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How's This Work? - Traction Control

How's This Work? - Traction Control

What is Traction Control?

For this week’s How’s This Work we thought we’d take a look at something a bit more well-known than some of the other features we choose to detail. Chances are you’ve probably heard of traction control before, but do you know what it actually is or, more importantly, how it really works? Considering it is one of the most basic features on your vehicle yet one of the most important in terms of safety, especially when driving through these gnarly Canadian winters, we thought it’d be a good idea to dive in and figure it out.

[ LAST WEEK: What is a capless fuel tank? ]

How does traction control work?

Traction Control System, or TCS for short, might not sound quite as confusing or difficult to understand as some of the more recent, big time safety features – like Collision-Mitigation Braking System for instance – it works just as hard to keep you and your passengers safe as those other features. TCS was designed to prevent your wheels from losing traction on certain road environments.

Traction Control kicks in if the input to your throttle and the torque of your engine don’t match the surface conditions of the road. What does it do once it kicks in? It might apply force to the brakes of one or more wheels, reduce the spark sequence of one or more engine cylinders, reduce the fuel supply to one or more engine cylinders, close the throttle, or – in turbocharged vehicles – actuate a boost control solenoid in order to reduce engine power.

At first, like most features, TCS was reserved for luxury and performance vehicles, but today you’d be hard pressed to find a vehicle without it. It’s constantly working to make sure you stay safe through rainy or snowy conditions. In some newer vehicles, TCS has even been upgraded to do more – like Honda’s Intelligent Traction management system, which can be found on the 2016 Honda Pilot. Watch the video below to find out more about that!


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