Traction Control Light Won’t Turn Off? (Causes & How to Fix)

What does it mean if your vehicle’s Traction control light won’t turn off? What made it turn on and how can your turn it off? If you are searching for the answers to these questions, you are in the right place

If you are not driving on a slippery surface, constant TCS light activation means you have an issue with the traction control sensor or your anti-lock brake system. You can reset the traction control light by following the guidelines detailed in this article.

This article will also help you know more about the Traction control system, its functions, and steps to take to turn off a control light that continuously activates.

Let’s Begin!

The traction control system controls the vehicle’s steering and stability and activates if there is a traction loss. It functions by determining which wheel brake pressure is applied so that the vehicle does not slide and reduces engine speed.

When driving on a non-slippery surface and you notice the traction control light won’t turn off, your traction control sensor or anti-lock system may be having issues.

The traction control works with the anti-lock brake system to maintain vehicle stability. These two systems use similar components, so both TC and ABS lights could be on at the same time. The two systems are important safety systems that should never be overlooked.

Also Read: What Is ABS Sensor & Why ABS Sensor Light Comes On?

What is Traction Control?

The traction control system controls the vehicle’s steering and stability and activates if any traction loss is detected. Traction control is accomplished by using electronic control sensors located at the ends of the four wheels that communicate with the PCM- Powertrain Control Module to assess the vehicle’s performance and strength in adverse weather conditions.

It functions by determining which wheel brake pressure is applied so that the vehicle does not slide and reduces engine speed. The traction control system works in hand with the anti-lock brake system to maintain vehicle stability.

The Vehicles computer utilizes information from the electronic sensors concerning the four-wheel rotational speed and the horizontal and vertical movement of the vehicle in determining the direction of the traction control or ABS to handle the car at any time correctly.

An illuminated traction control indicator light may indicate various problems, including faulty steering angle sensors, damaged wheel speed sensors, rotational speed sensors, or a problem with the steering rack. In some cases, you may need reprogramming of the control system.

Traction Control Light Won’t Turn Off (Causes)

Traction Control Light Won’t Turn Off

Here are some of the reasons why your traction control light is on and won’t turn off

1. Bad Road Conditions

Certain road conditions challenge the traction control system Rain, snow, and ice storms are bad weather conditions you are likely to encounter when driving.

It doesn’t seem easy to get traction control under these conditions. Your traction control light coming on during these weather conditions indicates that the traction control must have developed issues.

Pulling over to a safe place or spot until it becomes safe for you to continue driving is the best option for this situation. If you don’t see this as an option, you can make your way carefully and drive safely to your destination.

2. Faulty Wheel Sensors

The wheel speed sensors of your vehicle connect with both the engine control unit and traction control system. They detect the speed rate for every rotating wheel, and each wheel is affixed to its sensor.

If there is a sudden change in the speed, any sensors pick them up and notify the control system directly.

But if the sensors are faulty, the control system won’t get any notification. Your vehicle loses traction, causing the traction control light on your dashboard to come on.

3. Bad Steering Rack

The power steering system functions effectively with the help of the steering rack. This rack is attached to the steering wheel.

As the steering rack receives high-pressure hydraulic fluid, turning or rotating the wheel is possible and easy. Excellent traction brings about smooth steering.

A bad steering rack won’t provide the desired result; rather, steering your vehicle on bumpy roads or during adverse weather. This could result in your traction control light turning on.

4. Faulty Anti-Lock Brake System

The traction control system works with the anti-lock brake system to maintain vehicle stability. Sometimes, both share the same control and diagnostic module, and, as such, the TC light will illuminate when something is wrong with the ABS.

It is necessary to get the brake system checked by a mechanic in this case. The brake system is an integral part of your vehicle and ensures safe driving. Therefore if you notice any issues with your brake system, take your vehicle for a check-up as soon as possible.

5. Car Programming Issues

Technology has gone a long way to making driving safe and cars internally aware. But they are prone to damage and require fixing just like other computers.

Your traction control light may come on due to faults in the programming, and for it to return to working correctly, reprogramming has to be done.

System errors can occur because of time or due to a system glitch. Programming issues are complicated and can only be fixed by an experienced mechanic who fully knows your car’s manufacturer and programming.

