How Does Traction Control Work on GM Cars?

by Vern Hee

Traction control on General Motors (GM) vehicles focuses on loss of friction between the tires and the road. Traction control stems from research and development on braking technology conducted by the Robert Bosch Company and then adopted by GM beginning in the 1980s.

Purpose

Traction control comes standard on all GM vehicles. The system is a device that keeps your vehicle wheels from losing contact with the pavement when the vehicle accelerates.

Parts

Traction control connects to your vehicle accelerator, brakes, wheels and to an on-board computer. Traction control removes the mechanical cable connection used by the accelerator pedal and replaces it with an electronic connection. A control computer links the accelerator and individual brakes via a network of sensors.

Operation

Edmund's describes traction control as the opposite of, or reverse of, an anti-lock braking system (ABS). As the driver presses the accelerator down, a sensor converts the position of the accelerator pedal into an electrical signal which then goes to a control unit. If your tires begin to spin as you accelerate, the control unit sends a signal to individual brakes of the spinning tires and the throttle unit. The control unit adjusts spinning through a series of brake pulses applied to stop the spinning tires which, in turn, maintains maximum traction.

About the Author

Vern Hee started writing professionally in 2009. He works as a reporter for the "Pahrump Valley Times." Hee taught elementary school for eight years and worked in the landscape construction field for 20 years. Hee holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California Berkeley and is a veteran of the United States Navy.

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