Check Engine Light and Traction Control Light: Common Causes

Check engine light and traction control light‘s common causes include a misfire warning or a malfunctioning speed sensor.

Check Engine Light Flashing and Traction Control Light

The TC light could also come on if your TC system has any issues, such as the vehicle sensor malfunctioning. In this article, we’ll identify all the possible causes and how you can fix the issue in no time without necessarily visiting a mechanic.

Why Is Your Check Engine and Traction Control Light On?

Your check engine light and traction control lights could turn on because the TC system is turned off. Some other reasons for this problem include engine misfiring, MAF sensor failure, temporary loss of traction, and an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) malfunction.

Here is a breakdown of each possible cause of this problem.

– TC System Is Turned Off

The most common reason the TC light turns on is to alert you that the TC system is either disabled or malfunctioning. This issue usually occurs when the traction control module is faulty. When your TC system turns off, it is necessary to get a technician to fix the underlying fault. Otherwise, you may find it difficult to control your vehicle when the weather becomes harsh.

Another possible reason is a damaged wire which hinders the control module from receiving data. If this occurs, you may experience some brake issues or find it difficult to control your traction. The situation gets worse when the weather condition is very poor.

If your TC light suddenly turns on, and you have brake or traction control issues, you should have a technician check your vehicle as soon as possible.

– Faulty Wheel Speed Sensors

Another thing that can cause your vehicle’s TC light to turn on is a malfunctioning wheel sensor. The wheel sensor measures and monitors the vehicle’s wheel speed. Once it gathers this information, it sends it to the traction control system.

If your vehicle is experiencing a malfunctioning WS sensor, it could turn off your TC, which will consequently turn on the TC lights. If the traction control system detects an issue with the wheel or receives false information, it begins to malfunction or simply turns off. Consequently, the TC light turns on as a warning sign.

– Temporary Loss of Traction

Your TC light could come on when your vehicle is experiencing a temporary loss of traction. This situation is usually due to a change in road conditions. It is normal to see the control light coming on when it starts raining or snowing. The lights may also come up when you step on snow.

Why Is Your Check Engine and Traction Control Light On

If your TC light comes on due to a temporary loss of traction, it simply implies that poor road conditions have activated it. Temporary loss of traction causes the TC light to turn on for a short time, like a brief flash.

Depending on the condition of the road, you might not even notice when the light comes on and off. This quick notification usually occurs when your vehicle crosses an affected spot.

– Engine Misfires

This kind of misfire issue usually causes your check light to flash. When the cylinders in your vehicle aren’t working well, it could result in an engine-related problem, such as a bad oxygen sensor. If this occurs, it can cause your check engine light to flash.

These engine problems are dangerous, as they can lead to different issues that affect your vehicle’s emissions and movement. Thankfully, the engine control unit monitors everything and alerts you when there is a problem.

This alert comes in the form of the check engine light turning on. The lights also sometimes flash, warning you to take immediate action.

– Malfunctioning Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS)

An anti-lock braking system (ABS) malfunction usually happens when a vehicle’s ABS has issues. The ABS takes care of the wheels by hindering them from locking up when you hit the brake.

The ABS and TC systems in most vehicles are interconnected. The connection is because both systems share similar modules, components, and sensors. Hence, the ABS could disable the TC system during a malfunction, causing the TCS light to turn on.

The ABS usually disables the TC system once it detects a malfunction to help it maintain traction when moving on sensitive roads.

– Mass Air Flow Sensor Failure

The MAF sensor is found close to the engine’s air filter. This sensor sends necessary transmissions to your vehicle’s transmission system and the engine control module. These outputs help to control your air-fuel mixture.

Once the MAF sensor is faulty, your engine control module may be unable to calculate the adequate amount of fuel injection your engine needs. This issue could result in your check engine light blinking.

Some common symptoms of a MAF sensor failure are jerking, misfiring, and lean idling. Depending on the extent of the issue, you may not notice the physical signs immediately. Whether you notice the signs or not, MAF sensor failure will be detected by your engine control module, which will consequently cause the warning lights to turn on.

How To Fix Your Check Engine and Traction Control Light On?

You can fix your Check Engine and Traction Control light by first identifying the cause of the problem. You can also resolve the issue by reducing the vehicle’s speed and engine load or seeking immediate attention from an auto expert.

– Identify the Underlying Issue

The first step in fixing the issues mentioned above is to identify the cause of the light. While you can easily identify some of the causes, others may require professional attention. For instance, it’s easy to notice a tire pressure, spark plugs, or oil change issue, but it may be more difficult to notice when your vehicle goes into limp mode. Depending on your car brand, the yellow light indicates a minor issue, while the red light indicates major issues.

Once the lights turn on, you should carefully inspect your vehicle and the surroundings. After that, inspect the different stages on your dashboard. Check if your vehicle has low oil pressure or if it’s overheating. If you notice any of these issues, quickly find a safe place to pull over and shut off your engine.

– Reduce the Vehicle’s Speed and Engine Load

If you notice that the vehicle is experiencing any performance issues or loss of power, try to minimize the effects by reducing your speed. You should also do all you can to reduce the load on your engine.


Once you’ve done these, drive very carefully to the nearest auto shop or call your mechanic to avoid further damage to your engine. If you can, park your car and have it towed to the nearest mechanic for proper diagnostic an repair.

– Scan Your Car with Your Built-In Scanner

Most modern cars now feature diagnostic abilities that can scan your vehicle for different trouble codes ranging from minor to major issues. Some of these car scanners also can schedule an appointment with your mechanic for a general car service.

Frequently Asked Questions

– Should You Drive With Your Check Engine Light and TCL On?

No, you should not drive with your check engine light and traction control light on. When these light sensors are turned on or flashing, they indicate that your vehicle’s engine or traction needs attention. You should stop the vehicle immediately or carefully drive to your mechanic.

– Why Is the Check Engine Light on Your Dashboard Blinking?

Your check engine light is blinking as an indication of a faulty unit in your vehicle. It could also blink due to issues with your catalytic converter, faulty spark plugs, and different sensor failures and malfunctions. Try to find the cause of the problem and get it fixed quickly.

– Can a Faulty Car Battery Cause the Traction Control Light To Turn On?

Yes, a faulty car battery can cause a traction control light. Your TC system relies on your battery’s power to function. If your battery is low, it can cause your TC light to turn on. Your battery may get weak if you are running on a faulty alternator.

Meaning of the Check Engine Light


There are several causes of the check engine and TC lights flashing on your vehicle, all pointing to a serious issue you should fix as soon as possible.

Below is a round-up of the main points discussed in this article:

  • Your engine and TC lights are blinking because one or more control modules have detected system issues threatening your vehicle’s safety.
  • The lights could be flashing due to minor issues or cases that require immediate attention from your mechanic.
  • When you notice the lights flashing, you should first inspect your vehicle.
  • If the problem needs urgent fixing, find a safe parking place and call your mechanic. Otherwise, drive carefully to the nearest auto shop.

With the information in this article, you will find it easy to identify any cause of the blinking lights in your vehicle and fix them. If issues persist after following the advice in this article, it may be time to visit your mechanic.


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