View Full Version : "Service ESC" message

04-07-2010, 08:05 PM
Coming home tonight my check engine light came on as well as the traction control light. The message center says "Service ESC" which I take to mean the Electronic Stabalization Control system. I turned off the car and it reset for a while but came back on. I have 50,380 miles on the car when this started. This is on my 08 HHR SS with 5 speed.

Anyone have any ideas what this is or what could be the cause. Also would this be a warranty type item.



04-07-2010, 08:23 PM
Could be just a bcm hiccup, but normally it would involve a power train component so the 5/100 might not pay for it. Do you have an extended warranty? They would probably cover it.

04-07-2010, 08:26 PM
No extended warranty. I thought about disconnecting the battery overnight to see if everything would reset. Or I could just come see you in the morning :-)


04-07-2010, 08:27 PM
If it comes on again send me a PM and I will hook you up.

04-07-2010, 08:36 PM
We'll see in the morning. I'll let you know.


04-07-2010, 09:54 PM
Mine does that sometimes when I patch out on a cold morning.
I stopped, waited and restarted the first few times it happened.
Now I just wait until it's safe and shut off the ignition in N while still rolling.
It's cleared when I start it back up.
That way I don't have to pull over :thumb:

It hasn't happened since the weather's been warmer.

I'll get it fixed along with a few other idiosyncrasies before my extended warranty's up.

04-08-2010, 05:45 AM
same thing last evening, 92 degrees on long island, parked at my sons college, started it and the same message including
"low power" "turning off traction" felt as if it was running on 3 cylinders. i turned it off and on again and it smoothed out..but now i have the check engine light on.. and i made my 10 mile trip home. the service dept said have it towed into my local chevy. now i have to worry about this on a trip???

04-08-2010, 01:50 PM
I started up this morning the Service ESC message was on as was the check engine light and traction control light. After driving a couple blocks the Service ECS message and the traction control light turned off. At that time the traction control button was now fully functional. The car appears to be running fine but the service engine light has remained on for the 42 mile drive to work.


04-09-2010, 05:47 AM
3 codes-
power up condition, the ecm detected 3 incorrect checksums
probable cause-failed ecm
binding throttle valve
faulty tp sensor
poor electrical connection
failed tac motor
ram fault-failed ecm
ecm detected an internal performance condition- failed ecm
ecm processor error, internal fault - failed ecm

check engine light went out
dealer couldnt take the car right away, i made an appointment for sat am on line. i hope the app. held.

04-09-2010, 11:56 AM
Service appointment 10 days away "their busy"
No loaner car available, i said "wtf you told me not to use it!"
09 car with 3800 miles on it.

I was thinking on this, a weak battery on startup maybe cause this?

04-09-2010, 06:48 PM
My car had a problem like this a few months ago. It turned off traction and esc and it would not come back on till I turned the car off then back on. I took it to the dealer and they said it was because I had low tire pressure. They put air in my tires and cleared the code. They also did a brake flush. Few months later I have had no problems with it. So who really knows what exactly they did but that was their reasoning. Thing is according to my computer I had 30 psi in each tire and they put in 5 more. So who really knows. Made no sense to me.

04-09-2010, 07:35 PM

Nice to see another Black Long Island HHR. I don't have the double S, just LS, I couldn't go for the big guns.

I'm sure your issue can be resolved. You have to remember dozens of GM Service Centers have shut down all around us... Be patient, at least give em a chance.

04-09-2010, 08:07 PM
My car had a problem like this a few months ago. It turned off traction and esc and it would not come back on till I turned the car off then back on. I took it to the dealer and they said it was because I had low tire pressure. They put air in my tires and cleared the code. They also did a brake flush. Few months later I have had no problems with it. So who really knows what exactly they did but that was their reasoning. Thing is according to my computer I had 30 psi in each tire and they put in 5 more. So who really knows. Made no sense to me.

Sounds like a crazy solution for that problem. :eek:

And i thought the correct tire press. for the pilots on the SS was 32psi. cold ?
So they put in 35psi. cleared the code and wala traction and esc are fixed.
I'm not buyin it. :confused:

04-10-2010, 06:34 AM
no, this isnt because of a few lbs off of tire pressure. no way..
This is an ecm problem. now, was the computer needing more voltage on startup? remember i was parked and listening to the radio waiting for my kid. perhaps the battery got too low, which would make the cars electronics go wacky.

