What Does it Mean When the Traction Control Light Comes On?

Today, almost every vehicle model that you lay your hands on has an integrated traction control system as part of their infrastructure. A traction control system is installed on your vehicle to monitor its stability and steering performance.

What Does it Mean When the Traction Control Light Comes On

The traction system can spot any errors in your car track system and fix them instantly. For instance, it keeps track of how your car grips the ground and drawing across the surface. It can identify the error in the vehicle and warn you.

If the traction control system is working correctly in your car, it means you are in control of your car. It won’t show any light signal. However, if you see any light signals, it means that there is something wrong with your vehicle traction that needs immediate fixing. You can see a TCS symbol on your dashboard in the form of a car or a cluster of cars.

The traction control light may disappear or go off when you keep accelerating. This means the traction system has corrected the error in your traction, and there is no reason to panic. 

When there is a lack of traction in your car, the traction control system will shift power from the slipping wheels to those wheels that are still gripping the ground firmly. The consistent shift in power ensures your car wheels are moving in the desired direction, and you are comfortable when driving.

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What is Causing your Traction Control Light to Come On?

1- A Faulty Steering Angle Sensor 

The steering angle sensor is a very useful system in your vehicle because it can measure the position of your steering wheel. It can gauge the angle and position of your steering wheel right from the steering column.

If there is any fault in your steering angle sensor, it will compute and send the wrong information to the car traction system. The traction system lights will come on to signal to you that there are errors in your traction.

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2- Broken Wheel Speed Sensor

All your car wheels have a wheel sensor installed on them. The wheel sensor notifies you if there is any slight damage on the wheels or the wheels are not working correctly. Additionally, the wheel sensors work closely with the TCS system to keep you updated on your car wheel condition and traction.

The wheel sensors keep track of the number of rotations your car wheel is making and alerts the TCS system if there is any slight change. The TCS responds by fixing the error. If the wheels’ sensors are broken, any slight errors in your wheels will not be communicated to the TCS, and your car will begin losing traction. As soon as your vehicle begins to lose its traction, the TCS lights will start showing on the dashboard.

3- Bad Road Condition 

If you are driving on a bad road, then you should be ready to see the TCS lights on your dashboard for some time. The TCS system cannot handle a poor road. For example, if you are driving on the road full of snow and ice, it is not easy for your car to maintain traction. 

As long as you keep driving on the bad road and the TCS can no longer correct all the traction errors, it will signal you on the dashboard that you need to fix your car.

In case it is raining, or storms are making it challenging to navigate the road, you can slow down or stop your car for safety until the road is good enough to drive on. Also, if you feel like the road is getting worse for your vehicle, you should not hesitate to call for help. For this cause of TCS light, there is nothing you can do about this apart from driving your car to a safe, good road.

4- A faulty Steering Rack 

A steering rack is an integral part of your car power steering system. It is attached to the car steering wheel to receive the high-pressure hydraulic fluid, which makes it more convenient for you to spin the steering wheel and have a smooth driving.

With smooth steering, you can always stay in control of your car and ensure proper traction on the car wheels. If your vehicle has a bad or faulty steering rack, you cannot control your vehicle and maintain traction, especially when driving on a bad road. Your TCS system lights are likely to show on the dashboard in case you are having trouble steering your car.

5- Issues with the Car Anti-lock Braking System

In some cases, your car TCS system can share the same internal control module and diagnostic system with the Anti-lock Braking System (ABS). TCS light is likely to show on the car dashboard if there is any fault on the ABS.

You need your ABS to stop your car from skidding when you drive and prevent the wheels from locking. Get your vehicle ABS checked by a certified mechanic to correct all the issues it may be having. 

Any problems with the ABS can cause severe damages to your car. Always have your vehicle ABS checked on time to stop the TCS light from coming on your dashboard. 

6- Issues with your Car TCS Programming 

If you have ruled out all the above causes, then your car TCS system may be having computer issues. Programming issues is another reason your car TCS may be showing light on your dashboard. 

The TCS system may be having some programming issues that you need to fix so that it works optimally. The programming errors happen as your car ages.

In this case, you should reach out to a certified car mechanic to handle the car programming issues and keep your TCS on the right track. Always ensure the mechanic you visit to work on the computer issues on your car has enough experience to handle your car model.

Can you Drive with the Traction Control Warning on Your Dashboard?

The answer to this question will depend on how severe the errors on your car wheel is. It is safe to keep driving your car if you notice the TCS lights disappearing on the car dashboard after one or two seconds.

Ideally, as long as the TCS can correct the errors on your car wheels, you are definitely going to gain full control of your car. There is no reason to panic if the TCS light disappears on the dashboard; it simply means it has corrected the error.

Lack of traction on the road makes your vehicle more susceptible to sliding and spinning, which can eventually contribute to an accident. You must keep your car TCS in perfect condition for it to signals you when your car is losing traction so that you can slow down and fix the issue.

At times, it can be very dangerous to drive with your car TCS light on. There is a higher possibility of you losing control of the vehicle. It may be a signal that your vehicle is not able to handle the bad road you are driving on.

If the TCS light is keeps coming on your dashboard while you drive, you should slow down or stop driving. Reach out to your mechanic to have the issue resolved. Incase its bad weather causing the TCS light to come on. You can wait until the road is safe for you to drive.

What Does it Mean When the Traction Control Light Comes On

How to Fix the TCS Warning Light 

If the traction control light keeps appearing and disappearing on the dashboard, it means that the issue with your car traction is not permanent, and the TCS has responded to fix the error. If the car system is not fully operational, you are likely to see a flickering TCS light. In that case, you should drive your car with a lot of caution.

Your car CS is likely to illuminate and show some light on the car dashboard if your vehicle is having some traction issues. When your car system is acting accordingly to repair the system and maintain traction, you are still likely to see some TCS light on the dashboard.

It is crucial to know how your car traction and stability system works to stop the traction control from showing light on the dashboard every time you drive.

The best way to handle all the traction control issues in your car is to visit a certified mechanic shop for your car model. You can reach out to your car manufacturer for any suggestions on where you can take your car for professional repair.

When you take your car for the repair, you should ask the mechanic to do a full computer scan for the car system to find out any issues with your vehicle. Sometimes it is not the fault in the wheel sensors or TCS that is causing the issue.

You need to find out if the car engine is working properly. Misfiring engines can cause abnormalities in your TCS. Also, the presence of a defective throttle position sensor in the car engine could be the reason for the problem.

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Inspect all the basic mechanical components of your car to ensure they are in good condition. Any defective elements in your car’smechanical system can cause abnormal behavior in your car TCS.

Note that anything that causes your car wheels to slip can push your car wheel sensors to send a fault signal to the TCS that you can be having traction issues. You should check the axles, drivelines, and the velocity joints if there is any fault in them.

Lastly, ensure all your car tires are of the same size. Having different dimensions of tires makes it hard for your vehicle to maintain a grip on the road and ensure traction, which makes your TCS show some light.


There are many reasons why TCS light keeps showing on your car dashboard. In most cases, when you are not driving on a bad road, it could be because you have a faulty TCS. You can always contact your mechanic to inspect your car and handle all the TCS issues we have shared in this article.

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