You’ve seen the button on the vehicle or maybe even on your dash at times. But what exactly is traction control and why do I want it on. I’m a good driver and don’t really need it. Well think again. Traction control is one safety feature in almost every vehicle available today. It is an essential component of the safety features on the vehicle. Working in conjunction with the Anti-lock braking or ABS for short.
Wikipedia gives this overview as to what traction control is. The basic idea behind the need for a traction control system is the loss of road grip that compromises steering control and stability of vehicles because of the difference in traction of the drive wheels. Difference in slip may occur due to turning of a vehicle or varying road conditions for different wheels. At high speeds, when a car tends to turn, its outer and inner wheels are subjected to different rotation speeds, which is conventionally controlled by using a differential. A further enhancement of the differential is to employ an active differential that can vary the amount of power being delivered to outer and inner wheels as needed. For example, if outward slip is sensed while turning, the active differential may deliver more power to the outer wheel in order to minimize the yaw (essentially the degree to which the front and rear wheels of a car are out of line.) Active differential, in turn, is controlled by an assembly of electromechanical sensors collaborating with a traction control unit.
Okay so what does that mean. Well here is what it means while driving.
5 Reasons you need traction control.
1. It is ran by the computer on your car and reacts faster than you do. When you are driving down the road and a tire starts to slip you don’t know it till you feel the slip when the steering wheel shakes or the vehicle starts to slide. The traction control detects the tire slip, applies braking and takes away power to that wheel to stop the slip all while you are still moving forward. No jarring braking or overreacting on your part.
2. It will help keep you safe going around those curves in the road. While driving have you ever caught yourself going to fast in a corner or bend in the road. Sure we all have. Well the traction control will help with those under and over steer that often occur. Braking is applied automatically when need to keep the inside wheel from slipping and help prevent you from sliding off the road. See the diagram and no that there is added protection. Maybe not for you but for your young driver who maybe less experienced than you.
3. It makes for easier driving in winter. We all know the snow makes accelerating and driving in winter a challenge. Well the traction control will help you accelerate and get going easier. When those tires start to slip power is decrease so the tires can grab and get you moving.
Now I know I said I had 5 reasons. But now that I told you why you need it. Let me tell you when you don’t need it. Or better yet when to turn it off. Turning it off is as easy as pushing the button. You’ll get an indication light on the dash telling you you’ve done so.
4. So you’ve found yourself stuck in the snow and can’t get out. Well this is when you’d turn off the traction control. You don’t want power taken away from the wheel you want it to stay so the wheel moves until it grips. Or perhaps you need to rock the car. Well with traction control on you’d never be able to accomplish this. So turn off the traction control. Get yourself rocking to get out and then when your out just push the button again and traction control is back on.
5. Just turn it off to have fun. With the traction control off you can spin the wheels and burn rubber, or maybe even make the car drift. When you do this make sure you are in a safe area where you aren’t endangering yourself or others.
Well there you have it. 5 Reason you need traction control. So next time you find yourself wondering what that little button is for. Remember it is keeping me safe and can even allow me to have a little fun at the right time.