5 Causes of a Traction Control Light Coming On When Accelerating

Most modern vehicles have a traction control system in them. This system keeps track of the vehicle’s steering performance and stability.

If the vehicle were to lose its traction on the ground, the traction control system will detect this problem and then act accordingly to correct the issue. The traction control light will not come on as long as the traction control system is functioning properly and there are no issues with any of its components.

However, if there is a problem with the traction control system and the vehicle is unable to maintain stable traction on the road, then you can expect to see the traction control light illuminate on the dashboard.

Top 5 Reasons the Traction Control Light is On

If the traction control light does come on, it will usually do so while you’re accelerating. Do not panic when this happens because you need to focus on stabilizing the steering wheel as best as possible.

The traction control system is not going to assist you like it did before, so you need to be extra careful here. The best thing to do is slow down and drive to the nearest mechanic to resolve the issue.

Below are the top 5 causes of a traction control light coming on when you are accelerating.

1) Bad Wheel Speed Sensors

Wheel speed sensors are connected to your traction control system and engine control unit. These sensors are responsible for detecting the speed in which your wheels are rotating. Each wheel has its own sensor.

If the rotation speed of any wheel changes unexpectedly or unusually as you’re accelerating, the wheel speed sensors will detect the change and notify the traction control system.

But if the wheel speed sensors are not working, the traction control system will not be notified. Then your vehicle will lose traction, causing the traction control light to come on.

2) Bad Steering Angle Sensor

The steering angle sensor calculates the angle of the steering wheel and the rate in which it is being turned. The sensor is positioned in the steering column so that it can track the angle and rate precisely.

But if the sensor goes bad, you can expect the traction control light to come on.

3) Bad Road Conditions

If the road conditions are too severe, your traction control system may not be able to handle it. For instance, if you live in a location with a lot of snow and ice on the ground, then the roads are going to be difficult to maintain traction on.

If the traction gets to be too difficult, then your traction control light may illuminate on the dashboard. There isn’t much you can do other than getting your vehicle to a better area with safer roads.

Read also: 4 Symptoms of a Bad Neutral Safety Switch and Replacement Cost

4) Bad Steering Rack

The steering rack is attached to your steering wheel and is an important part of the power steering system. It receives the high-pressure hydraulic fluid that is necessary for making it easy to turn the steering wheel.

Part of having good traction is having smooth steering that is easy to control. So, if you have a bad steering rack, it will be harder to steer your vehicle on a rough road. This will cause your traction control light to possibly come on.

5) Programming Issues

There may be a circumstance where the traction control system must be reprogrammed because it is having issues with its current programming. Sometimes these programming errors can happen as time goes on.

If the traction control system ever has this problem, the traction control light will come on. Only a certified mechanic who specializes in your make and model vehicle will be able to fix the programming issues.

14 thoughts on “5 Causes of a Traction Control Light Coming On When Accelerating”

    • My 2002 honda odyssey started a vibration and then the check engine light came on 2 mins later then my tcs light came on do you know what it can be ? I need help and i don’t know where to take my car cause i don’t want to be told its this and then its something else i just dont want to lose so much money anyone can help please i will truly appericate it thanks.

    • Could be a bad wheel speed sensor. I’d get it scanned for any fault codes. Check your tire pressures as well, especially if the TC light is only coming on when you first start driving (when tire temps/pressures are the lowest).

  1. I’m having the same problem with my car it’s a 2002 Acura and it’s idling high, engine light came on and TCS light on,Have u heard anything about what the problem would be?

  2. My Traction control light comes on when I’m sitting still on a 2011 Chevy Malibu can you tell me what could be the problem had the car service and I’m still having the problem

    • Could be a faulty wheel speed sensor, TCS/ABS computer, or wiring. Get the car scanned for any trouble codes to help pinpoint the issue.

  3. Which of these issues can cause the car when making a left turn on good dry road to feel like the breaks are lockin up on the passenger side?

  4. I Have a 2005 Toyota Siena, when driving at 35 or 60 mph, the traction light comes on.
    I take it to the Dealer, they balance and rotate the tires, but having same problems. You refer to the wheel, or you referring to the rim or the tires?

  5. I have Ford Galaxy 2lt diesel, 2013 . My traction light turn on and engine went off. I was able to start it again after few minutes and drive to machanic he said that injectors are faulty . Need to replace all four of them , he charge big money now my car is not starting without easy start once stops after ten minutes again cat start, Air Bubbles are coming in feul pipe. Cant figure out where it is coming from. Mechanics is not accepting that Injectors are faulty , Any advice before I take him to court


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