Why Is My Traction Control And Check Engine Light On?
When your traction control light and check engine light come on, it can be alarming and confusing.
These warning lights could indicate a range of issues, from minor to serious, that affect your vehicle’s performance, safety, and emissions
In this blog post, we’ll delve into the reasons why your traction control and check engine lights might be on and what steps you can take to diagnose and address the underlying problems.
Why Is My Traction Control And Check Engine Light On?
Faulty Oxygen Sensor:
When the oxygen sensor is faulty, it may not be able to accurately measure the ratio of fuel to air in the exhaust stream.
This can cause an incorrect signal to be sent to the engine control computer, resulting in the illumination of the Traction Control and Check Engine Lights on your vehicle’s dashboard.
If you suspect that your oxygen sensor is faulty, it is important to have it diagnosed and repaired as soon as possible.
To diagnose the issue, you can purchase a code reader or scanner from an auto parts store (We recommend BlueDriver Bluetooth Pro OBDII Scan Tool).
These tools can be used to scan for trouble codes in the vehicle’s computer. If the code reader indicates that the oxygen sensor is the problem, you can replace it yourself.
To replace the oxygen sensor, you will need to locate it under your vehicle. It is typically located near the exhaust manifold or catalytic converter.
Once you have located the sensor, unplug it and use a wrench to remove it. Install the new sensor and plug it in, then clear the trouble code using the code reader.
It is important to note that this solution may not always work, and there may be other underlying issues causing the lights to come on.
If you are not comfortable working on your vehicle or if you are unable to diagnose and fix the issue yourself, it is recommended to take your vehicle to a mechanic for proper diagnosis and repair.
Loose or Damaged Gas Cap:
A loose or damaged gas cap can cause air to enter the fuel system, disrupting the air to fuel ratio in the engine.
This can trigger the traction control and check engine lights to come on, indicating a problem with the vehicle’s emissions control system.
To fix this issue, you should first check to make sure the gas cap is tightened properly. If it is loose, simply tighten it until it clicks.
If the gas cap is damaged or missing, it should be replaced with a new one that fits the specific make and model of the vehicle.
Detailed Guide On: Can Bad Gas Cause Check Engine Light To Come On?
Malfunctioning Catalytic Converter:
A malfunctioning catalytic converter can cause a number of issues for your vehicle’s engine.
If the converter fails to convert harmful gases into harmless compounds, it can lead to a build-up of toxic chemicals in the exhaust system.
This can cause the engine to run inefficiently and can result in decreased power output and decreased fuel efficiency.
Furthermore, a damaged or failed catalytic converter can cause the Traction Control and Check Engine Lights to turn on.
This is because the engine’s performance is being affected and the onboard computer is receiving signals indicating that something is wrong.
The solution to this problem is to replace the damaged or failed catalytic converter with a new one.
Depending on the severity of the damage, the replacement process can be relatively simple or more complicated.
You should consult with a trusted mechanic to determine the best course of action for your particular situation.
It’s important to address the issue promptly to prevent further damage to your vehicle’s engine and to ensure that your vehicle is operating safely and efficiently.
Worn-out Spark Plugs or Wires:
When the traction control and check engine lights come on, it usually indicates a problem with the vehicle’s ignition system or traction control system.
Worn-out spark plugs or wires can cause the ignition system to malfunction, and as a result, the traction control system can be affected.
To resolve this issue, the spark plugs and wires need to be replaced. It’s usually recommended that the spark plugs and wires be replaced every 30,000-50,000 miles, depending on the manufacturer’s recommendations.
You can take your vehicle to a mechanic or perform the replacement yourself if you have the necessary tools and knowledge.
Also, don’t forget to clear the error codes with a diagnostic tool after replacing the parts.
Damaged or Worn-Out Ignition Coils:
When the ignition coils become damaged or worn-out, it can lead to misfiring, hesitation, and reduced engine performance, which triggers the Traction Control and Check Engine lights to come on.
The Traction Control system helps control wheel spin and traction, while the Check Engine light is a warning sign of a potential engine issue.
To resolve this problem, the ignition coils must be inspected and replaced if necessary.
Read More: Does The Check Engine Light Come On For An Oil Change?
Failed Mass Air Flow Sensor:
When the mass air flow (MAF) sensor fails, it may not correctly measure the amount of air entering the engine, leading to an incorrect air-fuel mixture.
This can lead to a variety of problems, including reduced engine power, rough idling, stalling, and reduced fuel efficiency.
Additionally, the traction control and check engine lights may also turn on because of this issue.
If you suspect that your MAF sensor has failed, it’s essential to have it checked and replaced as soon as possible to prevent further damage to your engine.
The solution to a failed MAF sensor is a replacement (check Denso Mass Air Flow Sensor here). MAF sensors are relatively inexpensive parts and can be easily replaced by a mechanic.
After replacement, ensure that the engine is functioning correctly by running a diagnostic scan to check if the check engine and traction control lights have turned off.
Read About: Is It Okay To Drive With Check Engine Light On?
Issues with the Throttle Position Sensor:
The throttle position sensor (TPS) sends electrical signal to the engine control module indicating the position of the throttle plate.
This information is important for the engine to adjust the air-fuel mixture and control the engine speed accordingly.
If the TPS fails or becomes faulty, it can cause a variety of issues such as inconsistency in engine speed and acceleration, and trigger warning lights on the dashboard such as the Check Engine Light (CEL) and Traction Control Light (TCL).
To fix this issue, it’s recommended to have a certified mechanic diagnose the problem and replace the faulty sensor if needed.
