What does Electronic Stability control do in your VW?

June 24th, 2015 by

How does Volkswagen Electronic Stability Control work?
During the 2009 model year Volkswagen made the decision to add Electronic Stability Control as a safety feature on its entire lineup, a full three years before it became required on all new vehicles for 2012. You won’t find a new vehicle without this feature in much the same way you can expect the safety features to always include airbags, but what is it and how does Volkswagen Electronic Stability Control work?

Electronic stability control diagramMany people are already aware of the anti-lock brake feature, which prevents wheels from locking up when braking, and traction control, which is meant to prevent wheels from spinning. Electronic stability control (ESC) uses the same hardware as these other safety features, but also uses a yaw rate, steering angle and acceleration sensors to detect whether the vehicle is headed in the direction the driver is attempting to make it go in. Whether the road conditions are slipper or you’re driving at high speeds, when the ESC system detects a slip, brakes are automatically applied to just the wheels that aren’t going in the right direction.

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Why is this now required?
Despite the fact that safety features are meant to keep motorists and their passengers safe, people are often vehemently against them. People hate ABS because they feel it increases stopping distance, and aren’t huge fans of traction control because they feel it sometimes kicks in when it shouldn’t, stopping the car when they want power most. People feel safety features can get in the way of driving, but as technology has advanced these features have improved greatly. While some drivers will argue that these features prevent some strategic driving maneuvers that help them stay safe through technique, we’ve all seen enough accidents jamming up the highways to know that many of us are no stunt drivers. ESC is now required because studies show it greatly reduces the risk of deadly crashes and rollovers.

The 2015 Volkswagen Golf R also has a 3-mode Electronic Stability Control function, which in addition to the regular ESC functionality, also has the ability to engage a ESC Sport mode which increases the threshold for ESC to turn on, or the ESC can be turned off entirely.

It’s hard to tell if ESC is engaged in this video, but we’re sure most drivers we know would be flipped over if they drove like this without the safety feature:

Who are we kidding? Most people would be crashing even with this feature. Good thing we don’t have to worry about snow!
Have you had a chance to drive in a vehicle with the newest safety features? Stop by New Century Volkswagen or schedule a test drive. You may be surprised by the convenience of this extra feature when it comes to personal safety on the road.