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How To Turn Off Traction Control: Instructions for Any Vehicle

To help, we’ve put together a guide on how to turn off traction control so that you have the best possible experience while driving in difficult conditions.

Traction control (TC) is a crucial safety feature for your vehicle, especially in challenging weather conditions like ice, rain, or other situations that may cause your wheels to lose control.[1] However, there are instances where you may need your wheels to spin more, such as when your car is stuck in mud or snow. In these specific cases, it becomes essential to disable your vehicle’s TC to regain stability on solid ground. While the controls may vary slightly between cars, we will provide a basic guide to help you execute this process effectively on your own vehicle. Discover the steps below and take control of your vehicle’s traction.

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What Is Traction Control?

Traction control is a crucial safety feature that helps keep your car firmly planted on the road, even when the conditions are slippery or dangerous. It works by limiting the amount of wheel spin, so your car maintains its grip on the surface you’re driving on.

The good news is that since 2012, traction control has been a standard safety feature on all cars sold in the United States. Although you have the option to turn it off, it’s generally safer to keep it on whenever possible.

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How to Disable Traction Control – 3 Step

1/Press the TC button or switch in your vehicle.

To disable traction control in your vehicle, locate the button or switch featuring the symbol of a car on top of 2 squiggly skid marks. This is the standard symbol for traction control. Depending on the make and model of your vehicle, press the button or switch to turn off the TC. Confirm on your vehicle’s display that the system has been successfully switched off. Some vehicles may display a “Traction Control Turned Off” notification on the dashboard, while others may illuminate the TC symbol on the dash.

The location of this button or switch may vary depending on the vehicle. It could be situated on the center console or next to the steering wheel. Consult your car’s owner manual to determine the exact position and operation instructions.

If you’re unsure where your owner manual is, you can find it by searching for your vehicle’s manufacturer. Please note that on certain vehicles, the warning light remains illuminated when TC is turned off.

How To Turn Off Traction Control

2/Disable the Vehicle Stability Controls (VSC) if your TC still won’t shut off.

To gain complete control of your car, you may need to deactivate the Vehicle Stability Control (VSC). On certain vehicles, this can be done by pressing the TC button for a few extra seconds. Refer to your vehicle’s owner manual to identify the specific stability controls and how they can be disabled.

It’s worth noting that the VSC may also be referred to as Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Electronic Stability Program (ESP), or something similar.

Understanding these controls is essential. The TC manages wheel spin while accelerating, while the VSC helps maintain the car’s intended direction if it veers off track.

Pro tip: Some vehicles integrate stability and traction controls into a unified system, known as Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA).

How To Turn Off Traction Control

3/Turn on TC by hitting the button or switch again.

To confirm that the TC notification has disappeared, please check your car’s dashboard.

How To Turn Off Traction Control

Related: How to disable anti theft system without key?

How to Disable Traction Control without the Button?

How To Turn Off Traction Control

1/Turn on your hazard lights.

  • Turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers when parked on a side street or pulling over on a highway.

How To Turn Off Traction Control

2/To turn off your traction control (TC), follow these steps:

  • Turn on your car battery by inserting the key into the ignition and turning it slightly.
  • Keep your car in park, then press the gas pedal 5 times consecutively.
  • Ensure your car is in the “Park” gear before attempting this procedure.

How To Turn Off Traction Control

3/Once the TC is successfully turned off, follow these steps:

  • Turn on your engine.
  • Switch off your hazard lights.
  • Confirm that the TC symbol is displayed on the dashboard (which resembles a car on top of 2 skid marks on some vehicles).

How To Turn Off Traction Control

4/To reset your TC, turn off your car and restart it.

After resetting, the TC symbol should no longer be illuminated on the dashboard, confirming that the TC is operational again in your vehicle.

How To Turn Off Traction Control

How to Disable Vehicle Stability Controls (VSC) When Traction Control (TC) Fails to Turn Off?

You can try disabling the vehicle stability controls. To do this, you’ll need to find the VSC button or switch in your car. Typically, it’s located near the TC button or switch. Press and hold the VSC button or switch for a few seconds until the VSC and TC symbols on your dashboard turn off. However, keep in mind that disabling the VSC may affect the stability and handling of your car, so use caution when driving.

If you’re unsure about how to disable the VSC or can’t locate the button or switch, don’t fret. Simply refer to your car’s owner manual or search for it online by entering the manufacturer’s name.

How Does Traction Control Work?

The traction control system is designed to detect any instances where the wheels lose their grip on the road, which can cause instability and potentially lead to dangerous situations. This happens most commonly during snowy or icy weather and when driving on wet roads.

By automatically applying brakes to the slipping wheel or cutting down on engine power to that wheel, the traction control system helps keep the car steady and safe on the road.

How To Turn Off Traction Control

When To Turn Off Traction Control?

If you live in an area with harsh weather conditions, such as snow, mud, sand or ice, turning off traction control may be a wise decision. By allowing your wheels to spin freely, you can gain more grip on the surface and push your car forward more quickly.

In sticky situations, where your car is stuck in mud, snow, ice, or sand, you need the wheels to spin to find solid ground. Once the wheels catch onto something firm, your car can regain the traction it needs to move forward.

When to Use Traction Control?

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Traction control is a crucial safety feature that’s always on when you start your car. While it may seem unnecessary in normal weather conditions, it’s actually essential in hazardous ones. Whether you’re driving in heavy rain, snow, or on loose ground, traction control can make all the difference in keeping you safe.

Even when you’re not in a hazardous situation, leaving traction control on is still the best choice. It can help you stay on the road and avoid accidents, especially when driving around curves or making sharp turns.

What’s the Difference Between Traction and Stability Control?

While traction control limits wheel spin, stability control can actually help maneuver your car. This impressive system uses multiple sensors in your wheels, adding a few extra ones to the mix, and works alongside your vehicle’s computer to find the motion’s intended direction.

If your car isn’t moving in the desired direction, stability control will step in to make corrections and help keep your ride stable. Think of it like traction control on steroids – not only does it automatically apply the brakes to a wheel spinning too fast, but it also helps correct the motion of any wheel not moving as it should.

What Does the Traction Control Warning Light Indicate?

This light can mean many things, depending on the image displayed. If the light shows a car with skid marks behind it, this means that the safety feature is doing its job, keeping you safe.

However, if you see a triangle with TC in it and a line through it, there may be a problem with the system. If you notice this light come on while driving, be cautious, as it could mean a loss of grip on wet pavement or around a sharp curve.

Timothy Ballard

I’m Timothy Ballard, owner of a used car dealership in Springfield. I love just about everything automotive, but I have a special place in my heart for trucks. I’m an ASE Certified Master Technician, so I know my way around a car. In my spare time, I enjoy traveling with my family and hiking new trails.

1 thought on “How To Turn Off Traction Control: Instructions for Any Vehicle”

  1. In the 2014 Challenger, there is a button to disable traction. However, in the SXT model, the button only allows partial disabling and does not provide an option to completely turn it off. I would appreciate any knowledge about possible workarounds or a potential bypass for this limitation. I am aware that Z Automotive sells a NoESP device, but it does not list the 2014 model as a compatible car. If anyone has information regarding compatibility or alternative solutions, please share. Thank you.


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