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Are you experiencing problems with your vehicle’s check engine and trac off light? Do you wonder why the trac off light is on even when you haven’t manually turned it on yourself?
Trac off light is a safety feature in your vehicle that indicates turning off the traction control system, thus the name trac off.
If you ever see the trac off light suddenly turning on, it could happen for numerous reasons. For instance, you might have accidentally turned off the traction control system of your vehicle.
ABS and computer malfunctioning, problems with the wheel speed sensor, faulty ignition coil, and dirty sensors could also be some factors leading to the turning on of the check engine and trac off light.
If this is your first time seeing the check engine and trac off light of your vehicle turning on without prior notice and you are clueless on what to do, we have you covered.
We have put together a detailed guide for you highlighting some of the main reasons causing the turning on of trac off and check engine light. We will also take you through a couple of fixes you can try to fix this problem.
What Do Check Engine and Trac Off Light Mean?
Before moving towards the reasons and fixes for turning on of check engine and trac off lights, let us first explain before you the meaning of these terms.
As far as the Trac Off light is concerned, as mentioned above, it indicates that the Traction Control System of your vehicle has turned off.
If you don’t already know, the traction control system or ASR of a vehicle is a detection system in your vehicle that keeps an eye on your vehicle’s wheels and takes necessary action if the wheels lose grip on the road.
The Trac off light looks different on different vehicles depending on their model. Generally, you will see the letters TRAC OFF inscribed somewhere on your vehicle’s dashboard.
On some vehicles, an icon with a car and some lines bending in the opposite direction as the car’s tires will appear on its dashboard.
Though at times, the trac off light might turn on when you manually turn off the car’s system. If you haven’t done that, the problem could be with your car’s traction control.
Similarly, any malfunctioning with your car’s functioning could affect the engine’s functioning, leading to the turning off the check engine light. This is a signal on the vehicle that most users are afraid of.
Like the trac off light, you can also find the check engine light of your vehicle on the dashboard, and it usually appears with the “CHECK ENGINE” letters inscribed there. A “small engine” icon could also indicate the check engine sign.
Reasons for the Check Engine and Trac off Light On
Figuring out vehicle problems has always been a big deal for users. Fortunately, modern-day vehicles are pretty durable, and you rarely encounter any issues with them. But if you ever face the problems like turning on the trac off light and check engine light without any apparent reason, this is nothing to panic about.
There could be multiple reasons leading to this issue. So, before moving towards the solutions part, let us take you through the leading causes of the check engine and trac off light turning on issue.
One of the primary causes for the problem where your vehicle’s trac off light suddenly turns on is the poor condition of the road you move your vehicle on. If you are driving your vehicle on a slippery road or there are too many pitfalls on your way, the trac off light can turn on randomly.
Another thing causing the sudden turning off of the check engine and trac off light is the missing or loose gas cap. If the fuel cap of your car goes missing, it leads to the evaporation of fuel vapors. This eventually affects the engine’s performance and turns on the check engine light of your vehicle.
If the ignition coils of your car are in bad condition and have worn out over time, they can also cause the trac off or check engine lights of your vehicles to turn on. If you don’t already know, ignition coils are used to ignite the engine’s fuel.
These coils lie next to the spark plugs on your vehicle. Any malfunctioning or damage to the ignition coils can prevent your car’s engine from starting, ultimately turning on the check engine light.
Let us give you an in-depth look into all the causes of turning on of both trac off and check engine light in detail and figure out what you can do in such situations.
1. Problems with the Car Brakes
One of the main reasons you are experiencing this issue is the problem with your car’s brakes. The sensors that are mainly concerned with turning on and off the trac off light of your vehicle lie just next to your car’s brakes.
This is why there is a high chance that you might have accidentally turned on the light while applying the brakes. Similarly, if you have recently replaced your car’s brakes, the new ones might not be compatible with your vehicle, leading to the sudden turning on of the trac off light.
2. Turning Off the Traction Control System
All vehicles come with a switch that controls the traction system of it. This switch can be controlled manually and automatically. If you have accidentally turned off the switch, this could affect the traction system of the car and might disable other related functionalities.
This also leads to the turning on of the trac off light. Another thing that could cause this problem is the faulty switch for the traction control system. Due to dirt or some other internal damage, the switch might turn off on its own, eventually turning on the trac off light.
