Did you know that your vehicles traction control can be a benefit off road? Read more to find out how.
Traction control can be a wonderful thing and sometimes it can be a pain in the … you know. Traction control is designed to minimize wheel slippage to maintain traction. The problem is sometimes you need those wheels spinning to get you through like mud, snow, and sand.
For that reason, almost all 4WD vehicles turn off traction control when you engage low range. There are some cases where you might want that functionality back. One primary example is on a vehicle that does not have lockers that mechanically connect the right and left wheel to provide equal traction. We will use a Jeep JK to show how you can use traction control to your advantage.
Making traction control work for you.
With the JK platform getting the traction control to activate is really simple and is as easy as proper throttle control. On a Tacoma, there is the A-Trac button that allows you to reengage the system. (Read your vehicles manual and check out model specific forums to learn how your’s works.) You can also check out a class with our friends at Off Road Consulting to learn how to use it in real-world scenarios. Watch the video for a situation where we used the traction control to gain additional traction. Make sure the volume is loud enough to hear the tire slipping and the traction control engage to find some extra grip.
When in doubt throttle out?
There has always been a common thought that when you aren’t making it over an obstacle you need to hit it harder and with more speed. There are other less abusive ways to tackle obstacles.
The scenario above is a simulated event. The Rubicon pictured has front and rear lockers and could have easily compensated for this terrain. If you have a Sport or Sahara, Cherokee, or other non-locker vehicle maximizing this “feature” can get you through some very tough terrain.
The key is when the tire starts to slip that you hold the throttle steady and allow the vehicle to sort out the traction. If you gas it hard you will just spin, the traction control won’t engage and you will need to reposition and start over. Nice and easy is the name of the game. It looks cool to just mat the throttle and go for it but it can get pretty expensive really fast. It can also be discouraging that obstacles seem harder than they need to be. Sometimes letting the vehicle do the work makes what was once considered difficult seem like child’s play.
Have you run into any situations where traction control has helped you through it? For a basic understanding of traction control check out this article from Bumper.com (What Is Traction Control and What Does It Do?)