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Perpetually Random ESC OFF Light

The ESC OFF light continually comes on which causes the vehicle to not function correctly, especially the shifting of the transmission (others have reported this elsewhere as sluggish acceleration, but the vehicle's automatic transmission stays in gear 4 if you keep it in Drive mode. If you switch to the "sport shift" or "manual mode" where the driver has some control over the gears, then the sluggish acceleration goes away.) But back to the question, does anyone know what is causing this "Dummy Light" to come on? I have seen "throttle sensor" to "brake sensor" and one person even said they told her it was dirt in the carburetor, which is especially interesting since it is EFI. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks for reading.
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Comments

  • edited January 2011
    It would be helpful if you told us the model year of the vehicle, the odometer mileage, and whether it is still under warranty.
  • edited January 2011
    You haven't given a model year, mileage, or any info about maintenance history. In general, lacking that kind of info makes it harder for people to say anything.

    But in any case, these lights are not things that call for guessing. The ESC is a computer controlled system and it turns on the light when a problem is detected. The computer will hold error codes that give one a starting point for diagnosis.

    Is your check engine light also on? If so, go to a big box-type auto parts store where you can get error codes read for free. I suspect, however, that normal code readers probably can't tap into ESC system issues in which case you will need a shop with the proper scanning equipment.
  • edited January 2011
    I think you may be confusing two unrelated problems.

    Electronic stability control has nothing to do with "sluggish acceleration," at least in the cars I'm familiar with. Electronic stability control kicks in with selective braking when it senses maneuvers that may cause loss of control (e.g. slalom-type avoidance maneuvers). Usually cars with ESC come equipped with an "ESC Off" switch that allows you to turn the ESC off under rare conditions when you do want wheel slip, like when you get stuck in snow and need the wheels to be able to spin freely. The "ESC Off" light on the dash comes on to remind/notify you when you have pressed the "ESC Off" switch. It should not come on unless you press the "ESC Off" switch. Why it's coming on randomly, I don't know. However, even with the ESC off, you shouldn't notice any difference in normal driving. You would only notice in an extreme avoidance maneuver that caused the car to spin out.

    As for the "sluggish acceleration," that sounds like a totally unrelated issue.
  • edited January 2011
    I don't know about KIA, but many stability control systems can and will reduce engine power under some situations. It could all still be one issue.
  • edited January 2011
    Tardis is correct.
    On the Stability Control systems with which I am familiar, reduction in engine power, coupled with selective wheel braking, is how the system works.
  • edited January 2011
    But the OP is saying the "sluggish acceleration" is happening when the ESC is OFF, which doesn't make sense.

    Is it possible that OP is confused about which light is coming on? In the cars I've seen, there's an "ESC Off" light to tell you when you've switched the ESC off, but there's also a "ESC activated" light that goes on when the system senses imminent loss of control and the ESC system actively kicks in. If it's the "ESC activated" light that's turning on, that might explain the loss of acceleration.
  • edited February 2011
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