The “Service AdvanceTrac” light is a warning light that appears on the dashboard of Ford vehicles like the Ford F150, Ford Fusion, and Ford Edge. It means that your vehicle is encountering challenging driving conditions, and once those conditions resolve, the light will turn off. Challenging conditions include slippery roads, spinning tires, or debris wedged in a wheel.
Other vehicles made by manufacturers like Chevy and Nissan have similar warning lights, but they’re not called “Service AdvanceTrac.”
Several issues can be responsible for the “Service AdvanceTrac” warning message on your vehicle’s dashboard.
The warning light may have popped up because of one or more of the following issues:
- Foreign objects lodged in one or more of the wheels
- A defective wheel-speed sensor
- A faulty steering angle sensor
- A faulty steering rack
- A faulty rotational-speed sensor
It could also mean that the AdvanceTrac system needs to be reprogrammed.
Naturally, the best course of action is to contact a qualified automobile technician to diagnose and fix whatever might be triggering the “Service AdvanceTrac” warning light.
Typically, fixing the warning light is only possible when you reset the computer or fix the issue that’s causing the “Service AdvanceTrac” light to activate.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about the “Service AdvanceTrac” light.
- What Is the AdvanceTrac System?
- How to Fix Service AdvanceTrac
- How Much Does It Cost to Service AdvanceTrac in Ford Vehicles?
- Get Back on Road Safely When You Fix Your Ford AdvanceTrac System
What Is the AdvanceTrac System?
If your car is equipped with a message center in its dashboard, you’re going to encounter a very wide range of messages and reminders designed to assist the driver/car owner in keeping the car in optimum health.
One such message is “Service AdvanceTrac,” which is a warning light that pops up on the dashboard of Ford vehicles.
AdvanceTrac in Ford vehicles is the electronic stability control (ESC) system, also commonly referred to as Traction Control or Vehicle Dynamic Control in various other vehicle models. As the name implies, the purpose of AdvanceTrac, Traction Control, or Vehicle Dynamic Control system is to monitor the vehicle’s steering performance and ensure stability.
The AdvanceTrac system is designed to warn the driver if it detects tire skidding or loss of traction. You will get an AdvanceTrac alert if you oversteer or under-steer the vehicle.
Other scenarios that involve skidding or loss of traction, such as impact from behind the vehicle or driving under extreme weather conditions, can also trigger the Service AdvanceTrac warning.
How Does AdvanceTrac Work?
The system is designed to assist the car in correcting any traction issues it is experiencing. It does this by compensating for over-steering or under-steering by reducing power or applying brakes to specific wheels.
AdvanceTrac is a smart vehicle technology that does its work using electronic sensors to interface with the vehicle’s Powertrain Control Module (PCM) wherever steering performance and stability are concerned. A fully functional AdvanceTrac system is comprised of and should be able to communicate with an array of components, including:
- Anti-Lock Brake System
- Traction Control System
- Electronic Sensors
The Anti-Lock Braking System
Remember that AdvanceTrac, or Vehicle Dynamic Control or Traction Control, is designed to counteract traction issues by reducing power or applying brakes to specific wheels, which is why the system includes the anti-lock brake system.
Several things can cause a vehicle’s brakes to lock up, including faulty ABS, overheated braking system, incorrect brake fluid, worn-out caliper pistons, and misaligned power brake booster rods. The vehicle will experience skidding or sliding or loss of control if the brakes lock up. AdvanceTrac prevents this from happening using the anti-lock brake system.
AdvanceTrac needs the Traction Control System to reduce engine speed in those critical moments when the vehicle is skidding – especially in bad weather conditions – or when the driver is over-steering or under-steering. The system reduces engine speed while figuring out which wheel to apply brake pressure and stabilize traction.
To determine which wheel to apply brake pressure to stabilize the vehicle when it is experiencing traction trouble, AdvanceTrac communicates with the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) using its electronic sensors to provide it with information about the rotational speed of each wheel, and the horizontal and vertical motion of the vehicle.
How to Fix Service AdvanceTrac
If you see a Service AdvanceTrac light in a Ford Fusion, there are a few ways to solve the problem. The biggest challenge you face has to do with the cause of the problem. Typically, you have to reprogram your AdvanceTrac system to know if the problem is fixed. However, we recommend checking your brake system and steering wheel for any potential components that need to be replaced.
Once you address the problem, you can reprogram your AdvanceTrac system.
How to Reprogram Your AdvanceTrac System
Want to reprogram the AdvanceTrac system in a Ford Fusion or another Ford model? You can service AdvanceTrac in an F150 and other models by following the steps below.
- Turn on the engine and let it run
- Open the vehicle’s deck
- Remove the negative terminal on the battery
- Keep the terminal disconnected for about five minutes
- Reconnect the battery
Following these steps will help you reprogram or service AdvanceTrac in Ford F250s, Ford Edges, and other Ford models.
Remember, if your vehicle has other problems, like wheel alignment issues, this may not be enough to fix the problem.
How Much Does It Cost to Service AdvanceTrac in Ford Vehicles?
The cost to service the AdvanceTrac in a Ford Explorer or any other Ford model varies depending on the problem. If your vehicle is just stuck in the snow, the system can be repaired once the vehicle is free and won’t cost you a dime. However, servicing each part of the AdvanceTrac system can raise the price by hundreds of thousands of dollars.
For example, if the Service AdvanceTrac light is a sensor or fuse problem in your Ford Explorer, you’ll need to replace them. Fuses cost between $40-$60 to replace and sensors can range from $100-$200. On the other hand, if Service AdvanceTrac is caused by something else, like your ABS brakes, it can be a different problem. Fixing brakes and other traction components can cost you between $500 and $1,000.
Get Back on Road Safely When You Fix Your Ford AdvanceTrac System
The AdvanceTrac system is a smart, complex, but very important part of your Ford vehicle. It can save lives, as well as protect against accidents and damage to your car. Plus, the AdvanceTrac technology improves the smooth running of your vehicle.
All of these are why you shouldn’t wait to look into any problems the system might be having. The “Service AdvanceTrac” warning light shouldn’t be ignored, nor should it put you in panic mode. A certified technician should be able to run a few quick tests and fix the issues, and have you back on the road in no time.