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The function of the traction control (TCS) along with the anti-lock brake system is responsible for your car’s stability on the road during the drive. Actually, these two systems usually don’t work without each other as the traction control system uses the same wheel speed sensors the ABS does. As the traction control components are exposed to a constant contact with such unfriendly environmental factors as potholes, debris, water, snow, and pieces of ice, the TCS can face various issues. The experts from the online dealer of car parts and brakes are telling how to react to the TCS dashboard light.

How does the traction control system work?

While the ABS helps to keep your car stable while braking, the TCS is needed to do the same job when you accelerate, especially on a slick or wet pavement or when you accelerate too fast making it challenging for your tyres to maintain their grip on the road. The TCS prevents the wheel that turns faster and loses traction from slipping by applying brakes to it until the traction is good again.

Common issues with the traction control system

The most popular TCS problems are:

  • Signal from the wheel speed sensor is lost or weak because the tip is contaminated or there is a big gap between the sensor’s tip and the tone ring;
  • Pump has failed (for example, when the jumper wire got fused and bypassed the relay);
  • Accumulator cannot hold pressure or leaks (if you have noticed the leakage, depressurize the system and replace the accumulator);
  • Mechanical failure (some of the TCS components such as wires, connectors, wheel speed sensors or the control module can get damaged by the environmental factors; sometimes it can happen when the sensors get covered in the road debris or grime).

As a result, you see the light on the dashboard telling that you cannot rely on the traction control anymore. So when your wheel is slipping, you still can sort it out in a conventional way – using your accelerator. In some cases, the ABS gets disabled as well, meaning that you can use brakes, but without the anti-lock function.

Whatever the reason for the dashboard light is, you need to have the TCS checked by a professional as the procedure requires some scanning tools with special software you probably don’t have. When the error occurs in the system, it sends the diagnostic code to the control module. The mechanic will be able to read that code with a scanning tool and reveal the problem TCS component that triggered the dashboard light as well as to pinpoint the problem wheel. Some older cars with ABS/TCS modules use manual flash codes for which no scanning is needed.

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