How Does Traction Control Work on GM Cars?

by Vern Hee
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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.


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.


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.


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.

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