TCS and ESC Explained

TCS and ESC ExplainedIf you are a car enthusiast, you must have often encountered the term ‘TCS.’ Most car lovers also know what TCS or traction control system is. However, most do not understand how this system works or its importance.

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, most vehicle manufacturers include TCS in their vehicle electronic stability control systems these days. Therefore, it is unsurprising that many people have never heard of these systems. Further, all vehicles are equipped with a traction control system. The system allows tires to maintain grip and steadiness, especially when a car moves on a slippery surface.

So, how does the traction control system work? TCS has 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 a convenient tool, some control systems are too efficient to be helpful. To be precise, some TCS cut off the drive wheels’ power too quickly. This happens quite often in areas that receive heavy snow. In such places, a vehicle driver may be better off switching off the TCS, or they will be stuck in the snow.

What is ESC?

While on TCS, let us also tell you about another vehicle feature few vehicle owners know about. ESC, or the electronic stability control system, ensures that the car goes in the direction the driver wants. The ESC can easily detect when a vehicle is skidding, and when it detects the skidding motion of the wheels, it reduces the power going into the wheels of the car 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, traction control is mandatory these days, but one can turn off traction or stability control manually. However, whether this can be done 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 cars, one cannot see this option on the dashboard and has to navigate through the various options before finding the option to turn off the control systems. Similarly, many cars allow drivers to turn off TCS and leave the ESC on, while others enable drivers to keep TCS on and switch off the ESC. All in all, you must check with your manufacturer what features are available in your vehicle.

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

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