The traction control system is a safety mechanism built into the Jeep Wrangler that utilizes various sensors like the ABS or Anti-lock Braking System to reduce or prevent wheelspin. Spinning wheels can lead to oversteering or understeering problems and result in serious accidents which are mitigated by the traction control system.
The traction light turns on when the car needs to correct the issues of oversteering and understeering but because of various issues such as electrical malfunctions, faulty sensors, battery issues, low fluid, low pressure, and so on the lights can stay on for longer than usual.
This is a clear sign that there could be various issues with the vehicle that require the immediate attention of the owner. By following the passages below, you will be able to diagnose the exact issue that is causing the traction light to stay on and fix it accordingly.
What Causes the Jeep Wrangler Traction Control Light to Stay On and How to Solve It?
The traction control system depends on various electric components, sensors, modules, and mechanical parts, and a fault in any of them can cause the traction light to stay on for longer than necessary. The most frequent issues that create this problem along with their solution are discussed below.
Faulty Traction Control and ABS Module
One of the most common reasons why the traction control light stays on is malfunction of the Traction Control unit and the ABS module itself. The most common signs that the traction control and the ABS module are malfunctioning are the Traction Control light coming on frequently, the traction control failing to engage or disengage, anti-lock brake failure, and noticeable differences in performance.
Solution: The traction control unit and the ABS module need to be replaced with new parts if they get badly damaged. Disconnect the battery, locate the traction control module, disconnect the old module, connect the new module, and connect the battery to replace the faulty traction control and ABS module.
PCM or Powertrain Control Module regulates the transmission system and the engine. The Traction Control light might flicker because of a faulty PCM because this module helps traction control to perform perfectly. Signs of a faulty PCM include check engine light, poor performance, starting issues, increased emission, problems with shifting gears, and poor fuel economy.
Solution: PCM should be the last thing to check if your Jeep Wrangler is having traction control issues. Replacing the PCM with a spare part is the only solution to this problem. Locate the PCM in your car and replace it with a spare part. It will cost you about $200-$500 for a new PCM.
Another common reason for the traction control light staying on in a Jeep Wrangler is a blown fuse. A blown fuse will also cause the check engine light to stay on along with the traction control light. Other electrical components like the heater, radio, headlights, and taillights will also malfunction if there are blown fuses.
Solution: Replace the blown-out fuses with new fuses to fix this problem. The fuse box is located under the hood along with the right-hand fender between the battery and the air filter.
Malfunctioning Steering Rack
The steering rack is part of the vehicle’s steering system that allows the wheels to rotate from side to side when the steering wheel is turned. A worn-out or malfunctioning steering rack increases the risk of losing control while steering which can result in fatal accidents. Other symptoms of a damaged steering rack are an unresponsive steering wheel, steering fluid leaks, irritating noise, and a burning smell.
Solution: Find and fix any leaks on the steering system, flush the old fluid out of the system, and refill it with new, fresh liquid. You will need to change the entire steering system if this does not solve the issue. This could be a costly and time-consuming process so make sure that no other component is causing the issue of traction light before changing the steering rack.
Faulty Wheel Speed Sensors
Traction control light can stay on because of malfunctioning wheel speed sensors as well. There are speed sensors installed on each wheel in your Jeep Wrangler which monitor the speed of each wheel and transfer the data to the control unit. The speed sensors are thus critical in the regular operation of the traction control and the braking system.
The traction control light, the ABS, or both can get illuminated on the dashboard if these speed sensors fail and send the wrong information to the control unit. Use an OBD 2 scanner to be sure that the sensors are malfunctioning. The scanner should show codes like C0221 if the wheel speed sensors are faulty.
Solution: Replacing the wheel speed sensors is the only solution if the sensors get badly damaged. This is quite a difficult task and you will need to take your Jeep to a trusted workshop for replacing the wheel speed sensors. Spare wheel speed sensors cost about $30-$50 and the replacement cost will vary from workshop to workshop.
Another common reason that causes the traction light to stay on is damaged, corroded, disconnected, or broken wiring. The wires that connect the sensors to the control unit can get damaged over time and usage or because of external forces.
The common signs of damaged wiring include malfunctioning ABS, the ABS light staying on, the traction light staying on, and performance issues.
Solution: Check the wiring with a multimeter to find out if they are carrying electricity properly and find out the faulty wires. Replace the wires accordingly to resolve this issue.