3. Problematic Wheel Speed Sensors
Another thing that can lead to the switching on of the trac off light of your vehicle is the problem with the wheel speed sensors of your car. As mentioned earlier, a problem with the traction control system, i.e., its turning off, can cause the issue.
All vehicles have speed sensors that check the car’s speed, and a reading appears on the speedometer. These sensors are also responsible for controlling the traction system of your car.
If you haven’t been careful about the maintenance of these sensors lately, leading to their malfunctioning, this could affect the traction control system’s functioning, and you might see the trac off and check engine lights of your car turning on out of nowhere.
4. Issues with the Wires
The traction control system on vehicles is a lot like a computer system where different components are connected through wires. Any problem with the wires or damage of any kind affects the functioning of the whole system.
If there is any fault in the pathways of different components, just like wires are cut off, or there are loose wires, it may cause problems that make the trac off light to stay on.
5. Bad Road Conditions
If you are driving on a slippery road or with many pitfalls, it may cause the car’s traction to misjudge the situation and alarms the user by blinking the trac off light.
This doesn’t happen because of a problem with your car and is pretty normal. Once you reach a well-surfaced road, the issue will be fixed.
6. Steering Rack System Problems
While driving, pumping hydraulic fluid into your vehicle’s steering rack helps efficiently turn the wheels. Even if you are a noob, you would know that the steering plays the most crucial role in maintaining the wheels’ traction.
Similarly, modern-day vehicles come equipped with multiple sensors that detect wheels’ traction. If any of these sensors malfunction, you won’t get the right readings of the wheels’ traction or, in turn, the traction control system of your car.
In such cases, the traction control system goes off on its own, turning on the trac off light.
6. Broken ECU
ECU, or Electronic Control Unit, is the car’s engine management system that controls its entire control system. If the ECU of your car breaks or gets damaged, this will turn on the trac off light.
7. ABS Malfunction
Another reason why the trac off light of your vehicle has suddenly turned on is the malfunctioning of the ABS of your vehicle. The ABS or anti-lock braking system significantly influences the car’s traction control.
If the anti-lock braking system isn’t working rightly, this could affect the way your vehicle’s wheels move on the road. Similarly, if the ABS control module of your car is broken or damaged, this could also push the Trac off light to turn on.
8. Computer Problems
As mentioned earlier, modern-day vehicles are less likely to encounter system problems. It happens because they are equipped with a wide range of computers, each specified to control certain tasks.
However, if the computer system for your vehicle fails to function or breaks down, it will turn off the traction control system, eventually turning on the trac off light.
9. Broken Brake Light Switch
Another thing that could cause the trac off light to turn on is the damaged or broken brake light switch. As evident from the name, this switch turns on when you apply brakes. But if this switch is broken, pressing the brake pedals could turn on the trac off light as this could switch off the traction control system.
Why Does the Check Engine Light Turn On?
Like the trac off light, facing problems with the check engine lights of the vehicles is another prevalent problem. Now that you have understood the main reasons for trac off light turning on abruptly might as well go through some of the system problems that turn on the check engine light of your car.
1. Catalytic Converter
The primary reason for the sudden turning on of the check engine light is a problem with your car’s catalytic converter. Frankly, this is one issue you won’t want to encounter as it will require you to replace the catalytic converter, which costs a lot.
If you sense a rotten-egg-like smell in your car as soon as the check engine light turns on, rest assured that you have to lighten up your bank balance now.
2. Open or Loose Gas Cap
This is one of the main reasons for this issue. If you haven’t tightened the gas cap perfectly after your last gas filling session, this could potentially harm the engine’s working, which is why you will receive a warning to check your engine via the check engine light.
3. Issues with Sensors
Any problem with your vehicle’s mass air flow sensor and oxygen sensors could also lead to the check engine light turning on.
As far as the airflow sensor is concerned, it keeps an eye on the quantity of air getting mixed into the fuel. But if this engine fails to work correctly, the check engine light will turn on, indicating that you must check the air entering your car’s engine.
Similarly, a faulty oxygen sensor will also instigate an engine warning via the check engine light compelling you to keep an eye on the unburned oxygen in the car’s exhaust.
