Sometimes when you are buying a new car, the car dealer will throw you a bunch of names and features to try and make the car look as impressive as possible. Unless you know what all these features are and how they can help your driving experience, it is easy to become very confused.
One thing that is thrown around a lot but never really explained is StabiliTrak. Car dealers will be quick to mention that a car has StabiliTrak, but they won’t spend the time explaining what that exactly means and leaves you thinking, so what is StabiliTrak?
So what is StabiliTrak and how will it affect your driving?
If you want to understand what is StabiliTrak so you can make an informed decision when it comes to purchasing the right car for you, keep on reading down below to find all the answers you need.
What is StabiliTrak?
StabiliTrak is General Motors’ patented electronic stability control (ESC) system.
Because General Motors own and manufacture a lot of cars like Chevrolet and Cadillac, their own unique ESC system is incorporated into many cars driven around the world, so it is likely you will one day drive a car that has StabiliTrak or you already do.
StabiliTrak helps to make your car safer for you to drive as it tries to help prevent the wheels skidding when the driver makes a sudden maneuver. This can happen when you overtake another vehicle, brake sharply, or turn a corner. An ESC system like StabiliTrak will help your wheels keep a good grip on the road so you are less likely to be involved in an accident.
StabiliTrak does this by using sensors that can apply the brakes to stop a wheel from slipping. This unique ESC system can also alter the trajectory of your vehicle by combining engine power and brake pressure to influence the steering if the sensors pick up that you have lost control of your car.
StabiliTrak’s sensors can pick up if you are turning the steering wheel but the car is not turning in the right direction, so it applies the brakes to stop the car from slipping and you can continue driving in the right direction.
This is a very handy and important feature to have in your car, especially if you drive through a lot of ice and snow. If you lose traction while driving in these kinds of conditions, then StabiliTrak kicks in to save you from sliding into danger. All of this can happen before you even react, which is why features like StabiliTrak saves lives.
How To Turn Off StabiliTrak
If StabiliTrak is so important to have turned on and helps save lives, then why would you want to switch it off?
Well, sometimes your car might get stuck in mud or deep snow, and ESC systems like StabiliTrak can make it difficult to get out of those kinds of situations. This means you will have to learn how to switch StabiliTrak off so you can get your car unstuck, just make sure you remember to switch it back on before you start driving.
How to turn StabiliTrak off changes from vehicle to vehicle.
Most of the time, it only requires you to press your StabiliTrak button, like in Toyota cars or some models of Ford. You can easily find this button on the center console of your car.
However, other models may require you to go through some more complicated steps that involve turning your warning lights on and pressing your accelerator pedals, like with Volkswagen cars. Check your car manual for advice on where to find your ESC buttons and what you have to do to turn your StabiliTrak off.
Once your StabiliTrak is switched off, you can maneuver your car and then switch it back on. Remember to switch it back on once your car is unstuck, as this is a life saving feature that you need to have while driving, unless you want to intentionally slide your car around, which can also be pretty fun in the right environment.
Why Is My StabiliTrak Warning Light On?
The StabiliTrak warning light sometimes will come on your instrument panel, and this could be for a number of reasons. Sometimes, it is something easy like a software failure and can be resolved by pressing your StabiliTrak button, or it could be a very serious problem.
To try and reset your StabiliTrak light, try turning the handwheel clockwise. If the warning light shuts off, then your car does not need a service – whew!
If the warning light persists, try switching your vehicle off for around thirty seconds before turning it back on. Sometimes, the light will just switch off by itself. If it is still there, then there could be a few reasons why.
One of the most common causes of your StabiliTrak warning light switching on, is due to a faulty sensor. Dirt and debris can damage your sensors over time and can affect your sensor’s input when it comes to wheel speed or steering angle. To fix this issue, you will need to replace the affected sensor.
Another issue could be a fault controller. This issue is more likely to occur during bad weather conditions, which causes your powertrain control module (PCM) to not communicate with the electric sensors on your wheels.
If your warning light persists, then you will have to take your car to a garage to be serviced and fixed. It’s important not to ignore the warning light and keep on driving, as you will be putting yourself and others in danger if you lose control of your car.
It may even affect your insurance, so don’t risk it, take your car to be checked.
So, to sum it all up, firstly, what is StabiliTrak? – StabiliTrak is General Motors’ very own patented ESC system.
It helps you maintain control of your car in harsh weather conditions and on unsteady roads by braking and steering your wheels when it senses that the car has lost traction and is skidding.
Sometimes, StabiliTrak will kick in before you even realize your car is skidding and could help you avoid getting into an accident.
StabiliTrak is an important feature to have on your car, just like any other ESC system. It is a little bit more special as it helps with steering as well and not just with braking. So, if you are interested in a car with StabiliTrak, then you can drive it confidently with the knowledge that there is a good system in place to help keep you safe while driving.