While traction control and stability control systems have the primary function of ensuring the safety of drivers and passengers, there are important differences between the two systems that you may not be aware of.
Both of these systems are definitely life-saving essentials in your car, so it is time to get yourself acquainted with the specifics and differences of traction control and stability control systems!
TRACTION CONTROL SYSTEM
Traction control system is an active safety feature that uses brakes to control spinning wheels, usually to slow the wheels down. Individual sensors on the wheels help to detect if any single wheel is spinning faster than the rest of the other wheels to direct power to other wheels of the car. This system is created to allow cars to make optimum use of its acceleration on different road surfaces. You can find the traction control system on your dashboard with this icon, or the TC/TCL button.
STABILITY CONTROL SYSTEM
Stability control system is an advanced system that makes use of the traction control system and anti-lock brake systems (ABS) of the car to direct a car in an intended direction. Coupled with an increased number of sensors, the stability control system aligns the car by adding brake pressure to one side of the car to steer it to a particular direction. You will know if the stability control system is working when the stability-control lamp is blinking.
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HOW DO THEY WORK TOGETHER?
The ABS, traction control system, and the stability control system are known as the holy trinity of cars. These three systems work in tandem to regulate the movement and stability of the car. Using the traction control system to limit your wheelspin, the stability control system to regulate the wheel’s path, and the ABS to allow these two systems to work in the first place, your car is provided with features that are vital to your safety.
SHOULD I TURN THESE SYSTEMS OFF?
Car manufacturers provide the option of turning these systems off. Usually, traction control systems are to be turned off when a car is stuck in soft surfaces with no grip, such as snow or sand, to allow your wheels to ‘burn through’ and find a grippier surface underneath to unstuck your vehicle. Stability control systems should never be turned off in any normal circumstances, unless you so happen to be testing out a high-performance vehicle on a track or a closed road.
Now that you have a good understanding of the differences between the two systems, be sure to always keep these systems well maintained and in working order. Check out our piece on The Most Common Car Maintenance Myths Debunked for more!