Traction Control Light

On most vehicles today, there’s a TCS light fitted that’s part of the vehicle system that helps to control the vehicle when it’s struggling to maintain control with the wheels. The traction control systems monitor how stable the vehicle is when driving. It does this by looking at the way the vehicle grips the road and how much traction the vehicle has on the road by tracking the sensors in the wheels. The traction control system finds problems with the vehicle and it helps to fix them so that the driver can continue to perform behind the wheel. This system is important drivers as it provides them with information and help that could later have led to a crash if went unnoticed

The traction control system light won’t come on when it’s working normally to control the vehicle in bad conditions. The light only comes on when there’s something that needs fixing within the vehicle. If the traction control system is flashing, this will indicate that there’s a severe problem within the vehicle that needs to be fixed. You’ll see this light on the dashboard and it looks like a yellow car driving on a wavy track to indicate that it’s losing control. The symbol could also be as simple as the words TC.

The light is likely to come on whilst you’re accelerating, and you should’ve experienced this before if you’ve been driving for a while. If you’re a new driver, this can cause you some panic because lights done usually come on for no reason. When the TCS light comes on, you should stay focused on the road and concentrate on driving slowly to maintain control with the road. The TCS light was created so that drivers can be assisted wet driving in wet, icy conditions or bumpy – this can also include badly paved roads. The TCS was made to help drivers in conditions that would cause them to lose control.

Reasons the Traction Control Light Comes on

If the traction control light comes on, it’s usually happens when you’re accelerating so there’s nothing to worry about. You just need to focus on slowing down the vehicle and stabilizing it so that the vehicle maintains traction with the road. The traction control system is less effective when you’re driving at a high speed so you should slow down and get to the local workshop.

Important: If you want to save $100s in servicing, diagnosis, and repair costs, improve your car's performance significantly and increase its value by 1.2x with little effort, download our Beginners Auto Maintenence & Repair Manual now. 

There are a few reasons why the TC light will come on and you can check them out down below. However, if you want to know for sure why the light came on, you can use a professional OBD2 diagnostics tool (View on Amazon) to help you diagnose the problem with your vehicle. When there’s an issue, error codes are sent to a module and this can be picked up by a diagnostics tool.

A professional diagnostics tool will allow you to see what the error codes mean so you know whether you need to head down to the workshop. With a standard diagnostics tool, you’ll be forced to look up the error codes in the service manual or online.

Bad Conditions on the Road – when the conditions you’re driving in are bad, for example rain, snow, ice, potholes, and store, the TCS might not be able to handle the vehicle effectively which will cause the light to come in because the system can’t maintain traction with the road. If you find yourself in this situation, there’s not much you can do about it. Using common sense, the best thing to do is slow down and try to increase the traction with the road by driving slowly. The worse the weather you find yourself in, the more you should slow down.

Low Fluid Reservoir – the braking fluid in your car helps to control the braking pressure. If the TC system isn’t able to apply the brakes properly because the fluid is too low, it won’t be able to work. A reservoir contains the braking fluid and sometimes this fluid might leak from the reservoir which can cause levels to drop. This can cause the TCS to come on.

Faulty Speed Sensor – there are speed sensors connected to every wheel which can calculate the movement and RPMs behind that wheel, and this gets sent to the anti-lock braking system. If one of these wheels isn’t performing like normal or is moving too slowly, then the ABS will increase the traction on the wheels by applying the breaks. This can be caused by too much dirt building up on the sensors so they’re no longer able to detect a loss of traction with the wheels. If there’s a problem with the sensor connected to the wheels, the message won’t be able to be communicated and the vehicle will lose traction. This will cause the TC light to come in which will indicate to you that there’s a problem.

Bad System Module – If the ABS gets corroded over the years, this could damage the system. It won’t be able to collect information from the speed sensor in the wheels and this can trigger the ABS and the ESC to stop working. It takes a lot of corrosion on the ABS for it to stop having the ability to collect information from the speed sensor to send to the ESC. If information can’t be collected from the sensors because of damaged systems like the ABS, this can cause the TCS light to come on.

Worn Hydraulic Pump – If one of your vehicle’s wheels moves at a different speed than the other wheels, then the speed sensor will send this information to the TCS and ABS which will allow the ESC to take control. When this happens, the hydraulic pump will increase the amount of brake fluid pressure to the wheels. After years of having your car, the hydraulic pumps could get worn out and therefore cause the TCS lights to turn on.

Traction Control Module – the traction control module decides how much pressure is applied on the brakes when the driver and the vehicle lose control. There are sensors in the wheels that communicate with the traction systems and if the traction control module isn’t able to determine the amount of pressure needed, then the TCS light will come on.

Faulty Steering Angle Sensor – the steering angle sensor is a crucial part of the TC system and it measures the steering position angle and the rate it turns at. It uses this to determine if you’re losing control of the vehicle or not. If you have a failing steering angle sensor, this can cause the TCS light to constantly turn on.

