Traction control

From ArticleWorld

Traction control systems on most production vehicles are designed to keep the driver from losing control when excessive throttle or radical steering occurs. Most, but not all, of today’s traction control systems are considered electro-hydraulic systems. They use the same wheel speed sensors and brake actuator that is used by the Anti-lock Braking System (ABS).


Traction control systems are designed to engage when the control unit detects wheel spin at one or more of the wheels. The control unit may take any, or all, of the following actions to prevent loss of control:

  1. Suppress or retard the spark in one or more cylinders, which reduces engine power.
  2. Reduce the flow of fuel to one or more cylinders, which also reduces engine power.
  3. Engage the brake on one or more wheels to prevent wheel spin.
  4. Close the throttle, this is only on vehicles that have ‘’drive by wire’’ throttles.

Performance and safety

Traction control systems are generally thought of as performance enhancements. This is because they allow the greatest amount of traction while the vehicle is under acceleration without allowing wheel spin. These systems are extremely helpful in regions that often have ice and snow on the roads. Imagine two cars trying to climb a hill when the roads are icy, one with traction control and one without. The driver with the traction control hits the gas and the traction control system takes over, monitoring each wheel for spin as the car steadily climbs the hill. The driver without traction control hits the gas, the car may begin to slide to the left or the right, and it may even begin to slide backwards.