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Car Issues & Diagnoses

Service Traction Control Light: Definition & Possible Causes

August 19, 2022
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Your service traction control light is one of the most important features in your vehicle’s safety system, notifying you any time that you lose traction with the road. This is especially important for drivers in stormy or inclement conditions, as it won’t always be obvious – and can result in collisions and severe injuries. 

Read on to learn more about what the service traction control light means, what can cause it to come on, and possible fixes and costs associated with service traction control system repair and replacement. 

What does the service traction control light mean? 

When this light is illuminated, you’ve likely lost traction or grip contact with the road’s surface. It lets you know that your car is undergoing a mechanized process of shifting power to alternative tires to help keep the car on the road, helping you to regulate your driving style as the situation requires. 

Why is my traction control light on? 

Your traction control light can be on for a variety of reasons. Most commonly, you’ll see this dash safety light turn on if you’re dealing with unfavorable weather or driving conditions that can limit your car’s ability to maintain traction. 

However, the real confusion comes if you’re driving in regular road conditions. If your TCL is on as a result of regular driving and driving environments, it can mean that there’s an internal communication problem with your car’s computer. It can also be indicative of sensor issues, or system failure. 

If you notice your TCL blinking or staying on consistently at inappropriate times, it may be time to consider an inspection and service for that specific system. 

Potential fixes for service traction control light warning 

Dealing with a faulty service traction control light? We have you covered. Below are a few potential fixes to consider before taking your car to be seen. 

1. Restart your vehicle 

Sometimes, regular road conditions can cause your TCL to malfunction or show incorrectly. Try restarting your vehicle to determine if it’s a one-off error, or if it’s a sign of other system problems. 

2. Get your vehicle serviced 

If you restart and notice that your light is still illuminated, there could be more complex issues going on at a computer or vehicle communication level. The fastest way to address the problem would be to get your vehicle serviced. Your mechanic can run a test for any diagnostic error codes that can help you to pinpoint the problem, and you minimize the risk of further vehicle malfunction or safety risks. 

3 FAQs on Service Traction Control Light

Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about traction control and the service traction control light.

1. Can I drive with my traction control light on? 

You technically will still be allowed to drive with your traction control light on. However, it could pose a serious risk to your safety if you are dealing with a malfunction and are driving in unsatisfactory weather conditions. If your light remains on after a few cold restarts, you should consider getting your vehicle evaluated. 

If your ABS and traction control light are on, this indicates severe computer malfunction that affects your vehicle’s braking system and can cause total failure. In these cases, it’s best to avoid driving your car at all, and get it towed to the nearest mechanic who can assist. 

2. Is service traction control serious? 

Your service traction control system allows your car to “help” you to drive safely during unsafe weather conditions. While you can drive with the light illuminated, it’s best to get a formal diagnostic inspection to determine the root cause of the problem and address it. If you continue to drive with the light on and run into a storm, weather shift, or any other situation where you can lose your traction, you’ll be at a greater risk for crashes or injury. 

3. How much does it cost to fix the service traction control? 

The average cost for a service traction control fix can vary, and depends on if your ABS system is involved in the failure.

If the fix is only addressing the TCL system’s computer and communication lines, you can expect a cost ranging from $100-$300. If the failure or malfunction includes your braking system, it can be significantly higher, ranging from $800-$1100+. 

Your mechanic can help you to determine which solution best fits your vehicle’s safety needs and your budgetary constraints. 

Convenient auto repair at home 

Looking for a convenient auto repair solution? Consider the team at RepairSmith. Our experts come to your home and take care of vital services your car needs to function properly. For more information, please connect with us today.