Contact Us
Electronic Stability Control

How does stability control work?

Stability Control can be called a variety of different things depending on the brand of car you drive – electronic stability control, stability system, stability program or dynamic stability control are all common names for this technology. How does stability control work and why do we need it – good question!

Electronic stability control is very effective at preventing crashes particularly single vehicle situations where excessive steering is involved.

Electronic stability control compares data from your vehicles sensors against the control inputs the driver is making.

When a driver turns to the left – data is collected and processed. This data includes sensors that detect the vehicle motion as well as a steering wheel angle sensor. If the vehicle is being steered to the left but is still travelling straight ahead it is in an understeer skid or slide. This is when the front wheels are turned but they have little effect often as a result of loose or slippery road surfaces.

The stability control can reduce or cut the power and apply brake pressure to individual wheels to assist the driver in making the desired turn.

In some cases the vehicle is unable to make the turn and the stability control will prevent the car from going into a sideways skid.

This effectively means the vehicle may still crash – but only going straight ahead and not sideways giving the occupants of the vehicle the best chance to survive. Most safety features in a modern vehicle work best in a frontal collision.

If a vehicle enters an oversteer slide, where the rear of the vehicle is sliding out, the electronic stability control can arrest the slide by applying brakes to individual wheels. Again this prevents the vehicle from travelling sideways, protecting the occupants.

When should I turn electronic stability off? Some vehicles do allow this option. This should only be switched off when a driver deems the system to be interfering with the safe operation of the vehicle. Examples are when driving slow off road in a 4WD or with a skilful and experienced driver on a race track.

How do I know if my car has electronic stability control? There should be an ESC/DSC/ESP or similar light on the dash when you first start the car. This should extinguish after the car is started.

Every new car sold in Australia after November 2013 has ESC fitted as standard.