Low Brake Fluid
One of the most common reasons behind the ABS and traction control light is insufficient brake fluid. Brake fluid plays a crucial role in the operation of the braking system in the car and the ABS and the traction control cannot function properly without the proper amount of fluid in the chamber.
Other signs of low brake fluid are longer stopping distances and decreased braking power. This could be very dangerous if unchecked and can cause serious accidents.
Solution: Regularly check the brake fluid level and fill it up accordingly. Refill the brake fluid as soon as you notice the brake duration becoming longer than usual.
Malfunctioning Steering Wheel Sensor
A faulty steering wheel sensor can also cause the traction control light to stay on. Other symptoms of a damaged steering wheel sensor include the steering wheel feeling loose and the car responding irregularly after a front-end alignment.
Solution: Replace the malfunctioning steering wheel sensor to solve this issue.
Computer Programing Problems
Another frequent problem that causes the traction light to stay on is the programming errors in the PCM system. The computer programs help the PCM to make various decisions based on the data it receives from all the sensors. Other error lights might also flash without showing any other symptoms if the computer program is at fault.
Solution: Reset the computer to fix this problem if it arises. You will have to replace your Jeep Wrangler’s entire computer system if resetting does not solve this issue. Take it to a trusted workshop for better diagnosis before installing a new computer system.
Weak or Drained Battery
A weak or dead battery can also cause the issue of the traction control light turning on in your Jeep Wrangler. Various warning lights including the ABS and the traction control light turn on when the voltage falls below the acceptable range.
Solution: Recharge your car battery if the charge level goes down. Replace the battery entirely if it fails to take charge.
Driving on rough terrain or uneven surfaces can lead to wheel alignment issues. Wheel alignment can also get out of place because of regular wear and tear. The ABS and the traction control light can indicate that the wheels are misaligned and stay on for an indefinite period of time. Misaligned wheels can also cause performance issues like wobbling or tracking to one side.
Solution: Check the wheels and make sure that they are properly aligned. Take your Jeep to a trusted workshop to get the wheels checked by sensors to make sure that they are aligned in the correct manner.
Limp Mode Issue
The limp mode can also be a reason why traction control and ABS lights are turned on because limp mode activates a security feature that reduces speed and switches off non-essential functions. This usually happens due to abnormal signals from components such as faulty sensors, transmission issues, or low fluid levels. The limp mode can also mistakenly get activated because of software issues.
Solution: You can disable limp mode by resetting the computer which is not recommended as limp mode usually denotes something wrong with the car that requires immediate attention. Take your car to a trusted workshop for professional care if limp mode stays activated.
Malfunctioning Pumps and Valves
Pumps and valves can also cause the traction control and ABS lights to stay on if they get damaged because the pumps fail to supply sufficient fluid to the braking mechanism and cause malfunction.
Solution: Check the valves and pumps for leakage and damage and fix them to resolve this issue.
Low Tire Pressure
Inadequate tire pressure can cause the sensors to send signals to the PCM which will turn on the ABS or the traction control. This can result in the issue of ABS and traction control lights staying on.
Solution: Check tire pressure at regular intervals and make sure that all of the tires have enough pressure.
Disabled ABS/traction control system
The issue might be caused by accidentally turning off the ABS or the traction control system as the lights will indicate that those features are turned off.
Solution: Enable the ABS and the traction control system.
How to Prevent Jeep Wrangler Traction Control Light from Staying On?
Traction control is a built-in safety mechanism that prevents the car from oversteering and understeering and the ABS and traction control lights will turn on and off normally to ensure safe driving. But something has gone wrong in your Jeep Wrangler if these lights stay on for long periods of time. Proper care and maintenance is the only way to prevent this from happening.
Always keep the brake fluid at a sufficient level. Make sure to regularly check the tire pressure and adjust accordingly. Check for leaks and cracks in the valves and pipes and ensure that no fluid is leaking. Change any blown fuse or corroded wirings and keep all of the electrical components in good condition.
Is It Safe to Reset the Traction Control System?
Yes, it is safe to reset the traction control system.
How to Reset the Jeep Wrangler Traction Control System?
You can reset the traction control system on your Jeep Wrangler by disconnecting the negative terminal of the battery and keeping it disconnected for about 20 minutes. This will reset the entire system. Alternatively, you can use an OBD 2 scanner to clear the error code and this will reset the traction control system as well.