Service AdvanceTrac warning in Ford, causes and how to fix it

If you own a Ford vehicle and have recently seen a “Service AdvanceTrac” warning on your dashboard, you may be wondering what it means and what you should do about it. AdvanceTrac is a stability control system that is designed to help drivers maintain control of their vehicle in challenging driving conditions. When the system detects a problem, it will trigger a warning message on the dashboard. In this article, we will explore the common causes of the “Service AdvanceTrac” warning in Ford vehicles and provide some tips on how to fix it.

What is AdvanceTrac?

AdvanceTrac is an electronic stability control system that is designed to help drivers maintain control of their vehicle in challenging driving conditions. It was first introduced by Ford in 2000 and has since become a standard feature on many Ford vehicles.


The system uses a combination of sensors and computer algorithms to monitor the vehicle’s movement and detect any potential loss of traction or stability. If the system detects a loss of traction, it can apply individual brakes to specific wheels and adjust the engine’s torque to help the driver maintain control of the vehicle.

AdvanceTrac can be particularly helpful in slippery or icy conditions, as well as in situations where the driver needs to make a sudden maneuver to avoid an obstacle. The system is designed to work seamlessly in the background, without any input or action required from the driver.

Overall, AdvanceTrac is an important safety feature that can help drivers stay in control of their vehicle and avoid accidents in a wide range of driving conditions.

Causes of Service AdvanceTrac warning

Bad wheel speed sensor

A bad wheel speed sensor can be one of the common causes of the “Service AdvanceTrac” warning in Ford vehicles. Wheel speed sensors are an essential component of the AdvanceTrac system, as they provide the system with information about the speed of each wheel.

If a wheel speed sensor fails or malfunctions, it can cause the AdvanceTrac system to trigger a warning message on the dashboard.

If you suspect that a bad wheel speed sensor is the cause of your “Service AdvanceTrac” warning, you should have the sensor checked and replaced as soon as possible. A professional mechanic can use diagnostic tools to identify which sensor is causing the problem and replace it as needed. In some cases, cleaning or adjusting the sensor may be sufficient to fix the issue. However, in most cases, replacement of the faulty sensor is the best course of action.


Damaged wheel speed sensor wire

A damaged wheel speed sensor wire can also be a cause of the “Service AdvanceTrac” warning in Ford vehicles. The wheel speed sensor wires are responsible for transmitting signals from the wheel speed sensors to the vehicle’s computer system. If one or more of the wires are damaged, it can cause loss of signal from the affected sensors, triggering the warning message.

Damage to the wheel speed sensor wire can occur due to various reasons, including wear and tear, exposure to the elements, or accidental damage. When a wire is damaged, it may cause intermittent or permanent loss of signal, which can lead to the “Service AdvanceTrac” warning.

If you suspect that a damaged wheel speed sensor wire is the cause of the warning message, you should have the wire inspected and repaired or replaced as soon as possible. A professional mechanic can use diagnostic tools to identify which wire is damaged and repair or replace it as needed. In some cases, the wire may be repairable, but in most cases, replacement of the wire harness is recommended for long-lasting repair.

Bad steering angle sensor

Another potential cause of the “Service AdvanceTrac” warning in Ford vehicles is a faulty or misaligned steering angle sensor. The steering angle sensor is responsible for detecting the angle and direction of the steering wheel, and it plays a crucial role in the operation of the AdvanceTrac system. If the steering angle sensor is not functioning correctly, it can cause the system to interpret the vehicle’s movements incorrectly and trigger the warning message.

There are several reasons why a steering angle sensor may malfunction, including wear and tear, electrical problems, or physical damage. If the sensor is misaligned, it may cause incorrect readings and trigger the warning message.

If you suspect that a faulty or misaligned steering angle sensor is causing the “Service AdvanceTrac” warning, you should have it checked and repaired by a professional mechanic. They can use diagnostic tools to identify the exact problem and repair or replace the sensor as needed. Proper alignment of the sensor is critical, so it is essential to have it repaired by a qualified technician to ensure that it is correctly calibrated and functioning correctly. Prompt repair of a faulty or misaligned steering angle sensor is essential to ensure that the AdvanceTrac system operates correctly and keeps you safe on the road.