- Additionally, any problem with your car’s ignition system or the spark plugs also calls for an engine check, which is why the check engine light suddenly turns on.
How To Fix The Check Engine and Trac off Light On?
Now that you know the main reasons leading to this problem, it’s time to move towards the fixes part.
1. Turn On the Traction Control System’s Switch
The first thing you can do to get yourself out of this problem is to turn on the traction control system’s switch. As mentioned earlier, this is one of the primary reasons for you to see the trac off light of your vehicle turning on suddenly.
Thankfully, the switch for the traction control system can be controlled manually. So, all you have to do to fix this problem is to turn on the switch, and your trac off light will go off on its own.
2. Restart the Vehicle
This is the most straightforward fix you can try to turn off the trac off and check engine light of your car. If you have already checked your vehicle for all the issues we have explained above causing the problem, but the trac off light is still on, try a simple car restart.
For this, turn off your vehicle first. Stay put for a few minutes and press the “Start” button to start your car once again. The trac off and check engine light will successfully turn off.
3. Update the Vehicle’s Software
As we have mentioned earlier, most modern-day vehicles rarely get into these issues. It’s because functionalities like traction control systems generally depend on the vehicles’ software these days.
Literally, any problem you might face with your car can be fixed by updating its software. So, try updating your system’s software if you can’t figure out how to turn off the trac off light and check your vehicle’s engine light.
4. Maintain Your Vehicle
The most reliable and easy fix to this problem is to keep an eye on and pay heed to your car’s maintenance. More than buying a car, its maintenance is an arduous task. Doing so will add to your vehicle’s overall durability and keep you away from different problems.
If you haven’t taken your car to a service station for a long time, this might be a cue for you to do that. In case none of the above solutions fix the problem for you, take your car to a professional.
5. Tighten or Replace the Gas Cap
As mentioned above, a damaged or loose gas cap could make the check engine light of your vehicle go on. A simple fix to this issue is to tighten the gas cap. But if you notice some damage in the cap or if it doesn’t fit anymore, consider replacing it with a new one.
6. Scan the Diagnostic Trouble Code
If none of the above methods has fixed the problem for you and you could still see the trac off and check engine lights blinking on your car’s dashboard, we would recommend you scan the diagnostic trouble code or DTC.
The DTC code is generated by the OBD system of the car and appears below the steering wheel. Use a code scanner to scan the code to understand the problem in a better way.
Once you scan the code and figure out the problem you need to look out for, forget about the lights and just focus on fixing the issue this code shows. Once the problem is fixed, the trac off and check engine lights will automatically turn off in most cases.
Should you drive when trac off light is on?
No, you should avoid driving your car if you see the trac off light is on as it’s pretty unsafe. As evident from all the reasons explained above, turning on of the trac off light indicates an issue with the traction control system. Though you could drive your car without keeping traction control in mind, this could cause accidents.
When to turn off the trac of your car?
If your vehicle is stuck in the mud or you are driving on a snowy road where it’s hard to move your car, it’s best to turn off the TRAC. This is because, in such road conditions, your car needs a lot of power to keep the wheels moving, and with the traction control on, this isn’t possible.
How to turn off the trac of your car?
You can simply turn off your car’s trac by pressing the trac off button present on the dashboard. Once you see the trac off indicator appear on the dashboard, it will indicate that the trac of your car is successfully turned off. To turn it back on, press the button again.
What do trac off and check engine lights look like?
The trac off light of your vehicle is generally shown by a car’s picture with two arrows at the bottom moving in the direction opposite to that of the wheels. Similarly, you could see the “CHECK ENGINE” icon on the dashboard for the check engine light. This could also appear as a “small engine” icon on the dashboard.
Final Words – Why Is My Check Engine and Trac off Light On?
In this guide, we have looked into the introduction of the trac off and check engine lights. We have also explored some of the main reasons for turning on the check engine and trac off light of your vehicle, along with some possible fixes you can try by yourself.
Hopefully, this guide has helped you figure out the sudden turning on of the trac off and check engine lights and will assist you in turning them off again. We tried to answer all the queries you might have regarding both of these lights.
Thanks for giving this guide a read, and don’t forget to let us know in the comments section below about the solution that fixed the problem for you!