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Trailer Stability Control

You are probably aware that your car has a Stability Control Program which helps to prevent the car from becoming out of control in extreme driving situations.

What you may not be aware of, is that some car manufacturers have systems built into their car that will extend this functionality to your trailer or caravan while you are towing. This system is known as Trailer Stability Control or T-Esp.

Trailer Stability systems detect when a trailer is starting to oscillate, or ‘snake’ as it is commonly known, while you are towing. It will attempt to correct any dangerous trailer swing through a combination of either torque reduction and/or individual wheel braking to bring the trailer and tow-vehicle back under control.

In the episode of Top Gear shown above they towed a caravan around the track; first with a VW Tiguan, and then with a Mazda CX-5.

When the caravan was towed with the VW Tiguan it goes around the track flawlessly, and when it is towed with a Mazda CX-5 it falls over on the second corner.

The simple difference is that the VW has T-Esp and the Mazda doesn't!

If you watch the video from 40 seconds onwards, and especially at the 1 minute mark you can actually see the T-Esp working and applying the brakes and moving the back of the car around to stop the caravan from tipping over.  Even when the wheel falls off the caravan, it still won't get out of control!

We're sure that you're not planning on towing your trailer or caravan quickly around a race track anytime soon, but the safety aspect of activating the Trailer Stability Control on your car is clearly apparent.

The video below shows how the Trailer Stability Control system works on a Volvo XC60 when the boat trailer starts to 'snake'. The car will stabilise trailer by using the cars brakes to correct the oscillation of the trailer.

In most cases, Trailer Stability Control is can only be activated on your car by having your towbar wiring fitted with a Vehicle Specific Wiring Loom. Not all vehicles have Trailer Stability Control available. The list below lists vehicle that (at the time of writing) do have the system available.


Coding is required to activate T-Esp on all Audi models

A1 Hatch, 11/2010 onwards

A3 Hatch, 05/2003 onwards

A4 Saloon & Estate, all models (B7, B8, B9), from 10/2004 onwards

A5 Coupe, all models from 05/2007 onwards

A6 Saloon & Estate, all models (C6, C7), from 05/2004 onwards

A7 Coupe, all models from 03/2011 onwards

Q2 SUV, 11/2016 onwards

Q3 SUV, 10/2011 onwards

Q5 Crossover, all models from 11/2008 onwards

Q7 all models (4L, 4M), from 05/2006 onwards


1 Series (E87,E81,E88,F20), from 09/2004 onwards

2 Series (F45), 09/2014 onwards

3 Series (E90/91, F30/31), from 03/2005 onwards

4 Series Coupe (F32), from 10/13 onwards

5 Series (E60/61, F10/11), from 07/2003 onwards

5 Series GT (F07), from 10/2009 onwards

7 Series (E65/66, FO1/FO2), from 12/2001 onwards

X1 4x4 (E84, F48), from 10/2009 onwards

X3 4x4, (E83, F25), from 01/2004 onwards

X4 4x4 (F26), from07/2014 onwards

X5 (E70, F15), from 03/2007 onwards

X6 (E71, F16), from 04/2008 onwards


Aveo Hatch, from 09/2011 onwards

Cruze, all models, 07/2009 onwards

Trax SUV, 05/2013 onwars


500X SUV, from 05/2015 onwards

Fullback Pickup, 07/2016 onwards


C-Max & Grand C-Max, 11/2010 onwards

Edge SUV, 08/2016 onwards

Focus, all models, from 03/2011 onwards

Galaxy (CD390) from 08/2015 onwards

Kuga, all models, from 06/2008 onwards

Mondeo (CD391), from 01/2015 onwards

Ranger, all models, from 02/2012 onwards

S-MAX, from 08/2015 onwards

Transit Connect, from 02/2014 onwards

Transit Custom, from 02/2013 onwards


Accord, from 06/2008 onwards

C-RV, from 01/2007 onwards


Sante Fe, from 11/2012 onwards

Tucson, from 09/2015 onwards


F-Pace SUV, from 05/216 onwards

XE Saloon, from 05/2015 onwards

XF Saloon & Sportbrake, from 09/2011 onwards


Cherokee, from 04/2014 onwards

Grand Cherokee, from 07/2005 onwards


Sorento, all models from 03/2015 onwards

Sportage, all models from 02/2016 onwards

Land Rover

Discovery 4 & 5, from 08/2009 onwards

DiscoverySport, 02/2015 onwards

Freelander 2, from 10/2012 to 01/ 2015

Range Rover, from 02/2002 onwards

Range Rover Sport, from 08/2009 onwards

Range Rover Evoque, from 09/2011 onwards