Traction Control Light Won’t Turn Off
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If you reside in regions characterized by a higher frequency of rain and snow than on clear sunny days, the traction control light is likely one of the most prevalent dashboard lights illuminating your vehicle.
Virtually all automobiles are equipped with traction control functionality, causing the traction control light (TC light) to be activated when driving on slippery terrains.
However, what if the traction control symbol appears even when not driving on a surface with reduced traction? What if the TC light remains illuminated throughout the entire drive?
What if the anti-lock braking system (ABS) and traction control light illuminate simultaneously?
There are several possible reasons why the traction control light won't turn off, and here are the reasons and how to fix them.
Table of Contents
- What Does Traction Control Mean?
- Traction Control Light Won't Turn Off (Causes)
- How To Fix Traction Control Light That Won't Turn Off
- Best Car Deals by Category
What Does Traction Control Mean?
Modern vehicles have state-of-the-art safety functionalities, such as a Traction Control System (TCS).
This pivotal system safeguards against traction loss, which can result in skidding, sliding, and slipping while driving.
Additionally, it aids in maintaining vehicle stability at high speeds by employing mechanisms such as brake pressure modulation and engine power reduction.
The Traction Control System uses wheel rotation speed sensors to detect excessive wheel spin. Upon detecting such an event, the system is alerted of the traction loss occurrence.
Subsequently, the system promptly intervenes by regulating the fuel supply to one or more cylinders, suspending or modifying the spark sequence in select cylinders, restricting the turbocharger, or adjusting the throttle, among other methods, to counteract the loss of traction.
Notwithstanding, in specific circumstances, a motorist may opt against diminishing engine output or decelerating the motorcar.
In such cases, the TCS can be deactivated by engaging a cabin-mounted button, allowing the driver more control over the vehicle's performance.
Traction Control Light Won't Turn Off (Causes)
If the traction control warning light persists despite attempts to reset it, it may be attributed to malfunctions in the ABS, such as the wheel speed sensors or reluctor ring.
Alternatively, a faulty steering angle sensor, ABS control module, or a deteriorating battery could be the culprit.
Without these issues, it is advisable to investigate potential wiring problems, blown fuses, or low brake fluid levels as possible causes. The following are reasons why the traction control light won't go off:
1. Faulty ABS Reluctor Ring
The ABS ring is crucial in gauging the disparity in wheel speeds. The data from the ring is relayed to the ABS controller via the speed sensors.
However, accurate readings cannot be obtained in a defective ABS ring, disrupting the entire system.
As a consequence of this malfunction, the traction control and ABS warning lights will illuminate to notify the driver of the issue.
Moreover, a palpable brake pedal pulsation may be experienced upon application. The traction control function will remain inactive until the underlying problem is rectified.
2. Wiring Problems
Given the multitude of sensors required for the operation of these systems, it is inevitable that there will be an abundance of wiring and connectors involved.
Should any of these wires exhibit signs of fraying or breakage, it can disrupt the connection, leading to malfunction. Additionally, corrosion or damage to any connector can impede proper functioning.
Diagnosing wiring issues can be challenging, as manually tracing each connection to locate the break can be time-consuming and laborious, which most individuals may prefer to avoid.
3. Depleted Brake Fluid
Hydraulic brake fluid plays a crucial role in generating the necessary pressure for the proper function of the braking system.
In the event of insufficient brake fluid levels, the resultant decrease in pressure can result in a spongy brake pedal feel and increased stopping distances.
Furthermore, when the brake fluid level falls too low, it can trigger the illumination of the traction control and brake warning lights.
Notably, the hydraulic brake fluid system is engineered to operate in a closed circuit, wherein the brake fluid levels should not experience a legitimate decrease under normal circumstances.
Therefore, if you observe a decline in brake fluid levels, it is likely indicative of a potential leak in the system that warrants prompt attention.
4. Weak Battery
When the vehicle's battery is weakened, it may fail to generate sufficient power to sustain the operation of essential systems.
Consequently, when power distribution needs to be regulated, it can result in malfunctions in various systems, including traction control.
