ESP is short for Electronic stability program. ESP is designed to reduce the risk of the car skidding and automatically stabilize the vehicle in dangerous situations. ESP is supposed to contribute to safety in road traffic and reduce fatal accidents caused by uncontrolled skidding. The ESP became known in connection with the "moose test" of the then W168 Mercedes-A-Class. Modern vehicles are often equipped with ESP and from the end of 2014 ESP will even be mandatory in new vehicles (EU regulation from July 2009). Approximately 80 percent of new vehicles in Germany currently have the stability program. The exception is many older small cars that do not have an ESP. But some small cars even offered ESP at a surcharge.
Switching off ESP - what's the point?
Switching off the standard ESP is not advisable, but switching off the ESP is still possible with many manufacturers. It will then be deactivated until the engine starts again or it will reactivate itself from a certain speed. Deactivating ESP only switches the ASR on most models (Drive slip control) out. Deactivating the traction control system makes sense if the car is on the mountain snow chains has to start and, for example, simply needs more speed to "dig out". Without the switch-off, the wheels cannot grip and the vehicle cannot move forward. The ESP only intervenes in critical situations, which is why it is not necessary to change driving behavior. However, the ESP does not protect against bad road conditions either and the driver should generally always drive according to the weather conditions.
Can ESP also be retrofitted?
The answer to the question is complex. Specialist articles state that classic retrofitting is not possible. The ESP technology is complicated to install and for cars that do not have ESP as standard, retrofitting is often not economically viable. In tuning forums, on the other hand, it can sometimes be read that cars with ABS (without rear brake control) retrofitting is possible under certain conditions. However, these entries are rather referred to as dangerous half-knowledge and it is advisable not to tackle such a project without a specialist workshop and to ask for alternatives in a specialist workshop or directly from the car manufacturer. For example, you often need a different ABS / ESP block, a new wiring harness, a new steering angle sensor, a yaw rate sensor, etc. If you have a complete donor vehicle available, the conversion might be possible. Here you can then use the factory components. A third-party universal conversion kit is not available due to the complexity.
How can you recognize ESP in the car?
ESP in the car is not always recognizable, which is why the operating instructions should be consulted. In many vehicle models, however, ESP can be recognized by a symbol in the area of the instrument panel or by the ESP switch. If you activate the vehicle's ignition, the ESP lamp often lights up briefly next to other indicator lights. A sign that the vehicle is equipped with the safety system. If a manufacturer has installed a variant for switching off, the switch for deactivating can always be found somewhere in the area of the center console. Incidentally, ESP is also known under other names. DSC at BMW and Mazda, ESC at Chevrolet, VDC at Alfa Romeo, VSC at Honda, MASC at Mitsubishi. All of the above terms refer to the stability program.
Retrofitting ESP in the car - conclusion
ESP is an electronic stability program designed to prevent the vehicle from skidding in an emergency. The ESP has been known since the Mercedes Moose Test and has been installed as standard in modern vehicles since 2014. Retrofitting ESP is not advisable because the technology is complex and retrofitting is almost never economical. Universal conversion kits for plug-and-play installation are (except for trailers) unavailable. Tuners can provide information about alternatives. through donor vehicle the retrofitting may be feasible, but alternatively it is often better to buy a vehicle with factory ESP.
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