The Service StabiliTrak message is a warning signal that appears when something is up with your GMC/Chevy’s StabiliTrak System. It can appear when the car is in motion or idle.
If you own an early to mid-2000’s Chevy/GMC, chances are you’ve sometimes encountered the problems.
I understand your concern, dashboard warning lights/messages can be alarming. Fortunately, I’ve got you covered.
In this article, I’ll explain everything you need to know about the Chevy/GMC Service StabiliTrak Message.
Table of Contents
What Is The StabiliTrak System?
General Motors is responsible for coming up with the term. It’s another fancy name for the Stability Control System.
The StabiliTrak system helps the driver regain control and stability after a high-speed emergency maneuver to avoid an object or prevent further skidding. It consists of speed sensors on each wheel, a central rotating sensor, a steering wheel angle sensor, and a control unit that determines when and how the system engages. In high-centre gravity vehicles, the system also helps prevent turning over.
Is It The Same As The Traction Control System?
No. Not really. I understand both appear to perform the same function, and that is where the confusion comes in. However, there are some differences.
As the name suggests, the Traction Control System helps your car regain traction in slippery conditions. However, it only applies when the car is stationary and wants to take off. The Traction Control System will carefully regulate engine power to different wheels to get you going.
On the other hand, the StabiliTrak System only applies when the car is in motion and fishtailing. It will sense the crisis and control the brakes and engine to help you regain stability.
However, Service Traction Control message usually appears with Service Stabilitrak message.
The StabiliTrak System is present in most modern Chevy vehicles like:
- Chevy Tahoe
- Chevy Equinox
- Chevy Malibu
- Chevy Silverado
- Chevy Traverse
- Chevy Trailblazer
- Chevy Suburban
- GMC Yukon
- Chevy Acadia
- Chevy Cruze
What Does The Service StabiliTrak Message Mean?
The Service StabiliTrak message will appear if something is wrong with your vehicle’s StabiliTrak System and the system is disabled.
Is It Dangerous?
The Service StabiliTrak message isn’t always a bad thing. For example, it’s okay if the message flashes when you’re driving on a slippery surface－It’s evidence that the system is working correctly.
However, you should be concerned if the warning message flashes when stationary or driving comfortably. In this case, it’s a sign something is wrong with the StabiliTrak System. Therefore, there is a chance it won’t initialize when you need it the most. It might mean:
- The input sensor is faulty.
- The control unit is malfunctioning.
- One of its many components is failing.
If that’s the case, immediately get an auto mechanic to service your vehicle.
Can You Drive With The Service StabiliTrak Message?
Yes, you can. However, you should only keep driving if the warning message appears after skidding or a high-speed maneuver. As mentioned earlier, in such a scenario, the message is a sign that your system is working well.
If it lights in any other circumstance, immediately consult an auto mechanic.
Note: You should NEVER keep driving if your Brake’s Warning Light accompanies the StabiliTrak Warning－This means your brakes’ system is also disabled. Those two are ingredients for disaster.
Symptoms of Service StabiliTrak
Below are some of the symptoms that accompany the Service StabiliTrak message.
- Loss of engine power.
- Hard shifting.
- “Service Traction Control” message
- “Traction Control: OFF” message
- “StabiliTrak: OFF” message
- Sometimes the “Check Engine” light is ON
- Trouble codes like the C0561 (Disabled ABS), P0011 (Poor camshaft positioning), P0521 (Problems with the engine oil pressure sensor), P0121 (Problems with the Pedal Position Sensor), P0304 (Cylinder 4 Misfire Detected), etc.
How To Reset The Service StabiliTrak Yourself Without A Scan Tool?
System problems are tricky. What might seem like a small problem can snowball into a catastrophe. You should never ignore the Service StabiliTrak Warning.
Below is a “first-aid” procedure that can help you reset the system yourself.
- Quickly pull over in a suitable location.
- Turn off your vehicle’s engine and let it rest for around 20 to 30 seconds. This will refresh all systems and let them reset themselves.
- Turn on your engine and check if the message is still there.
If the issue isn’t solved, you’ll have to consult a professional auto mechanic.
How To Reset The Service StabiliTrak with a Scan Tool?
Some sources suggest it’s possible to reset the Service StabiliTrak System at home without the help of a professional. Honestly, I am against it.
As stated earlier, StabiliTrak issues are system problems. There are too many variables at play. You should only mess with it if you have experience dealing with Stability Control problems.
Nonetheless, I’m not saying you shouldn’t try to diagnose the problem before seeking professional help.
Below are the steps:
- Turn off the ignition and find your vehicle’s diagnostic port (It’s usually under the dashboard).
- Plugin your car diagnostics scanner (We recommend the iCarsoft i900 or the Autel MS300)
- Turn on the ignition, followed by the scanner.
- Find and select your Chevy’s model. Let the scanner diagnose your vehicle for trouble codes.
- Read and write down all the fault codes displayed and their descriptions. Don’t be alarmed. In some scenarios, several fault codes might suggest the same problem.
- Disconnect your scanner and turn off the ignition. If you can, go ahead and fix the problems. If you don’t have the skills, consult an auto mechanic.
- After fixing the problem(s), reconnect your scanner and ignite your engine. Go ahead and attempt to clear the fault codes. Remember, your vehicle will only allow you to do so after fixing all the stability-related problems.
- Once you’ve succeeded in clearing the problems, turn off your engine and disconnect the scanner.
- Let the engine rest for around 20 to 30 seconds, then turn it on.
At this point, the Service StabiliTrak message should disappear.
Read on to find the causes of the message.
Causes Of The Service StabiliTrak Message
The Service StabiliTrak message is a system problem. Therefore, there are a lot of suspects that might be responsible (From the steering wheeling to the brakes). Below are some of the most notorious.
- The ABS wheel speed sensors
- Faulty ABS pumps
- A faulty steering wheel position sensor
- A faulty Yaw sensor
- Bad Fuel
- Battery Issues
- Faulty wheel hubs
- A broken brake switch
- A faulty Electronic Brake Control Module (EBCM)
- Engine misfires
- A weak fuel pump
- A dirty fuel filter
- A defective Throttle Body Assembly
- A faulty parking brake
Just like any other warning message, you should never ignore the Service StabiliTrak. It’s a sure sign something is wrong with your vehicle’s Stability Control System. If you’re not careful, it can snowball into a catastrophe. Immediately consult your auto mechanics and have them fix the problem.
Read more: Can I Push Start an Automatic Car?