04-11-2010, 06:56 AM
strange, i would have thought this issue warranted more attention. :confused::steering:

04-11-2010, 10:46 AM
I thought it was a bit odd too. But the only things they did that day that I'm aware of is a brake flush, oil change, and put air into my tires. But ever since that day a few months ago I have had no problems many miles later. So whatever they did and didn't tell me it's worked so far. Also keep in mind that they tried telling me I needed new tires because mine were bad and leaking. I have not put air into my tires since that day and they are still around 35 psi with plenty of tread left. So you cant always believe the dealers unfortunately.

04-11-2010, 05:27 PM
it is nice to find a dealer you trust. i will make the drive to newburg to have the stage 1 installed. i am told they have done the job without any hitches. They haven't installed one yet so i didnt want to be the first one.
the check engine light went out by itself, and the engine seems normal. i will still take it to the dealer in 8 days.

04-12-2010, 02:37 PM
^ That, or find a better dealer that can get you in sooner and do reputable service work. I drive an additional 30 miles out of my way everytime my SS needs service. Why? Simply because the local dealer in my town that I drive by everyday on the way to/from work acted like jerks when I was shopping for a new car. I go to the dealer that treated me right and wants to take care of my car the right way.


04-12-2010, 05:44 PM
Barton Birks in Newburgh is good.
I drove 175 miles to get my stage kit done there on 87Silver's recommendation.
He wasn't the first to get it done there and I probably wasn't the last (August 2009).
It was worth the drive.
They soldered the connections by my request, I was out of there by 10:30 and they charged $200 flat rate.

04-13-2010, 12:51 AM
Final update on my situation. FUNNY You mention the tire pressure. I got new tires today but the morning that the Service ESC message went off after driving a block I did put air in my left front tire that has had a small leak. It was down to 28 lbs so I aired it up to 38 knowing that I was getting new tires today. Maybe somehow the TPMS is tied to the traction control? I don't know that but I know for a fact that I was driving on 28 lbs of air pressure on the left front the entire time I had the Service ESC light on and it went off within 5 minutes of me adding air.

AS for the Check Engine light I took the SS to Reliable Chevrolet in North Dallas on Thursday Afternoon. They checked the code and it showed a miss 300 miles earlier on the #4 cylinder. They pulled the plugs for 3 and 4 and cleaned them. Then swapped them to as a troubleshooting step in case the Check Engine light came on again later. If the light came on again and showed a miss on #3 then likely a flakey spark plug. They also replaced the coil on #4 as it tested weak. Remember the car was running fine as far as I could tell and the diag's indicated no miss in the last 300 miles. They didn't have to do squat but did everything possible to make sure I was taken care of. I've had no issues since I drove off the lot.

If you are in the Dallas area ALWAYS go to Reliable Chevrolet for any service on any GM car. I can't swear you will get out of there for free but I can tell you every time I have used them I have been 100% satisfied with every detail of the experience.


04-14-2010, 06:12 PM
thanks.. good info

04-16-2010, 03:47 PM
Could be. Well that puts faith back into my dealer for them knowing that.

04-19-2010, 03:59 PM
Well, i just came back from the dealer, i dropped it off this morning. The manager told me he has good news and bad. The good news is that they thought the problem was bad [ii have to ask what].
But they believe its a ecm issue, from the codes.
They couldnt link up with gm all day to reprogram the car. [bad news] So they kept it for tomorrow. If it fails they will replace the unit.

04-20-2010, 05:19 PM
They will keep the car over night again, it was determined by GM and the service manager to replace the computer.

04-21-2010, 09:20 AM
Hopefully this is an end to your ordeal. If it's fixed right-you'll forget something ever happened while your out flexing you SS muscle.

Yes, I'm jealous...

Mike-Fellow LIer.

04-23-2010, 11:07 AM
#PIE0070: EI10105-Engineering Information-Electronic Stability Control (ESC) Message Displayed in Driver Information Center (DIC), DTC C0460 Set - (Apr 21, 2010)

Subject: EI10105 -- Engineering Information --Electronic Stability Control (ESC) Message Displayed in Driver Information Center (DIC), DTC C0460 Set

Models: 2009-2010 Chevrolet HHR

Equipped with Electronic Traction Control (RPO NW9)

Attention: Proceed with this PI ONLY if the customer has commented about this concern AND the EI number is listed in GMVIS. If the customer has not commented about this condition or the EI does not show in GMVIS, disregard the PI and proceed with diagnostics found in published service information. THIS IS NOT A RECALL -- refer to Service Bulletin 04-00-89-053C for more details on the use of Engineering Information PIs.

