Traction control systems are designed to help your car maintain traction in slippery road conditions, such as snow or rain. They work through a system of sensors and computers to monitor the wheel speed and acceleration of each of your tires. If the wheels begin to spin uncontrollably, the TC system will reduce engine torque and apply brake pressure on the slipping wheel to keep the car on course and prevent a loss of control.
If the traction control warning light appears and flashes, don’t panic. TC is working in real time to detect the poor road conditions and is doing its job to keep you safe.
In addition to traction control, many cars have stability control systems. Stability control works in a similar fashion to traction control and may have the same warning light. These systems are mandatory in all cars built since 2012, when they became standard.
If the traction control or stability control warning lights stay on, it can be an indicator of a problem with one of the components in the system. A faulty wheel speed sensor or bad wiring can keep the correct information from reaching the computer and can cause the system to fail to activate when needed. This is why it’s important to have your vehicle professionally diagnosed by a licensed mechanic using a professional scan tool. The diagnostic process should include a full computer systems scan and a visual inspection of the traction control sensors.