It’s important to get this fixed as soon as possible, as driving with a faulty TPS can lead to further damage and potentially dangerous situations.
A Failing Fuel Pump:
When the fuel pump starts to fail, it may not be able to deliver the right amount of fuel to the engine.
This can result in engine misfires, stalling, and poor acceleration. When the engine control unit (ECU) detects these issues, it turns on the Check Engine Light to alert the driver.
However, in modern vehicles equipped with traction control systems, the Traction Control Light may also turn on as a result of the reduced engine performance.
To solve this issue, you should take your vehicle to a mechanic for a diagnostic test. They will be able to read the codes stored in the ECU to determine the root cause of the problem.
If the fuel pump is indeed failing, it will need to be replaced. Additionally, the mechanic may suggest replacing the fuel filter and checking for any other related issues to prevent future problems.
It is important to address a failing fuel pump promptly, as it can cause further damage to the engine if left unresolved.
Clogged Fuel Filter:
A fuel filter that is clogged can often be the culprit for the activation of the traction control and check engine lights.
This is due to the blockage preventing the smooth flow of fuel through the system.
As a result of the disrupted fuel pressure, the ETC and check engine lights are triggered to alert the driver.
The recommended solution is to replace the filter and examine the fuel lines for any possible damage. The Motorcraft Fuel Filter is a great choice for this replacement.
Damaged or Dirty Fuel Injectors:
A faulty or dirty fuel injector can cause the check engine light and the traction control light to come on.
This is because dirty or damaged fuel injectors can cause an imbalance of fuel delivery that the vehicle’s computer considers out of the optimal range, prompting the illumination of the lights.
The fuel injectors should then be cleaned or replaced in order to fix this issue.
Malfunctioning Electronic Control Module (ECM):
The Electronic Control Module (ECM) is an essential component of a vehicle’s engine as it regulates the fuel delivery and ignition system.
When the ECM is damaged or malfunctions, it can lead to the activation of the check engine and traction control lights. These warning signals indicate that there is a problem with the engine’s performance.
To resolve this issue, it is necessary to replace the faulty ECM. Seeking assistance from a professional mechanic or technician is highly recommended as it involves complex procedures.
They can diagnose the problem and replace the ECM with a suitable one to restore the engine’s functionality.
Problems with the Anti-lock Braking System:
The Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) is a system that helps reduce wheel lockup by automatically pumping the brakes.
If there is an issue with the ABS, such as a sensor being faulty, the check engine and traction control lights can come on. This issue can be diagnosed and repaired by a licensed automotive technician.
Failing Wheel Speed Sensors:
Wheel speed sensors are commonly found in the front and rear wheels of modern cars.
They measure the rotational speed of the wheel and send signals to the vehicle’s computer.
When these sensors detect variations in the rotational speed of the wheels, they may set off the traction control and check engine lights.
Issues with the Transmission Control Module (TCM):
The TCM is an electronic control unit that manages the transmission of power from the engine to the wheels.
If the transmission control module fails, it can cause problems with the traction control system and set off the check engine and traction control lights.
Problems with the Traction Control System (TCS) itself:
The TCS helps keep the car stable in slippery conditions by controlling the power and torque sent to the wheels.
If there are any issues with the system itself, it can trigger the check engine and traction control lights.
Does The Traction Control Light Always Make The Check Engine Light Come On?
There is no direct answer to this question. It may or may not make the check engine light come on. To find out, you have to read the instruction papers by the manufacturers.
These manuals include all the guidelines and instructions necessary. They explain the system’s operations for its traction control system.
So, specific models have specific traction control features.
For instance, if you have a BMW, check the instruction manual. You will get specific directions as to the traction control light and check engine light.
It will tell you when these two lights will illuminate.
The manuals will also explain what these lights mean when they stay on or blink without stopping.
Interestingly, the check engine and other warning lights are now standard on newer types of cars.
They will light up at the same time to let drivers know if there is a serious problem that requires immediate attention.
So, always check out the manufacturer’s manual for the most efficient knowledge about your car and what its lights imply.
Can Traction Control Make The Check Engine Light Come On?
Yes, the traction control can make the check engine light come on.
When there is a problem with the traction control system, you may even start losing traction.
So, eventually, the check engine light comes on as a sign of a more severe problem.
Is It Safe To Drive With A Traction Control Light On?
It’s dangerous to drive without traction control. In this condition, your car is more likely to spin out.
You will lose traction. Then you will not be able to stop it from sliding around
What Causes Traction Control To Malfunction?
Rough road condition causes traction control system malfunctions.
Dirt on the roads or any other types of buildup may mess with the traction control sensors.
Thus, this leads to the malfunctioning of the traction control system.
Why Does My Car Not Accelerate When The Traction Control Light Comes On?
A malfunctioning steering angle sensor, malfunctioning wheel speeds sensors, steering rack problems, or even a malfunctioning rotational speed sensor- all can cause this dashboard danger indicator light to illuminate.
So, you may not able to accelerate.
How Much Does It Cost To Fix Traction Control?
You will roughly need $110-120 to have the traction control switch replaced.
The labor cost here matters the most ranging from $47-55. However, based on your car model, the cost may vary as well.
Most of the time it is not a big deal if the traction control and check engine light are on at the same time.
But as there is a chance of severe engine damage, you should always keep your eyes wide open for the lights.
Whenever they are, or even if one of them, is on, get a vehicle diagnosis by a professional. Thus, you can ensure both your and your car’s safety efficiently.