Important: If the customer did not bring their vehicle in for this concern, DO NOT proceed with this PI.

Some customers may comment that the Service Electronic Stability Control (ESC) message appears in the Driver Information Center (DIC).

GM Engineering is attempting to determine the root cause of the ESC message. Engineering has a need to gather information on vehicles, PRIOR to repair, that may exhibit this condition. As a result, this information will be used to "root cause" the customer's concern and develop/validate a field fix.

Note: This EI is only concerned with those cases where the DTC C0460 is responsible for the service ESC message. Multiple DTCs may be present, but C0460 must be one of them.

Gather the DTCs, including symptom codes, from both the electronic brake control module (EBCM) and the power steering control module (PSCM). Try to duplicate the ESC light and, if possible, capture a snapshot of the EBCM VSES Data, triggering at the end of the C0460 DTC with the appropriate symptom code from the DTC history that is responsible for the ESC message.

Record the tire sizes and manufacturer to ensure they are identical.

Call the engineer listed below for further instructions.

04-24-2010, 06:24 AM
New news. Bad news.
I lost the brake pedal twice yesterday. I have to wait till mon for an appointment, they better not say "in 10 days"

04-28-2010, 05:59 AM
Service dept had it for 2 days, they couldnt determine the cause.

04-29-2010, 10:11 AM
jeez, i am hogging the whole thread, anyways i lost 2 inches of height on the pedal [momentarily] this a.m...then it came back. It never crept. My nephew says master cylinder, but i am wondering about the ECBM [brake module] as was fore mentioned. i am getting a little frustrated.

04-29-2010, 12:54 PM
jeez, i am hogging the whole thread, anyways i lost 2 inches of height on the pedal [momentarily] this a.m...then it came back. It never crept. My nephew says master cylinder, but i am wondering about the ECBM [brake module] as was fore mentioned. i am getting a little frustrated.

Stupid question speedster but have you checked the brake fluid? Checked for any leaks in the brake lines? Changed rotors/pads recently? It MAY be air in the brake lines but that would happen primarily if a brake job was done and the hoses weren't bled right IMHO. It might not be the cause but it's a pointer that you might want to check out? :confused:


05-02-2010, 07:36 AM
Greetings Allex
The fluid is fine, no brake job done as the car has about 4000 miles on it. Underneith the car is dry. I met another hhr owner at the college, he says his does the same, he thinks its because it has "electric brakes".
Does he mean "brake module" .. i dont know.

05-02-2010, 09:41 AM
It sounds like our cars have the same issues.

My brakepedal stops me in the morning but doesn't act right until the car's warmed up.
The first few times I use it it goes to the height it usualy does but then pushes lower quickly a couple of inches feeling wrong.
It stops me but feels wrong.
It's been doing that since I got it, the colder out it is the more pronounced the effect.

I know what it needs and will get it fixed when I get around to it.
They add an Auxiliary Vacuum Pump
Here's one of the threads pertaining to it

05-02-2010, 07:53 PM
I work at the GM Tech Center in Warren MI. The other day there was an e-mail to any employee with 09 hhr with esc message, they want to look at car. There is a new engineering group that looks at fixing these problems quickly. I have a 09 hhr ls but I have never had that message show up. It just turned 8,000 miles the other day, has been perfect, no problems. Keep checking with your dealer as GM is looking to fix this. This group has been checking for problems in ways that are new to GM such as internet forums and such. They are serious about changing the company and being more responsive to the customer. Be patient there still are a lot of enthusiast thats still work here and we drive the same products that you do. This is a great idea that they are doing this like Ed Whitacre says this is a new company. It seems that there is people higher up that are open to more feed back about the product than the previous management.

05-14-2010, 09:03 PM
been having this message for about 3 weeks or so,so i finally took it in wed. today they told me they are going to replace the steering colmn. WTF??? has this problem been solved???? (the esc)

05-14-2010, 09:43 PM
I drive my SS everyday and have been to NC 3 or 4 times since I had my esc message pop up. (I'm from MES) my dealer put air in the tires and told me that's what the problem was. Since then I have not had the esc message pop up. Try that, if nothing else you'll have fully inflated tires. Lol

09-06-2011, 01:45 AM
Hopefully this will help someone. Today I decided to adjust my toe on my front left tire, in which I did. I was experiencing pulling to the left when I was in the left lanes, anyways I ended up adjusting too much and my steering wheel was off balance. I drove about a mile when my service esc message came on. I adjust my toe back the other way until my wheel was balanced again and then drove it for about a mile and came back home. I turned it off and then turned the key on until just the radio and lights was on and I noticed the esc message was not there anymore. I started it up and yes it was indeed gone. so a long story short. your wheel alignment could be causing the service ESC message. I was very glad thats all it was.

