Runaway Traction Control

Last winter we had a surprise snowstorm. I had not yet changed to snow tires on my 2002 Honda Accord V-6. I got stuck behind a snowplow on a steep hill. When the snowplow finally moved out of the way, I tried to proceed but could get no traction. There was now a solid line of cars behind me, so I did the unthinkable - I had to floor the accelerator and start creeping ahead as the tires got down to the bare pavement. All of a sudden, the car seemed to go crazy, swerving from left to right and not being able to go over 2-3 mph. I fought the steering wheel trying to maintain control. Finally I reached the top of the hill and paused at a red light. When I tried to proceed, I kept swerving and could not go more than 2-3 mph, holding up a line of traffic so I turned off the road into a parking lot and shut off the ignition, calling my wife on the cell phone and wondering what permanent damage I had done to the car. When she failed to show, I decided to try my luck around the parking lot which was being plowed and the car was now behaving normally. At no time did I ever turn on the traction control - it went on by itself and off by itself - so your recent newspaper article on traction control was wrong. “Things left off a car can’t give trouble”. Traction control sucks big time. Do you agree? PS - my other car is a 1971 TR-6 and I’ve owned and restored 3 MG-TDs ad a Fiat Spider…

PD Plotnick

Traction control can cause issues in certain conditions. That is why they typically have a defeat button on your dashboard somewhere.

You have a poor deep snow car and should have stayed behind the plow… Shutting off trac control only prevents throttle shut down, not abs aided trac control application. To do what you did, at least with my car, would over heat the brakes and cause a complete shut down. This for me then means no abs or abs traction aided. The car would then spin uncontrolably with heavy throttle application on snow and ice.

You were asking a car to do what it was not capable. Traction control, especially without snow tires is not a miracle worker. Get it looked at and read and heed your owner’s manual or get an awd car if you want to fly up hills in snow. Without snow tires, your car is a poor “snowmobile”. That it “went crazy” means you had no traction control and fronts spinning out of control made you loose steerage. Spinning to pavement is a sure way of brutalizing your drive train, tires and control. Next time, stay behind snow plow. Your car was floating with it’s low clearance and crappy tires…,guaranteed.

Don’t blame the traction control…blame the loss of it , floating and your poor decision making.