Q: How does traction control help me maintain control of my car?

asked by on November 18, 2015

How does traction control help me maintain control of my car?

Introduced back in 1987 but required since 2012, traction control is a great standard feature found on almost all modern vehicles. Traction control utilizes the anti-lock braking system (ABS) and the vehicle’s throttle, for vehicles that are equipped with an electronic throttle body, in assisting with keeping the vehicle under control while driving. In other words, if the vehicle reads that the driver needs assistance in a particular area, such as braking, it can override and gain control of the vehicle with the ABS. This is a great safety feature in automotive advancement.

It is natural to wonder how a feature like traction control is able to perform such a great feat. In vehicles with traction control, precise sensors that are installed are able to detect how the driver is handling the vehicle, how they are steering, and how they are making use of the braking and accelerating pedals during driving. These sensors include the steering wheel angle sensor, yaw rate sensor and wheel speed sensors. Traction control is also able to detect how the vehicle is performing in relation to how the driver is handling it and gain control when it sensor’s tell it, it is necessary.

For example, if the driver is accelerating and feels the rear tires on a rear wheel drive car start to slip and basically do a burn out, the traction control system will send a signal to the throttle body overriding the gas pedal to ease off the accelerator until the wheel slip is eliminated. During emergency braking, the traction control will sense wheel speed and will then apply or release the brakes at each individual wheel to aiding the driver in keeping control of the vehicle.

Traction control is a great feature because it utilizes the same components as the ABS, allowing for factory installation to be fairly simple and convenient. Because safety features like ABS and traction control have been proven to improve vehicle safety, most insurance companies even offer discounts if a vehicle is equipped with traction control. This is a great advancement in regards to driver safety. Proper maintenance however is crucial to traction control performing correctly.

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