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What to do if your ESP light comes on?

Post Date: 06th July 2018


Modern cars have many separate systems running in unison that not only improve the efficiency of the vehicle but also make them a lot safer to drive than their predecessors. One of these systems is the ESP, which kicks in when the car senses that an extreme steering manoeuvre is taking place.

You should notice the light comes on under these circumstances, but it can also come on or start flashing during regular driving. This generally indicates that there is an issue with the vehicle that is linked to the ESP, from one of the sensors malfunctioning to a major component not working properly.

Below we have a look at what the ESP is, how it works and what the potential issues are if the light comes up on your dashboard.

What is ESP?

The ESP is normally referred to differently depending on the manufacturer, but for Mercedes it stays simply as ESP. It stands for Electronic Stability Program and is a clever electronic system wired into all new cars ensuring a greater degree of safety in extreme circumstances on the road. Drivers will be able to see when the ESP system engages due to the light coming on on the dashboard.

If you have to swerve a car moving over on the motorway or turn rapidly for any reason, the ESP system will kick in to compensate for the driver. This can include using the Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) or Traction Control (TCS) to compensate and keep the car on the road under extreme manoeuvring.

How will it warn you if something is wrong with the ESP?

Whilst the ESP light will usually illuminate when the system is being put into use under extreme driving conditions, it can also come on when it feels there is a fault with the system too. This is normally indicated by the light being illuminated all the time, or flashing on and off instead.

First thing to check is that you haven’t accidentally pressed the ESP switch that turns the function on and off. This is an easy mistake to make and can avoid an unnecessary trip to the garage if you can just turn the function back on. The only time you shouldn’t need ESP to be functioning is if you are racing on a closed circuit and not on a public roadway.

What is the issue with your vehicle?

If the issue is not that you have turned the ESP system off, then the continuous or blinking light may indicate a minor or major issue with the vehicle. However, this may not be obvious from the outset so will need to be checked over by a mechanic just in case.

The most common issues arising from your ESP light coming on include the following:

– Brake light switch
– ABS wheel sensor
– Low battery voltage
– ABS module
– Steering angle sensor

While most of these components are relatively inexpensive to replace (apart from the ABS module), it’s worth making sure the system is working effectively as you will never know when it will be called into use. We would recommend getting it checked as soon as possible if you feel the light has been on for an extended period of time. If you need to get your Mercedes looked at or are due for a service, get a quote by filling in our simply form here.

Alternatively, for any other questions regarding your vehicle, scrapping a car or picking up replacement Mercedes parts, get in touch with our team.

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