Traction control in snow

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2/12/2019 12:42 PM

Hi all, not much snow here in mass this winter so far but we are getting a bit today. My drive home got me thinking about traction control in vehicles these days. All I can say is I am no fan ?. I get why they have it but it sure cuts down on the fun factor of sliding a rear wheel drive vehicle around like you want to. More to the point on safety is the terrible way that it cuts power when your trying to pull out of a snow covered side street onto a main road. It’s a fantastic way to get hit as most units cut ignition or fuel etc to make the tires not slip...basically stalling the car or truck until the computer decides that there is a sliver of traction and gives you some power..very unnerving.
I remember the first time I tried a vehicle with TC it was a new mini van my wife purchased. I came to a stop on a snow covered hill and wanted to see it work it’s magic..I assumed it was some sort of electronic LSD that would send power to one wheel or the other but the van just sat there as I pressed the gas..nothing..luckily I found the disable switch and the van started digging its way up the hill. It plain sucks in the snow..


2/12/2019 1:23 PM

I have it on my 2012 Focus. Hate it!!! I was literally plowing snow here less than an hour ago. Had the car parked in a spot off to the side. Cleared an area and went to move the car. Damn thing just spun trying to find traction. Shut it off and moved it with ease. Not the first time either in situations like that.


2/12/2019 2:38 PM

Just turn it off. Or maybe not all cars you can do that? Our Hondas you can, just push a button. Agreed, no fun trying to get up the driveway sometimes with it engaged.



2/12/2019 6:54 PM

My 2010 Colorado 2wd has what they call traction control. But its nothing more than limp mode. Its an automatic so I figure its good to have. But would never want it with a manual trans. I put some oak pallets in the bed and it does alright. With the weight in the back I shut the traction control off. On a small 2wd truck the most important things is the tires anyway.



2/12/2019 7:12 PM

I was really impressed with the TC in our BMW x6. Especially in the snow. Made things WAY safer/faster.

I just let it do the work. Didnt try to compensate in any way. But then again, it was controlling the power to each wheel, not just cutting power altogether. A bit more sophisticated than most.


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2/12/2019 7:28 PM

I haven't ever owned a vehicle where TC cuts the ignition or fuel. I didn't realize that they actually made any that did that. I think a couple have applied braking to wheels that are slipping, though, and of course the ones that redistribute power to the wheels with traction.

The older I get, the more important getting to where I am going safe is, and the less important having "fun" on public highways is. I can do anything I need to have fun off the public roads, where there are too many other people to contend with or to cause harm to.


2/13/2019 1:03 PM
Edited Date/Time: 2/13/2019 1:06 PM

My Mercedes Metris van has ESP traction control that kicks in during low traction conditions. With all the snow in the Seattle area the last week I got to experience it for the first time trying to get out of my slush and ice covered driveway. It kicked in automatically and worked pretty slick in the slick.


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2/13/2019 4:14 PM
Edited Date/Time: 2/13/2019 4:25 PM

The standard issue traction control that only cuts power is terrible.

The good systems use wheel speed sensors and will apply braking to any individual wheel that slips faster than the others. These work great, it basically mimics what a locking differential does, great traction. Not sure how widespread that sort of setup is in the car world, but my Mercedes SUV built in 2001 has it.


2/13/2019 4:23 PM

All you damn folks with those fancy Mercedes and BMWs get all the good stuff ? . They should let the engineers who designed the cut power TC to try and pull out of a snow covered street with an un attentive texting lady in a suv and it moves a little then nothing...that’s always good for a few extra heart beats ?


2/15/2019 7:48 AM

I turn it off in every vehicle but my wrx sti. It actually works well. And even then I’ll adjust the c.diff to 60 rear 40 front to have fun and sling her around.


Since 1987

2/15/2019 9:21 AM

There is no motocrosser in the world that would want traction control on their car/truck. Throttle control is a natural born instinct to a dirt bike rider. Especially an ex 2-stroke rider.


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