The traction control and ABS systems require significant power to process electronic readings and make necessary adjustments continuously.
Even a brief interruption in the power supply can trigger the illumination of warning lights, indicating a potential issue with these systems.
5. Faulty ABS Wheel Speed Sensor
The wheel speed sensors are responsible for monitoring the rotational motion of each wheel.
When discrepancies in wheel rotation rates are detected, the traction control system is activated to assist the vehicle in regaining traction.
As a result, under regular operation, the traction control light may illuminate until traction is effectively restored.
However, due to the location of these sensors, debris accumulation can occur, impeding their proper function.
The presence of dirt or damage to the sensor electronics can hinder accurate data verification, resulting in the illumination of the traction control light.
In such cases, the traction control system may be rendered non-functional until the issue is resolved.
6. Defective Angle Steering Sensor
Nestled within the steering column lies a steering angle sensor that measures the steering wheel's angular displacement monitors its position, and assesses when it returns to its neutral position.
This component is not impervious to failure like other sensors despite its critical role.
When the steering angle sensor malfunctions and fails to provide accurate readings, both the ABS and traction control systems can be adversely affected, resulting in their cessation of operation.
This malfunction is typically indicated by a warning light on the dashboard, alerting the driver to the issue.
7. Blown Fuse
Fuses play a pivotal role in safeguarding the electrical functions of a vehicle. However, it's common for these fuses to blow on occasion.
When a fuse is blown, it can disrupt the proper functioning of critical components such as the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) or ABS control module, preventing them from retrieving accurate information and registering a fault.
As the traction control system and ABS are interrelated, a blown fuse in one of these systems could potentially fail both.
This can be manifested by the illumination of warning lights for both systems on the dashboard, signaling the need for attention and potential fuse replacement.
8. Defective ABS Control Module
The intricate relationship between the ABS control module and the traction control system may not become immediately apparent.
These two systems are interconnected as they share standard components. The ABS control module, in particular, performs a series of self-checks when the vehicle is powered on.
If a malfunction is detected during this self-check process, it can trigger the illumination of both the ABS light and the traction control light simultaneously.
This serves as a visual indication of the issue and prompts further investigation into the underlying cause of the malfunction in both systems.
How To Fix Traction Control Light That Won't Turn Off
1. Drive the Car for a Few Minutes
However, there is no need to be alarmed, as this is simply the vehicle conducting self-check tests to ensure proper functionality. To resolve this, drive your vehicle cautiously, intentionally turning to the left and right.
Once the self-check tests are completed, the traction control light should automatically turn off, indicating that the system has verified its operational status.
2. Try Turning the TCS On
The Traction Control System (TCS) light may typically illuminate and persistently remain lit if the TCS has been intentionally deactivated.
To rectify this, allocate a few minutes of non-driving time to locate the designated button or switch labeled "TCS," "ETS," "DTC," or "ESC," sometimes accompanied by an icon depicting a skidding vehicle.
Press and hold the identified button for a few seconds, then verify if the TCS light has been deactivated. It is possible that this button or switch was inadvertently triggered while driving or during vehicle entry/exit.
In some automobile models, a specialized indicator light on the dashboard may also indicate the status of the TCS deactivation. Hence, inspect your dashboard for such an indicator as well.
3. Have the ABS Systems Control Module Checked
The Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) shares many components and sensors with the Traction Control System (TCS), thus establishing a plausible connection between the malfunctioning of one system and its impact on the other.
Conducting an OBD2 system scan is imperative to diagnose a potential ABS malfunction.
Frequently, the ABS light will also illuminate as an accompanying indicator. If necessary, you may replace the ABS control module with a factory replacement part, albeit the cost of which can vary significantly depending on the make and model of your vehicle.
4. Reprogram the Traction Control System
The Traction Control System (TCS) may necessitate reprogramming in cases where there is an internal issue, such as sensor malfunction or an error in the Electronic Control Unit (ECU).
Regrettably, this task can only be easily performed at home if you possess the specialized equipment typically found at a dealership or a professional mechanics' shop.