- What Causes The Traction Control Light And Loss Of Power In Jeeps?
Jeeps are known for their rugged reliability and iconic look. But like any other car, they can have their fair share of problems.
One common issue with Jeeps is an illuminated Traction Control Light and loss of power when accelerating.
If your Jeep’s traction control light is flashing and you’re getting a loss of power, it’s likely because of the transmission fluid. The fluid can get very hot at times.
However, there is still a chance that the problem is something else, so let’s carefully walk through how to figure out what’s going on.
The traction control system helps limit tire slip in acceleration on slippery surfaces.
So, the Jeep traction control light comes on whenever a sensor identifies that the vehicle is losing traction.
The system will then apply the brakes to one or more wheels and reduce engine power to prevent excessive wheel spin.
It may cause a loss of power as the system works to stabilize the truck.
What Causes The Traction Control Light And Loss Of Power In Jeeps?
There are a few different reasons you may have blinking or continuously illuminated Traction Control Light and loss of power.
Here are some of these reasons and their possible solutions.
Problem With The Electronic Throttle Control System (ETC)
The ETC system consists of three major components.
A gas pedal position sensor (accelerator pedal module) an electric motor (Throttle Actuator Control Motor) control the throttle valve.
The ETC also has a throttle position sensor (TPS). These sensors gather data from their respective areas of the vehicle and relay that data back to the computer.
The computer then calculates how much power you’re demanding.
If a malfunction occurs in any part of this circuit, the computer sends an appropriate signal whether the malfunction was short or open in any sensor ground circuits.
When the Jeep’s computer detects an issue with this system, it causes an illuminated Traction Control Light and loss of power.
The loss of power means the computer won’t be able to control the fuel mixture properly. It will result in a lack of power when you press on the gas pedal.
If you have a stock engine and drivetrain meant for highway driving, this may not be noticeable at lower speeds.
However, if you have a heavily modified off-road vehicle with larger tires, this may be a huge problem.
Here are a few solutions you can follow to fix the electronic throttle control system:
- Diagnose and replace the faulty throttle actuator as necessary.
- Disconnect the battery for 5 – 30 minutes. Then hold the brake or accelerator pedal to the floor while reconnecting the battery. It will reset the Jeep.
- Check for any broken wires from the throttle body harness connector and replace them with new ones. Or better replace the throttle body.
One Or More Tires Slower Speed (Slower Than The Others)
When the traction control light comes on, your Jeep’s computer system detects slower tire speed.
It could mean spinning out on the icy ground or simply moving too fast around a corner.
Either way, the sensors that detect this movement trigger the traction control system to kick in.
Many things, like worn tires, can also cause it or if mud or snow is covering the tires.
The difference in tire speeds can also be because of communication between the rear and front axles.
So the speed sensors in your vehicle monitor all four tires. If one or more tires are slower than the others, the Traction Control Light comes on.
The computer then loses its ability to control the traction. It causes the loss of power because the computer cannot direct the needed fuel to inject into the engine.
Check your tires first to see if they are correctly inflated. Tire pressure can affect how fast your vehicle accelerates.
So check the tire inflation numbers in your owner’s manual to see if any of your tires are low. It can also be a loose wheel or worn tire that needs replacement.
If all of your tires appear to be correctly inflated, try driving slowly and carefully on a clear road.
It will help you feel whether one tire is dragging more than the others while accelerating.
Have an expert mechanic diagnose the loss of power issue and replace any needed parts.
Damaged Antilock Brake System (ABS) Module
Over time, the circuit board in the ABS module can develop cracks because of vibration or other issues.
Most of the time, it often results from reckless driving, such as hitting bumps or potholes at high speed.
It causes damage to the ABS module, thus affecting its ability to communicate correctly to other modules in the vehicle.
So when the ABS is not communicating, traction will not work, thus illuminating the traction light.
These symptoms are often misdiagnosed as faulty spark plugs, dirty fuel injectors, and failed catalytic converters.
The root cause of these symptoms is a damaged ABS module.
You need an expert mechanic to look at the ABS module to fix this. If possible, repair it or replace the whole module.
Worn Out Brake Pads
When your Jeep’s brake pads are worn out, the brake pad sensor rubs against the brake disc.
The sensor sends a signal to turn on your Traction Control Light letting you know the pads are worn out.
The signal is also sent to your Jeep’s computer and causes a loss of power to prevent further damage to the pads and rotors.
The computer does this by cutting fuel or power to one or more of your cylinders.
It would be best to replace the worn-out brake pads, and your Jeep will be back to regular running.
If the issue persists after the replacement, the chances are high that there might be other problems noted here.
Failed Wheel Speed Sensor
A failed wheel speed sensor can’t send the correct information to the computer. So, the computer will then think that one or both tires are spinning.
The computer, therefore, cuts down on engine power to reduce this problem.
The best solution for this problem is to replace the failed sensor.
However, if you are unsure which sensor failed, the computer always gives a specific error code depending on the problem.
So you’ll need expert personnel to interpret the code for you.
Failed Steering Angle Sensor
The steering angle sensor monitors how much steering input you have and sends this information to the computer.
The computer then adjusts traction and torque stability control accordingly. If this sensor fails, it could affect your Jeep’s performance when you turn left or right.
The steering angle sensor will fail due to corrosion building upon the clock spring terminals—the corrosion forms on the terminals due to moisture and road salt getting into the clock spring area.
So with misguided info, the computer won’t make it to control the power flowing to the engine effectively.
It will therefore assume your tires are slipping and cutting the power.
It can’t always be reset because the steering angle sensor works, and replacement may be your only option.
The sensor is located on the steering column, just below the steering wheel. If you need to replace it, it is best to buy a new one from a trusted vendor.
The traction control light alerts that a malfunction has occurred in the traction control system.
The TCM monitor is designed to give you a warning light before anything happens.
That should give you the time to reduce vehicle speed and safely pull over to service the problem. The loss of power may be due to any issue with the transmission.
The above problems and solutions should guide you in finding the problem and solving it right away.
With comprehensive experience in writing exceptional quality articles and blogs about cars and related stuff, Daniel is one of the finest bloggers and a hardcore car lover we have. He is an ASE certified technician with an across-the-board experience of 10 years in the industry. He could not help tinkering with anything he got his hands on from a young age, which led to his remarkable career in the automotive repair industry.
When he is not under any hood, you can find him on the water or in the woods to pursue his passion for hunting and fishing. He has been writing for multiple sectors and is a regular contributor to several publications.
He currently owns a Nissan 300ZX TT and a Pearl Yellow but plans to upgrade it to 550 HP. His favorites include the Koenigsegg CCX and Lamborghini Diablo 6.0 VT, but for him, the Ferrari 360 Spider is one of the sexiest cars that exists to date.
Being an avid world traveler, he has spent most of his time analyzing the automotive markets, latest technology, and local favorites to enhance his knowledge base. He is currently living in North Caroline, where it’s all about food and coffee and, of course, cars.