What To Do If Your Car’s Traction Control Light Is On

The traction control light goes on when one of your tires loses contact with the road during inclement weather, and means your vehicle is working as it should.
Written by Natalie Todoroff
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
The traction control light (TCL for short) turns on when you’re driving on icy, windy, or rainy roads to shift power to a tire that has briefly lost its grip on the road. But, if the TCL flips on when you’re driving in normal weather, there could be an issue broader system. 
Driving in bad weather can be pretty dangerous, and there’s nothing worse than feeling your car slip a little. Thankfully, cars are pretty smart these days and can recognize when a tire needs a little extra juice to stay on the road. That’s what your traction control light does—it briefly binks on to let you know that your car is working as it should. 
But, what if the light won’t go off? Or if it clicks on when you’re driving on a smooth, steady road in sunny conditions? Fret not,
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What is the traction control light? 

As we mentioned earlier, cars these days are pretty smart. They’re more than just oil, gas, and gears, they also have computer components that indicate to you what’s going on below the hood by illuminating different lights on your dashboard. 
The traction control light is one of these lights linked to your car’s computer system. All it does is let you know that one of your tires has lost traction. To correct it, your car needs to transfer a little more power to that tire to keep your car going in the desired direction—and not off the road! 
You can think of the traction control light as a quick heads up. It will briefly illuminate when the tire is slipping, and will immediately turn off once the car has corrected itself. 

What does the traction control light look like?

Most commonly, the traction control light is an image of a car with squiggly lines bending away from the tires. It can also appear as the letters “TC,” sometimes with a slash through the letters.  

What does the traction control light mean? 

If you’re driving in a snowstorm, windstorm, rainstorm, or any kind of storm, your traction control light will briefly flip on if your car slips a little. 
But what if you’re driving in perfect conditions and it keeps blinking? This could indicate your car’s system is “hard coded” or beginning to deteriorate due to faulty wheel-speed sensors.  
Or, if the traction control light flips on and stays on, it could mean that system itself is no longer fully functional. Which, if you live in a snowier or stormier climate, is probably the last thing you want. 

How to turn off the traction control light 

First things first, the golden solution: try turning off your engine, and turning it back on again. It’s simple, but it may do the trick if your traction control light just won’t turn off! 
If you’ve pulled over and tried that and the light still won’t go off, it’s probably time to take your car to a trusted mechanic for a better look inside. 

How to find car insurance you can afford 

Sometimes, your TCL may be in need of a little TLC. Ok, please forgive that awful pun, but the point still stands: if you own a car, you’ve got to take care of its routine maintenance. And part of that is having the right insurance, which
can help you find. 
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Only very briefly, if it’s working properly. It will illuminate when your car is sending more power to the tire that’s lost traction, and turn off immediately after. If you blink, you could miss it!
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