What Is StabiliTrak? Service StabiliTrak Light Explained

What does it mean if you see the StabiliTrak light suddenly come on? Should you bring your car to the service shop immediately? I’ll show what StabiliTrak is – service StabiliTrak Light explained. 

StabiliTrak is a car steering safety system that ensures that the vehicle’s steering is always correct even if the road is slippery. It is designed to correct your steering when you are driving in undesirable road conditions where there is a greater chance for your car to swerve.

This system uses sensors that track your steering wheel’s positions and the tires compared to your driving direction. There will be instances when the service StabiliTrak light turns on. Don’t panic when it does. It only means that the StabiliTrak system is not able to initialize.

Read on to learn more about StabiliTrak service light, what it means, how it works, reasons why this light is triggered, and how to fix it.

What Is Stabilitrak?

what is stabilitrak

Vehicle Safety System

StabiliTrak is a vehicle safety system that ensures your car’s steering will always be correct no matter the road conditions. This system uses sensors that monitor the positions of the steering wheel and the tires and compares them with the direction where you are driving.

StabiliTrak Service Warning Light

This system is designed to correct your steering when road conditions force your car to swerve. There will be times when the StabiliTrak service warning light will turn on. This is a common occurrence.

Reasons Why the Warning Light Turns on

Don’t worry if it lights up because it only means the system could not initialize. It can be because of incorrect tire size. But if it does not shut off, you should take your car to a professional mechanic and have it checked.

Cost of Fixing the StabiliTrak System

There are many reasons why this StabiliTrak light turns on. These can include adverse road conditions, incorrect tire size, and so forth. Servicing the StabiliTrak system ranges from $80 to $90. Prices can vary with different car service centers.

It is still safe to drive your car when the StabiliTrak light comes on. The main function of this system is to help you steer your vehicle in dangerous road conditions. But once the light persists on being lighted, better have it checked by a professional mechanic.

What Does the StabiliTrak Do?

Maintain Car’s Movement in a Straight Line

The primary purpose of the StabiliTrak system is to maintain the movement of your car in a straight line while you are driving it on the road. This system has sensors that keep track of your steering wheel’s position and the tires compared to the direction you are driving on the road.

Correct Car’s Position on the Road

For instance, if the road condition you are driving on is slippery and your car starts to swerve, the StabiliTrak system will engage and correct your car’s position on the road. It is a standard car safety system for all cars manufactured by General Motors, including the Chevy brand.

Enhanced Traction Control on Undesirable Road Conditions

If the condition of the road that you are driving on is undesirable or slippery, StabiliTrak will correct your steering. This system is installed in GM cars to give you enhanced traction control on undesirable road conditions.

Why StabiliTrak Light Suddenly Flashes

If the StabiliTrak light suddenly flashes on your dashboard, it could be caused by several things. Here are some of the causes for the flashing of this light:

  • Connection of the system is poor
  • Controller is malfunctioning
  • Input sensor is malfunctioning

When the road conditions are right, the service StabiliTrak light will turn off by itself if this warning light persists on flashing while driving, have a professional GM mechanic check the system.

What Causes the StabiliTrak Light to Come On?

what is stabilitrak on a vehicle

Several things can cause the StabiliTrak warning light to turn on. If the light persists on flashing, there is a problem in the system. It may not be working properly, has shut down, or received an incorrect signal:

1. Bad Connection

Damage to the Communication Line of GM-LAN Communication Cables

Problems with StabiliTrak Light can occur because of a bad cable connection. Any damage to the communication line of GM-LAN communication cables can cause the StabiliTrak light to act strange.

These cables have a wiring harness shielded by a plastic jacket. They extend their length to the transmission mechanism. Meanwhile, the plastic heat shield protects the wiring and gearbox’s key components and wiring. This heat shield is mounted on the gearbox.

Exposure to Heat

When this heat shield is exposed to heat over a long period, its plastic components will become brittle. In time, they will detach from their original positions.

When this happens, the communication channel of the GM-LAN will become vulnerable. One part of it can be pushed against the heat shield. Some portions of the plastic cable jacket will melt.

Disrupted Communications

If this GM-LAN communication line becomes grounded, it will disrupt the communications between the ECU or the car’s computer system, including the service Stabilitrak service warning light.

2. Malfunctioning Controller

Sends Signal to the PCM

If there is a problem with your car’s powertrain control module or PCM, the StabiliTrak light will also act strange. This system has electronic sensors that are connected to each wheel. They are the ones that send the signal to the PCM that triggers the activation of the system.

Essential for Adverse Road Conditions

The system is activated when the electronic sensor attached to each wheel sends signals to the PCM regarding the steering performance and stability of the car. This system becomes essential when you encounter adverse road conditions while driving.

