The traction control light on and no acceleration in your car can indicate several problems including a damaged/dirty throttle body, a broken wheel speed sensor, a defective steering angle sensor, programming issues with the ECM, and faulty crankshaft sensor. The dirty throttle body needs to be cleaned properly and the damaged components need to be replaced.
The two issues are traction control light on and no acceleration in your car can be caused by one single reason. However, sometimes two different reasons can also cause these two issues. To find out what’s wrong with your car, keep reading.
Does Traction Control Affect Acceleration?
Yes, the traction control affects acceleration. To improve the traction of the car, the traction control sometimes applies brakes or reduces power to the wheels. As a result, the acceleration can get slower.
For this reason, you will have less control over the acceleration when traction control is activated.
If the traction control light blinks when you are trying to accelerate, it means the system is active and provides stability to your car.
It happens especially on slippery roads or when trying to drive faster with high acceleration. The traction control engages in order to control the power distribution on the wheels. As a result, you can face slow acceleration with your car.
However, if the traction control system is functioning okay, you should not have a “no acceleration” problem.
What Causes Traction Control Light On & No Acceleration?
If the traction control is on and you are getting no acceleration, it means the traction control module is facing some issues. Let’s discuss these issues in detail.
Reason 1: Throttle Body Issue
The car’s throttle body controls how much air goes into your engine. While accelerating, more air needs to be passed through the throttle body to the engine, so that the engine could burn more fuel.
If the throttle body is stuck with dirt or damaged, it can’t pass enough air to the engine as it should. As a result, you will face no acceleration.
The traction control detects when the throttle body input and the power of the engine mismatch and cause the traction control light to turn on. In this situation, the electronic throttle control ETC light will also stay on and sometimes the check engine light will also be lit.
The throttle body needs to be inspected. If it is stuck, it requires thorough cleaning.
Let’s discuss how to clean the throttle body in your car.
- Eye protection and rubber gloves
- Torx screwdrivers/socket wrenches (depending on your car’s model, the throttle body fastener requires different tools)
- Small brush
- Throttle-body cleaner
- Cotton swabs
- Household oil
Step 1: Preparation
You need to park the car in a spacious area so that you can work on both sides of the car. Wear your protective gloves and eyewear before starting cleaning the throttle body. Also, disconnect the negative terminal of the battery to be safe from electrical hazards.
Step 2: Locate the Throttle Body
The throttle body in a car is usually located between the engine’s intake manifold and the air cleaner. Depending on the model of your car, the location can vary. Check your owner’s manual to find the exact location.
Step 3: Get Access To The Throttle Body
There should be some small hoses and an air duct attached to the throttle body. You have to remove them to reach the throttle body. Mark the hoses against their platform before removing them. This will help you reconnect them to the right place.
Depending on your car’s model, some clamps or other fasteners should secure the air duct onto the position. Remove those fasteners using compatible wrenches.
Step 4: Clean The Throttle Body
Once you reach the throttle body, spray enough cleaner to cover the whole corroded or dirty area. Use the brush to rub away stubborn dirt and corrosion. Wipe everything with a washcloth.
Step 5: Apply Oil And Clean Up
Apply a drop of household oil on the throttle shaft with a cotton swab. Make sure not to overdo it. Check if there is any residue of the cleaner in the surrounding components. Wipe them off with a washcloth if found.
Step 6: Assemble Everything
Once you are done cleaning, assemble everything in the reverse way you had removed them. Reconnect the battery.
Step 6: Test Drive
Idle your car for a couple of minutes then go for a test drive. Now your car should accelerate properly.
If the throttle body is corroded beyond cleaning or broken, it needs to be replaced. Sometimes, even after replacing the throttle body, the car might have difficulty in acceleration. In that case, you have to relearn the electronic throttle control ETC. The following video will help you with the throttle body replacement and relearning the ETC procedure.
Reason 2: Defective Steering Angle Sensor
When the steering angle sensor is defective it sends the wrong signal to the engine control module ECM. As a result, the traction control will detect something is wrong and will restrict the power flow to the tire needed for acceleration.
If the steering angle sensor is the culprit for your car’s no acceleration problem, you will also notice the following symptoms.
- The check engine light will be on
- Electronic power steering/steering warning lights will stay on
- You will face difficulty turning the steering wheel
- After a wheel alignment, the steering will be different
You have to replace the faulty steering angle sensor. The sensor is located in the steering column. Unbolt the sensor and install a new one.
The steering angle sensor replacement procedure is discussed in detail in this article traction control light and ABS light turn on.
This article also discussed reasons for the traction control light to stay and no acceleration. For example, a broken wheel speed sensor, a problem with the steering rack, and a traction control programming error. Follow the step-by-step guidelines discussed in detail to solve the acceleration problem.
This article also covers other causes for the traction control light coming on, including faulty switches and broken yaw rate sensors.
Now, let’s discuss the other reasons behind the traction control light on no acceleration.
