TCS Traction Control System

TCS traction control system.

The TCS traction control system is used to prevent wheelspin and loss of traction. These systems help prevent the tires from breaking loose during sudden acceleration on slick surfaces. They're usually an add on to the ESC electronic stability control system to control and restore traction on slippery surfaces. The most efficient ABS systems contain four wheel speed sensors. Traction control systems also require four wheel speed sensors, one for each wheel.

TCS traction control components.

The ABS, ESC, and TCS systems share the same wheel speed sensors. The TCS program requires two additional solenoids to isolate the brake circuits to the drive wheels from the non-drive wheels during wheelspin. An electric pump and accumulator are used to apply the brake on the wheel that lost its traction. If a tire breaks loose and loses traction, the pressurized fluid is used to apply the brakes on the spinning wheel.

These systems use an actuator to reduce power at speeds above 30 mph by closing the throttle on vehicles with electronic throttle controls, retarding timing, or decreasing fuel injector pulse width. It helps regain traction and inhibits the overheating of the brake system. They require four-channel ABS wheel speed sensor systems with a wheel speed sensor at each wheel.

TCS Indicator Light

Scan the TCS system for codes.

The system includes an indicator light that flashes while the system is active or the vehicle is losing traction. In most systems, the flashing amber light is a normal response. It's used to inform the driver that the system is active. These systems react so fast the driver is often unaware the wheel is beginning to spin, and the vehicle is losing traction. If the ABS and traction control light illuminates continuously, scan the system for codes. Most of these systems have a deactivation switch if traction control is not desired, for instance in deep snow.