Cadillac XLR: Service StabiliTrak → Symptoms & Diagnosis

One of the most common issues with the Cadillac XLR, or any newer GM vehicle is the “Service StabiliTrak” warning.  StabiliTrak is one of the most innovative and important safety features on a GM vehicle.  

StabiliTrak is designed to help prevent accidents by giving you better control of your XLR.  If you have a service StabiliTrak warning, your XLR will no longer be assisted when a loss in lateral traction is detected.

Service StabiliTrak Problems Cadillac XLR

StabiliTrak is a GM specific vehicle stability system.  It works by using a complex system of sensors to detect whether or not the vehicle is properly responding to your input in emergency situations.  It uses this data to apply a specific brake or reduce the engine power to correct the slide and get your XLR pointed back in the right direction.

For instance, if you were on an icy road, and your XLR wasn’t steering when you need it to, StabiliTrak could apply one of the rear brakes to help get you pointed in the right direction.


Service StabiliTrak Symptoms:  Cadillac XLR

Loss of StabiliTrak is not really going to be noticed during normal driving.  It is really only gets use in an emergency situation.  

  • Service StabiliTrak Warning–  The number one indication that something is wrong is your XLR’s “Service StabiliTrak” warning light itself.
  • Cruise Control–  Without the StabiliTrak system functioning properly, your XLR may disable the cruise control.
  • Traction Control Not Working–  Your XLR’s traction control system mostly uses the same sensors to determine if a wheel has broken traction.  Unlike StabiliTrak, which controls lateral issues (sliding), traction control keeps the wheels from unnecessary spinning.  This helps avoid lateral acceleration altogether.

Although it may be tempting to ignore the service StabiliTrak warning, it can really be dangerous not having it when you need it.  


Cadillac XLR:  Service StabiliTrak Causes

There are many things that can cause the StabiliTrak system to lose its ability to function.  It is a complex system.

  • Wheel Speed Sensor–  If one of the wheel speed sensors is out, your XLR will no longer be able to tell if all of the wheels are turning at the same speed.  Without this data it’ll turn on the service StabiliTrak warning.
  • Brake Pedal Switch–  Your brake pedal switch does more than just control whether or not your brake lights are turned on or not.  The ECU uses this switch to run systems like StabiliTrak and cruise control.  If the switch isn’t functioning properly, these systems may be disabled.
  • Wrong Tire Size–  StabiliTrak may not work properly if the tire size is not what GM calls for.

There are many other issues that can cause the StabiliTrak system to stop working.  It’s a good idea to test and see if you have any trouble codes.  They may provide you clues that’ll help you fix it.

Service StabiliTrak Cadillac XLR

Resetting StabiliTrak

Gm recommends that you power down the vehicle for 15 seconds to give the StabiliTrak time to reboot.  If it works after firing your XLR back up, great!  If not, it may be time to have it serviced.



While it won’t hurt to drive your Cadillac XLR without traction control or StabiliTrak, you are operating it without an important safety feature.  If there’s anything you’d like to add, please leave a comment below.  Thank you.