What Is StabiliTrak?
StabiliTrak can also refer to the Traction Control System (TCS) of a vehicle. The TCS is comprised of sensors fitted on the wheels of vehicles for monitoring and improving vehicle stability while in motion.
Whether the vehicle is a front, rear, or all-wheel drive makes no difference to what the TCS is designed to do. You’d be right to view StabilitTrak as a stability control system. A Service StabiliTrak error message on the dashboard of your vehicle means the system is experiencing an error.
A vehicle’s StabiliTrak system must be in optimum health, as its sensors play the often lifesaving role of improving a vehicle’s maneuvering by helping to maintain stability when the wheel(s) is slipping or skidding. The system is designed to engage brakes to specific wheels when a vehicle accelerates on slippery terrain.
What Causes a Service StabiliTrak Error Message?
Malfunctioning Input Sensors: StabiliTrak uses more than just the sensors on a vehicle’s wheels to monitor the vehicle’s movement. These sensors include a steering wheel position sensor, park assist sensor, and O2 sensors, among others. You’re getting the Service StabiliTrak error message because the sensors are failing to do their job optimally. The sensor’s job is simple; ensure the vehicle is moving in a straight line.
Faulty Powertrain Control Module (PCM): A breakdown of the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) can lead to a StabilitTrak error message. For the StabiliTrak system to do its job efficiently, it needs the “ear” of the PCM. That’s to say that StabiliTrak sensors interface with the PCM about the vehicle’s stability and steering performance. When there is a miscommunication in this regard, the system interprets it as an error, hence, the Service StabiliTrak error message.
Bad Connection: Sometimes in GM vehicles, the Service Stabilitrak error message may be caused by a breakdown in the General Motors- Local Area Network (GM-LAN) connection line. GM’s Local Area Network is a standardized transport-layer protocol that uses LAN communication cables. This is a bunch of wires insulated in a plastic coating that runs all the way down to the transmission mechanism. A heat shield is bolted to the transmission gearbox to protect the wiring and sensitive transmission components.
However, age and continuous exposure of the plastic coating to high temperature over an extended period cause brittle and disintegration. The detachment of the plastic cover makes the GM-LAN communication channel vulnerable, which can lead to the appearance of a Service StabiliTrak error message on the dashboard.
Bad Steering Angle Sensors: You already know how important the StabiliTrak system is, not just for your vehicle’s cruising performance but also for the safety of the passengers. We’ve also seen how the StabiliTrak system is comprised of sensors fitted in specific parts of a vehicle.
Those sensors include the steering angle sensor designed to monitor and transmit vital data to the vehicle’s computer, such as steering wheel angle and rate of turn. As you can imagine, a problem with the sensor’s ability to do its job will result in a StabiliTrak error message.
Can I Drive My Car if It Shows Service StabiliTrak?
It’s probably fine to keep driving if you get a “Service StabiliTrak” error message on your vehicle’s dashboard. However, keep in mind that if you are getting a “Service StabiliTrak” error message, your vehicle’s stability control is disabled.
So, it’s probably fine to keep driving your car with the “Service StabiliTrak error message glowing as long as you’re aware the technology’s ability to help you in difficult driving conditions has been compromised. Also, you may experience some driving difficulties like reduced power while driving with a less-than-optimal StabiliTrak system.
How Do I Fix a Service StabiliTrak Error Message?
- Pull over and turn your car off. Let it sit for at least 15 seconds, then turn it on again.
- Get a technician to scan the vehicle for diagnostic trouble codes. This will identify where the system has an issue so you can fix it.