Q: My check engine light and traction control lights are on and the cruise control light is flashing on and off.

asked by on January 12, 2017

I was driving my car on packed snow and ice with the traction control on. Another car going way too fast couldn't stop at the stop sign on a side street and slid right out in front of me. I instinctively hit the brakes and begin to slide. I let off the brakes and turned hard to the right and slid into a driveway. When I looked at my gauges, the check engine light and traction light were both on and the green cruise light was flashing. I pulled over and shut the car off. When I re-started it, there was no change. Once I got to the highway where the pavement was clear, I tried setting the cruise control, but the light kept flashing. When I turned the traction control on and off, it didn't seem to do anything either. Seems really weird because I didn't hit anything or even really jolt the car. Aside from the fact that she drinks oil like I drink beer, I've never had any problems with her. Best car I've ever driven in the snow.

My car has 72957 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Hi There, What you are describing is common for a vehicle with traction control when it has been activated in a situation as you have described. The cruise control is also controlled in some cases by the traction control system and may be flashing as a need to have it reset due to the traction control being activated under those circumstances. The traction control system monitors the steering stability of the vehicle and engages when loss of traction has been detected. This is done by the use of electronic sensors at each of the four wheels that communicate with the Power Train Control Module (PCM) regarding steering performance and stability in adverse weather conditions. The traction control system works by reducing engine speed and determining which wheel to apply brake pressure to in order to prevent the vehicle from sliding. The anti-lock braking system and the traction control system work together to maintain the stability of the vehicle. The computer uses this information received from electronic sensors regarding the rotational speed of each wheel, the horizontal motion of the vehicle, and the vertical motion of the vehicle to determine how to direct the traction control system or the anti-lock braking system to best control the vehicle when needed. In some cases, the traction control system may simply need to be reprogrammed. I would recommend having a professional from YourMechanic come to your location to properly diagnose your traction control system.

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