Car manufacturers install StabiliTrak in your car to keep you safe and allow you to maintain control of your vehicle in wet and snowy driving conditions that would otherwise result in you losing control of the car or crashing.
Sometimes it can affect your car’s movement or need to be reset. Here we will show how to turn off StabiliTrak in several different vehicles and reset it.
StabiliTrak: What it is and how it works
StabiliTrak is a traction monitor and control system on vehicles that works with your car’s anti-lock braking system. Together they help you maintain control of the vehicle if you should fishtail or hydroplane. When your car starts sliding, the ABS sensors tell the car to apply certain brakes to help you stop safely.
The StabiliTrak utilizes the speed sensors, each wheel’s independent braking, and the anti-brake technology to figure out which way you want the car to go. It then applies the brake to the wheels (that will control the sliding), so the vehicle stays in the direction you were driving in or returns to that position.
Why is my StabiliTrak light on?
The StabiliTrak light can come on for several reasons, and not all of them are bad. If you are driving on ice or in rainy conditions, the light may flash. This lets you know the system is working and you are on slippery pavement. It is usually a momentary thing when this happens, and the light goes off.
If the car is not moving or you are driving in good conditions when the light comes on, there is a problem with your StabiliTrak system, and it needs checking. You don’t want to be driving and need the Stabilitrak, and it isn’t working. It is possible it could be a failing component, a faulty input sensor, or a malfunctioning control unit.
Regardless, you should get it taken care of immediately.
How to Turn Off Stabilitrak in Different Vehicles?
Turning off the StabiliTrak on a Ford will depend on your model. Check the manual for your vehicle recommendations.
Here are the quick and longer methods you may need to follow depending on your car.
Ford method #1
Locate the traction control button on your steering wheel. Press and release it immediately.
Press, then hold the control button for 3-5 seconds. When you release the control button, the StabiliTrak will be off.
Ford method #2
Using the car menu, look for the controls for the steering wheel underneath the dashboard to locate the StabiliTrak sensor.
Locate and press the black arrow on the left.
In the setting management section, choose “accept.” Now watch for other options.
Choose “driver assistance,” then press the “OK” button. Watch for the next option.
When “driver control” pops up, look at the steering wheel and press the ‘OK” button. The StabiliTrak should now be off.
Chevrolet and GMC
In the GMC and Chevy, you will have to turn off the Traction Control System (TCS) and the Stabilitrak.
In the center of your dashboard, press the button with the sliding car icon.
Once located, press and hold until the Traction Control light and the DIC message are visible.
As you drive and reach 56 km/h, the Stabilitrak system should shut off
(according to the 2018 GMC manual). You may have to check your manual for information on your specific model.
Once you go above 56 km/h, the traction control will stay off.
Dodge, Chrysler, and RAM
Locate the electronic stability control (ESC). Press then hold the button for approx. 6 seconds.
Once you hear a whistle, the ESC will be off.
Locate the vehicle stability control (VSC) button near the gear shift.
Once you locate the VSC button, press and hold the button for 5 seconds.
It should take about 5 seconds before the VSC is off. You should see a message telling you that the “VSC” and “TRA is off. The Stabilitrak is now off.
Why is the process so confusing?
Each vehicle is different, so the process for each is a bit different. Most manufacturers would prefer you not to turn StabiliTrak off at all. However, the owner’s manual should have information on how to do this safely.
How to Reset Your Stabilitrak System?
This method is meant to be a quick fix and not a solution for the StabiliTrak.
If your car is running, you need to turn it off and let it cool down for a minute to let the system cool down and reset.
Turn the car back on and check for the StabiliTrak message. If the message is not gone, you will need to seek a mechanic.
How to Use a Scan Tool to Reset the Stabilitrak?
Make sure the car is off. Locate the ODB-II port located under the dashboard on the driver’s side.
Plug the scanner in and turn the key to ‘ON,” but don’t start the vehicle.
Wait while the scanner diagnoses the problem.
Once the scanner codes are displayed, you will know what the problem is and can fix it or go to a mechanic. Be sure to write down the codes and descriptions before turning off the scanner.
Remove the scanner and fix the issue.
Once you fix the problem, rescan the car to ensure it is resolved following steps # 1-4.
1. If I drive with the Stabilitrak off, is it safe?
Ans. Yes, the car is drivable, but that does not mean it is safe. It is risky and could result in an accident if you are a newer driver or not familiar with the car’s drive.
When StabiliTrak is off, the car may not drive as usual. In wet and snowy conditions, the vehicle may skid as you brake. When turning on wet pavement, you may not have the traction you generally have on corners, leading to an inability for the car to readjust itself. While the vehicle may operate ok, there is no stability control when the system is off.
If the StabiliTrak is off and the brake light should come on, do not drive the car.
2. Where do I find the StabiliTrak button?
Ans. The location will depend on the make and model of the car. You can locate some on the dashboard, some near the gear shift, and others under the steering wheel. Check the car’s owner manual for the location in your vehicle.