Service AdvanceTrac Warning Light (Causes & Fixes)

Did you just see the Service AdvanceTrac warning light on your Ford vehicle’s dashboard and wonder what it means and what caused it?

Ford AdvanceTrac is the same as the Electronic Stability Control system in other vehicles that are not manufactured by Ford. In essence, AdvanceTrac is Ford’s codename for Electronic Stability Control system.

The Service AdvanceTrac warning on your dashboard indicates there’s a problem with the system, and you should check it out. One of the common causes of this problem is faulty wheel speed sensors.

Other causes include wrong wiring and misaligned tires. You need to identify the actual cause, fix it, and the Service AdvanceTrac warning light will go off.

What is Ford’s AdvanceTrac and What Does it Do?

The Ford AdvanceTrac is a bespoke technology designed by Ford Motor Company for its F series trucks. AdvanceTrac is crafted to assist drivers when they drive through unnatural (off-road, hilly, and mountainous) terrains. It works with a couple of other connected systems to function effectively.

Basically, AdvanceTrac is an electronic stability system that improves your truck’s balance, tire traction, and stability when driving through rough or slippery paths.

It is a very important system in Ford trucks. The system works with a suite of gyroscopic sensors installed in strategic positions – mainly close to the wheels to monitor and read the tires’ movements.

The sensor readings are sent to the PCM, which utilizes the information to fine-tune how your Ford vehicle drives so you can enjoy a smooth, even driving experience.

Ford AdvanceTrac system comprises quite a number of small components and connects with other important systems such as the Traction Control System and Anti-Braking System.

Service AdvanceTrac Warning Light Causes

There are different reasons why the Service AdvanceTrac warning light may come up on your dashboard; some of the commonest ones are discussed below.

1. Unbalanced Tires

One of the common reasons why the Service AdvanceTrac may show up is due to unbalanced tires – if you use tires of different sizes on your vehicle. Some drivers make the mistake of using bigger or smaller tires on their vehicle when they want to change just one tire that probably blew out or is already worn out.

When you use mismatched tires, the signals recorded by the wheel sensors won’t be the same, which could trigger the PCM to throw the Service AdvanceTrac notification. Hence, you should ensure you stick the tires of the same specs as the stock ones that came with your car.

2. Wheel Speed Sensor Failure

If one or more of the wheel speed sensors fails, the AdvanceTrac system won’t read correct signals from the failed sensor(s), which could cause the warning light to appear on your dashboard.

Wheel speed sensors do not fail easily, but they can get clogged, covered, worn out, or even physically damaged over a long time. Have them checked – and probably changed too – after 80k miles.

3. Battery Terminal Problems

Another reason why your Ford vehicle showed the Service AdvancTrac warning light might be due to corroded battery terminals.

You should always look closely at the battery terminals each time you open the bonnet, and if, any day, you discover the terminals have started to corrode, it is advisable to change them as soon as possible.

4. Bad Wiring

Most of the AdvancTrac system components are powered by electrical parts, all wired. If you recently worked on your Ford vehicle’s electrical system, and suddenly you’re seeing the Service AdvancTrac light, chances are that during the electrical system repair, the electrician made some wrong connection or didn’t fix the ground properly.

5. Blown Fuse

Another possible culprit here would be a blown fuse. Cars’ electrical components are protected with fuses to avoid current issues, but then, these fuses can get blown by high voltage power supply or other reasons.

When a fuse is blown, the connected component is most likely going to malfunction, which could cause the Service AdvanceTrac notification.

6. You’re Driving in Limp Mode

Limp Mode is a safety feature in most cars designed to protect the engine and transmission when the car’s central computer detects there’s a big potential problem.

You can definitely drive in limp mode, but your vehicle’s performance will be very poor as the computer would automatically reduce how most components and systems function. Driving in limp mode can cause the Service AdvanceTrac warning light to come up.

7. Low Fluids

Driving with low fluids – especially low brake/hydraulic fluids – can cause Service AdvanceTrac notification. The AdvanceTrac system works in corporation with the steering and braking systems in Ford vehicles.

So, when the ABS fluid or hydraulic fluid is below the marked level, it could possibly trigger the service notification on your dashboard.

8. Faulty Sensor

Aside from the wheel speed sensor, there are other sensors that, when they go bad, the PCM or ECU may illuminate the “Service AdvanceTrac” light on your dashboard.

These sensors are the steering-angle sensor and rotational-speed sensor. So, you should also check and troubleshoot these sensors when trying to fix the Service AdvanceTrac notification.

How to Fix Service AdvanceTrac Warning Light on Ford Vehicles

There are different possible ways to fix this issue, and that depends on what caused the notification to appear. For example, if the notification appeared due to wrong wiring, you need to get an electrician to fix the wiring, and your car will drive well again.

Finding out the exact cause of the Service AdvanceTrac notification may be tricky for a non-mechanic; however, you can run a diagnosis using an advanced OBDII scan tool and decode the code shown by the scanner to know the component or system that caused the warning light to appear.

Also, you may need to reprogram the AdvanceTrac system to fix the issue; reprogramming this system has to be done by an expert Ford mechanic. Reprogramming is required if the system is faulty due to software-related issues such as bugs and missed updates; these are the possible ways to fix the issue.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Drive With Service AdvanceTrac Notification?

Definitely, the appearance of the notification doesn’t stop the engine from running, so you can keep driving. However, it is best to stop and try to know why the notification was shown and fix the faulty components right away.

How Much Does it Cost to Fix Service AdvanceTrac Warning Light?

The price differs based on different factors. First, if there are parts to be replaced, the cost of the parts will be added to your bill; AdvanceTrac parts may cost up to $500 or more, depending on the part in particularly. However, labor cost is reportedly around $100 in most workshops.

What Does Service AdvanceTrac Mean?

The Service AdvanceTrac notification on your dashboard means that your vehicle’s central computer has detected a few problems with the electrical stability control system (AdvanceTrac). This means you should check your vehicle for wiring faults, blown fuse, faulty sensors, and other steering issues.

You can actually turn off the AdvanceTrac system if you wish; simply locate the switch – usually installed around the car’s ignition (engine) on/off switch and push it to “turn off AdvanceTrac,” then start the car and drive. The system would remain turned off until you undo your actions.

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