Does Traction Control Slow You Down? [Explained]

Yes, the traction control can slow you down when your car loses traction due to sudden acceleration. Also, your car may lose traction on slippery roads resulting in slow acceleration. However, on dry and even roads, where the vehicle maintains a proper grip, the system will not impede performance. In fact, under certain circumstances, traction control enhances vehicle performance.

This is just an overview. Continue reading for detailed information.

Does Traction Control Actually Slow You Down?

Traction control can slow you down if the system detects that the wheels are slipping and it reduces engine power and applies the brake to regain traction. In most cases, this is only a temporary reduction in speed, and it can ultimately help the vehicle maintain better control and stability.

When the wheels lose traction, vehicle stability and control are compromised. Traction control enhances vehicle performance by restoring traction and stability. 


Traction control could affect acceleration in the sense that it helps to maintain stability and control of the vehicle. Conversely, in some cases, it can eventually improve performance.

How Does Traction Control Work?

A traction control system (TCS) works similarly to an antilock braking system in reverse. Both systems use sensors to detect wheel slippage, but TCS detects slippage whenever it happens during driving. This slippage can be due to sudden and high acceleration, slippery roads or even sudden sharp turns.

The ABS, however, prevents the wheel from locking up during panic braking. When it comes to how it works, traction control works by taking the following corrective measures together if it detects wheel slippage.

By reducing engine power: The TCS can decrease the amount of fuel or ignition in engine cylinders if it detects one or more wheels slipping. A TCS can also reduce engine power by closing the throttle for vehicles with electronic throttle control.

By braking individual wheels: A TCS can pulsate the brakes just like an ABS when a specific wheel needs to be slowed down. When only reducing the engine power can’t control the situation, the braking system comes into play. 

Moreover, some advanced traction control systems are able to redistribute power to the wheel with the best traction, making the best use of available traction to maximize performance. Keep in mind, as a passive system, traction control only activates when the wheels slip.


By monitoring the speed of each wheel, traction control reduced engine power and/or applies brakes to individual wheels to maintain stability if it detects slip.

Does Turning Off Traction Control Make You Go Faster?

Yes, turning off traction control can result in increased acceleration and the ability to perform maneuvers such as drifting and power sliding. Nevertheless, it reduces the vehicle’s stability and increases the risk of losing control, particularly in adverse weather conditions or on loose/slippery surfaces. 

Therefore, it is recommended to exercise caution when turning off traction control, especially if you are not an experienced and confident driver.

When to Disable Traction Control?

Despite the fact the traction control system is really handy to get a proper grip on the road, it’s not recommended to use everywhere. Following are certain situations when disabling the traction control is necessary. 

When Driving in Deep Mud and Snow

In deep mud and snow, disabling traction control is necessary to gain traction and move forward. This is because traction control can cause your vehicle to become stuck in deep mud and snow by reducing engine power.

Additionally, the traction control system applies brakes to slipping wheels when slipping in deep mud or snow. And if you don’t turn the traction control off in such types of circumstances, you won’t be able to get out of it. 

When Driving on a Race Track

On a race track, disabling traction control gives the driver more control over the vehicle’s power delivery and handling. The purpose of traction control systems is to limit wheel spin and maintain stability, but this can hinder the vehicle’s performance on a racetrack. 

By disabling the system, the driver can apply more power to the wheels, improving acceleration and handling. 

Furthermore, the driver can control the vehicle’s behavior using their own skill and experience, rather than relying on the computer. On the race track, this can result in faster lap times and improved performance.


In adverse weather conditions, traction control maximizes its effectiveness when driving at a standstill, slowing down, or driving on slippery inclines.


At What Speed Do Cars Lose Traction in Heavy Rain?

Cars lose traction at 50 mph speed in heavy rain. Nevertheless, this range may vary based on road conditions and tire conditions. It is possible to lose traction even at a lower speed if the tires are worn or the roads are bad.

Does Traction Control Use More Fuel?

No, traction control does not use more fuel based on whether you turn it off or not.  Despite having traction control on, the system only becomes active if the wheels slip. During the rest of the time, it does nothing.

How Do You Know Traction Control Is Working?

When you feel the acceleration pedal pulsate, your traction control is working. It also makes a pulsing sensation in the brake pedal as well. And consequently, the anti-lock brake system kicks into action. 


Well, we’re now at the tail of the discussion on does traction control slow you down. Hopefully, now you don’t have any confusion about the traction control mechanism. Keep in mind if you’re not an experienced driver it’s always advisable to use the traction control system for long drives. 

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William Baldwin

This Is William Baldwin, The Founder & Managing Editor of this website. Me and my team share automotive tips, tricks, and news

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Talha Atta

Talha Atta, a Mechanical Engineer and experienced technical content writer and editor at with a passion for the automotive industry.