What Does the 2014 Nissan Maxima Traction Control Light Mean?

Your 2014 Maxima’s traction control light may flash when it’s working properly, but if it stays on or is accompanied by other warning lights, something could be awry.
Written by Jacqulyn Graber
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
background
Your 2014 Nissan Maxima is equipped with a traction control system (TCS) to assist you in slippery conditions. If the TCS light flashes, it could be solely because the system is functioning properly. However, if the light stays on—or if it’s accompanied by other warning lights—there could be a mechanical issue. 
If your TCS light is on, you might be wondering if it’s safe to drive, or if you should have your Maxima towed directly to a
car repair
shop. Don’t panic—simply read on to explore all of the reasons your Nissan’s TCS light might come on. 
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Why your Nissan Maxima’s traction control light turns on

Your 2014 Maxima’s
traction control light
can be a little bit confusing. Sometimes it turns on simply to indicate that the relevant system is engaged and working as intended—and other times it’s indicative of a larger issue. 
Your Nissan’s traction control system (TCS) uses sensors in the wheel bearing assembly to monitor the speed of each wheel and detect a loss of traction in slippery road conditions. If the sensors detect an issue, they’ll send the information to the traction control module, which will then pulse the brakes on the affected wheel(s) to keep your vehicle from skidding out. When this happens, the TCS light (which typically looks like a little car with wavy skid lines behind it) will flash briefly. 
However, if any of the components involved in this system experiences a malfunction, the lights may stay on (and sometimes be accompanied by other warning lights). 
And to cause further confusion, your Maxima’s traction control and ABS (anti-lock braking system—which helps pump your brakes in a heavy braking situation) lights share the same control module and internal self-diagnostics system. This means that either light can switch on if you’re experiencing a problem with either system.
To help clear things up, let’s break down some of the possible causes of a
traction control malfunction
.  
MORE: What do your car dashboard lights mean, and what should you do?

Temporary loss of traction

When you’re driving in icy, wet, or snowy conditions that might cause your wheels to lose traction, or if you need to slam on your brakes and stop your vehicle quickly, you may experience a temporary loss of traction. As a response, the traction control light comes on and helps the wheels grip the road.
A quick flash of the light is nothing to be nervous about—in fact, you should be happy that this system is working effectively to keep you safe. However, if the light stays on and/or is accompanied by other warning lights, it may be time for some maintenance. You might need to take your Nissan to a mechanic for inspection in this case.

Faulty wheel speed sensors

The most common reason the TCS malfunctions is a failing wheel speed sensor. These sensors are mounted on your Maxima’s wheels which means they’re subject to a lot of rough conditions and can wear out over time. A broken steering wheel position sensor can also cause the TCS or ABS system to fail.
If your traction control light won’t turn off, bring the vehicle to a repair shop to check the wheel speed sensors. If you understand car OBD codes, you can also use an OBD-II scan tool to check the sensors. 

Anti-lock braking system (ABS) malfunction

As we explained, your traction control system and anti-lock brake system are closely related and use the same control module. Thus, if there’s a problem with your anti-lock brakes, your traction control light might accompany your ABS light. 
If the ABS light and traction control lights are both on, it’s definitely time to bring your
Nissan
to an auto repair shop or dealership to service the stability control system.  
MORE: How to know if a mechanic is taking too long with car repairs

Low tire pressure

Another common problem leading to TCS troubles is low tire pressure. Your wheel sensors can interpret low tire pressure as a traction problem, causing the TCS light to turn on. A bad tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) could also trigger this issue. 
If your traction control light comes on and you don’t see any other warning lights, it’s worth checking your tire pressure before running off to a professional. 
MORE: How often to check your car’s tire pressure

Broken TCS/ABS control module

The control module for your vehicle’s traction control and anti-lock braking systems can malfunction, causing the “service traction control” light to turn on. You may also notice that the
check engine light is on
If the light stays on even in normal road conditions, bring the vehicle to a mechanic or your local Nissan dealership to check the control module. 

Traction control system turned off

Sometimes the most basic answer is the correct answer. Let us explain.
Your traction control system is always on—unless you turn them off by pressing and holding the correct button.
If you turn your ECS off, either or both the TCS will likely illuminate to let you know to drive carefully. So, before going to the mechanic, double-check to ensure you haven’t accidentally turned the systems off yourself. 

Can you drive with the traction control light on?

Yes—it won’t negatively affect your Nissan if you drive with the traction control light on. However, be sure to proceed with caution in bad conditions, and do not tailgate other vehicles. 
Again, it’s normal if the light only turns on temporarily when you’re navigating treacherous roads. If the light stays on, it means that the system is disabled and could lead to increased wheel slip on slick roads or hamper the vehicle’s ability to brake effectively. 
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