The traction control system in your car exists as a driving aid during adverse conditions, such as rain, snow, ice, or poorly maintained roads. When the system is faulty, it will illuminate a warning light on the dashboard cluster.
What it looks like:
The traction control warning light usually takes the form of the acronym “TC.” Sometimes this light is a small illuminated picture of a vehicle losing control.
How this system operates:
Traction control uses wheel speed sensors to know when one or more of the vehicle’s wheels lose grip and traction. When the system registers a loss of traction in one or more of the wheels, a computer will reduce power to the wheels that are still in solid contact with the road to prevent a skid.
Common reasons for this to happen:
- ABS is malfunctioning: Traction control and ABS (anti-lock braking system) often use the same control module and internal self-diagnostics system. As a result, sometimes an issue in the ABS can put on the traction control light. If this is the case, then both the ABS and Traction Control lights will lit on.
- Broken wheel speed sensors: Wheel speed sensors are usually in the wheel bearing assembly, and determines the rate at which each wheel is moving. The sensors relay that signal to the traction control module, which determines whether or not power should be shifted. Wheel speed sensors can get dirty or damaged and stop working, which stops the traction control module from knowing when to enable the system.
- Traction control module is faulty: The traction control module – which, again, is often shared with the ABS – can malfunction and break altogether, making the system to stop working.
How important is this repairs?
It’s necessary to have the traction control issue investigated as quickly as possible, as adverse driving conditions can arise at any time. While your vehicle is unlikely to incur further damage from a faulty traction control system, it won’t be safe to drive in rain, snow, sleet, or other inclement weather, or even possibly through pools of water on the road. Furthermore, the issue that is causing the traction control light to illuminate could also be impacting the ABS.
SEE ALSO:WHY DOES ABS LIGHT COME ON