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Service AdvanceTrac Warning Light: Common Causes & Fixes

A service AdvanceTrac message is a specific warning message generated on your car display. This message is generally found in Ford vehicles and is a warning from the onboard computer system notifying you of a fault within the car.

But what causes the service AdvanceTrac message, and how can you fix it?

The most common reason why you see a service AdvanceTrac message is due to mismatched wheels or problems with the wheel speed sensors. A few other reasons include issues with the ABS module and computer. To fix the service AdvanceTrac message, you’ll need to determine what’s causing the problem.

Service AdvanceTrac messages can be experienced across some Ford models, including the Fusion, Explorer, and Expedition models.

This system is Ford’s version of Electronic Stability Control and is designed to prevent your Ford from gliding across the road and reduces the probability of getting into an accident.

What Does The Service AdvanceTrac Message Mean?

The service AdvanceTrac message is a complex system that uses several sensors and was designed to keep track of stability, control, and the speed of the wheels on a Ford vehicle.

When the service AdvanceTrac message is displayed, the likely reason is a malfunction of one of the sensors.

A malfunction in one of the sensors can influence the service AdvanceTrac system and affects its operation.

Therefore, when you see this warning message, it’s best to investigate and resolve the issue as soon as possible.

The service AdvanceTrac system usually consists of a few components, including:

  • Anti-lock brake system
  • Electronic sensors
  • Traction control system
  • Roll stability control (in some cars only)
  • Trailer sway control (in some cars only)

Is The Service AdvanceTrac Message Only In Ford Vehicles?

The service AdvanceTrac message only occurs in Ford vehicles. AdvanceTrac helps the driver manage harsh and challenging road conditions.

The AdvanceTrac system is used on snow, gravel, and ice and helps keep the vehicle stable while navigating through these conditions.

Most modern Ford models will have a built-in AdvanceTrac system.

Here are a few Ford vehicles that are equipped with an AdvanceTrac system:

  • Edge
  • C-Max
  • Expedition
  • Taurus
  • Flex
  • Mustang
  • Fiesta
  • Fusion
  • Focus
  • F-150 truck

What Causes The Service AdvanceTrac Message?

The most common reason why the service AdvanceTrac message is displayed is due to a sensor issue, but there can be other causes, too.

Here are the 9 most common causes of the Service AdvanceTrac warning message:

Limp Mode

Is your vehicle in limp mode? If your car is in limp mode, it will set off a range of warning signals, including the service AdvanceTrac message.

When a vehicle enters limp mode, many of its functions may not perform as they should, which could be why the service AdvanceTrac message is displayed.

Bad Sensor Wiring

Bad sensor wiring and loose wires can be the possible cause for the service AdvanceTrac message.

If there are loose wires or the wires have not been connected correctly, they may prompt the service AdvanceTrac light to appear.

Low Brake Fluid

The low levels of brake fluid in your vehicle affect how it drives, which can impact the service AdvanceTrac system.

Therefore, it’s advisable to regularly check your brake fluid to make sure it’s not triggering the service AdvanceTrac message.

Defective Wheel Speed Sensor

The wheel speed sensor or the ABS sensor detects the speed of each wheel and then communicates this information to the engine control unit.

However, if these sensors are defective, they may not send any information to the engine control unit, which can activate the service AdvanceTrac message.

Blown Fuse

A blown fuse can trigger the service AdvanceTrac message. If the fuse is blown in your ford vehicle, it interrupts the signal that goes to the AdvanceTrac system and turns on this warning message.

Damaged Clock Spring

The clock spring supplies power to the steering angle sensor, power steering wheel buttons, and the airbag. If the clock spring becomes damaged, it can affect the AdvanceTrac system.

Tires/Wheel Mismatch

Upping the size of your tires can impact the AdvanceTrac system and may cause the service AdvanceTrac message to activate. This can also happen if your front and back tires are different sizes.

