Common Causes Of Traction Control Light Coming On

The traction control system’s (TCS) function is to provide driving assistance during unfavorable conditions such as slippery surfaces, rainy days, and rugged roads.However, many drivers do not know why traction control light staying on. This is coming on as a safety concern because it indicates a problem with the system.

What is Traction Control?

Transaction control is the car component that uses the sensors of wheel speed to detect whether one wheel is spinning faster than the others. In the situation when it happened, the ABS (Anti-Lock Braking System) activates on the slipping wheel, slowing it down in order to maintain the speed. Sometimes, the ECU will help decrease engine torque for the ABS system with the purpose of applying the brakes in time. Once it is slowed down and the car is able to grip the road, the brake from that area will be released.

Drivers might be having either rolling tires or sliding tires. Some car owners even had both. However, not many of them know that a rolling tire has more grip than a sliding tire. If the front tires are sliding, drivers steering will be tough. Sometimes they can’t even steer. In this situation, the traction control system will detect the issue and correct it right away.

In some automobiles, there is a stability control system. Sharing the same way with other cars,  This control leverages the ABS application: It keeps the cars pointed in the desired direction, regardless of weather and terrains. By working together, these two systems help drivers carry on the journey even when the road is slippery.

The traction control light, our main car parts in this article, will flash that the moment the wheel slip is detected. Even though this flashing is harmless, drivers must take note of the occurrence and drive slower. So if you are asking what causes traction control light to come on, this article is for you.

What Does The Traction Control System Do?

In modern vehicles, the TCS keeps track of stability and steering performance. It kicks in when the car is about to lose its traction on the ground. The TCS light will only turn on when there is an issue with the system that affects its function.

When your vehicle does not get stable traction on the road, the TCS light is likely to illuminate on the dashboard. It could be a flashing TC symbol or an illustration showing a car losing control. There is a possibility of the traction control light staying on until the problem gets fixed.


The Common Reasons For traction control light staying onComing On

In most cases, the TC light comes on when you are speeding up. Amateur drivers may panic in this situation, but keeping a cool head will help you avoid any accident.

traction control system
Keep calm if the car loses traction while driving (Source:

Just be careful and focus on stabilizing the steering wheel as much as possible. The safety action to take is to slow down the car and take it to a servicing shop to fix the problem.

Here are some of the most common reasons that turn on the traction control light:

1. Malfunctioning Wheel Speed Sensor

The most common answer why traction control light staying on is from the wheel speed sensor. The wheel speed sensors work with the TCS and the engine control unit, so there is a balance between the wheel speed and traction. The sensors monitor the rotation speed of the wheels and send signals to the TCS if anything is in disorder.

Each wheel has a sensor that alerts the TCS of any change so that it can fix that error. The car will lose traction when the sensors cannot send the right signals to the system. The light will turn on when something like this happens.

2. Defect With The Steering Angle Sensor

The steering angle sensor is a crucial system for measuring the steering wheel’s position and the rate at which it returns. You will find the sensor inside the steering column. That placement helps with the accurate measurement of the position and angle of the steering.

A falling wheel speed sensor, or faulty in its wiring, affects the connections of TCS computer and the wheel. When this happens, the TCS cannot work on the wheel, which makes the light illuminating until addressed.   

When the sensor is defective, it cannot compute and process information correctly. A set of wheel speed sensors at each wheel control the TCS and ABS (anti-lock brake system) to let your traction control computer know whether or not each wheel is rolling correctly or slipping in any way. Should the sensor detect slippage, it activates the TCS to reduce power to the affected wheel to let it regain traction, causing the light to engage for a short time. 

It is actually not safe when the steering angle sensor is having trouble. Since the light is turned on, car owners should drive to another location that can get a light inspection. However, a mechanic should check the traction control system immediately. To be more precise, the flickering light tells that the TCS is not working properly. This means the system will not engage when facing bad road conditions and drivers will face potential damage.

3. Poor Road Conditions And Bad Weather

Sometimes, bad weather and adverse road conditions are also responsible for why traction control light staying on. The TCS may not handle the traction efficiently when there is heavy rain, storm, snow, ice, or the road is muddy or rugged with potholes. In these situations, the light may come on indicating a problem with the system.

traction control light
Bad weather can be the reason why traction control light staying on (Source:

There is nothing to be done in these conditions except for slowing down the car or parking somewhere, waiting for the weather to improve. The light will automatically be turned off when the road or weather condition changes.


4. Computer Issues With The TCS System

There is a central computer system in modern vehicles that monitors and controls plenty of internal systems. The traction control system (TCS) is one of them. In fact, the TCS computer plays an essential role in proper traction control function by taking control of the actual system. If you find no apparent external cause that can affect the TCS, then the computer system itself could be the reason. Sometimes, the program gets errors or must be reprogramming due to issues of current programming.    

A malfunctioning computer system can significantly affect the performance of a vehicle because it communicates with almost all other vehicle parts. The problem could be a small one, and the system may need just the reprogramming. So if car owners have their automobile’s traction control light staying on, the traction control system might be having some troubles that needs to be checked. But you need to take the car to a certified professional for the proper diagnosis and fixing of the problem, since this is a hard one. 

Some drivers might be wondering, is it safe to drive in the situation why traction control light wont turn off? Our answer is absolutely no. A faulty traction control system (TCS) computer disallows the wheel traction’s information to be acted upon. In other words, it has the same effects as a failing wheel speed sensor. This leads to the issue that the system will not function correctly when it needs to.  

5. Faulty Anti-lock Braking System

A problem with the anti-lock braking system (ABS) can cause the light to come on only when the TCS shares the same control module and diagnostics system with it. As they are interconnected, an issue with the ABS will make the TCS light to be turned on.

traction control light staying on
A faulty ABS could be another reason (Source:

When you take the vehicle to a mechanic for fixing the TCS light issue, they should check the ABS too. This system is an integral part of automobile safety so any problem in it should be fixed immediately. The ABS locks the wheels when you push the braking pedal and it also stops the wheels from skidding.

6. Terrible Steering Rack

Steering rack is one of the most well-known car components. It is connected to the steering wheel and it also plays a crucial role in powering the steering system. By receiving the high-pressure hydraulic fluid, the steering rack will help car owners to control the wheel easily.

For that reason, if you have a faulty steering rack, drivers will have trouble steering your automobile, especially on a rough road. 

In conclusion, if you are wondering why traction control light staying on, car owners must consider the steering rack as a place to check.    

7. Manual Override

Various cars have a button for drivers in order to disable the stability control systems, as well as the traction control. In sport cars, they are designed with the ability to disable stability control systems and traction, which can provide more control for drivers compared with the handling dynamics of the vehicle. 

if the automobiles are stuck in the mud or deep snow, it is recommended to disable the traction control with the purpose of getting out of there better. Sometimes, drivers even need a little wheel slip. However, if traction control light wont turn off, there is very likely that the traction control turns itself back on when the car is restarted. 

8. Limp Mode

Last but not least, limp mode is one of the main answers for the question: “Why traction control light staying on? In the situation when car owners change their vehicles to limp mode, the dashboard lights up, and one of them is the traction control light. This mode also keeps the powertrain safe while the car can be brought to the mechanic store.. 

The Bottom Line

The traction control light keeps coming on issue will automatically be turned off if this happens due to an external cause like bad weather or adverse road conditions. Otherwise, you need to take it to a servicing shop to dig up the main problem. A problem with the TCS will not affect any other car components or the engine. But it is likely to create safety hazards and make it risky when you drive in bad weather or poor road conditions.