keep reading to learn what triggers this message to appear, how to reset it yourself, and what it’s going to cost to fix if the warning reappears.

service stabilitrak

What is StabiliTrak?

“StabiliTrak” serves as a GM-specific form of traction control, utilized by Chevy and GMC vehicles. Other manufacturers (ie: AdvanceTrac for Fords) may use a different term for similar systems.

Simply put, General Motors uses the verbiage “StabiliTrak” to describe the implementation of such technology in their vehicles. This technology prevents motorists from inadvertently entering a skid under less than ideal circumstances, in turn, enhancing safety along the way.

Diving deeper, all traction control systems, including StabiliTrak, expand upon the use of modern ABS systems that have now been standard in most vehicles for more than 20 years.

Basic ABS systems monitor wheel speed sensors at each respective wheel-end location, in a bid to detect individual wheel lockups during braking applications. When the lockup of one or more wheels is detected, brake pressure is modulated accordingly to eliminate skidding.

Traction control takes this principle one step further by monitoring each of a vehicle’s four wheel speed sensors under normal driving conditions.

If wheel slippage is detected under acceleration, braking force is applied to the opposing wheel end on a given axle, thereby preventing an uncontrolled slide or skid, righting a vehicle’s direction in the process.

Read Also: What Is VSA In a Honda?

What Causes the “Service StabiliTrak” Message to Appear?

The following are several possible causes of an active StabiliTrak fault that results in the illumination of a “Service StabiliTrak” light or traction control light.

As always, before attempting to diagnose such issues, you should consult factory-specific service literature for your specific model of vehicle.

See Also: Why is My Electronic Stability Control Light On?

#1 – Sensor/Module Failure

bad wheel speed sensor
Faulty wheel speed sensor

One of the most common causes of StabiliTrak-related faults is the failure of one or more system-specific sensors and/or the StabiliTrak module itself. If any such components fail, system communication deteriorates.

#2 – Brake-System Issues

The functionality of a vehicle’s StabiliTrak system hinges upon the condition of the general brake system itself. If a vehicle’s brake system is starved for fluid or is otherwise compromised, StabiliTrak failure is sure to follow.

#3 – Faulty Electrical Powertrain Electrical Components

While the majority of a vehicle’s StabiliTrak operability hinges upon brake system actuation, a number of additional automotive systems also play into such operations.

Vehicles equipped with this technology are also able to execute control by limiting engine load under certain circumstances. Therefore, fuel pump and/or throttle body issues can also contribute to such hardship.

#4 – General Electrical Issues

As with any electrical system, a vehicle’s StabiliTrak programming can fall victim to one of any potential electrical gremlins. In particular, faulty or corroded ground connections can wreak havoc upon the StabiliTrak system as a whole.

Therefore, any such connections should be inspected before diving headlong into further diagnostic measures.

Is It the Same as a “StabiliTrack Off” Light?

stabilitrak off

“StabiliTrak Off” and “Service StabiliTrak” warnings are not one and the same. In fact, the former is simply a result of disabling a vehicle’s StabiliTrak function via the in-dash button, while the latter serves as the notification of an active fault, which typically impedes the function of such safety-sensitive controls.

In turn, you should consider the illumination of a Service StabiliTrak light as a matter worthy of intervention.

The presentation of a “StabiliTrack Off” message, in most cases, can be rectified by simply depressing your vehicle’s StabiliTrak button once more. This once again engages the StabiliTrak function, assuming no active faults are registered.

Read Also: ESP BAS Light On? (What It Means)

Is It OK to Continue Driving With the Service StabiliTrak Light On?

While it is certainly possible to continue driving in light of a newly illuminated “Service StabiliTrak” light, doing so for prolonged periods of time isn’t advised. This stems from the fact that any traction control system is safety-related in nature.

When such a warning light is displayed, StabiliTrak functionality is typically disabled. Therefore, driving under such circumstances tends to compromise the overall safety of a vehicle, in relation to the manner in which it was engineered.

service stabilitrak message

Furthermore, those used to operating a vehicle equipped with StabiliTrak might find themselves unconditioned to driving the same vehicle without such active safety features.

As a result, you may be prone to misjudged effective stopping distances, or could inadvertently lose traction when accelerating under less than ideal roadway conditions, where no prior issues have been experienced.

In any event, the root cause of a vehicle’s traction control-related issues should always be thoroughly diagnosed and addressed as soon as possible. Doing so will alleviate the potential of unknowingly taking undue risks while commuting on a daily basis.

If you don’t feel comfortable diagnosing such issues yourself, an appointment should be made with a trusted automotive service center at the first available opportunity.

How to Reset the Service StabiliTrak Light

The exact procedure for resetting the Service StabiliTrak light on a GM vehicle often differs from one model to the next. However, the most common reset procedure for such vehicles is conducted as follows.

  1. Locate StabiliTrak Button – The first step is locating your vehicle’s StabiliTrak button. The exact location can be found in your vehicle’s owner’s manual.
  2. Depress Button Twice – Once you’ve located your vehicle’s StabiliTrak button, it should be depressed twice, and held in the engaged position after it is depressed the second time.
  3. Release StabiliTrak Button For Reset – After holding your vehicle’s StabiliTrak button in the depressed position for approximately 5 seconds, the button can be released. As a result, your vehicle’s Service StabiliTrak light should be deactivated.

As mentioned, there are several specific reset procedures specified by General Motors to reset an illuminated “Service StabiliTrak” light. Because of that, it’s important to identify the correct procedure for your specific vehicle.

What If the Message Reappears After Resetting?

wind noise driver

If you have previously reset your vehicle’s “Service StabiliTrak” light, yet much to your dismay, it has returned once again, further diagnostic efforts will be required. Simply put, the fault that was previously logged was not an intermittent issue, and instead, is an active fault that is being logged in a repetitive fashion.

It’s the same as a Check Engine light. You can manually clear it, but if the original issue remains, expect to see the light again.

Under these circumstances, further attempts to reset this warning light will be pointless in nature and will result in an immediate reoccurrence of the fault in question. It will be necessary to take steps to diagnose the fault at hand, in order to permanently stop the warning from coming back.

How Much Will It Cost to Fix?

The exact cost associated with repairing StabiliTrak-related issues varies widely from one individual case to the next. This stems from the fact the general pricing of components utilized in this system spans extensively from one end of the spectrum to the next.

For example, the general sensor, as well as the associated labor related to replacing a component of this nature is far less expensive than replacing and reprogramming a master module.

Luckily, the vast majority of repairs related to the StabiliTrak system tend to center around the replacement of more minor components.

  • Under the best-case scenario, failures of this type will cost around $100 to $150 for the addition of little more than a minimal amount of brake fluid, and no more than an hour’s worth of labor to bleed the brake system in general.
  • At worst, the vehicle in question’s StabiliTrak module might prove faulty, requiring up to $800 to replace and flash.

On a far more positive note, the median price associated with repairing StabiliTrak-related faults tends to be much less, generally averaging no more than $150-$200 per instance.

Far more costly systematic module failures tend to be rare, typically accounting for less than 10% of all “Service StabiliTrak” notifications.

Josh Boyd

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