Fault Stabilization Control (ESC): Why It Appears & How to Fix

We examine the error message: "Error: Stability Control (ESC)", which can occur in VW, Seat & Skoda, as well as Opel and other manufacturers. We will discuss the symptoms, possible causes, and also the costs of potential solutions.

What is the Cause of this Error Message?

A sudden appearance of the error message indicates a problem with the vehicle's dynamic control. This means that from this moment on, the car no longer has an active Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and Electronic Stability Control (ESC) or Electronic Stability Program (ESP) safety system.

The cause of the error message in VW, Seat, Skoda, Opel & Co. can have different causes. See also the section Problem Solving / Problem Handling.

Symptoms: How is the Error Noticeable in the Car?

The symptom is noticeable in the form of a text message in the on-board computer (see title picture). Depending on the manufacturer (VW, Skoda, Seat, Opel…), the wording of the message varies slightly. The error is not recognizable or noticeable in normal driving.

In extreme situations such as an emergency / full braking or very fast cornering on wet roads, it is noticeable. Therefore, a failure of the ESC / ESP system is relevant to driving safety and requires immediate troubleshooting in a car dealership or specialist workshop.

Problem Solving / Problem Handling – How Can the Error Be Fixed?

After reading out the error memory from the control unit, the problem can be analyzed more precisely and the actual source of the error can then also be narrowed down. The most common problem is a defective ABS / steering angle or lateral acceleration sensor.

In the simplest case, an overloaded fuse or a defective stop / brake light switch can be the cause of the error.

For vehicles with all-wheel drive, the Haldex clutch could be an additional cause of the error message. In the video shown below (in English), ultimately only the ABS sensor was the source of the problem.

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