VW Golf manuals

Volkswagen Golf Owners Manual: Brake support systems

First read and observe the introductory information and safety warnings

The brake support systems ESC, ABS, BAS, TCS and EDL only function when the engine is running. They make a considerable contribution to active driving safety.

Electronic stability control (ESC)

The ESC helps to reduce the risk of skidding and to improve driving stability by braking individual wheels in certain driving situations. The ESC detects critical driving situations such as oversteer, understeer and wheelspin. The system helps to stabilise the vehicle through targeted application of the brakes or by reducing engine torque.

ESC has its limitations. It is important to realise that ESC cannot overcome the laws of physics. ESC will not be able to assist in every situation faced by a driver. For example, the ESC will not be able to assist every time there is a sudden change in the quality of the road surface. If a section of dry road is suddenly covered with water, mud or snow, ESC will not be able to assist in the same manner as on a dry road. If the vehicle aquaplanes (drives on a layer of water rather than on the road surface), ESC will not be able to assist in steering the vehicle as the contact to the road surface has been interrupted and it is therefore no longer possible to steer or brake the vehicle. When driving at speed through bends, particularly on stretches of road with many bends, the ESC will not always be able to process complicated driving situations as effectively as at lower speeds.

Always adapt your speed and driving style to suit visibility, weather, road and traffic conditions. ESC cannot defy the laws of motion, improve the available power output, or keep the vehicle on the road if insufficient care and attention on the part of the driver causes the vehicle to leave the road. Instead, ESC increases the possibility of keeping the vehicle under control and, in extreme on-road driving situations, it assesses the driver’s steering input and helps the vehicle to continue in the required direction. If the vehicle is driving at a speed that leads it to leave the road before the ESC can provide any kind of support, the ESC will be unable to provide any assistance.

The ABS, BAS, TCS and EDL systems are integrated into the ESC. When the level of traction achieved is not sufficient in certain driving situations, the TCS can be deactivated in the infotainment system using the button and the and ESC System function buttons.

In some model versions, the ESC may also be switched off. Always ensure that the TCS and ESC are switched back on again once traction is sufficient.

Multi-collision brake

In the event of an accident, the multi-collision brake can help the driver to reduce the risk of skidding, and the danger of secondary collisions, through automatic braking.

The multi-collision brake only functions in frontal, side and rear collisions if the airbag control unit registers the corresponding triggering threshold during the accident, and the accident occurs at a speed greater than 10 km/h (6 mph).

The ESC brakes the vehicle automatically, provided that the hydraulic braking system, the ESC and the electrical system are undamaged in the accident and remain functional.

The following actions override automatic braking in the event of an accident:

Anti-lock brake system (ABS)

The ABS prevents the wheels from locking when the brakes are applied up until the point where the vehicle is nearly stationary and assists the driver in steering the vehicle and keeping it under control. This means that the vehicle is less likely to spin, even when the brakes are depressed fully:

If the ABS is taking corrective action, there is a pulsing movement in the brake pedal and some noise. However, ABS will not necessarily guarantee shorter braking distances in all conditions. The braking distance could even be longer if you brake on gravel or on fresh snow covering an icy or slippery surface.

Brake Assist system (BAS)

The Brake Assist system can help to reduce the braking distance. The Brake Assist system reinforces brake pressure when the driver depresses the brake pedal quickly in an emergency situation. As a result, full braking power is made accessible very quickly, braking power is reinforced and the braking distance reduced. This means that the ABS is activated more quickly and more effectively.

Do not reduce the pressure on the brake pedal. The Brake Assist system will switch off the brake servo automatically when the brake pedal is released or if the pressure on the brake pedal is reduced.

Traction control system (TCS)

The TCS reduces the engine output if wheelspin occurs and adapts the output to suit road surface conditions. TCS helps the car to start moving, accelerate and climb gradients in unfavourable road conditions.

The TCS can be switched on and off manually   .

Electronic differential lock (EDL and XDL)

The EDL is available for normal driving on straight roads. EDL brakes the wheel that has lost traction and distributes the driving force to the other drive wheels. To prevent the disc brake of the braked wheel from overheating, the EDL cuts out automatically if subjected to excessive loads. The EDL will switch on again automatically when the brake has cooled down.

The XDL function is an extension of the electronic differential lock. The XDL does not respond to traction control, but rather to the reduction of load on the inside front wheel when driving through a bend at high speed. XDL will apply the brake on the inside front wheel to prevent it from losing traction. This will improve traction, helping the vehicle to remain in the required lane longer.


Driving fast on icy, slippery or wet roads can lead to a loss of control of the vehicle and could cause serious injury to the driver and passengers.


ESC will be considerably less effective if other components and systems that affect driving dynamics are not serviced correctly or are not functioning properly. This also applies, but not exclusively, to the brakes, tyres and other systems named above.

The ESC and TCS can only function properly if all 4 wheels are fitted with the same tyres. Any differences in the rolling radius of the tyres can cause the system to reduce engine power unexpectedly.

If there is a fault in the ABS, the ESC, TCS and EDL will also stop working.

Control processes running in the systems described may cause operating noises.

Information on the brakes
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Switching TCS or TCS with ESC on and off
Fig. 142 In the centre console: button for switching the traction control system (TCS) or electronic stability control (ESC) on and off manually Fig. 143 In the centre console: button for swit ...

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