traction control light

Traction control light: meaning, causes, and how to reset

A dashboard warning light that indicates traction control is disabled and, in some cases, ABS is also disabled will typically illuminate when there is a problem with the system. Your TCS light performs a number of tasks. It first informs you when the system is running. Your traction control is engaged if the light flashes on and off while you are driving.

Everything is working as it should if your wheels are slipping and the light is on. In addition, when you first turn the key in the ignition, the light ought to come on and then go off. As long as the light goes out, there’s no underlying issue, and this is just a system check.

When the TSC light remains on after the system checks, that’s when you should be concerned. If it continues to illuminate, either you have turned off the traction control system in your car or it isn’t operating properly. Well, in this article, we will be discussing the following;

  • What does the traction control light mean?
  • Why your traction control light is always on?
  • Is it safe to drive with the traction control warning light on?
  • How do you reset the traction control light?

traction control light

Read more: Understanding TC meaning on a car

Ok, let’s get down to business!


What does the traction control light mean?

In the case that one or more of your wheels lose traction while you are driving, the traction control system aids in keeping you in control of your car. The traction control light often signals that the traction control system of the vehicle is in use, which means that your vehicle temporarily lost traction while navigating a sharp curve, traveling on wet roads, or anything related.

However, when the traction control light comes on, it may also indicate that the system has been turned off or that there’s an issue with the traction control system. You must exercise caution when driving when the traction control light is on.

This happens most frequently when the roads are icy, snowy, or have other adverse conditions. Your driving habits also have an impact on how frequently you use your traction control system. The more recklessly you drive, the more traction control will be required to assist you.

Read more:  What does the Electronic Throttle Control Light mean? How to fix it

Is it safe to drive with the traction control warning light on?

While driving with the traction control light on is typically safe, there are certain conditions where it is not. When the TCS light illuminates, which indicates that the system is functioning, only then is it safe to continue driving. Your car may spin out and slide around on the road if you’re driving without traction control. It is advised that you keep your TCS active and functional in case adverse weather approaches. By doing this, you can always keep control of your car.

Driving while your TCS light is illuminated can be risky. The risk of losing control of your car increases. Without the TCS, your car might not handle slick roads as well as it should. The TCS aids in controlling your car’s stability and traction. Therefore, the safest course of action if your TCS light stays on is to have a qualified mechanic check the system and, if necessary, replace the TCS module.

Read more: Understanding VDC off-light

Reasons why your traction control light stays on?

Here are the most common reasons why your traction control light comes on:

The TSC system is turned off

It’s possible that you might have inadvertently turned off the traction control system, which may be the reason why the light comes on. Look for the TCS switch or button, then switch it on or turn it on. However, if the traction control light remains on, there may be a faulty or broken traction control component.

Wheel speed sensors malfunction

A malfunctioning wheel speed sensor is by far the most prevalent cause of traction control issues in cars. Every wheel on your car contains a sensor that communicates to the ECM how fast it is spinning. Your traction system engages to correct the situation if one or more of those readings differ from what the other wheel speed sensors are providing. However, if the wheel speed sensor is malfunctioning or producing inaccurate readings, your traction control will start performing strangely, which will cause the light to come on.

Faulty steering angle sensor

The steering angle sensor is another crucial part of your traction control system. This is due to the fact that, as your car turns, the outside wheels will spin more quickly than the inside wheels. Your steering angle sensor informs your ECM of what is happening, and this is very normal. However, the traction control system will detect a fault, and it may activate while you are turning if the steering angle sensor indicates that you are still traveling straight when you are actually turning.

Wiring damage

The main computer in your car is connected to the speed sensors on each wheel by wires. Your vehicle will believe the wheels aren’t spinning at the same speed if these wires are corroded or damaged, which will result in the traction control going on. Your issue will be resolved by having these wires replaced.

ABS malfunction

Another possible cause of the traction control light illumination may be an ABS malfunction. The controller, pumps, valves, and speed sensors make up the anti-lock braking system. When a wheel is going to lock up, the speed sensors alert the ABS control module, and the controller controls the valves to produce the most braking power.

Some manufacturers now combine the operation of the traction control and ABS systems and classify their faults as the same malfunction. In that situation, your dashboard can display an illuminated TCS light.

Read more: What does the ESP light mean? (Causes and how to fix it)

How do you reset the traction control light?

Here’s how to reset the traction control light:

Get an OBD-II scanner

Even if it’s just for minor repairs, an OBD2 scanner is a worthwhile purchase if you work on your vehicle. One can be bought online or at an auto repair shop near you. A less expensive device can be bought for $30 to $50, but a good OBD2 scanner will set you back several hundred dollars. If your car was made before 1996, you’ll need an original OBD device, not an OBD2. The OBD2 will, however, work with any car made after 1996. You might also consider renting one from an auto supply store as an alternative.

Locate the diagnostic link connector (DLC) and plug it

Consult your car’s owner’s manual to find the OBD2 device connection port. The majority of the time, it is on the left side, under the steering wheel. You might need to remove a panel from your dashboard to reach it, even though most vehicles only have a cover on it. Connect the OBD2 directly to the DLC port.

Erase or reset the traction control light with the scanner

On the OBD2 device. Put in the necessary details. The next step is to select “systems” or “control unit” to get a list of the various vehicle systems. To turn off the warning light and restart your TCS system, find the TCS or ABS system, then select “erase codes” or “reset codes.” Depending on your OBD2 device, you might need to utilize the model-specific key to read the codes. However, you can use the “auto scan” function to have your car automatically scanned to detect any issues.

Why you should not ignore your light

The dashboard lights on your automobile aren’t only there to annoy you. Your vehicle’s computer, which controls all of its systems and components, is continuously on the lookout for issues that could cause malfunctions or damage. Your dashboard lights alert you, the driver, to these potential problems. Some of them are only maintenance reminders, such as the oil-change light. Some of them, like the check engine light, are alerts that something needs to be looked at right away.

When you bring your car to a shop for repairs, the mechanic will run a computer scan and read a trouble code to determine what component of the car caused the issue and needs repair. They will then be able to determine the issue and either fix or replace whatever is broken.

It’s a good idea to make it a practice to park your automobile as soon as one of the dashboard lights turns on. By taking care of issues when they are still little, you will save time and money. If you keep the warning lights on while driving, you run the danger of having a minor issue become a major repair or even a complete engine failure. Driving a car that might have brake or engine problems is also risky. You can find yourself on the side of the road or in an accident.

By retaining traction on a slick surface, the traction-control light often indicates that your automobile is in good operating order, but it might also indicate that certain sensors or wires are damaged. At the first sign of difficulty, take your car to a reputable auto repair shop to keep yourself and others safe on the road.

Read more: Everything you need to know about ESP BAS light


In summary, the traction control light is a crucial signal in modern cars that significantly contributes to improving driver safety. When this light turns on, the traction control system is activated, which helps avoid wheel spin and loss of control, especially when driving in slick or difficult road conditions.

For safe driving, it is crucial to know the function of the traction control light and its numerous triggers, such as low traction surfaces or sensor problems. The traction control system will work properly if the underlying issues are swiftly addressed through maintenance and diagnostics, which will lead to a safer and more secure driving environment. That concludes this article, where we discuss the following:

  • What does the traction control light mean?
  • Is it safe to drive with the traction control warning light on?
  • What causes the traction control light to come on?
  • How do you reset the traction control light?
  • Why you should not ignore your light.

I hope you learn a lot from the reading. If you do, kindly share it with others. Thanks for reading; see you around!