What’s the difference between traction control and stability control?

October 12th, 2020 by

What’s the Difference: Traction Control vs Stability Control

Cars have all sorts of active and passive safety features. And they’re getting more and more with each new model year. They suffer from convoluted names sometimes, though. Or similar names. Like traction and stability control.

What’s the difference between traction control and stability control anyway?

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Traction Control vs Stability Control

ABS warning light on

Both systems essentially do the same thing, but stability control takes it many steps further. The general purpose of both traction and stability control systems is to make sure that all wheels always have maximum traction. Both systems also rely on a functional anti-lock braking system (ABS) to work properly. Traction control stops wheelspin by through applying brake pressure with ABS and somewhat controlling the throttle. Stability control uses multiple sensors located at each wheel, in the steering wheel, pitch and yaw sensors, and a three-axis accelerometer to instantly calculate complex physics and apply power and braking pressure to make the vehicle’s position match the driver’s input. All systems are very important and helpful in preventing accidents. That’s why the US government made ABS, traction control, and stability control mandatory in every consumer vehicle made since 2012.

Is It Okay to Turn Them Off?

If your vehicle was made before 2012, then it only has traction control. If you’re stuck in the snow or mud, then you’re probably familiar with traction control stopping your wheels from spinning down. In those cases, turning off your traction control is fine. Unless you’re a professional racecar driver, stability control shouldn’t be turned off. Ever. That’s why auto manufacturers make it hard to do so.

Is Your Stability Control Warning Light On?

If your stability control, traction control, or ABS warning light is on, you’ll want to get that fixed ASAP. Consider scheduling a service appointment with our online service scheduler or by giving us a call.

Posted in FAQs, Safety