I have a 2016 Mazda3. Traction control is standard, and there is an on/off switch. Question: is there any reason to ever turn it OFF? Is there any const in performance loss or wear associated with it being on – particularly in good weather with dry roads when I can’t imagine it will be of any use?
I can’t say for sure on your car as I have yet to drive any significant time in a car that new, but I have a 2006 car with traction control and I find it to be a hindrance. It limits throttle control and inhibits spirited driving. I also feel that my skills as a driver are better at handling the car than the program that runs the traction system.
Alwayskeep it turned on. You may hit a patch of gravel on dry roads that it could help you with. The only time you might want to turn it off is if you are stuck on ice, the traction control will keep shifting power to the wheel that is not slipping until it shuts both wheels off. If traction control is turned off you could ‘burn’ your way off the ice. Not good for your tires and you have to be very careful doing this.
Ha . . . !
We’ve been through this time and time again
There those of us who feel they’re excellent drivers, and know that a certain safety feature is holding them back in some way
There are those of us who feel we should take advantage of all the safety features that a car is equipped with. Within reason, of course
I’m enough of a man to admit I’m not the world’s best driver. And I’m going to leave it enabled, except some circumstances, such as @SteveCBT mentioned
But I’m also not the world’s worst driver
And if somebody wants to say “db4690 is such a loser. He actually needs those safety features. Obviously, he’s not much of a driver” . . . fine. I’m all grown up now. I can take it
The traction control will add nothing to the operating cost and even if you turn it off every time you start your car it will be in action. Leave it on and it just might be that small edge you need to say ( Damn that was close to a disaster ).
I’m not sure it’s been around or perhaps commonplace enough for its true benefits and/or weaknesses to become known. Not enough real world data yet.
I cannot see any reason why turning it off should save money. It doesn’t provide any additional load on the engine or drivetrain except in the rare circumstance where it’s reacting to a traction loss, and that should be only for momentary timeframes and not often in normal daily driving. Except perhaps in Barrow Point Alaska.
Its just reverse ABS. It doesn’t do anything until a wheel slips. I’m with ASE though and would leave it off on my own if I didn’t have to turn it off every time you start the car, so it just stays on. I really don’t care for it in snow though. I can maintain better control without it. When taking off from a stop with it, it can cause the front end to slide a little because of the braking. Without it, I’d just feather the throttle a little to reduce spin. Its especially irritating going up a snowy hill if it goes off and causes the front end to head for the curb. You let up on the throttle and lose momentum, so I just am not fond of it.
I’ll echo the comments about the main reason for turning it off being snow. If you need to get up a steep snowy hill, with the traction control on, you might lose too much overall momentum due to the power reduction to the slipping wheels. With the traction control off, you can usually find a speed where the wheels will be slipping but also steadily chewing their way through the snow, allowing you to make it up the hill, although you’ll have to make some quick steering adjustments to keep the car going straight and staying in your lane.
My wife’s Mazda 3 has traction control and it’s on all the time. The only time it functions is when she’s on a slippery surface and presses the gas a little too hard you can then feel it kick in. This has only happened a dozen times or so in the last 3 years. I expect the system to last a very long time. There is no reason to turn it off, unless you are a PERFECT DRIVER.
I’m no “perfect driver” but I AM one hell of a lot better in the snow than any traction control I’ve ever encountered. Seriously, T/C is mediocre at best in snow–hardly takes Barney Oldfield to better it!
Thanks for the comments so far. Since it appears there are no negatives except for fairly rare circumstance when it might be a hindrance, I’ll leave it on. It has engaged once already – going up a snow covered hill. While I can’t really tell if it helped, at least it didn’t stop me from getting to the top.
if someone wants to take advantage of a loss of traction when driving, as race car drivers do, then traction control is a hinderance. Otherwise, it seems to me it is a net plus.
I dunno, it just seems to me its the delay in when it activates and how long it takes to deactivate again. You’re going up a snowy hill and it activates. You let up on the gas but by the time it deactivates you have lost too much momentum and its hard to keep moving along. If you don’t let up on the gas when it activates, it will drive you right to the side of the road. On the other hand, if you don’t use it, you can immediately react to a loss of traction and feather your acceleration. Seems like especially making a turn from a stop on a slippery road, if you just let it do its thing it will drive you right to the side of the road. Sometimes you just need to react faster than the computer seems to.
I guess its no big deal either way and its usually on all the time. Maybe I’ll experiment a little this winter if we get any more snow.
If you do, let us know how you make out. I’ve never driven traction control, but I’ve wondered how well it actually works on the road.
You let up on the gas but by the time it deactivates you have lost too much momentum and its hard to keep moving along.
If you find yourself in this situation, then turn it off. That’s why they provided the button to do that.
No cost to running traction control all the time, none.
Traction control has been reasonably common for 20 years in various forms. Some adjust the engine (reduce spark advance and restrict rpm) only, some use the ABS unit to apply the brake to the spinning wheel, some even modify the transfer case and differential to spread torque around to the wheel with traction.
Some cars have various traction control settings based on a “snow” switch for the transmission and for “competition” modes for very spirited driving. Most, these days, have an “off” button that resets to “on” every time you start the car.
Leave it On and drive. The only time to turn it off is if you are stuck in mud, sand or snow and want to try something else to get yourself out.
It really depends on the car. My personal car’s traction control is excellent in that it almost never engages even when I drive spiritedly. But when it does engage, usually going around a corner on ice, it works very well.
Several years back we had a fleet of the previous generation of Ford Escapes at work, and I turned traction control off on those every time I drove them. If I went around a corner in the summer, and there was a little gravel that made the car slide very slightly (you didn’t even notice as a driver), the traction control would slam on the brakes and lock all 4 wheels. Dangerous as hell, and I’m amazed Ford never recalled it (or, more precisely, would be amazed if Ford didn’t have a long history of ignored safety problems).
So, if your TCS works properly it should be left on all the time except when you’re stuck in the snow and need to stop the car from braking the wheels every time they slip a little bit. If your TCS sucks like our work fleet’s did, it should be off all the time.
I leave it on for the most part. The only times I turn it off, is when I foresee myself driving in a manner where wheelspin would be advantageous, like getting going whilst on ice/snow, or performing a sweet burnout. I also turn it off for track work.
Well it took a little to find the off button but went to the hardware store and turned the traction control off. Then tried to find a few slippery spots to try it out. With it off when the drive wheels slipped, the car continued going straight no matter how hard I accelerated. When its on, the car veers to the right when the wheels slip. Don’t know why, don’t care, but it seems like it is worthless in low traction conditions. Its just a hassle shutting it off all the time. Maybe we’ll get some more snow and I can have some more fun with it.
Interesting results. I appreciate the post.