What Does TC Mean in a Car?

December 4, 2023

Traction control (abbreviated as TC in this article) is a safety feature designed to reduce wheel slip under difficult driving conditions. It does this by automatically changing the power to one or more of your car’s wheels, or applying the brakes as needed. Most vehicles come equipped with a system like this to help improve traction on slippery or hazardous roads. A dashboard warning light can alert you when this system is activated or a problem is detected.

Your vehicle may also have a different system that helps you stay in control in dangerous situations. It might be called stability control, electronic controlled suspension, or ESC, depending on the make and model of your vehicle. It’s not unusual for these systems to have a separate warning light, which can be confusing when the same dashboard indicator lights turn on and off.

You can disable the traction control system in most modern cars by hitting a switch or button. The button will usually be labeled “TRAC OFF,” “TC OFF,” or something similar, and show an icon of a car with wavy lines underneath it. It is recommended that you only do this in safe driving conditions and after consulting your owner manual for specific instructions.

If you turn off the traction control system, the warning light will remain on. While this is not a bad thing, it could indicate a problem with your traction control system. It might need to be replaced, so it’s best to have a professional check it out if the light stays on for a long time.

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