Service Advancetrac: What is it and How to Fix it

Advancetrac technology has been in use since 1996 and is used on many different types of cars, including various makes and models of Chevrolet, Ford, Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Dodge, Volkswagen, Lexus, Hyundai, and many others.

If you notice that your car isn’t shifting correctly or feels sluggish while driving, it could be due to the Service Advancetrac light coming on. Here’s what you need to know about the problem, how to diagnose it, and how to fix it if it’s on your car.

Service Advancetrac Explained

Every car comes with an onboard computer called an onboard diagnostics system or OBD. This system monitors vital engine functions like how much fuel your car uses, how many miles per gallon you get, and how long your engine has been running. It also detects malfunctions that could be causing damage to your vehicle by setting off warning lights.

Mechanic holding OBD scanner near the car’s dashboard.

These lights are known as Service AdvanceTrac Light or MIL light, which means Malfunction Indicator Light in service manual terms. When these lights come on, it’s time to take your car to a mechanic for inspection and repair.

There are two types of malfunction indicators; permanent and temporary. Permanent malfunction indicators can only be reset at a dealership under certain conditions while temporary ones can be reset at home if you know what causes them to turn on in the first place.

What is Service AdvanceTrac?

AdvanceTrac technology helps anticipate vehicle malfunctions by monitoring engine parameters in real-time, including oil pressure, coolant temperature, ignition timing, and throttle position.

A critical range of values can be programmed into your vehicle’s computer that causes a Malfunction Indicator Light (MIL) to illuminate if certain parameters are exceeded.

What Causes Service AdvanceTrac Light to Come On?

There are several reasons why your Service AdvanceTrac light may come on. If you’re like most people, you probably think that service means you need to take your car in for an oil change, but there are actually many different service notices from AdvanceTrac. This brief guide will explain what each notice means and how you can fix any problems before they cause big trouble for your vehicle.

Here are some of the common causes of service AdvanceTrac light to come on:

1.     Low tire pressure

Checking tire pressure at home.

The first thing you should do when your Service AdvanceTrac light comes on is to check all four tires for proper air pressure (cold inflation). Low tire pressure has been known to trigger a fault code for low tire pressure and could lead to premature wear or even blowouts if left unchecked.

2.     Incorrect fuel levels

Make sure that you don’t have more than five gallons of fuel in your tank when refueling, as having too much fuel can also set off a warning code.

3.     Improper engine coolant level

Check your coolant levels regularly and add distilled water as needed; failure to do so could damage critical components over time.

4.     Air filter

You should replace your air filter every 12 months or 12,000 miles.

5.     Drive belt

Check your drive belt every 6 months or 6,000 miles; whichever comes first. A broken drive belt could leave you stranded at best and destroy your transmission at worst.

Timing belt in the engine system.

6.     Spark plugs

Your spark plugs should be replaced every 30,000-60,000 miles depending on driving conditions and other factors.

7.     Coolant hoses

Coolant hoses should be inspected every 24 months or 24,000 miles.

8.     Brake pads

Brake pads should be inspected every 24 months or 24,000 miles.

9.     Tires Worn

Tires can result in poor gas mileage and unsafe handling characteristics.

10.     Engine misfire

Engine misfires can result in decreased performance and efficiency, which could eventually cause expensive repairs down the road.

11.     Ignition coil

Ignition coils should be inspected every 60,000 miles or 60 months.

Car mechanic replacing ignition coil.

12.     Catalytic converter

Catalytic converters should be inspected every 100,000 miles or 100 months.

How Do I Fix Service AdvanceTrac Light?

If you’re driving around, and all of a sudden, your Check Engine light flashes on, you probably assume that there is something seriously wrong with your car. However, in some cases, it can be more subtle. This commonly happens when there are problems with one of your sensors (called an OBD-II). Your Service AdvanceTrac light will turn on when a fault has been detected in one of these sensors.

The following image describes how to reset the Service AdvanceTrac light. The problem could be any number of things, but here are a few common causes:

1.     Defective Mass Air Flow Sensor – MAF Sensor Malfunction

In order to keep track of how much air is coming into your engine, cars use a sensor called a mass air flow sensor. The sensor measures airflow by monitoring changes in pressure inside your intake manifold.

