What Does the “Service AdvanceTrac” Light Mean?

What Does the “Service AdvanceTrac” Light Mean?

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 object 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.

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 of such messages is “Service AdvanceTrac,” which is a warning light that pops up on the dashboard of Ford vehicles.

AvanceTrac 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, or 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 over-steer 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.

A number of things can cause a vehicle’s brakes to lock up, including faulty ABS system, 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 brake locks up. AdvanceTrac prevents this from happening using the anti-lock brake system.

Traction Control

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 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.

Electronic Sensors

To determine which wheel to apply brake pressure in order 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.


The AdvanceTrac system is a smart, complex, but very important part of your vehicle. It can literally save lives as well as protect against accidents and damages to your car. Plus, the AdvanceTrac technology improves the smooth running of your vehicle.

All of these are why you shouldn’t waste time looking 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.

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