Slip, Stability Control and Fault Indicator Symbols Fleshed Out

Slip Indicator SymbolThese are the Slip Indicator and Stability Control Fault Indicator symbols. When a vehicle detects Traction Control Indicatorslippery conditions, its stability or traction control system is activated. The light will flash, irregularly in some vehicles, indicating that the system is doing its work, helping to keep the vehicle in control.

How is this information useful? Read on…


If the light remains lit or flashes for an extended period when starting your vehicle, it indicates a fault in the stability control system. The vehicle will operate normally, but without the advanced control system. You may continue driving, but do so with caution, particularly in poor weather.

Stability Control Fault IndicatorStabilty Control Fault IndicatorThe image is, unfortunately, that of a skidding car, which can be more than a little unnerving, particularly to drivers unfamiliar with the symbol’s meaning. It is seen whether the system is working to keep the vehicle in control and when the system is off, which the line through indicates. The addition of the wrench also indicates that the vehicle has detected a fault in the system. Again, the vehicle will operate normally, but without the advanced control system.


Slip IndicatorDSTC Sport IndicatorThe indicator may also be in text form. Some manufacturers also include an intermittent beep while the system is active. Your dealer or authorized service center will be best equipped to address problems with the system.

Due to a lack of standardization, stability control systems go by names chosen by individual vehicle manufacturer. It may be:

  • AdvanceTrac
  • Automatic Stability Control (ASC)
  • Dynamic Stability Control (DSC)
  • Dynamic Stability and Traction Control (DSTC)
  • Electronic Stability / Stabilization Control (ESC)
  • Electronic Stability Program (ESP)
  • Interactive Vehicle Dynamics (IVD)
  • Precision Control System (PCS)
  • StabiliTrak
  • Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC)
  • Vehicle Dynamics Control Systems (VDCS)
  • Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA)
  • Vehicle Stability Management (VSM)
  • Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), etc.

But the lights and the words mean exactly the same thing.

When illuminated, this text indicator, DSTC SPORT, does not indicate a problem. Rather it says that the Dynamic Stability and Traction Control (DSTC) system’s Sport Mode has been selected by the driver. The manufacturer states that the actual function is to provide maximum traction in sand, snow or while driving with snow chains, which would seem completely counter to a “Sport Mode”.

DSTC includes a number of functions: Traction Control (TC), Active Yaw Control (AYC), Spin Control (SC), and Trailer Stability Assist (TSA), all of which sound too much like an attempt at winning an acronym competition. The end game is helping you keep your vehicle safely on the road.


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