Battery Terminal

Over time battery terminal wires can become corroded or need replacing. When these battery terminal wires become corroded, they will not function properly and may become loose, setting off the service AdvanceTrac message.

Computer Programming Issues

The AdvanceTrac system in your Ford is a vital computer system that can malfunction. It needs to be reprogrammed when a malfunction occurs to resolve the issue.

How Do You Fix The Service AdvanceTrac Message?

The best way to fix the service AdvanceTrac message is to diagnose what is causing the warning message to be displayed.

  1. Forscan software and OBDII scanner. The best way to diagnose what is causing the system AdvanceTrac message is to use an OBDII scanner with diagnostic software. This will diagnose the problem without you having to check multiple other functions to find the fault. To use the OBDII scanner, plug it into the vehicle’s OBD port and turn it on. The scanner will check the car and send error messages in the form of codes. Each code can be identified in the vehicle’s user manual, and the problem can be diagnosed.
  2. Reconnect loose sensor wiring. If you find that the cause of the service AdvanceTrac message is due to loose sensor wiring, reconnect the wires, and this should fix the service AdvanceTrac message.
  3. Replace defective components. Defective components are most likely in one of the stability sensors, which can impact the AdvanceTrac system. Check all the sensors to help identify which one is causing the warning message and replace it. It is advisable to use a mechanic or expert in this field to ensure it’s completed correctly.

Can You Drive Safely With The Service AdvanceTrac Message?

In most cases, driving with the service AdvanceTrac message on is entirely safe. However, having your car inspected as soon as possible is essential to fix the warning message.

The service AdvanceTrac message alerts the driver of a fault or malfunction in this system. If this error appears in your vehicle, the vehicle will automatically disable AdvanceTrac functions, but your car will still be driveable.

If you notice any other signs that the vehicle isn’t driving as it should, it’s best to wait until the service AdvanceTrac message is fixed before using it again.

Can The Service AdvanceTrac Message Be Turned Off?

The service AdvanceTrac message can be easily turned off in your Ford. An AdvanceTrac switch is usually located next to the start engine button. To turn the service AdvanceTrac message off, press the switch.

You can also switch this warning message off by turning your vehicle on and off again. This may fix the problem temporarily, but it’s best to get the service AdvanceTrac message checked out.

Can You Reprogram The Service AdvanceTrac Message?

In some ford vehicles, you may be able to reprogram the AdvanceTrac system. If it’s just a system error, you could try and reprogram the AdvanceTrac system, but if something else is causing the warning message, it’s best to avoid reprogramming it on your own.

To reprogram the AdvanceTrac system, follow the below steps:

  • Turn on your Ford and keep it running
  • Locate the battery’s negative terminal and remove it
  • Keep it disconnected for roughly 5 minutes
  • Reconnect the battery

Should You Keep Your AdvanceTrac On Or Off?

The AdvanceTrac system was designed as a safety feature and should be kept on at all times.

This system helps your vehicle with stability when driving in challenging road conditions. You may only need to turn this system off if your Ford is stuck in the snow or mud.

If your Ford is stuck in the snow or mud, switching the AdvanceTrac off will help provide power to the engine and help free your Ford from being stuck.

What Does It Cost To Fix The Service AdvanceTrac Message?

Depending on the cause of the AdvanceTrac message, it can cost between $150 and $250 to fix. This cost usually covers the parts and diagnosing the problem with an OBDII scanner but may not include other fees such as labor and call-out fees.

If an extensive repair is required, it can cost a lot more. Some mechanics may also charge more for this service, so the best would be to shop around for the best price and opt for a repair center or a mechanic specializing in diagnosing this issue.


The service AdvanceTrac message is likely due to a sensor issue or malfunction in your Ford. The best way to diagnose this issue is to use an OBDII sensor with diagnostic software to find the cause.

Once the error code is interpreted, your mechanic or service center can fix the service AdvanceTrac message.

Another common warning light on Ford vehicles is the “Service Stabilitrak” warning message, I listed the common causes and fixes in this post.