While a faulty system may not cause damage to your vehicle, it is still considered unsafe for you and other road users to drive with such a system.

Also Read: What Does Esc off Mean?

How to Turn Off the Traction Control Light

How to Turn Off the Traction Control Light

A traction control light remains on when your vehicle loses traction. But it should be able to turn off if the car is in normal condition.

Have you ever thought about why? Do you want to know if it’s possible to reset it and how you should do it? Well, below are things you should try if your traction control light won’t turn off.

1. Drive Your Car for a Few Minutes

After you have changed your car battery, the traction control light on your car might turn on. This is quite normal, so you don’t need to be alarmed.

If this happens, you can drive for a short time. As soon as the traction control system has finished checking the stability of your vehicle, the traction control light will automatically turn off.

2. Turn the Traction Control System Off

The stability control on your car can be turned on and off using the ESC button. If the traction control system is deactivated, the traction control light will come on.

So if your control light is on, it could be that you have pressed the ESC button accidentally.

What you have to do in this situation is to locate the switch after starting your car. On the switch, you will find an inscription either “ESP,” “ESC,” or “DSC .”Click the switch and hold for 3 to 5 seconds, Then check your dashboard, and confirm that the light is off.

3. Make Sure That All the Tires Have the Same Type and Same Size

The wheel speed sensors detect the speed rate for every rotating wheel. And the different tire types and sizes will likely affect the rotating speed.

Also, a malfunctioning ESC button results from having a different tire size at the back and front. This will cause the traction control light to turn on, and to reset it, you need to take your vehicle to an auto repair shop to get your tires checked.

4. Do Not Drive Too Fast

Most times, the traction control light stays on as a reminder that your driving speed is way too fast and you need to slow down.

The traction control sees that your car is not under control, and that is why the light turns on. The system will turn the light off after everything is stabilized and your car isn’t going too fast.

Try not to exceed the speed limit. With the help of the TCS, you will most likely not get into accidents, but it is not a reason for driving too fast.

4. Do a System Scan

Sometimes a faulty traction control system will cause your traction control light to stay on. Taking your car to a professional auto repair shop so that they can scan your vehicle thoroughly is the best approach in this case. They will fix your vehicle entirely.

Is It Ok to Keep Driving if the Traction Control Light Won’t Turn Off?

You have no problem driving with the control light on. The reason for the traction control light is to warn you if you are driving safely or not.

If you are in tough terrain and notice the light is on, it indicates a working stability system, and driving is safe.

However, on the other hand, if the light doesn’t come on with the same terrain, the stability isn’t working, and due to lack of traction, your car may spin or slip.

Also Read: Service Power Steering Light (Meaning, Causes & Fix)

Frequently Asked Questions – Traction Control Light Won’t Turn Off

Why Won’t My Traction Control Light Go Off?

Wheel-speed sensors are meant to detect when a drive wheel spins faster than the rest— which suggests that the vehicle is either losing traction or slipping. If the traction control light won’t turn off, it means the system isn’t working and can’t control the traction. The system has to be checked.

Why Is My Traction Control Light On?

The traction-control light is a clear sign that you have no issue with your car as it maintains traction on an unsafe road, but it could mean that some damaged wires or sensors have developed in your vehicle. Be sure of your safety by visiting a mechanic when you notice such.

How Much Does It Cost to Fix a Traction Control Light?

Sometimes, the traction control light turns on because of a defective wheel speed sensor or a faulty ABS control system. Again, with an OBD2 scanner, detecting which sensor is not working correctly is pretty easy. If you find out if the traction control module is faulty, you can take your car to an auto repair shop which will cost about $1,000, or better still, have it replaced by yourself for $800.

Can I Drive My Car With the Traction Control Light On?

Your TCS light will appear when you lose traction. This only occurs when it is safe for you to drive, meaning that your system is engaging. When you drive without traction control, your vehicle tends to slide all over the place.

What Causes Traction Control to Malfunction?

Both the traction control system and anti-lock braking system are affected mainly by the wheel speed sensors. These systems can be affected by small dirt particles and other debris.

Scott Greene is a seasoned automotive technician for over 5 years and has been deep into advanced automotive diagnostics for a couple of years. He Loves writing about Automotive Diagnostics and Repair, Trouble codes, Buyer guides for various car parts and accessories, and lots more. 

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