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Dynamic Stability Control, Amber warning

Tim H

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I rarely use my XK (X150) and have often had to recharge the battery when I try and start the car only to find it flat.

I like many, have read how sensitive these cars are to electrical issues I wasn’t too surprised to see an amber warning triangle in the message centre alerting me to ‘Dynamic Stability Control’ failure. After fully charging the battery and driving the car for a while I expected the waning light to go off but it didn’t. As there wasn’t any affect on the cars performance I ignored the warning as a temporary glitch.

A couple of weeks later I again attempted to start the car and it did so on its second turn. The amber warning was still there but this time another warning came up in Red, ‘Pedestrian System Fault’ being a red warning I took this one a little more seriously.

I knew both these faults were sensor issues as I rarely used the car so I drove it to my nearest ‘official’ Jag garage with the plan of speaking to a technician. After describing the issues to the female receptionist I was told it would cost £178 to plug in a fault code reader to diagnose the issue and pinpoint the offending sensor/sensors. I would then be charged £170 per hour to rectify the issues found, plus parts. As they were very busy I would have to book the car in for sometime the following week! I declined the kind offer as I knew there was an ‘independent’ Jaguar garage just 5 minutes away.

Pulling up at the ‘Indy Jag garage’ I explained the issues and his fault code reader was plugged in within 5 mins of arriving. ‘Drivers ride height’ sensor was a fault as was two impact sensors behind the front bumper and a seatbelt tightening sensor on the passenger side was also a fault. Each of the sensors were approx £100 each except the seatbelt sensor was £250! I paid £48 for the fault code reading.
I’m comfortable doing a lot of work on cars so I ordered the parts for next day delivery with the intention of fitting the sensors myself and saving a few quid. The two sensors behind the bumper could only be changed by taking the bumper off and the seatbelt sensor requires the seat removed, the ride height sensor just requires the wheel removed.

I collected the new sensors the following day (not the seatbelt sensor as the Indy garage owner said it was unlikely to be faulty) and started the work. After jacking up the car and removing the driver side front wheel the ‘ride height sensor’ is clearly visible and easily removable using a 10mm spanner. I was quite surprised just how vulnerable it is sitting in the wishbone behind the disc open to all the elements.

It took less than 3 mins to change the sensor (less time than removing the wheel) and comparing the two, old and new it was easy to see the old one was stiff and nothing like as flexible as the new one.

After replacing the wheel and lowering the car the whole job was done within 15mins. Keen to see if it had worked I jumped in the car and pressed the start button. Success, no amber warning! I stopped the engine and told the Mrs that I was going for a test drive.

On starting the car for my test drive the ‘Red’ warning triangle had also gone out leaving my dash free of warnings!

4 days of usage later, I’m warning light free and a very happy bunny! I took my unopened bumper sensors back for a full refund and the total cost was just £48 for the fault read and £100 for the one sensor!

The sensor that was removed I cleaned up using WD40 and an old tooth brush and put it back on, guess what it worked! The location of the sensor caused it to be clogged with mud off the road and I guess the little usage caused it to dry rock hard and not flex when in occasional use throwing up the fault code.

If there is a moral to this story it is “don’t panic and pay official Jag prices when independent Jaguar garages are just as good, if not better” and “don’t be daunted to carry out simple work yourself”.




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Hiya Tim 

unless your car is a R you don’t have to remove the bumper and the ped sensors can be accessed from the top ,that said if it is an R the sensors can be accessed by removing the front most under tray ,

you will probably find that these sensors are more problematic during the summer season (temperature) however they appear to have a life span of approx 10 years 

never knew that you can have a height adjustable spring/standard front strut arrangement other than coil overs are you sure it isn’t the headlights levelling sensor?

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