Faulty ABS Module

A faulty ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) module can also cause the “Service AdvanceTrac” warning message to appear in Ford vehicles. The ABS module is responsible for detecting wheel speed and modulating the brakes to prevent skidding or locking of the wheels during braking.

If the ABS module is not functioning correctly, it may not be able to communicate with the AdvanceTrac system, resulting in the warning message appearing on the dashboard. Additionally, a faulty ABS module may also cause other issues, such as the ABS system failing to engage during sudden stops, which can be dangerous in emergency situations. The ABS light may also turn on in the instrument cluster.


To diagnose a faulty ABS module, a professional mechanic will typically perform a diagnostic scan using an OBD scanner to retrieve any stored fault codes. If the fault code indicates a problem with the ABS module, the mechanic may inspect the module for damage or malfunction and replace it if necessary.

Use an OBD scanner for diagnosis.

Using an OBD (On-Board Diagnostics) scanner is an effective way to diagnose the cause of the “Service AdvanceTrac” warning in Ford vehicles. An OBD scanner is a diagnostic tool that can communicate with the vehicle’s computer system and retrieve information about any stored fault codes or issues.

When the AdvanceTrac system detects a problem, it will typically store a fault code in the vehicle’s computer system, which can be retrieved using an OBD scanner. By using an OBD scanner, a professional mechanic can quickly and accurately identify the cause of the warning message and determine the appropriate course of action for repair.

Additionally, some OBD scanners can also provide real-time data about the vehicle’s speed, direction, and other critical parameters, which can be helpful in diagnosing issues with the wheel speed sensors, steering angle sensor, or other components of the AdvanceTrac system.

If you own a Ford vehicle and have experienced the “Service AdvanceTrac” warning, it is recommended that you take your vehicle to a professional mechanic who can perform a diagnostic scan using an OBD scanner. This will help ensure that the underlying cause of the warning message is correctly identified and repaired, so that you can get back on the road safely.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I drive with the AdvanceTrac light on?

When the “Service AdvanceTrac” warning light appears, the AdvanceTrac system is disabled. If this is caused by a faulty wheel speed sensor or a problem with the ABS module, you can still drive your Ford vehicle. However, it’s essential to keep in mind that with the AdvanceTrac system disabled, you may experience reduced handling and stability, especially in slippery or wet road conditions.

While it is not recommended to continue driving with the warning light on, you can still safely drive your Ford vehicle to a professional mechanic to have the issue diagnosed and repaired. It’s essential to have the problem addressed as soon as possible, as the AdvanceTrac system is an important safety feature that can help prevent accidents and loss of control while driving.

Can you turn off AdvanceTrac?

Yes, it is possible to turn off the AdvanceTrac system in some Ford vehicles. The exact process may vary depending on the model and year of your vehicle, so it’s best to consult your vehicle owner’s manual for specific instructions.

In general, to turn off the AdvanceTrac system, you will need to locate the AdvanceTrac button, which is typically located on the dashboard or center console of your Ford vehicle. Pressing and holding this button for a few seconds will usually disable the system, and the “AdvanceTrac Off” warning light should appear on your dashboard.

It’s important to note that turning off the AdvanceTrac system should only be done in specific situations where it is necessary, such as when driving in deep snow or on loose gravel, where the system may interfere with the vehicle’s ability to gain traction. In normal driving conditions, the AdvanceTrac system should be left on to ensure optimal safety and handling.

Also, keep in mind that turning off the AdvanceTrac system does not fix any underlying issues that may be causing the “Service AdvanceTrac” warning message to appear. If you are experiencing this issue, it’s important to have your vehicle inspected and repaired by a professional mechanic to ensure that the AdvanceTrac system is functioning correctly and keeping you safe on the road.

Author: Nabeel K
Email: nabeel@wheelsjoint.com