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Nuisance traction control activation during right turns

3703 Views 11 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Dark_Stang
I’ve had my 2013 Volt since August 2012. Just in the last 5-6 months I’ve noticed a new behavior where the traction control has started engaging when I make right turns at relatively high speed -- usually when exiting the highway onto cloverleaf-style exit ramps (which I admittedly take faster than the average driver), despite the absence of any slick spots or uneven pavement. This behavior never occurred before this year.

When traction control engages during one of these turns, it slows the car down and the result is probably less stable/safe than if no action was taken by the car. It's also just plain annoying. (I've since turned off Traction Control completely, but I don't like this as a permanent fix.)

I’m wondering if anyone knows why this behavior might have started?
Could it be due to a simple alignment issue?
Or could there be some kind of sensor/calibration problem?

  • The tires are Michelin MX4’s with ~20k miles on them. (~49k miles total on the car.)
  • Tires are inflated to 41-42psi cold. (Consistent with where I’ve had them for years before this problem started.)
  • Last tire rotation was ~8000 miles ago. (I know I’m due. But I might just wait until I swap them out for my winter tires.)
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I have recently started noticing the same thing on my 2013. I just got new tires, so I attributed it to possible slight under-steer from tread squirm due to the deep 11/32” new treads. I have only noticed it twice, on freeway ramps, just like you noted, and when pushing it about as fast as I dare on the curve. I have not been worried about it. I figured it was doing its job, detecting an imminent skid.
Just throwing out some ideas:

Maybe the stability control is activating because your car is closer to skidding than you think due to something being out of spec. You suggested alighment, which is possible. Or maybe some other issue, like uneven tire wear, tire with a damaged belt, worn out ball joint on a steering tie rod, suspension strut worn out, worn sway bar bushing, loose lug nuts, etc.
If it's software, maybe you can reboot it by disconnecting the battery.
ESP ESC Stability Control Intervention Very Early on Holden Volt

EDIT: Similar symptoms, i.e. stability control engages on freeway ramp detailed in the above linked thread ended up being a 'ESC software' issue according to the OP on a Aussie Holden Volt...
In reading that linked thread, it does not seem conclusive to me. I don't think the OP ever got the issue solved, despite working with the dealer on it for quite a while. He seemed convinced it was software, but I didn't see the evidence for it, and there was other speculation in the thread about possible hardware issues.
I noticed this issue again today as a flashing stability control system light while taking a left curve that I take every day. I noted my speed and it was not high, in fact lower than my usual speed for that curve. So I am keeping an eye on this issue.

For clarification, the thread title mentions "traction control." I think the issue is more likely the "electronic stability control" system, also called StabiliTrack. Both of those systems are closely related, and use the same indicator light on the dashboard. But if anyone talks to a service rep about getting it fixed, it may help to refer to the correct system so they don't just confirm the one system is working properly and then stop looking. The ESC system seems to use a couple of additional sensors, compared to the TC system.
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