Traction active

My 2003 Yukon Denali with 60,000 miles is acting funny. When starting from a dead stop, it sometimes loses all power and the message “TRACTION ACTIVE” shows up on the instrument panel where the odometer and other data are usually displayed. The dealer is baffled. They found no codes. If I take my foot off the accelerator the message disappears and I have power again. It only happens occasionally, but is becoming more frequent.


Sounds like the traction control is kicking in. It could be malfunctioning somehow, but is it possible that you’re using too much gas and would be spinning the tires if the traction control weren’t kicking in? It might not require too much ooomphf if your tires are in poor condition.

You can usually turn off the traction control by pushing a button or putting the transmission in 2 or 1.

I think the tires are OK, but I’ll see what happens if I try to give it less gas when first starting up. Probably a good idea anyway, though I don’t think I’m doing jackrabbit starts.



Same thing with my 02 Impala. No one can figure it out. GM claims they’ve never heard of it.

This is getting to be a typical GM type problem. They probably count on HR to weed out the unqualified engineering applicants and code writers who apply for jobs. HR knows labor regulations and they can type. Some day, car companies will stop putting computers on everything. If the government will allow it. I think that traction control is mandated now or will be soon.

When your traction control actives, besides applying braking power to one or more wheels, it also cuts your engine’s power in order to reduce wheel spin–hence the feeling that the engine has lost power. Essentially, it sounds like the traction control system is just doing what it is supposed to do, given a specific set of conditions.

So, even though you don’t think that you are doing jackrabbit starts, it really sounds to me like you just need to apply less pressure to the gas pedal when starting away from a full stop. It could just be as simple as that.

And, as others stated, there is undoubtedly a button somewhere on the dashboard to deactivate the traction control. It sounds like a thorough reading of your Owner’s Manual is the next step here.

Oh Right, trust me, it’s been done…there are no “jackrabbit starts” and we are talking dry pavement here. The GM people can’t or won’t figure it out. Now, every so often we get the message “service traction system” and the ABS light comes on, the Traction Active light comes on and then after turning off the engine it goes back to normal. You sound like the guys at the dealership and the GM corporate office.

Can you deactivate the trac control with a lock up feature or is it full time AWD with no low range. Low range or diff lock up on some models should deactivate it if no button is present as stated…allowing you to see a difference. Otherwise, sounds like it’s not working properly and they are skewing you.

Because the ABS and the TCS work together, you MAY have a faulty ABS wheel sensor. Even a loose wire here can set of the message.

Maybe try a different dealership. (in a different town) IF the vehicle is still under warranty.

DON’T TELL them what went on previously, just tell them the message lights up periodically and see what they do. Otherwise find a reputable independent shop.

Good idea. I would try a GM dealership that has as many other dealerships as possible. Our Buick is also a Toyota. I’ve had fewer problems with foreign car (Honda/Toyota) not on top of things than GM…around here they run a tighter ship.

Yes, I will call an independent shop that specializes in electronics. This appears to be a widespread problem that GM does not want to address. Otherwise this car is great.

My Hummer H2 is having the exact problem. I had 3 different places do a diagnostic check and a repair shop said it was the front wheel hubs. The dealership took 2 days to give me a response but they said the exact thing. And the other mechanic was just completely off. So I have learned that sometimes it’s best to have your vehicle checked out by at least 2 different places. Hope this helps you. :slightly_smiling_face:

Ten years later?
I seriously doubt if this will help the OP after the passage of more than a decade.


I have a 2005 Yukon Denali 75,000 miles and this same problem started about five months ago. The Traction Active goes on during acceleration between 20-30 mph about 5% of the time when starting from a complete stop, seems to happen more frequently in warm (80+F) weather. SUV looses power just as RichardA wrote. I’ve gotten into habit of turning traction control off during city driving. GMC dealer has not been able to determine what is going wrong; I plan on showing them some of the comments from this post next time it’s in for oil change.

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Likely you are slipping the tires on painted traffic lines and the traction control steps in.


I had a similar experience in 2013 with my 2010 Kia Forte SX, 6 speed M/T. About 20,000 miles with no problems. I was negotiating a curve which I had done previously countless times going both ways. Traction/ Stability/Control (TSC) was engaged. My normal speed for this curve was 30mph/3rd gear. I was actually 25mph/3rd gear. When I applied a bit of throttle while exiting the curve and the TSC for some reason engaged! Dry pavement with no paint stripes and no tire spin. No codes or any explanation at the dealership. Unless I drive in snow or ice (not very likely. I stay home.) I turn TSC off.

Maybe 20k on the tires hardened them up a bit and we pavement made them slip enouhht to trigger trzction control. Some of those systems as very conservative in their setting. Combine the 2 and TCS is active!

I leave the Mustang’s on… Images of Cars and Coffee crashes! :grin:

Hello Everyone,

I am also having problems with the Traction Active. I have a 2006 Chevrolet Suburban 4 x 4 with 120,000 miles. After every stop and when applying speed my vehicle stops for a bit and on the dashboard the “TRACTION ACTIVE” appears and goes away. When this happens there is a weird vibration and sound and I have to stop accelerating and after stepping on the brake then it goes away. I have taken it to several repair shops and they have no clue what is going on. I bought the vehicle in DEC. 2016, so almost have 3 years with this vehicle. The problem started after 1 year later when I replaced the brakes, ball joints, and tires on the vehicle.

If anyone does find the solution to this problem, I would appreciate any feedback in how to fix this problem. Its been frustrating since no one knows what I am talking about and am glad to see that other people are talking about the problem I have. (Thought I was the only one :frowning: ) Thank you all and hope you have a great day!

Sorry. I turned TCS off when negotiating that turn or another one that’s nearly identical. It could very well have been a tire problem. The OEM ‘Goodyear Eagles’ were a surprising disappointment. Since switching to my preferred Toyos I have left TSC on with no problems.

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I’d suggest you have a damaged wheel speed sensor or a failing wheel bearing itself. The wobble can cause a false ABS or TCS trigger. A tech with a scan tool should be able to capture the error and identify which one… unless on of the front wheel bearings is obviously wobbly.