Buying a car is easy; maintaining it is difficult. There are some things that you have to do, and some things are to be done by the car itself.
One of the latter is the traction control system, which is quite important when it comes to the proper driving ability of the car.
- What is the traction control system (TCS)
- What is meant by TCS light?
- Causes of the TCS light
- Most common issues due to which the TCS light lights up
- Is it dangerous if your TCS light is on and you keep driving?
- Final Thoughts
What is the traction control system (TCS)
The traction control system ensures the safety of your vehicle. It comes active when you lose traction of the wheels of your car.
The power that is supplied to the wheels is limited by the traction control system. It adjusts the power so that traction is applied on the wheel, stopping their spinning action.
There is a certain amount of traction that the road has to offer, and the traction control system makes sure that it utilizes all of it, whenever the vehicle is passing over a road with low friction.
The traction control system is present in almost every modern vehicle and is a key safety feature for your ride.
In what conditions, is it useful?
It comes into action when the vehicle accelerates and the time of contact between a part of the wheel and the road is reduced, thus reducing friction in turn.
This control system is helpful in conditions like ice, rain, snow, or in case of roads that are too slippery. The grip is reduced in such cases, but the traction control system makes up for it.
Here are the situations in which traction control is specifically useful:
When driving uphill, on a gravelly surface
When you are on a slippery and icy road, standing on a red light and the traffic starts moving. Acceleration requires traction.
Hitting a road that is slushy. This will make the wheels of your car lose their traction.
What is meant by TCS light?
There is a yellow light on your dashboard that comes on sometimes. It is known as the TCS light.
The traction control system does not work individually. It works together with a system called ABS (Anti-lock braking system), as well as the engine control system.
The speed of all your tires is monitored by them, and if any of the wheels start rotating and slipping at a slightly different speed, then these systems are going to start working.
The TCS system will reduce the power that is being supplied to the engine so that the wheel slows down at the same speed as the other wheels.
Often, the ABS and the TCS lights light up together, as the systems work together as well.
Causes of the TCS light
There are many reasons your TCS light might be on; you would have to be briefly aware of all of them before you begin your troubleshooting.
When your TCS light flashes as soon as your vehicle begins accelerating, it means that the surface is not offering much resistance.
The TCS is supposed to flash much whenever you are on such a road that feels slippery, like the muddy or the icy ones.
However, if your TCS light blinks and your engine begins to slow even when the road is not slippery than there must be an issue with the ABS sensor of your car.
The TCS system could be getting the incorrect values from the ABS system and then operating accordingly.
The solution to this is checking with the ABS sensor of the car to see if it is functioning properly.
· The TCS light is on, but there is an OFF sign underneath
When your light is on, but its sign says off, it indicated that your TCS system is down. The solution to this is quite an easy one.
Most vehicles have a TCS power off and on the button, which needs to be switched on. If this happened while you are driving, stop your car and look for the TCS off/on the button.
Switch the system on. If you cannot locate this button, then you would have to look for the instructions in the manual of the car to see where to find it.
If the issue still doesn’t resolve, then there must be some problem in the system. Check-in with your mechanic as soon as you can for that.
· Continuous TCS light
If your TCS light is on continuously, and also the ABS one, then that indicates a fault in your traction system.
The best way to resolve this issue is to go through the ABS control unit and check to see what that says. You can do take it to the mechanic, but doing it yourself isn’t too difficult either.
Most common issues due to which the TCS light lights up
- When the ABS sensor gets faulty
- When the magnetic/ABS ring goes bad
- When the wiring that leads up to the ABS control module starts messing up
- Infiltration of water to ABS sensor connectors
- When the ABS control unit fails, but this is quite rare
Is it dangerous if your TCS light is on and you keep driving?
The TCS light is coming on means that your traction system needs your attention, and the traction system is one of the most critical systems of the car.
TCS light being on indicated that your traction system is going to be completely shut off, so your car has the chances to be harmed in many ways.
The spinning motion of your wheels will be hindered, they will start moving freely on the slippery surfaces, and the risks of accidents will be increased.
Not only that, but the surface of tires and the performance of the engine will be damaged as well.
If both of the lights are on, the traction control as well as the ABS, you will have to get them checked immediately.
If you don’t do that, you will not be able to apply brakes quickly in case of emergencies, this risking accidents and injuries.
How useful is the TCS light
According to tests, the traction control system is actually effective when dealing with the idea of reducing the slip of wheels, when low friction surfaces are involved.
However, the traction control system can be seen to work more effectively in the four-wheel drives than the front wheel ones.
According to the same study, the engines that make use of cutting the power to make the wheels more stable than the brake systems of the car.
The effectiveness of this system in reducing the risks of accidents and injuries has not been studied too well so far.
However, when we combine this system with Electronic stability control and the ABS, then the risk of any car accidents is reduced by 50%.
Are there any limitations of traction control?
Just like any other safety feature, the traction control system has its limitations. If full benefits are to be availed, then a driver must know how to interact with the system.
The drivers must know that driving under safe conditions is critical; if going outside is not very important, then it should be avoided in harsh weather circumstances.
Aggressive driving should also be reduced, like tailgating and speeding. All these habits work against the benefits that the traction control system is trying to bring.
One cannot totally rely on the traction control system to avoid any crash. That is because the traction control is not responsible for reducing the stopping time.
The vehicles that do not have traction control, their speeds are reduced as soon as they start driving on slippery roads.
But this is not the case with the cars that have traction control. They can increase their speeds, and thus ending up speeding more than the limits that are safe for them.
So it is important to watch the way you drive, because the safety features that are there in the car, you cannot rely completely on them.
Disadvantages of TCS
This system is mostly beneficial for any vehicle you are driving, but sometimes it becomes harmful to use as well. Here is how.
If you have your car placed in a standstill position in sand or snow, and you drive it, the engine will end up deducting too much power for the traction control system.
The wheels will start slipping and to stop them; the engine will expend energy. Movement on such roads thus becomes a mess.
In many models, however, there is an option that allows you to switch this system off when such circumstances arise.
In some of the cars, the complete deactivation of the system isn’t possible. However, they do have a setting for icy or snowy conditions for increasing the wheel spin.
You can adjust the system according to the vehicle that you own, and the conditions that you are driving under.
The traction control is one of the most important safety features of a car that reduces the slippery behaviour of the wheels on surfaces with less friction.
Any fault in the traction control system is indicated by the traction control light. Therefore, it is critical to have this system up and working in your car.