Problem with Anti-Lock Braking – the ABS works together with the TCS and they share the same diagnostics system and control module along with the ECS. If there’s a problem with the ABS, this will cause the TCS light to come on to indicate that there’s a problem. In this case, you’ll need to get the ABS checked out by a mechanic. The ABS is important for the safety of the vehicle and if there’s a fault with it, it will need to be fixed. The ABS senses when the wheels are losing attraction and it stops the wheels from locking up when you brake and turn sharp corners to stop your vehicle from skidding off the road.

Problem with the Electric Control System – the ECS is a system that works with the ABS and TCS and they share the same diagnostics system and control module. If there’s a problem with the ECS, this will cause the TCS light to come on indicating that there’s a problem with it. If there’s a problem with the ECS, you need to head down to your local workshop and get it fixed because it’s crucial to your safety when you’re driving in unusual conditions.

The ECS uses the sensor in the steering wheel and the wheels to know when the two aren’t corresponding – for example you’re turning your steering wheel a bit, but the wheels are drifting more than usual because of the conditions you’re driving in, the ECS will notice this and apply the brakes to your vehicle – it’ll also reduce the power in the engine so that the RPMs are lowered giving you more control of the vehicle.

Computer Issue with TCS – there could be a problem with the traction control systems computer than any external issues your vehicles facing. If no other issues are causing problems and it’s the computer itself, then it needs to be fixed to make sure that the system is communicating with all the other parts in the vehicle. In most cases, the computer will just need resetting and the TCS should be back to normal. When doing this, it’s best to take it to a mechanic and let them know the model and make of your vehicle so they’re sure of what they’re doing.

Wiring Issues – the wheel sensors in the wheels send information through a set of wired to a module. If any of these wires aren’t properly connected to each other, or the ESC fuse is blown, then the ESC light won’t come on.

Is it Safe to Drive with Traction Control Light On?

If the traction control light comes on, it can indicate that there’s a problem with other systems within your vehicle that are crucial to your safety and the way the ABS and ECS performs. It’s best to drive your car to the mechanic when you see this light come on to avoid any problems further down the light. Its safe to drive with the traction control light on when you’re driving difficult conditions like rain because it means the TCS is engaging and it’s helped the vehicle remain firmly on the ground. Its not safe to drive without traction control in difficult whether because your vehicle is susceptible to skidding and sliding on the road – tonnes of metal sliding around the road can result in an fatal accident so make sure your TCS is on when you’re driving in difficult weather.

Driving with the TCS light on when you’re in normal conditions can be dangerous and you risk the chance of your vehicle losing control. The TCS controls and stabilizes the traction of the vehicle on the road so without it, you may not be skilled enough tackle the road with no assistance. If the light comes on in normal conditions, it could mean that the system or another component is not working properly so it’s best to get the vehicle to the mechanic.

The TCS Light Should Never Come On!

The TCS system light could also come on when there’s a problem with the TC system. It can encounter problems when you fail to maintain your vehicle often which is why maintenance is such an important procedure. This means that you’ll need to get this system checked because you’ll be at risk if you’re driving which a failing TCS.

If you want to TCS problems or other issues and save $100s of dollars that you’ll spend at the auto repair shop, you’ll need to service your vehicle often – you can use our mechanic-rated Auto Maintenance and Repair Manual to do this. It’s basically what mechanics use to go through your vehicle to check if there are any problems that need fixing. As soon as they notice the most minor problem, they’ll ask you to fork out some money even though it’s a problem you can fix yourself in minutes – the manual will teach you how to maintain your vehicle every few thousand miles and it’ll teach you how to fix minor problems that mechanics will ask you to pay for; saving you money in the long run.

A lot of our readers have the Auto Maintenance and Repair Manual printed on their garage wall and 92% of them haven’t visited the auto repair shop in the last year because they know what to do to avoid problems. All it takes is giving your vehicle a little attention every few thousand miles and you’ll never spend money at the workshop again.

How to Fix Traction Control Warning Light

The traction control lights come on when there’s an issue with the vehicle and a flickering light will indicate something more serious. The light comes on when there’s a loss of traction in rainy or snowy weather for example. If the traction control light remains on without blinking, this means the TCS has been deactivated and there’s no traction that can be applied to the vehicle. You may also receive a message saying the traction control system is shut down and to use extra caution when driving, especially in water, ice and snow.

One way to get rid of this light is to use an OBD2 scanner to diagnose the error codes that have been stored in the module. When you find out what the error code means with the scanner, you can fix it your self and you should notice the TCS light turn off. Another way to fix the traction control light is to get your vehicle to the mechanic and they’ll need a full scan of the system.

if you see the TCS light shows up with an On sign below it, this means that the TCS is on. There are a few vehicles that have the ON/OFF button for the TCS. If you want to fix the TCS light and turn it off, you press the button to turn it off. If you need to use it again, you can turn it on by clicking the button. If you see the TCS light with the off button below it, it means the system is shut down.

Traction Control Light and Loss of Engine Power

If you notice a loss of power when the light is on, it means the system is working. The ABS and ECS systems work together with the TCS to reduce the amount of power your engines using to slow down the vehicle. This gives the driver more control and it increases the traction with the vehicle and the road. You may also notice that the brakes are applied when you make sharp turns, this is to stop your vehicle from sliding off the road.