When it malfunctions, it can give inaccurate readings which throw off other systems in your engine such as fuel injectors and turbochargers. This could cause your Service AdvanceTrac light to turn on.

2.     Defective Throttle Position Sensor – TP Sensor Malfunction

Another common problem that causes the Service AdvanceTrac light to come on is a defective throttle position sensor (TP). This device monitors how far open or closed your throttle plate is at all times. It then sends that information back to your car’s computer so that it knows when you are accelerating or decelerating.

If there is an issue with your TP, it can cause problems with other systems in your engine such as fuel injectors, turbochargers, and emissions controls.

3.     Defective EGR Valve – Exhaust Gas Recirculation Valve Malfunction

If there is an issue with one of these valves, it can cause issues with other systems in your engine such as fuel injectors, turbochargers, and emissions controls.

4.     Dirty or Faulty Oxygen Sensors – O2 Sensors

These sensors measure how much oxygen is in your exhaust gases.

How Do I Reprogram AdvanceTrac?

The AdvanceTrac Module stores code information that defines your vehicle’s operation. The module also monitors driver input from steering, braking, acceleration, and other factors. If a fault occurs in any of these components or systems, Service AdvanceTrac Light may come on indicating a fault has been detected.

Sometimes you can resolve these issues by resetting your computer. Most dealers will reprogram Service AdvanceTrac at no charge when you purchase one of their services or products such as an oil change or brake repair service.

However, here are some suggestions if you wish to do it yourself:

  • Turn off your engine.
  • Disconnect battery cables for 10 minutes (this resets ECM).
  • Reconnect battery cables.
  • Start the engine and wait until RPM reaches 2,000-2,500 rpm (this clears memory).
  • Turn off the engine.
  • Replace key fob batteries (if applicable).
Driver restarted the car with the ignition key.

Expert Tip: Test drive vehicle to ensure Service AdvanceTrac Light is not illuminated again before driving long distances. You should always test drive your vehicle after repairing it to make sure there are no further problems.

The Importance of Properly Maintaining Your Vehicle’s Battery

If you notice that your headlights dim while starting up, Service AdvanceTrac light comes on while driving, or lights flash while trying to startup then your battery might be failing. A dead battery drains more power than anything else in a car which can lead to more serious problems like overheating and blown fuses.

Service AdvanceTrac Light On?

You may receive a Service AdvanceTrac light on or Service AdvanceTrac warning due to one of these reasons:

These repairs usually can be done by the car owners but if you are not comfortable with that you should visit your dealer or local mechanic shop for additional diagnostic and repair. Most often a simple maintenance service like spark plug replacement may fix your problem. It’s recommended to replace spark plugs every 30-60k miles depending on driving conditions.

How Do I Turn Off AdvanceTrac?

If you’re experiencing problems with your AdvanceTrac system, there are two ways you can turn off AdvanceTrac. The easiest way is by pressing and holding the R/T button on your steering wheel. This will manually turn off AdvanceTrac if you find yourself in a sticky situation.

If that doesn’t work for some reason, you can shutdown AdvanceTrac entirely by turning off your engine.

How Much Does It Cost To Fix Service Advancetrac?

It costs $400-$600 at a shop in some cases. It’s usually cheaper if you can replace these parts yourself. Most auto shops would charge between $200-$400 depending on where you live and your skill level. Some places might even do it for free or give you a discount if they know that you’re going to be bringing your car back again for other repairs soon.

If it’s just a sensor, then there are DIY videos online that show how to replace them easily. The sensors themselves cost about $50-100 each from most auto part stores. The labor time will vary depending on your experience level with cars.


A service AdvanceTrac system monitors several different components on your vehicle that are related to emissions performance. The system uses a lighted warning icon as a visual reminder of a potential issue.

If you see the Service AdvanceTrac light on, don’t panic; it may be something small and easy to fix. Just check your owner’s manual for scheduled maintenance, find what’s wrong with your car, and take it in for repairs.

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About Matthew Webb

Hi, I am Matthew! I am a dedicated car nerd! During the day, I am a journalist, at night I enjoy working on my 2 project cars. I have been a car nerd all my life, and am excited to share my knowledge with you!