A Service StabiliTrak dash warning can be pretty alarming when it comes up on your Chevy Cruze. No need to jump the gun, though. I’ll help you understand what the Service StabiliTrak Chevy Cruze means and how to turn it off.
While GM’s StabiliTrak system is designed to help you drive more safely, its warning light shows a problem with the system. Since this light is associated with the traction system, you’ll need to drive more carefully before you repair the issue.
Let’s see what the Service StabiliTrak warning signal is all about and how to handle it.
StabiliTrak System: What Is It?
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of the Service StabiliTrak warning light, it’s good to know what you’re dealing with.
Well, the StabiliTrak system is GM’s patented Electronic Stability Control System. It’s a unique ESC system in many Chevrolet and Cadillac vehicles, including the Chevy Cruze.
This system uses a complex set of sensors to help you drive safely by preventing the wheels from skidding when you make a sudden maneuver. The StabiliTrak system can kick in when you brake sharply, turn a corner, overtake another vehicle, or slide on an icy road.
Suppose your Cruze is skidding; StabiliTrak will help the wheels maintain their grip on the road reducing the chances of being in an accident. It helps you regain control through a complex system of sensors that will apply specific brakes to stop the wheels from skidding further.
The StabiliTrak system can also change the trajectory of your Chevy Cruze by combining brake pressure and engine power to guide the steering if the sensors send a message that you’ve lost control of the vehicle.
The sensors are designed to determine when you are steering the vehicle, but the wheels are not turning in the right direction. Therefore, the StabiliTrak system applies the necessary brakes that stop the wheels from skidding so that you can drive in a straight line.
The StabiliTrak system provides maximum stability and is considered more advanced than the conventional Electronic Stability Control System. To this end, it is a feature that has saved the lives of drivers who often drive through ice and snow. The StabiliTrak system kicks in to ensure they drive out of danger even before the driver reacts.
What Does It Mean When Service StabiliTrak Message Is On In My Chevy Cruze?
When the Service StabiliTrak warning light comes on, your Chevy Cruze will not be assisted in a situation where the wheels lose lateral traction.
The main concern should be when the Service StabiliTrak message comes on and whether it flashes or stays on. If the light flashes when you’re driving on a slick road, it simply means that the system is working effectively.
However, you should be concerned when the warning turns on during a regular driver or with the vehicle stationary. It might mean issues with the software, faulty sensors, or failing components.
Is It Safe To Drive With Service StabiliTrak?
It is not safe to drive with Service StabiliTrak on Chevy Cruze. The sensors of this system work by comparing the Cruze’s wheels’ position response to the vehicle’s steering and correcting the car’s movement. Hence, if the system is malfunctioning, it may affect how you maintain control over your Chevy Cruze.
This situation can be dangerous when driving on an ice road since StabiliTrak will not help you drive in a straight line. Therefore, when the Service StabiliTrak comes on, it’s better to diagnose it or have the vehicle checked by a qualified technician.
The Signs Of A Bad StabiliTrak
These are the symptoms that help you identify when the StabiliTrak system is malfunctioning.
- Dashboard Warning Light: The first sign is the Service StabiliTrak message. It alerts you about issues with the system.
- A Disabled Cruise Control: Your Chevy Cruze can disable cruise control when the StabiliTrak System is faulty. Cruise control is a safety feature that helps your vehicle automatically maintain a selected gap time from the car you’re following. Therefore, when it’s disabled, you’ll find yourself braking and accelerating more frequently.
- Loss of Traction Control: The Chevy Cruze’s traction control system also uses the same sensors as the StabiliTrak. Thus, when StabiliTrak goes bad, the traction control will stop working.
- Hard Shifting: When you have a bad StabiliTrak system alongside a traction warning light, it will be accompanied by hard shifting. It means that the transmission parts are rubbing against each other, resulting in the “hard shift” feeling.
Other symptoms of a bad StabiliTrak include:
- Reduced engine power
- Traction control and ABS lights come on
- The instrument cluster shows StabiliTrak Off
- Transmission in limp mode
- Poor throttle response
- StabiliTrak turns on when accelerating to a stop
- Engine light flashing
The Causes Of Service StabiliTrak Message
Various reasons could be causing your Chevy Cruise to display the Service StabiliTrak message. These are the most common ones.
