Understanding Traction Control Malfunctions in Ford Taurus

ford taurus traction control malfunction

When it comes to driving safety, having a reliable traction control system (TCS) is essential, especially in adverse weather conditions.

The TCS in your Ford Taurus is designed to help maintain grip on slippery surfaces such as rain, snow, or ice. However, there are instances when this system may malfunction, leading to potential safety concerns.

In this article, we will explore the common causes of traction control malfunctions in Ford Taurus vehicles and discuss the importance of addressing these issues promptly.

How Does Traction Control Work?

Before delving into the causes of traction control malfunctions, it is crucial to understand how the system operates.

The TCS in your Ford Taurus utilizes a network of sensors and a computer to detect and respond to wheel slippage.

When one or more wheels lose traction, the system limits power to the affected wheels, preventing skidding and maintaining stability.

Common Causes of Traction Control Malfunctions

1. ABS Malfunction

In some cases, a malfunction in the anti-lock braking system (ABS) can trigger the traction control warning light in your Ford Taurus.

The ABS and TCS often share the same control module, and if there is an issue with the ABS, it can impact the proper functioning of the TCS.

2. Faulty Wheel Speed Sensors

Wheel speed sensors play a crucial role in the operation of the TCS. These sensors are located in the wheel bearing assembly and monitor the rotational speed of each wheel.

If a wheel speed sensor becomes dirty, damaged, or malfunctions, it can prevent the TCS module from receiving accurate information about wheel traction, leading to a malfunction.

3. Traction Control Module Failure

The traction control module, which is often shared with the ABS module, can experience faults or failures, resulting in the TCS ceasing to function correctly.

A malfunctioning traction control module may require replacement to restore the system’s proper operation.

Recognizing Traction Control Malfunctions

When a traction control malfunction occurs in your Ford Taurus, it is important to be able to identify the warning signs.

The most common indicator is the illumination of the traction control warning light on the dashboard. This light may appear as the acronym “TC” or as a symbol depicting a car losing control.

It is crucial to differentiate between normal TCS operation in slippery conditions and an actual malfunction of the system.

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The Importance of Addressing Traction Control Issues

Promptly addressing traction control malfunctions in your Ford Taurus is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, a malfunctioning TCS can compromise your safety while driving in adverse weather conditions.

Without the TCS functioning properly, your vehicle may be more prone to skidding or losing control, increasing the risk of an accident.

Additionally, since the ABS and TCS often share components, a malfunction in one system can potentially affect the other, further compromising your vehicle’s safety.

Diagnostic and Repair Process

If you suspect a traction control malfunction in your Ford Taurus, it is advisable to seek professional diagnosis and repair. A qualified mechanic with the necessary diagnostic tools can accurately identify the specific cause of the malfunction.

They may use a specialized scan tool to retrieve diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) that can pinpoint the faulty component or system. Once the issue is identified, the mechanic can proceed with the necessary repairs, which may involve replacing faulty wheel speed sensors, addressing ABS malfunctions, or repairing or replacing the traction control module.

Can I Drive with the Traction Control Warning Light On?

If the traction control warning light illuminates while driving, it is essential to exercise caution. While it may be safe to continue driving under normal conditions, it is crucial to have the issue addressed as soon as possible.

If the TCS warning light persists or is accompanied by the ABS warning light, it is recommended to avoid driving the vehicle until the problem is resolved.

Continuing to drive in this situation can compromise the effectiveness of your braking system and overall vehicle safety.

When to Temporarily Disable Traction Control

In certain scenarios, temporarily disabling the traction control system may be necessary or beneficial. For example, when starting in deep snow or mud, disabling the TCS can allow the wheels to spin freely and generate enough traction to get unstuck.

Additionally, when using tire chains on icy or snowy roads, disabling the TCS can prevent excessive intervention and allow for better handling.


Having a properly functioning traction control system is essential for maintaining safety while driving your Ford Taurus, especially in adverse weather conditions.

Understanding the causes of traction control malfunctions and promptly addressing any issues can help ensure your vehicle’s stability and prevent accidents.

If you notice the traction control warning light on your dashboard, it is crucial to have the system diagnosed and repaired by a qualified professional.

By taking proactive measures, you can maintain the safety and performance of your Ford Taurus on the road.

Steve P.

Steve is an automotive technician, technical writer, and Managing Editor. He has held a lifelong passion for cars, with a particular interest in cars like the Buick Riviera. Steve is based in Boise, Idaho.

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