It sounds like you may have a faulty traction control module. When the car shuts off and sits for 15-20 minutes as you describe, this gives the module time to reset itself which then allows you to drive again with normal functionality until it detects the problem again.
Once it does, this process repeats itself. The traction control lighting system monitors the steering stability of the vehicle and engages when loss of traction has been detected.
This is done by the use of electronic sensors at each of the four wheels that communicate with the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) regarding steering performance and stability in adverse weather conditions. The traction control system works by reducing engine speed and determining which wheel to apply brake pressure to in order to prevent the vehicle from sliding.
The anti-lock braking system and the traction control system work together to maintain the stability of the vehicle. The computer uses this information received from electronic sensors regarding the rotational speed of each wheel, the horizontal motion of the vehicle, and the vertical motion of the vehicle to determine how to direct the traction control system or the anti-lock braking system to best control the vehicle when needed.
When this warning indicator light comes on in the dashboard, this could be an indication of several issues such as faulty wheel speed sensors, a faulty steering angle sensor, a faulty rotational speed sensor or a problem with the steering rack. In some cases, the traction control system may simply need to be reprogrammed.
5 Causes of Traction Control Light Coming On when Accelerating
Most modern vehicles have a traction control system in them. This system keeps track of the vehicle’s steering performance and stability. If the vehicle were to lose its traction on the ground, the traction control system will detect this problem and then act accordingly to correct the issue.
The traction control light will not come on as long as the traction control system is functioning properly and there are no issues with any of its components. However, if there is a problem with the traction control system and the vehicle is unable to maintain stable traction on the road, then you can expect to see the traction control light illuminate on the dashboard.
The Top 5 Causes
If the traction control light does come on, it will usually do so while you’re accelerating. Do not panic when this happens because you need to focus on stabilizing the steering wheel as best as possible. The traction control system is not going to assist you like it did before, so you need to be extra careful here. The best thing to do is slow down and drive to the nearest mechanic to resolve the issue.
Below are the top 5 causes of a traction control light coming on when you are accelerating.
Bad Wheel Speed Sensors – Wheel speed sensors are connected to your traction control system and engine control unit. These sensors are responsible for detecting the speed in which your wheels are rotating. Each wheel has its own sensor. If the rotation speed of any wheel changes unexpectedly or unusually as you’re accelerating, the wheel speed sensors will detect the change and notify the traction control system. But if the wheel speed sensors are not working, the traction control system will not be notified. Then your vehicle will lose traction, causing the traction control light to come on.
Bad Steering Angle Sensor – The steering angle sensor calculates the angle of the steering wheel and the rate in which it is being turned. The sensor is positioned in the steering column so that it can track the angle and rate precisely. But if the sensor goes bad, you can expect the traction control light to come on.
Bad Road Conditions – If the road conditions are too severe, your traction control system may not be able to handle it. For instance, if you live in a location with a lot of snow and ice on the ground, then the roads are going to be difficult to maintain traction on. If the traction gets to be too difficult, then your traction control light may illuminate on the dashboard. There isn’t much you can do other than getting your vehicle to a better area with safer roads.
Bad Steering Rack – The steering rack is attached to your steering wheel and is an important part of the power steering system. It receives the high-pressure hydraulic fluid that is necessary for making it easy to turn the steering wheel. Part of having good traction is having smooth steering that is easy to control. So, if you have a bad steering rack, it will be harder to steer your vehicle on a rough road. This will cause your traction control light to possibly come on.
Programming Issues – There may be a circumstance where the traction control system must be reprogrammed because it is having issues with its current programming. Sometimes these programming errors can happen as time goes on. If the traction control system ever has this problem, the traction control light will come on. Only a certified mechanic who specializes in your make and model vehicle will be able to fix the programming issues.