Reason 3: Broken Wheel Speed Sensor
Similar to the steering angle sensor problem, a broken wheel speed sensor will also send wrong information to the ECM. As a result, the traction control won’t work properly and will also restrict power to the wheels needed for acceleration.
Identify which wheel speed sensor is faulty, and replace it. This video might help with the process.
Or, you can follow the article on traction control lights mentioned above.
Reason 4: Crankshaft Position Sensor Issue
The crankshaft position sensor provides ECU with information on when to fire the spark plug. If the crankshaft position sensor is broken, it sends the wrong information to the ECU and the combustion timing will be desynchronized.
As a result, the tire won’t get enough power needed from the engine while accelerating and the traction control will also face problems functioning properly. If the crankshaft position sensor is the issue, you will notice the following symptoms as well.
- The check engine light will be on
- The car will be hard to start or stall.
- There will be poor fuel economy.
- The engine will run rough and will occasionally misfire
You have to replace the broken crankshaft position sensor to solve the no acceleration and traction control light issue. Here’s a process for replacing the crankshaft position sensor.
Step 1: Remove the negative cable from the car battery.
Step 2: Locate the traction position sensor. In modern cars the sensor is usually between the engine and the transmission.
Step 3: Carefully remove the wires connecting to the sensor.
Step 4: Remove the bolt with an adjustable socket wrench that is securing the sensor in place.
Step 5: Take out the old sensor.
Step 6: Set the new crankshaft position sensor in place.
Step 7: Secure the sensor by tightening the bolt. Reconnect all the wiring.
Summary:Stuck or damaged throttle body, defective steering angle sensor, broken wheel speed sensor, faulty steering rack, and programming error can cause the traction control light on no acceleration issue.
What Other Reason Can Cause No Acceleration?
After addressing the problem with traction control and fixing it accordingly that should turn the traction control warning light off.
But, if the “no acceleration” problem was happening for different reasons other than the traction control problem, that means, it can be possible that the traction control light is on, and the no acceleration in your car was happening for independent reasons.
Here are some other reasons that can cause no acceleration in your car.
Clogged Fuel Filter
If the fuel filter is clogged, it can limit the amount of fuel reaching the engine, causing a decrease in power and acceleration. Inspect and if found clogged, replace the fuel filter.
Clogged Air Filter
A clogged air filter limits enough fresh air from reaching the engine. It results in an imbalance of air-fuel mixture and no acceleration. A clogged air filter needs to be replaced.
Clogged Mass Air Flow Sensor
If the mass air flow sensor of your car is clogged, it won’t be able to measure the amount of air flowing into the engine accurately. The incorrect fuel amount delivered to the engine can cause no acceleration.
Check the mass air flow sensor of your car and if found dirty and clogged, clean it with the mass flow sensor cleaner.
Broken Spark Plugs
Broken spark plugs can no longer provide the spark needed to ignite the air-fuel mixture in the combustion chamber. This can lead to no acceleration.
Check and replace the spark plugs if they are found to be broken.
Faulty Oxygen Sensor
If the oxygen sensor is faulty, it can’t measure the accurate oxygen level needed for the combustion process, resulting in no acceleration. A broken oxygen sensor needs to be replaced to solve the acceleration issue.
Throttle Position Sensor TPS Malfunction
If the TPS is not working it can’t regulate the air/fuel mixture and causes no acceleration. You have to Replace this sensor to ensure proper acceleration.
Faulty Timing Belt
If the timing belt is worn out, torn, misadjusted, or misaligned, it will hamper the synchronization of the movement of engine valves and pistons. And it can lead to no acceleration problem.
Inspect the timing belt and if required, replace it with proper alignment and tension.
Fixing these issues should solve the “no acceleration” problem of your car.
Can ABS Light Cause Acceleration Problems?
No, the ABS light being on, will not cause any acceleration problems. The ABS is responsible for preventing the wheels from locking up when the brakes are applied hard. It doesn’t affect any engine performance. So if your ABS light is on and you are having acceleration problems, there should be different reasons behind them.
Does Turning Off Traction Control Improve Acceleration?
Yes, turning off acceleration can improve acceleration. TCS limits the engine output by applying brakes to certain wheels. As a result, the acceleration of the car goes slower. By turning off the traction control, the driver can potentially increase the engine’s power output and allow the wheels to spin more freely, which can make acceleration faster.
Is It Safe To Drive With Traction Control Light On?
If the traction control light is blinking when you are on a slippery road, it is safe to drive the car. If the car stays on, it indicates a problem with the traction control system that can include a malfunctioning sensor or a faulty module. if you are driving on a normal road, it is safe to drive this way, however, if you are on a slippery road, it’s not safe to drive with the traction control light on.
That’s all about traction control light on no acceleration discussion. If you are facing any of these two issues, take immediate action as driving with these problems might cause an accident.
If you don’t have prior experience with repairing cars, take the car to a mechanic.
That’s all for now. Hope you have a great day.