If you’re seeing the “ESP Inoperative See Owner’s Manual” message on your Mercedes dashboard, then this article is meant for you.
This is a prevalent issue with Mercedes Benz cars, and having worked on similar cases, I’ll share the main causes and solutions. Keep reading.
What is ESP on a Mercedes?
In simple terms, ESP on your Mercedes Benz stands for Electronic Stability Program and is responsible for checking data from the steering, wheels, and movement sensors to help keep the car stable while driving.
If the car starts to become unstable, the ESP quickly steps in. It can adjust the engine and brakes to help steady the car.
The ESP also includes other features to make driving better.
These include the anti-lock braking system(Known as ABS), a system to prevent skidding when accelerating (ASR), and Brake Assist (BAS).
BAS can apply more brake pressure if it detects the driver is trying to stop quickly, which can help the car stop sooner.
What Does Mercedes’s “ESP Inoperative” Fault Mean?
Now that you know what the ESP system does, the next question is: What does it mean if your Mercedes displays an “ESP Inoperative” message?
In short, this means that one or more of the components of your ESP system has failed and you need to have it checked.
What Causes “ESP Inoperative” on a Mercedes?
There are various things that can cause an ESP inoperative fault on a Mercedes,
But having worked on a few Mercs with the same issues, I have found that it usually comes down to a few things:
1. Faulty Wheel Speed Sensor:
The most common cause for “ESP Inoperative” on a Mercedes from my experience is a bad wheel speed sensor.
The Wheel Speed Sensor (Also known as ABS Sensor) on your Mercedes is responsible for sensing your car’s speed and direction, as well as the rate of acceleration or deceleration.
The sensor then sends this information to the ESP system which uses it to determine whether or not you are experiencing a loss of control and need assistance from ABS brakes.
Unfortunately, these do fail over time, and as a result, you might get an “ESP Inoperative” warning.
There are four wheel speed sensors on your, and they are located on the inside of each wheel near the hub.
The part number for an ABS sensor is A2049054305.
2. Bad Brake Pressure Sensor:
Another common cause of an “ESP Inoperative” message on a Mercedes is a bad brake pressure sensor.
The brake pressure sensor in your Mercedes car checks how hard you’re pushing the brake.
It shares this information with the car’s control system.
If your car isn’t slowing down as quickly as you want it to when you hit the brakes, the control system will step in to help make that happen.
If this sensor isn’t working properly, it can cause your car’s Electronic Stability Program (ESP) and other systems to malfunction.
3. Malfunction ESP Module:
The final common cause of an “ESP Inoperative” message on a Mercedes is a malfunctioning ESP module.
The ESP module is an electronic box that controls the anti-lock braking system (ABS), traction control system, and Electronic Stability Program (ESP) for your car.
Unfortunately, if this fails on your Merc, it can be a costly repair; luckily, out of the three common causes of an “ESP Inoperative see owner manual” message on a Mercedes, this is the least common.
Please Note: There are other components that can cause this fault and using an OBD scanner is the recommended way to diagnose the problem.
The three causes I listed above are the most common causes of this problem, but there are many other components that can cause this error code.
How to Fix and Clear the ESP Inoperative Fault
Scan your vehicle
The first thing I advise you to do is get a Mercedes diagnostics, you can do this yourself with an OBD Scanner or you can take your vehicle to a local Mercedes dealer.
This will save a lot of time and effort because it will tell you exactly what component is causing the issue.
Replace Wheel Speed Sensors
If you’re unable to access a diagnostics scanner and would like to attempt to troubleshoot the issue on your own, a good starting point would be to replace all of your wheel speed sensors.
This is typically a simple and cost-effective task. In the majority of cases, after replacing the sensors, disconnecting and then reconnecting the battery should eliminate the “ESP Inoperative” message.
Check the brake pressure sensor
If the fault doesn’t go away then it’s time to replace the brake pressure sensor, this sensor is also also a relatively cheap component, and it can be replaced without much effort.
Visit the Nearest Dealership/ Independent Garage
If after replacing the wheel speed sensors and brake pressure sensor the fault still doesn’t go away then you may have a problem with the ESP module.
I recommend taking your car to a Mercedes dealership or a qualified auto repair shop and having them diagnose the issue.