TCS and ESC Explained

TCS and ESC ExplainedIf you are a car aficionado, you must have often come across the term ‘TCS’. Most car lovers also know what TCS or traction control system is. However, the majority do not know how this system works or why is it so important.

What is TCS?

Traction control systems first appeared in the 1970s, and by the late 1980s, almost all luxury car brands, such as Mercedes and BMW, had started incorporating them into their cars. However, these days, most vehicle manufacturers include TCS in their vehicle electronic stability control system and therefore, it is not very surprising that many people have never heard of these systems. Further, these days, all vehicles come equipped with a traction control system. The system essentially allows tires to maintain their grip and steadiness, especially when a vehicle is moving on a slippery surface.

So, how does the traction control system work? TCS comes equipped with wheel-speed sensors that activate the anti-lock brake system whenever a tire loses its grip. This, in turn, leads to either the slipping tire getting reduced power in the drive wheels or the car’s brake system getting activated. All modern vehicles have a TCS warning light on the dashboard, if you see this light on, know that your TCS is engaging with a slipping tire and keeping you safe.

Though TCS is an extremely handy tool, some control systems are too efficient to be helpful. To be precise, some TCS cut off the power to the drive wheels way too quickly. This happens quite often in areas that receive heavy snow. In such areas, a vehicle driver may be better off switching off the TCS, or else they will find themselves stuck in the snow.

What is ESC?

While we are on the topic of TCS, let us also tell you about another vehicle feature that not many vehicle owners know about. ESC or the electronic stability control system makes sure that the vehicle is going in the direction in which the driver wants to take it. The ESC is easily able to detect when a vehicle is skidding and when it detects the skidding motion of wheels, it reduces the power going into the wheels of the vehicle and releases the brake. So, like TCS, the ECS also relies on anti-lock sensors to control the car when it loses its grip.

Car owners must also know that most vehicles use the same light for both TCS and ESC. In other words, when either of the systems is working, the same light will get switched on. Further, until 2012, most vehicles had an option on the dashboard to switch off traction control. However, these days, traction control is mandatory, but one can disable traction control or stability control manually. However, whether this can be done or not depends on the car model and the manufacturer.

Some vehicles still have the option that one can use to disable the ECS on the dashboard. However, in many vehicles, one cannot see this option on the dashboard and has to navigate through the various options on the dashboard before they can find the option to disable the control systems. Similarly, many cars allow drivers to turn off TCS and leave the ESC on while others allow drivers to keep TCS on and switch off the ESC. All in all, you will have to check with your manufacturer what features are available in your vehicle.

TCS and ESC are both crucial components of a vehicle and must not be switched off until necessary.

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