- Trouble with a Wheel Speed Sensor: The wheel sensors monitor the car’s steering angle and the wheel’s spinning rate. If one of the sensors is not working, it will cause the Service StabiliTrak message.
- Issues with the Brake Pedal Switch: The brake pedal switch relays messages to the ECU of when to turn on the brake lights. It also runs the cruise control and StabiliTrak system. When it’s not working, these systems will also be stabled.
- Using the Wrong Tire Size: If you’re using the wrong tire size, the StabiliTrak will not work since it’s programmed to work with GM’s specific tire sizes for Chevy Cruze.
Other Causes of Service StabiliTrak Message
- Weak or Malfunctioning car battery
- Faulty StabiliTrak module
- Failed ABS module
- Steering angle sensor out of calibration
How To Turn Off Service StabiliTrak Light
These steps will help you turn off the Service StabiliTrak light.
1. Power Down the Vehicle
If you’re getting the Service StabiliTrak warning message for the first time, the problem can be resolved with a simple power cycle.
Start by pulling over at a safe spot, then turn off the ignition and remove the key. Let the car sit for about 15 seconds to reboot the StabiliTrak system. Then, fire the car back on and see if the message is gone. When it doesn’t turn off, proceed with the other steps below.
2. Use a Diagnostic Scanner
The other thing you can do to turn off the Service StabiliTrak is by using a diagnostic scanner to identify the error causing the problem.
Step 1: Locate the OBD2 Port Under the Dash of Your Chevy Cruze
Plug in a diagnostics scanner that can read and clear Chevy ABS diagnostic trouble codes.
Step 2: Turn on the Ignition and Scanner
After turning on the ignition, switch on the scanner and select your specific Chevy Cruze model.
Step 3: Select Control Units.
Your scanner will show Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Brake Control Module (EBCM), or Electronic ModulBrake System.
Step 4: Select Read Fault Codes
Write down the diagnostic trouble codes and their meaning. You will likely find two or three fault codes pointing to the same problem. In most cases, it’s a faulty ABS wheel speed sensor.
Step 5: Repair the Faulty ABS Wheel Sensor
The fault code will tell you which of the wheels has a problem with its sensor. Most likely, the sensor has debris buildup. This is often because of the spacer between the wheel bearing and half shaft failing. The magnetic encoder ring picks up the spacer’s broken parts. These pieces will then block the signal to the wheel sensor.
Clean the wheel sensor by removing the broken spacer parts and find the correct part replacement for the spacer.
Step 6: Reconnect the Scanner.
After performing the repair, reconnect the scanner and clear fault codes. The warning light should turn off after repairing the problem.
Turn Off the Ignition for 20 seconds, then turn the car back on. If the Service StabiliTrak is still on, go through the same process of reading the fault codes and fixing the problem.
How Much Does It Cost To Fix StabiliTrak?
You will spend approximately $115 – $150 to diagnose the problem at an auto shop. Once the auto technician identifies the problem, it will cost around $180 – $1,500 depending on the problem causing the Service StabiliTrak to turn on.
An ABS wheel sensor is the cheapest to replace as it will cost around $250 – $400, including the diagnosis. Meanwhile, an ABS module failure is the most expensive to repair as it costs $850 – $1,500.
That’s it, fellow Chevy Cruisers.
When the Service StabiliTrak Chevy Cruze warning light comes on, you’ll be able to get around with ease. It’s most likely a faulty wheel speed sensor. This is a problem that you can repair at home. However, you can have the vehicle repaired at a mechanic’s shop if the cause of the problem is more complicated.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Does StabiliTrak affect transmission?
Yes, StabiliTrak can affect transmission by causing hard shifting. It happens when the StabiliTrak warning light comes on alongside the traction control lights. This causes the internal transmission parts to rub against each other, causing hard shifting. Thus, it can cause serious wear and tear on the transmission.
2. Is StabiliTrak the same as traction control?
No, StabiliTrak is different from traction control. The StabiliTrak system is involved in braking the wheels and reducing the engine’s power to guide the car in the direction you want the vehicle to turn. On the other hand, traction control limits the amount of spinning of the wheels. It will not necessarily help the vehicle steer in the direction that the driver wants. Hence, traction control does not incorporate stability control, but stability control incorporates traction control.
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