Posted under Car Engine

Does your vehicle have a button showing a car with curved lines underneath it? That’s the vehicle’s TCS. What does TCS stand for? It stands for Traction Control System, a safety system that helps keep your vehicle’s grip between the tires and the road in dangerous or slippery conditions. In this blog, we’ll discuss how TCS works, when to use it, and what the TCS light means when it pops up on your dashboard.

How Does the Traction Control System Work?

To help detect a wheel’s loss of traction, the TCS uses wheel speed sensors to continuously monitor the wheel’s speed. If one or more wheels spin faster than the others, the tire or tires may lose traction, which could lead to skidding or hydroplaning. The wheel speed sensors detect this condition and send this information to one of your car’s Electronic Control Units (ECUs) — i.e., the vehicle’s brains. If this ECU detects that one wheel is spinning faster than the others, it activates the TCS.

To regain traction, the TCS can reduce engine power or apply brakes to the spinning wheels to help slow them down. After the system determines that traction has been restored and wheel spin is no longer a concern, the engine can resume its normal power delivery.

TCS uses many of the same components as the Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), which also helps prevent your car from skidding or hydroplaning, but in the opposite way. ABS ensures your wheels continue to spin when you brake so they don't lock on you. If your wheels lock up, you could lose control of your vehicle.

When to Use TCS

If you keep the TCS button on (which you should!), the system will automatically trigger when it detects a loss of traction. A few scenarios when the TCS may engage include:

The only time you may need to disengage the TCS is when your vehicle gets stuck in the mud, sand, or snow. In this situation, you need your wheels to spin furiously to help get your vehicle onto solid ground. In this scenario, if the TCS is left on, the system may reduce how much your tires spin.

TCS Light in Car: What Does It Mean?

When the TCS car warning light — i.e., the image of a car with skid marks behind it — appears on your dashboard, it could mean a few things. If the TCS light comes on while driving in low-traction road conditions and then disappears, it usually indicates that the TCS was activated after detecting a loss of traction. 

If the TCS light comes on but the word “OFF” is underneath the symbol, it simply means that you disengaged the TCS button. 

If the TCS light appears and constantly stays on, there may be an issue with the system. It could be anything from a faulty sensor to a computer failure, so take your vehicle to an automotive professional to help diagnose the problem.

However, this is a general description of the TCS light. Every vehicle is different, so check your owner's manual to fully understand your vehicle's TCS light.

Count On Your Local Jiffy Lube to Help Diagnose Any TCS Problems

The TCS is a key safety feature to help keep your vehicle safe and stable in various road conditions. If you think there’s a problem with your TCS, bring your vehicle to Jiffy Lube® for service. The trained technicians can inspect your vehicle for TCS-related issues and give you an estimate of how much the repairs should cost. If you have any questions regarding TCS or your vehicle in general, the friendly, knowledgeable staff will gladly assist you.

NOTE: Not all services are offered at all Jiffy Lube service centers. Please call ahead or check to ensure the service is available at the Jiffy Lube location near you.

Jiffy Lube employee waiving customer into the bay