10-26-2013, 04:48 PM
I replaced the power steering motor on my 2009 HHR. and Now it works Great but when I start the car and take off about 25 miles per hour The ESC Light come on. Is the anyway you can reset the ESC light so it gos off. can anyone help me please

10-26-2013, 07:18 PM
Is there anyone out there that can help me

10-26-2013, 07:24 PM
My friend put a new power steering motor in my 2009 hhr. He pull the hole steering wheel out and took the steering wheel off of the shaft then he put the new motor on. Then he put everthing back in. I took it for a ride and now the esc light came on how do you reset it. Could he knock the steering wheel out of alignment is that wy the esc light is staying on. And .

10-26-2013, 08:20 PM
If your friend pulled the "whole steering wheel out and the steering wheel off" that's probably the root of your problem. Sounds like he left something unplugged or reinstalled incorrectly. What exactly, I'm not sure.
You don't have to pull the column to replace the electric power steering motor. It is replaced by getting at it from under the dash. It is a very easy job to do. 30-45 minutes at most.
Unfortunatley, it sounds like your friend didn't know how to do this repair correctly.
Just resetting the light is not answer. You need to find out exactly what your friend did wrong on the install.

10-26-2013, 09:00 PM
Hey Guys,

I have been Sarcastically Chuckling as I read all these posts.

This happened to me last week as my wife and I were eating our special for the day Bag Lunch and looking out over Puget Sound Enjoying all the glory of the Blue Skies, Washington Ferry Boats and Mt Rainier in the background.
It was a little cool so I had the motor idling with the heater on low and then all of a sudden .. up it poped on the DIC display
Service ESC and something about traction Control.
6 HHR's and never saw that before.....
My 1rst thought was .. boy am I glad it's still under B to B Warranty.
Then my wife who doesn't pretend to know anything about this kind of stuff says ... Let take a look in the Owners Manual.:clueless:

I said Nah this is something serious for the Tech's to figure out.
So we continued to eat and enjoy but she started looking at the manual and flipping pages.
It actually started getting on my nerves so I was just going to say .. Put that thing away and I'll take care of this when she blurped out, Maybe this could be it ??
I Growlingly said Whats it Say?
She said it says that if you turn your Traction Control Off the computer will at random notify you there is a problem by flashing the ESC message.
She said it does that because it is recommended you leave Traction Control on all the time unless there is a good reason to turn it off.
This reminds me of that Great Movie My Cousin Vinnie !! with Joe Pechi

Well you know I said the other day I was cleaning the dash and I accidentally hit the Traction Control rocker switch. The only reason I know that is the message came on the DIC that said "Traction Control Off"
I remember that at that moment I wondered if I should turn it back on or not but got busy finishing my cleaning chore and did not change that position from off.
The message did not appear till 2days later.
Anyhow I restarted the car and turned the Traction Control back on.
Now one thing that made me wonder why this happened is that I expected an internal lite to appear in the dash rocker switch showing the trac control was on, but there is no lite in either position. You have to look on the DIC dispaly to know which position it is in.

Bottom line .... I have not had the ESC warning since.

P.S. I am very busy now eating CROW.:bye:


10-27-2013, 02:26 AM
Silverfox - that was a great read - many thanks - LOL - that made my day. Next time, you will listen to the lady I am sure. Take care

Ps: agree on the great day here in the pacific northwest - 55deg F and sunshine. Can't beat it. (Outside of Lake Stevens Wa.)

- Whopper - :-)

10-27-2013, 03:08 AM
Thanks for the chuckle SF, the youngsters here will get to know that sinking "I did a dumb" feeling more as the years catch up with them.

I'm still hearing about the quart of Mobil 1 that my wife found in the fridge last month, and the "Cheerios" incident of 2007 when I filled the cat bowls with people food, and then wondered why my cereal smelled like cat food....and tasted like beef.:red:

10-29-2013, 10:49 AM
"and tasted like beef" -