Definitions, Causes and How to Fix them

Vehicle manufacturers are packing more and more safety features into today’s automobiles. But one that’s been around for the last 45-year’s is still one of the most effective. This feature is called traction control.

While it used to be the sole domain of top-end cars, it’s finding its way into more and more automobiles, and that’s a good thing. It can save your life if everything works properly. But while it’s a great feature to have, you need to know what it means and what to do when you see a TSC light.

That’s why we came up with this comprehensive guide to walk you through everything you need to know about this amazing technology.

Índice de Contenido
  1. TCS Light
  2. Traction Control Systems (TCS), Light Function
  3. TCS Light Causes
    1. 1. TSC system turned off
    2. 2. Faulty Wheel Speed Sensitors
    3. 3. Incorrect Steering Angle Sensor
    4. 4. Electrical/Faulty Wiring Issues
  4. Can I Drive with a TSC light?
  5. Summary

TCS Light

If there is an error code within the traction controller system, then the TCS light blinks. The traction control system helps to keep you in control of your vehicle in the event that one or more of your wheels lose traction while you’re driving.

It is more common when the road conditions are less than perfect, such as snowy or icy roads. Moreover, your driving patterns affect how often you’ll need your traction control system. The more reckless you drive, the more you’ll need traction control to bail you out.

Traction Control Systems (TCS), Light Function

Tcs Light

The TCS light has many functions. It lets you know when your traction control system is in use. When you’re driving and the light flashes on and off, it means that your traction control is on. You’ll feel the brakes locking up and releasing as the ABS kicks on and off. Everything is functioning as it should if you have wheels that are not locking up or releasing.

The light must turn on when the ignition is turned off. It is an indication that the system is being checked. If the light does not go out, then it is safe to assume everything is in order.

When you should be worried is when the TSC light doesn’t go away after the system check. If it stays on, it means that your vehicle’s traction control system isn’t working the way it should, or you’ve turned it off.

Finally, if the light is flashing randomly as you drive even though your wheels aren’t losing traction, that means you have a serious fault in your system, and you shouldn’t be driving your vehicle until you fix it. Otherwise, you’re risking your ABS randomly applying your brakes as you drive, and this could quickly lead to an accident.

TCS Light Causes

Car Skid

TSC lights are most commonly caused by a system that is not working properly or an issue with the wheel speed sensor. But while those are the most common problems, they aren’t the only things that could lead to a TSC light.

Below we’ve highlighted the four most common reasons your vehicle’s TSC light might be on.

1. TSC system turned off

Did you know that you can turn off your vehicle’s traction control? The steps are different for each vehicle, but almost every one allows this. While it usually only helps you when you’re trying to drift, it’s one of the most common reasons this light stays on.

Look up how to turn your vehicle’s traction control on and off. Try it. If the light goes away, that was your problem, but if it doesn’t, keep reading.

2. Faulty Wheel Speed Sensitors

By far the most common reason that a vehicle’s traction control system starts acting up is because of a faulty wheel speed sensor. Each of your vehicle’s wheels has a sensor that reports how fast it’s spinning to the ECM.

When one or more of those reading don’t match what the rest of the wheel speed sensors are reporting, then your traction kicks onto to remedy the situation. If the wheel speed sensors are not working or report faulty readings then your traction control will start to act up.

3. Incorrect Steering Angle Sensor

Your steering angle sensor, another important component of your traction system, is also critical. That’s because as your vehicle turns, the outside wheels are going to turn faster than the inside wheels. This is completely normal, and it’s your steering angle sensor that lets your ECM know what’s going on.

But if the steering angle sensor reports that you’re still going straight while you’re actually turning, the traction control system will register a fault, and it could kick on while you’re turning.

4. Electrical/Faulty Wiring Issues

It is possible for wiring or electrical issues to be more common than problems with the sensor. That’s because even if all the sensors are working correctly, it won’t matter if the wires that transmit that signal are corroded or broken.

Because these wires can be exposed to the elements, the most likely place for bad wiring is near the wheel speed sensor. Be sure to rule out any faulty wiring before spending too much money on sensors.

Can I Drive with a TSC light?

It is usually safe to drive with a TSC light – but it is not advisable to do so. This is due to two reasons. First, your traction control system is there to help your vehicle maintain traction on slippery road conditions, so you’re losing an important safety feature when it’s not working correctly.

Second, depending on what fault the system has, your traction controller could be activated while driving. If this happens, your ABS will apply the brakes to your vehicle as you travel down the road. Although it is rare, this can occur. It is important to fix it as soon as you notice.


While your traction control system can seem like a headache when it’s not working the way it should, they’ve prevented thousands upon thousands of accidents throughout the years. So, while you might be cursing the system now, you’ll be thankful for it when you need it most.

So, take the time to fix your traction control system if it starts acting up, chances are you’ll be thankful that you did.

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