ABS ESP Traction (Spinning Tire) Lights On

Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
Shifter Locked, No Shift, No Brake Lights

This subject comes up occasionally. This thread is an attempt to consolidate some of the information.

ABS ESP Traction Lights On Brake Light Fuse (#5?) Blown Shift Locked

20150324, 20151130, 20160928 edit: As of today what some may consider a temporary repair with inserting the insulation material in the light assembly is still going strong. I'm thinking that the repair is quite permanent for me.

Yesterday my ABS, ESP and Traction (tire slipping symbol) lights came on. The van seemed fine except for the array of annoying lights on the dash. One caution I would give is that if those lights do come on you need to verify whether your brake lights are still working. Mine weren't and I didn't know ( or remember?) I needed to check the brake light operation. Therefore I didn't check the fuse immediately as I should have. (Fuse #5 under the steering column in my 2004 by the way.) Your cruise control will also not function. This is a Cheap Trick because I don't believe it is necessary to replace the tail light assembly to cure this particular shorting problem.

20100715 edit: I forgot to add that if the lights above come on the shifter will lock in Park. You will need to carefully use a small screwdriver or pencil pushed down through the little cover door below the "D" on the shifter to manually release the shift lever for Reverse-Neutral-Drive. Once the shifter is returned to Park it will need to be released manually again.

Your ignition key works perfectly to release the shift lock.

My method.
Use the ignition key to release the shift lever. Shift to neutral. Start the van and drive.

Revelations cease here.

Check that your brake lights work. If not, first check the fuse #5.

Another possibility. Was the van towed? If yes, did they lock the steering wheel by pulling up on the brake pedal. If yes, the brake switch may need to be re-adjusted.

If the brake lights are ok, then you can use a a pencil to push a release at the base of the shifter.

If I use the pencil to get it in gear, will it run normal or in limp mode?
Under most circumstances it will run normally. You will likely not have cruise control.

I had a similar issue awhile back, 3rd brake light was blown, and cruise didn't work, but otherwise did fine, but it. Shifted our of park like normal
The hint to check the ABS fuses under the driver seat is in this next post. Usually when the pencil release is used the transmission and engine will operate normally. Often in these request for help threads the symptoms/information comes out in a trickle.

It seems to be in limp mode, won't go out of 2nd gear
That is a severe or top level form of LHM.

I called Dr A, he helped me figure out it was the ABS fuse.
What a helpful guy!
Back on the road again......
Doktor A is great. :thumbup::thumbup:

As always, clicking on the blue arrow icon within any quote box will take you to the original post/thread.

Some information about my 2004 ABS fuse locations is here.


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thanks for this vic.. havent seen these issues yet, other than still trying to master the use of the ESP cutout switch -
after getting myself stuck on a near flat ski area parking lot and noting the ESP seems to be the problem, in that it (seems like) it wont keep traction on the correct wheel, prevents increased throttle/HP as req'd, once things get slippery.
(and of course i didnt then have snowtires on and will be interesting to see if the added weight aft with the 'furniture' and batteries/inverter etc installed - appx 1000lbs total added - will help increase traction)

also want to thank you (in advance) for your 'cheap trick series'
esp this one, on glowplug changeout,
which i keep stalling on, as i've been a bit reluctant to launch into (but wont get into why here, to stay on topic)
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Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
Apparently watching the speedometer needle may give a clue.

Thanks goes to Vanski. :thumbup:

... also, the speedometer jumping indicates a tone ring issue or faulty sensor or misplacement of the sensor.
Sometimes a fancy scan tool isn't always necessary.

During a no start issue watching the tachometer can give a clue as to the Crank Sensor health. No tachometer reading points to a loss of crank signal.



New member
Thank you so much for this incredibly helpful post! I believe I may have the triple whammy and am still trying to figure out my exact problem. I replaced a blown brake light, I replaced a faulty brake switch, and am about to have the tone ring and abs sensors cleaned.

I did have two questions. From this and other posts, I've heard differing opinions on when the ABS/ESP/ASR lights will go off, and when the cruise control will reactivate. Some say immediately, some say after a few cycles. Do you have any thoughts? Also, my shift lever gets stuck in park. I know I can release that with a pen/screwdriver at the base, but that's temporary. How do you permanently solve that issue?

Thanks again!


New member
Looking for some emergency advice on this topic. I was driving and suddenly the ABS light and wheel rotate light on the right side came on, followed shortly bye the SRS light. Van downshifted for a hill, but then the shifter appeared to stop working and the dash lights went out when I tried flashing high beams. I pulled over to investigate and now the van won't start. It clicks when I try to crank. Lights appear to be working. I've tried starting in neutral and Park using a screwdriver to get it out of park.



New member
I have had the same experience with my 2007 Dodge Sprinter with a Winnebago attached. I was driving, went over a bump. The sprinter lost power, ABS light came on along with ESP, wheel rotate light and brake light illuminated. I pulled over and turned off the sprinter. Waited a few minutes and then tried starting it. It wouldn’t crank or start. It would just click. I disconnected the positive on battery and waited some more. Still no crank. No I’m panicking as I’m in the middle of the AZ desert. Tried calling for a tow truck. Long story short, I ended up being stranded for over 2 hours. My dad recommended trying to bleed air from fuel line. In the manual, it says to insert key, turn to ON and wait a few seconds. Then, turn they key to start and keep turning it but do not do it for then 60 seconds. By some act of god it started!! I turned around and drove to flagstaff to rest. Check engine light was on but it was running!!
Check engine light said faulty speed sensor. I got the rear wheel sensors replaced. I thought I was good. Nope. I just tried again to drive to flagstaff and same issue however, I’ve learned to just pull over turn off sprinter and restart.
I see your post is from March 2020 but I’m curious what you were able to find out what the issue is. Any insight would be great as I continue to try and troubleshoot.


New member
Hi all,

I'm another one in the same boat and having the same issue with my UK/Euro 2000 Merc Sprinter 313CDi. I've got the 3 lights on the dash - ABS, EBV, and TC.

I've just managed to modify the diagnostic loom to accept a modern Autel OBDII scanner thanks to @Cheyenne.

So the codes I'm getting from the ABS module are C1011 - Valve Relay Undervoltage. I've checked battery voltage - 12.5 with engine off or 14.0 when running, checked grounds and all seem ok. I briefly checked the fuses which seem ok, but someone's removed the cover so I don't know which ones exactly I should be looking for. Does anyone have the fuse diagrams?

Is there anything else I can check? Should I be looking at the ABS pump or module next?

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