ESP BAS Light – Why Is It On (And How To Reset It For Good)?

You are driving on the road and you suddenly see the ESP BAS light appear on the dash? You are instantly getting worried if something is wrong with your stability system control? Let me tell you that when this light appears on your dash, you should be worried.

Since this light is concerned with the overall stability of the vehicle and also your safety. There might be a wide number of reasons why this light may pop up on your dash.

The ESP BAS light is the message you get when your brake and stability control system isn’t working as it should. This light should not light up so often. It usually turns on when the emergency brakes are engaged by the vehicle. These brakes engage in order to save you from a potentially dangerous situation on the road.

For example, you’re driving and suddenly a deer comes up on the road. You make an avoidance maneuver, and the ESP BAS light flashes a few times and shuts off. But this light is on all the time, it could be a bad sign, and your ESP system needs some attention. There may be a few reasons for what may cause this light to be turned on all the time.

In this article, we are going to get through all of the reasons why this light appears, and the possible solutions concerning the ESP BAS light. We also going to learn some troubleshooting methods on how you can take care of this issue by yourself with a simple OBD2 scanner tool. So, stick around till the end.


Before we get into more complex issues, we need to clear out some basic things first. This light is one of the many warning lights that are found on the dash. This light is created for the specific purpose of giving you immediate alerts and warnings. Or, simple visual cues to signify action or input.

Since it flashes it means that something is engaging. If the light doesn’t turn off it means that the system is not disengaging, and potentially something is wrong with it.

When this specific light is turned on. It means that there is something wrong with the electronic stability program or the brake assist program. It may be something very serious or it may be something really simple to fix. That’s why it needs to be diagnosed first.

The important thing is that you shouldn’t run your car with the light turned on for long. After you have noticed that this light is turned on, you should be making an appointment at the mechanic’s shop as soon as possible.

ESP Light On Dash

When this light is turned on, your safety is jeopardized. I’m saying this because your electronic stability control system and the anti-lock brakes may not engage in an emergency. This will make your vehicle not able to handle the situations on the road as it used to.

This may cause late braking or no braking in some situations. For example, if you are driving behind someone on the road and they hit the brakes all of a sudden. You can clearly see that they’re braking and you start to brake, in response.

Then you will notice that nothing happens, and you might hit that person’s car from behind. So, when you get this light turned on. The best idea is to fix it as soon as possible and drive without worries. Now let’s see what causes this light to appear in the first place.

What Causes The ESP Light To Come On

There can be plenty of reasons why the ESP BAS light is popping up on your dashboard. By scanning the car’s computer, you can learn a lot and diagnose the problem.

Many secrets can unravel If you have a proper diagnostic tool in your hands. You can get these tools for a cheap price on Amazon and you can diagnose these issues by yourself.

You need some will and free time to learn these things. If you are not into DIY stuff, you can just take the car somewhere where they have one of these tools and they can help to diagnose the problem for you.

Before we get into troubleshooting. Let’s first go through all the major reasons why the car behaves in this strange way.

ESP BAS Light, Possible Causes #1: Steering Angle Sensor

Cars these days are filled with advanced electronics and incorporate different sensors. Because of this many models are plagued by problems. And that’s the case with this sensor. A very simple thing that causes many headaches.

The problem with the steering angle sensor is one of the most probable reasons why you will see the ESP BAS light on your dashboard. This steering wheel sensor is designed to help your steering wheel to work in perfect harmony with the wheels on the ground. This sensor helps insure your wheels are all turning in the right direction.

This sensor is placed inside your steering rack. When an issue occurs may cause the sensor to lose contact, and the ESP BAS light to start appearing on the dash. If the light turns on, it may mean that there is no contact with the sensor, and if it shuts off it means that the contact is engaged again.

You can notice this when you are driving over bumps, or when you are driving through potholes. This sensor is a pain to be taken care of. The best thing to do is to check the connections if they are good. Take an ohmmeter and check the connections. If the readings are good then it’s something else. If the readings are bad, the sensor is broken.

How To Recalibrate The Steering Angle Sensor

You can try to recalibrate the sensor. You can do this by turning the wheel from side to side a couple of times, this will help the sensor to be recalibrated (from lock to lock). If it doesn’t help, it means that the sensor is dead and needs to get replaced.

You can also get an OBD scanner in order to reset this sensor. Just give it a quick scan and then check the results that will come up. Fix the errors. It should be ok if the calibration was required and recalibrated, if doesn’t recalibrate, you will need to find a replacement with a new OEM part.

Steering Angle Sensor Replacement

The good news is that this sensor isn’t a pain to replace. If you want to replace it yourself, you need only one wrench. The first thing to do is to unplug your battery. After you make sure that there isn’t power in the car. You can be safe that the airbag won’t explode in your face and you can focus on removing this sensor.

