The only point of contact between your car and the road is the tires. The ability of your tires to maintain a good grip on the road’s surface, known as traction, is vital. Without it, you may be unable to control your vehicle’s speed or direction. Your vehicle’s traction control system works behind the scenes to maintain good contact and grip even in challenging driving conditions. To find out more about how this system works, read these explanations from our readers.
Ludovic Chung-Sao

Ludovic Chung-Sao

Ludovic Chung-Sao, Founder of Zen Soundproof. He uses his experience as a Mechanical Engineer to compile Soundproofing DIY guides.

How Traction Control Reacts to Road Conditions

The traction control system (TCS) prevents wheels from losing traction when the engine delivers torque (when you push the throttle). Traction loss is when there is no grip between a tire and the road surface. The wheel slips on a low grip surface and spins faster than other wheels.

The next question is, “How does the TCS detect [traction loss] and adjust the [tire] speed?” Sensors measure the rotational speed of the four wheels and the global speed of the vehicle. The speed data is constantly monitored by the Electrical Control Unit (ECU). When the ECU detects from the sensors’ data that a wheel is rotating faster than the three other wheels, which is equal to the vehicle’s speed, then it means it is slipping. The ECU then outputs a signal to activate the brakes in brief successions to adjust the speed or by reducing the torque output from the engine.

One of the limits of the TCS is when all four wheels are slipping in a standstill position. The system doesn’t understand because all wheels don’t match the vehicle’s speed. The system thus kicks in and reduces torque output from the engine too much. In this case, car manufacturers generally recommend turning off the TCS.

Being Prepared for Everything Ahead

Nothing can be as crisp or as satisfying as the smell of a brand new car. The interior is clean and perfect for the new owner. This is all part of the excitement of purchasing a new car.

It is also the same excitement that leads to dangerous situations, and something to be overcome by a car’s traction systems. When people leave the dealer, they have to be prepared for any result. This is the most important part of the traction control systems: being prepared for everything ahead. In the beginning, the traction control system was designed for driving on ice. Traction control systems were first developed and used in the 1930s by the military. The traction control system allows the driver to let off the break and go with confidence that they will be able to stop when needed.

Jerry Wilson

Jerry Wilson

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Devin Lambert

Devin Lambert

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How Traction Control Works

Traction control is meant to ensure that the wheels of your car do not continuously spin with no traction. When slippery ice is on the ground, the car’s traction control will activate to prevent tire spinning. This is the short and sweet version of how traction control works.

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