3. Malfunctioning Sensor


A malfunctioning sensor of the StabiliTrak system is one of the most common causes why this warning light will act strange. It can be caused by the steering wheel’s rate of turn, steering angle, or wheel speed.

Replace Faulty Sensor

Once you replace the faulty sensor, you can resolve this problem. You should ask a professional GM mechanic to replace this defective sensor on the affected wheel.

Again, what is StabiliTrak? The StabiliTrak system monitors the steering wheel and tire’s position compared to the direction you’re driving. When this light turns on, it might be due to damaged wheel speed sensors, malfunctioning steering angle sensors, faulty steering racks, or damaged rotational speed sensors.

How to Reset the Car’s Service StabiliTrak Light

There are times when you need to reset the light of the StabiliTrak system. This is a pretty straightforward procedure. But be sure to make a diagnostic check to find the real reason for the problem before doing the resetting process.


To reset this warning light, follow these steps:

  1. Turn the handwheel clockwise. The warning light should turn off. If it does not, you have to bring your car to a GM car service shop to check if there’s a problem with the system.
  2. Turn off the car.
  3. Wait for around 10 to 15 seconds.
  4. Turn on the car.

If the StabiliTrak warning light turns off, you have successfully reset it. But if it continues to flash, you need to bring it to the nearest GM car service center to check this system.

Engine and StabiliTrak Warning Light

what is stabilitrak stability control system

StabiliTrak Warning Light Is Associated With the Engine Warning Light

The StabiliTrak warning light is closely associated with the engine warning light. You will have the engine light flashing if the engine misfires. It will also turn off your car’s traction and stability control.

If you don’t correct the cause of the problem, the StabiliTrak warning system can also develop its problem. While that is a possibility, there are also several ways to fix it.

Systems Are Shut Off for Safety Reasons

Both systems need the engine to be at a dependable and regulated speed. GM has programmed your car to shut off these systems if the engine misfires in anticipation of this problem. They did this for safety reasons.

Cause of Engine Misfire

If the cause of the misfiring of the engine is fixed, it will also solve the problem of the flashing StabiliTrak warning light. Several things make the engine misfire. One of them is loose wiring connections of the spark plugs.

Use an On-board Diagnostics or Code Reader

If fixing the wiring connections does not solve the problem, using an on-board diagnostics or code reader may. The code reader will tell you exactly what the problem is. There are very cheap OBDs available in the market that you can buy and use for this purpose.

Find an OBD Reader Designed for GM Vehicles

An OBD is very useful because it can discover many issues in your car. Suppose you can find an OBD reader specifically designed for GM vehicles, so much the better. The point here is that the StabiliTrak warning light could be acting strangely not because it is faulty but because of a related problem.

How Much Does It Cost to Fix StabiliTrak?

Since there are several reasons why the StabiliTrak warning light will act strange, you need to pinpoint the exact cause of the problem. Replacing the system or any of its parts involves certain expenses. So, if you can fix the problem without spending so much, that would be better.

A typical StabiliTrak system on GM automobiles ranges from $80 to $190. This price includes labor costs ranging from $30 to $50. This will vary depending on your GM car’s make and year model.

If the problem is a faulty sensor of the StabiliTrak system, and you need to replace the sensors, the usual cost will range between $250 and $400 per set.

When to Turn Off and When to Activate StabiliTrak System

Tells the Driver of the Steering and Traction Controls’ Condition

The messages provided by your StabiliTrak system are its way of communicating with you. It tells you what you need to pay attention to regarding the conditions of your car’s steering and traction controls.

Prevents Road Accident

This technology can prevent your wheels from slipping when the road is wet. So, it can prevent you from figuring in a road accident when the road conditions are not good for driving. It is a standard safety feature in GM cars and vehicles.

Disable the Safety System When Tires Need More Traction

You can disable this safety system, for instance, when your tire needs more traction in an emergency, such as driving on snow or rough terrain. By disabling the StabiliTrak system on your car, you will be more able to negotiate dangerous roads without risking damage to your steering components or your brakes.

So, knowing when to turn off and when to activate the StabiliTrak warning light system is very important if your car has this safety system as a standard install. Hopefully, this article has given you some working knowledge about the importance and functions of this automobile safety system.

Conclusion: What Is StabiliTrak?

StabiliTrak is a vehicle safety system that ensures that your car’s steering will always be correct, even on slippery roads. This system is designed to correct your vehicle’s steering when driving in undesirable road conditions.

It will prevent your car from swerving when the road is wet and slippery. StabiliTrak uses different sensors that track the steering wheel’s position and the tires. This system compares this data to the direction your car is driving on. So, this system ensures your safety all the time.

Read next:

What Does It Mean When Your Car Says Service Stability System?