The second thing to do is to remove the airbag from the wheel. You can do this by pressing a clip on the back side of the wheel. After the airbag pops out then you can focus on removing the steering wheel.

First, lock your steering wheel in the dead center. Then get a torque wrench to remove the main bolt that holds the wheel. After you removed the bolt, take a marker and mark the wheel position. This is necessary if you want your wheel to be perfectly straight.

Then remove the wheel, and after that remove the clock spring. The sensor we are looking for is attached to the back part of the clock spring. Remove the bad sensor and replace it with a brand-new one. Then connect everything as it was before. Then mount your wheel and torque the bolt to the right spec.

After these steps, mount the airbag and when it clicks, it means that is ok. Then power on the battery. If you still getting the ESP BAS light then get a code reader and reset the codes. Restart the car and now it should be ok and you are ready to go.


ESP BAS Light, Possible Causes #2: Bad Wheel Speed Sensor

On every wheel of your car, there’s something called a speed sensor that is measuring your average speed. These sensors are part of the ESP BAS systems. The speed sensor makes sure that your wheels are spinning at the right speed.

This helps the ESP BAS system to know when you are losing traction. Loss of traction may happen if you drive on ice, rocks, and similar unstable surfaces.

When you are driving on these surfaces, your sensors are reading different values. The ESP system will start working and put pressure on the wheel that loses traction. This will help to return the stability of the vehicle and keep the vehicle on the road.

This action will turn your ESP BAS light on, but only for a moment. After it disengages it should turn off again and it should stay that way. If the light doesn’t turn off, maybe one of the wheel sensors is bad.

How To Diagnose A Bad Wheel Speed Sensor

Take an OBD scanning tool and connect it to your car computer. Scan the car and some errors should pop up. In the errors, it should be the name of this sensor. The diagnosing tool will tell you on which wheel is this sensor failing and you will have a clearer idea about what you need to do next.

Bad Wheel Sensor Replacement

The sensor is placed right behind your braking discs. It is really easy to get close to it and replace it. It’s not a labor-intensive task and you can do it at your home. You can always refer to a YouTube video of this process so you can have a clear idea of how to find this sensor and also the replacement process.

ESP BAS Light, Possible Causes #3: Bad Brake Switch

Something simple as a bad brake switch may also be one of the culprits for this problem. These brake switches are known to go bad on a regular basis. Although manufacturers claim that they last forever. It is a big possibility that once in a while you will need to change it.

How these switches works are pretty straightforward. This switch has a role to turn on the back brake lights when you apply your foot on the brake. This switch is necessary to work. so other people that are behind you will know if you are coming to a stop.

If your brake lights won’t work (like not turning off) it is very probable that someone will hit you from behind. Because of this, please keep this sensor in check.

This sensor is built for this purpose, when it fails will let you know that it’s time to replace it. That’s why the ESP BAS light is turned on and you need to diagnose the issue as soon as possible.

Replacing this sensor is an easy task. It is not labor-intensive work to find it and you don’t need to remove many parts like with other sensors.


Brake Switch Sensor Replacement

First, you need to diagnose the issue with the OBD scanner tool. After you diagnosed the issue get a new sensor. These are not as expensive as other sensors. The sensor is located right above your brake pedal. Just unplug it, and plug the new one in. Reset the codes and you are ready to go.

ESP BAS Light, Possible Causes #4: Worn Out Rotors, Pads, Calipers

These three components are known to go bad and cause the ESP BAS light to show on the dash. Especially frozen or sticking brake calipers. The calipers apply pressure on the pads and know to freeze and cause the light to pop up. Also, worn-out brake pads (you need to change these often) are one of the common issues that cause these problems.

Pads are fairly cheap and easy to find. After all, brake pads don’t always last that long. And at last, are the rotors. The rotors are important for your car to work properly. The rotors can last for 30,000 miles with no problem. Instead of replacing them, you might also consider turning the brake rotors, too.

So, consider that while you’re planning a brake pad and rotor replacement. But they know to warp if too much heat is applied to them. They can also wear and make your brakes unusable. So, changing them on time will be a good idea.

Doing a brake job DIY is a fairly easy process. But first, you need to get familiar with these parts. Watch some YouTube videos on how this work is done on your exact car. Learn more about how these parts go inside and also learn about the overall process of doing a brake job.

What Is A Brake Job

After you did this, you can go to your local AutoZone or any other parts store and look for new brake pads to change into and rotors for your specific car. These need to be specific in order for this to work. If they are not, you will have to return them and replace them. After you got the parts, it is time to get your hands dirty.

