2001 Taurus: T/C button

My 2001 Ford Taurus SES has an odd button on the instrument panel, right in front of the tachometer. It’s only label is “T/C”.

WTF does that button do? I don’t notice anything different whether it’s on or off.

Traction Control. It’s suppose to help keep your tires from slipping in low traction environments.

Cool! Good to know, this time of year.

The reason you have a traction control button and not a system that is always on is that there are some circumstances where the traction control is actually worse.

Generally, when you are driving in slippery conditions, like on mud or snow, the traction control prevents your wheels from spinning free and breaking traction. So the traction control makes it much easier to keep control of your car. But what if you get stuck in a snow bank or a deep mud hole? At that point, the tires aren’t getting enough grip, and the traction control keeps trying to prevent them from spinning freely. But in this case, you want the tires to spin freely so that you can just punch it and use what little traction you get to force yourself out of the snow bank or mud hole. So in that case, when you want the tires to spin (because otherwise you won’t get enough grip to break yourself free) then you need to turn the traction control off so that it stops fighting you.

Under most circumstances though, it is best to just leave the traction control on and not worry about it.

If you are the type of person who likes to have fun with your car (or drive like an idiot, depending on your perspective) and you want to slide around turns and do donuts in a parking lot, then you need to turn the traction control off while doing those things so that the traction control doesn’t fight against you when you are trying to get the wheels to break traction.