How does traction control work?
At this day and age, traction control is a fairly basic safety feature. If you look around your dashboard long enough, you’ll probably see a button labeled TCS like the one above. Almost, if not all vehicles built today come with TCS pre-installed. There are plenty of advanced safety features out there that work in conjunction with your basic TCS, like Vehicle Stability Control, but at its core TCS works to make sure you’re safe whenever road conditions meet inclement weather. So let’s take a look at exactly how traction control works in this week’s How’s This Work.
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What is TCS?
At its core, the Traction Control System is an active safety feature that, when activated, will automatically help your vehicle stay on course when road conditions get hairy. It works to make sure your vehicle is utilizing all of the traction available from the road, helping you keep control on difficult surfaces covered in things like loose gravel, snow, ice or even rain. Without TCS, your wheels rapidly spin through the slippery surfaces trying to find traction, without actually accelerating or moving forward. TCS works to send the appropriate power to the wheels and brakes, making sure that they’re moving at the right speed to find the proper amount of traction.
The Traction Control System makes use of wheel speed sensors to make sure that your wheels are rotating at the correct speed, a hydraulic modulator that allows it to apply pressure to the brakes, and an ECU – or electric control unit – which combines the two tools, allowing the vehicle to operate them. This is essentially the same system that runs your Anti-Lock Brake System.
So now you know what the TCS system is doing and why it’s important, and how it’s constantly working to save your life. There are plenty of fancy new safety features in the Toyota Safety Sense system, but none are quite as integral to your safety as original features like this.