Jack up the car and remove the wheels. Unbolt the caliper. This is usually two small bolts from behind and after you remove the bolt. Hang the caliper onto something. You don’t want to leave the caliper like that hanging (unless you’re replacing the brake calipers).

That’s because the brake lines may break (and require replacement). Then unbolt the rotor and bolt the new rotor in. That is if you’re absolutely sure that you can tell that you need new rotors. Also, do give some thought to racier drilled and slotted rotors. Give it a little tap with the hammer if it doesn’t want to come off.

Worn-out brake pads are fairly easy to solve. Just unclip the old brake pads (they shouldn’t always last that long) and apply the new pads inside the caliper. Bolt-on the caliper and you are good to go. While you’re here, be wary of the brake pad material thickness that’s left.

If the caliper is stuck. Things may be a bit messy and you will need a tool to flush your braking fluid. I wouldn’t recommend this job to a beginner. You should better leave this job to someone that has more experience.

Can You Drive With The ESP BAS Light On

Driving with the ESP BAS light turned on is not safe, and you should not do it. This issue needs to be resolved as soon as possible, in order to keep yourself safe on the road. It may be something simple, but it may be something really concerning. Your ESP system needs to work properly all the time because you never know when you are going to need it.

A bad ESP system may lead you into an accident with big consequences. Traction is necessary for the car to stay on the road. And if these sensors are not working you may lose traction while you’re cornering, or on the snow. You never know what type of driving conditions you may across while you are driving. You need to be always prepared for these things.

Electronic Stability Control Repair Cost

When it comes to price, repairing the ESP BAS light can be a costly job to do. This system is relying on many sensors that need to function, in order to do its job properly. Depending on what went wrong, the cost may vary.

1. ABS Pump

If the ABS pump went bad you may find yourself having a hard time and it’s going to hurt your pocket. Depending on the make of your vehicle, it may come to a steep price of $800 and it can go up to $1000 to get this work done on your car.

You can save money if you find an old part in good condition. Second-hand ABS pumps usually cost around $200-300 depending on the make and model. If you go with a new one then you will need to pay around $500-600.

Also, the labor will cost you around $200 depending on where you take your car. If you decide to swap the pump by yourself, you will only pay for the ABS pump. I personally wouldn’t recommend you to go for a used part, since you never know when it can fail on you again. Get a new OEM part that will serve you for a long time.

2. Sensors

In order to make your ESP function properly, you will also need working sensors. If one of them has a malfunction you need to replace it as soon as possible. It’s unfortunate that these sensors aren’t cheap and they may cost you a decent amount of money. Money that you already planned to spend on something more fulfilling.

These sensors usually cost $200 and up. Depending on the make and model they can go high. So, the best idea is to search for your sensor from the part number. Because many Lamborghinis for example have Audi parts. So, if you find the Audi part or VW part you will pay a lot less to replace it. So, keep this in mind.


3. Brake Pads And Rotors

Brake calipers, brake discs, and brake pads. These parts are also a necessity when it comes to braking and controlling your car on the road. Warped discs may ruin your braking distance and they are a major cause for ESP BAS light to appear on the dash.

The calipers are rarely replaced, but sometimes they can get stuck and they need to be changed. They may cost from $200+ per brake caliper. Discs are cheaper coming at around $100+ per wheel.

Brake pads are really cheap at $25+ each, but you definitely shouldn’t go for the cheapest options. These are pads made from bad materials (unlike organic or ceramic brake pads). Then again, you don’t really need super-expensive carbon ceramic brake pads, either.

And, they’re known to start squeaking after you install new brake pads and cause some unpleasant grinding noise when braking (even if the pads are fine). So, go for a more quality brand in order to avoid some headaches.

Jeep ESP BAS Light: Facts You Need to Know

  • The ESP BAS light on a Jeep provides better control over the vehicle in adverse conditions and indicates trouble in the Electronic Stability Program or Brake Assist Program.
  • If the ESP BAS light stays on for a prolonged time while driving, it indicates an issue with the Jeep, and it should not be ignored to avoid any danger or greater permanent damage.
  • Defective brake switch, defective wheel speed sensors, and defective steering angle sensors are specific reasons why the ESP BAS light turns on.
  • The brake switch activates the brake lights while driving and warns other vehicles when the vehicle will slow down. The wheel speed sensors track the spinning rate of the wheels and recalibrate them when they move at different speeds. The steering angle sensors move the wheels to the left and right using the steering wheel.
  • To turn off the ESP BAS light on a Jeep, the problem needs to be identified first, whether it is with the steering wheel sensor, wheel speed sensor, or brake switch.
  • To fix the defective steering angle sensors, turn on the engine of the Jeep, turn the steering wheel twice to the right and then two times to the left, and return the steering wheel to the center so that the tire faces forward.
  • Defective wheel speed sensors and brake switches can easily be replaced with new ones at an affordable cost.

