TCS Meaning Car: Everything You Need To Know

Jan 14, 2021

All information on the Traction Control System - TCS meaning car, the causes, and things to do when the TCS light is on will be covered in the following article.

TCS Meaning Car: Introduction

From the moment the car is started until its engine is turned off, the warning lights will light up gradually during the pre-ignition sequence. One of which is a traction control system (TCS), depending on the vehicle’s features.

If you are still wonderings about the TCS meaning car or whether you can drive with the TCS light on, find out now with

tcs meaning car

Along with the anti-lock braking mode (ABS), Traction Control System is part of the car’s safety system.

To prevent a loss of traction on the rear-wheel-drive (RWD), front-wheel-drive (FWD), or all four-wheel-drive (AWD), the traction control system tells the controller to apply force brake to adjust the excess rotation of the skidding wheel.

>>> Check out: Front Wheel, Rear Wheel, or All-Wheel Drive: Which Is Better?

Instead of a complicated electronic stabilization program, the traction control system detects a change in the wheels’ rotation speed. 

In the event of a vehicle accelerating and slipping, after receiving a command from the traction control system, the control unit applies the braking force so that the remaining wheels can catch up with the skidding of the wheel.

TCS Meaning Car

With vehicles using the AWD four-wheel control system, the TCS's point is diverted to the wheels with a higher grip than the electronic coupling system.

The vehicle is also likely to lose grip and slip (understeer in FWD and oversteer in RWD) due to excessive throttle when cornering. The TC system will then help the car to corner safely by adjusting the transmission to the wheel, applying the brakes to stabilize its speed until regaining a grip on the road surface.

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TCS Meaning Car: Reasons Why TCS Light Turns On

Depending on the situation, the TCS light can be an early sign of problems. Here are some of the reasons why the TCS light may turn on while you’re driving.

Flashing or Blinking TCS Light When The Driver Accelerates

If you drive on slippery surfaces, it is perfectly normal for the TCS to blink as you accelerate as your car wheels are spinning nonstop. However, if the TCS lights blink under normal conditions and the engine power drops significantly, the vehicle's ABS sensor may be malfunctioning. 

traction control light

Take notice at flashing or blinking TCS light when accelerating.

You should check the ABS controller occasionally and determine whether the sensor is at fault to prevent the system from misreporting the car is slipping at that moment.

Constant TCS Light With The Word "OFF"

If the word “OFF” is continuously shown below the flashed TCS light, your car’s traction control system may have been disabled.

You should then check the override function service manual to identify and switch and engage the system. Some cars will even allow you to intervene manually with the TCS button.

tcs meaning car

If you see this warning light on your instrument panel, you’ll need to press the TCS button to turn it back on.

If you have tried to turn it off and on again but this hasn’t solved anything, the problem might be within the mechanism itself.

TCS Light Constantly Flashing

If both of the TCS and ABS lights are lit up, the traction control system may have a problem, with a corresponding failed code in the anti-lock braking system. 

When this happens, the brake system loses the anti-lock feature, causing the wheel to lock when braking pressure is applied. As a result, cars can slow down but are very dangerous and challenging to drive.

traction control system meaning

To detect the ABS’s problem codes, you need the onboard diagnostics scanner (OBD2).

You can rely on professional auto shops to get the job done or get your scanner. 

After being plugged into the OBD port located below the dashboard, some OBD2 scanners can connect immediately to the mobile app to display information.

>>> Further references:

Other Reasons

In addition to the above common reasons, there will be some cases where the TCS warning light turns on even though the vehicle is still running. For example:

  • Problems with the anti-lock braking system control unit
  • The steering position sensor is malfunctioning.
  • The wiring issues of the ABS control module.
  • ABS ring or magnetic ring’s problems

Most of the failures are related to the anti-lock braking system since the brake system’s traction control system is closely related to it.

TCS Meaning Car: FAQs

1. Is it safe to drive with the TCS light on?

The TCS logo lights up to inform that the vehicle’s safety has been compromised while the car can still operate normally.

TCS light on meaning car

With the TCS light on, the vehicle's ability to detect traction changes is impaired.

In the worst scenario, the vehicle will no longer feature the traction control system. The engine power then will not adjust, the wheel’s risk of spinning excessively on slippery roads or exceeding the speed will also increase.

Besides, a bright TCS light can be a sign of an engine malfunction. You should have it checked out as soon as possible.

2. Does the traction control system consume more fuel?

Traction control systems are electronic devices, so it does not affect the vehicle’s fuel consumption.

3. Is a car faster with traction control on or off?

traction control system meaning car

The standard vehicle speed will not be affected whether the traction control system is active or not. 

However, if the wheels are spinning faster than the others or when the car turns too high, the system will automatically adjust the skid wheel’s speed or the entire vehicle.

TCS Meaning Car: Conclusion

Overall, the traction control system can improve the vehicle's safety system. However, drivers should not be too reliant on TCS and should always focus on their driving to keep maximum safety on the road.

With these TCS meaning car notices, we hope you can understand the importance of the traction control system and some causes of TCS light on.

Thank you for bearing with us till the end and see you next time with more helpful and interesting Car Tips and Advice in the Philippines!