ESP BAS Light: In Conclusion…

The ESP and BAS systems are an important part of your vehicle’s overall safety. With these systems, thousands of crashes are avoided on a daily basis. And also, many people are still alive because of them.

Having a working safety system is essential in your vehicle. If you see an ESP BAS light that lightens up and doesn’t turn off, it means something went bad and you should take care of it. If you are into mechanics, you can get an OBD scanner and diagnose the issue. Check out the codes and search for them online. You will find plenty of solutions.

If some sensor is bad then you need to replace it. If the ABS pump went bad then you should replace it with a good used one or a brand-new pump. To go for a new part is the best thing to do.

If the brake rotors are bad and all warped and the caliper is stuck replace them with new ones. Don’t go cheap and try to get these parts used. Since they are for sale, it means that something is wrong with them. Yet, if they’re not too badly damaged, you could resurface the brake rotors.

The bottom line is, you should never leave unsolved problems in your car. Take care of all the systems and you will save more money in the long run. Because if you delay these things. You will pay more when the issues spread over time.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re still curious to learn more about the ESP BAS light, our FAQs here might help…

What Does ESP Stand For

In your car, ESP stands for Electronic Stability Program. Some vehicles might label or name this system differently, such as ESC (electronic stability control) or VSC (vehicle stability control), and so on. But in general, the ESP is a computerized system that keeps track of your car’s movement and can take control if needed to ensure that it could safely travel down the road. For example, let’s say that your car is losing traction and slipping out of control. In this instance, the ESP combines the function of a car’s traction control system and anti-lock brakes. In doing so, the ESP can intervene to apply braking force, or control how much power goes to each wheel, and more.

What Is The Meaning Of 4MATIC

If you’re familiar with Mercedes or own one of its cars, then you might’ve heard the term 4MATIC before. This is what Mercedes calls its all-wheel drive system. Essentially, it functions to deliver your engine’s power and torque not only to the front or rear wheels alone. But, 4MATIC allows power and torque to be split across all four wheels. This can help to improve traction significantly compared to powering just two wheels (either front or rear-wheel drive). You’ll especially notice the difference in grip if you’re driving while it’s snowing outside, over a frozen road surface, or even taking your Mercedes off-road. Other automakers’ AWD systems also have similarly catchy names as 4MATIC.

How To Reset Dashboard Lights

The easiest way to reset dashboard lights – which are prompted to appear by your car’s ECU (its central computer system) – is by disconnecting the battery. So, pop open the hood, and remove the negative terminal of your car’s 12V battery. Now deprived of a power source, leave it be for 10 minutes. This should be more than enough time for the ECU to be drained of any residual power, thus resetting it completely. Finally, reconnect the negative battery terminal, and turn your ignition on again. It’ll help to take your car out for a short test drive afterward. Last but not least, check to see if any warning lights (such as the check engine light) are lighting up again after the reset.

What Does BAS Stand For

Some cars come with something called BAS or BA. They both stand for Brake Assist System or Brake Assist, which was first pioneered by Mercedes. Their primary function is as an aid for the car’s regular braking system in the event that it detects an emergency braking. It does so by reading signals and input from your accelerator sensor, brake sensor, and ECU. Therefore, when you press the brakes hard to try and avoid something, the BAS is able to detect that something is amiss. As such, the BAS will prompt the ECU to start increasing braking pressure – in some cases, beyond the nominal pressure threshold of an ABS system. With that in mind, that should help you to brake more effectively.

How To Reset ESP BAS Light

Should you notice an ESP BAS light error lighting up on your dashboard, just know that you can do something to make it go away. In some instances, all it takes are some simple steps to reset the ESP BAS light entirely. First, start up your vehicle, and shift into Park. Once that’s done, turn the steering as far as you can turn it to the right. Then, repeat the latter process, but this time, turn all the way to the left. Repeat it a few times, before then turning off the ignition. Finally, try restarting your car again, and see if the ESP BAS light is still there. Typically, these simple steps should reset it, but otherwise, you might need to conduct a more thorough diagnosis.

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  • Mark Erwin (industrial designer) Says

    Very thorough and very well written. I would just add that brake rotors have a minimum thickness specification and that repairs done to steering, brakes and suspension is always done to both sides of a vehicle. Expensive brake pads have a gum or glue to stop the brake pad Squealing. Cheap brake pads do not have this but you can buy it just look up disc break antisqueal on the internet.

    • Zack Norman Says

      Thanks for the comment, Mark Erwin (industrial designer)!

      Cheers for the added insight and explanations! Agreed 100% with this; hope a fellow commenter will find your guidance useful, too 🙂

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