Chevy Cavalier trac off light

Tiny
CHAS_SR2000@YAHOO.COM
  • 2000 CHEVROLET CAVALIER

Transmission problem
Chevy Cavalier 4 cyl Two Wheel Drive Automatic 52,000 miles

I was driving to work a couple of weeks ago and the trac off light came on out of the blue and the car began to shift hard between gears. I have since parked the car because of this issue and it cannot be good on the transmission to drive it this way. I do not have any other light on with the trac off light. I called the dealership in my town and they said that if it were the wheel sensors, the ABS light would be on, but it isn't. I disconnected the battery for a couple of hours and re-connected it and the trac off light was off and everything was fine. I drove the car about 1/4 of a mile and the light came back on and began shifting hard again. What can possible be making the trac off light come on and make the car shift hard. HELP!

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Tuesday, September 15th, 2009 AT 9:54 AM

98 Replies

Tiny
RASMATAZ
  • MEMBER

You need to bring this vehicle in to the dealership this problem can be complicated could be due to road conditons, the powertrain control module will turn on Trac Off Light when it recieves an out of range input signal from the enhanced traction system in regards to the wheel speed sensors thru the ABS unit. They said the ABS light should come On if there's a problem with the wheel sensors-sometime it doesn't work that way-Bring it in they got the equipment to trouelshoot that problem and then maybe the computers that are involved are not in the right sheet of music. I strongly recommend it

FYI Read up on it

Traction Control System:

What is it and how does it work?

What is traction, and what does traction control do on my car while I drive? Traction is the grip that your car's tires have on the road, which is needed to accelerate, turn and brake. If your car, or more specifically, your tires have little or no grip; your car will not accelerate, turn or brake and will skid. Traction control devices in the car will help prevent this loss of grip so your tires will have traction to accelerate, turn and brake.

The most common and well-known traction control device is the Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS). ABS is designed to prevent your wheels from locking up during panic or hard braking. When braking, if your front wheels lock-up, steering control is lost and your car will continue in the same path as before you attempted to brake. The system consists of a host of speed sensors and a central computer. Speed sensors are located at the wheels of the car, which tell the computer how fast they are turning. The computer constantly evaluates the speed of the vehicle and the speed of the wheels. When the brake pedal is depressed and the speed of the wheel reaches or get close to locking-up, the ABS computer will then modulate the amount of brake pressure (or "pump" the brakes), as fast as fifteen times per second, on that wheel. This continuing modulation or pumping will prevent or correct wheel lock-up and allow the driver to brake and steer. ABS systems do vary from auto manufacturer to auto manufacturer. It is important know if the car you are driving is equipped with ABS and how to brake if ABS is activated. Shortly after its introduction in the marketplace, there were insurance industry studies that showed ABS equipped cars were in a higher rate of accidents then those not equipped. In this study, it was shown that the most frequent factor in these accidents was driver error. Drivers were not putting enough pressure on the brake, not holding brake pressure long enough or trying to pump the brakes. Evidence also suggests that drivers were over confident when driving an ABS equipped car and were not allowing for a safe following or braking distance.

To correctly use the brakes in an ABS equipped car in a panic situation, the driver must apply the brakes 100 percent, using all available force. The ABS computer will prevent brake lockup and the tires sliding on the travel surface. This will allow the driver to steer around the threat. It is important to remember that ABS can increase straight-line stopping distances beyond that of threshold braking in a non-ABS equipped car. ABS offers drivers, in an emergency situation, the ability to maintain steering control so they can steer clear of an obstacle or threat. Current ABS systems give feedback to the driver to let them know it is activated and operating during the current braking maneuver. The most common way that ABS communicates to the driver is a pulsing sensation felt in the braking foot or a rattling noise during braking. This is normal operation and is telling the driver ABS is working. As discussed above, do not attempt to modulate the brake yourself and remember to use all the brake force available. The ABS system will take care of the modulation for you and allow you to steer around a threat.

As marketed by most automakers, but related to ABS, is Traction Control. Traction Control is used to prevent the drive wheels from losing grip when accelerating. Spinning tires during hard acceleration may be dramatic, but it is the slowest way to get to your desired speed. Using the car's ABS speed sensors at the wheels, the Traction Control computer compares the drive wheel's speed to the car's road speed. If there is a loss of grip event during acceleration, there are a number of ways that the Traction Control slows the drive wheels so they can regain grip. The most common method is to use the braking system. When the drive wheels lose grip, the ABS computer can apply the brake to the wheel that has lost grip to slow it down so it can regain grip. Another method for slowing the slipping wheels is to reduce the amount of power applied to them. The computer will electronically modify the amount of fuel entering the engine and/or use the transmission to slow the drive wheels so they can regain grip.

The latest traction control technology introduced to motor vehicles is Stability Control. While ABS and Traction Control help manage the grip of the tires for braking and accelerating, Stability Control helps prevent a car from sliding sideways. Using the same components in the ABS and Traction Control systems, Stability Control adds other sensors. These include; steering wheel angle sensor and yaw rate sensor. Yaw is defined as, "the movement of an object turning on its vertical axis" . Stability Control is used to

manage the amount of understeer a vehicle will exhibit if the driver used too much steering or entering a turn too fast. It will also manage oversteer if the driver uses too much or too little throttle while turning. Much like the other technologies of traction control, Stability Control will apply the brakes and/or throttle to a wheel or a number of wheels, independently, so the driver can regain control.

How does Stability Control help to regain control of the car? The foundation of ABS and Traction Control were already in place when Bosch pioneered Stability Control with their Electronic Stability Program (ESP) in the Mercedes Benz E Class in 1995.

These same technologies were used to correct an impending slide. Reviewing back, ABS can control individual wheels' braking forces and Traction Control controls individual wheels' acceleration forces. Stability Control can use either braking or throttle application to correct a slide. To get a better understanding how braking and acceleration forces affect a cars attitude, we must understand the effect of weight transfer during braking, turning and accelerating. To illustrate, we will use a brake and turn exercise to show how weight transfer will allow the driver to steer more effectively around an obstacle. As we know from previous exercises, to turn more effectively, braking should be done prior to turning. During braking, weight is transferred to the front, "loading up" the front wheels. To take these visuals further; imagine a car with a rod or a pole installed vertically through the roof to the ground of the car. Yaw would be the movement or rotation of the car around this rod. Similar forces are applied to a vehicle when turning. Depending on speed and how much steering is applied, the car can understeer or oversteer.

A realistic scenario would be driving down the interstate at typical highway speeds in the center lane. Imagine what you would do if the truck in front of you accidentally drops its load of gravel on the roadway in front of you. A common evasive maneuver would be to steer around the obstacle, going left then right to avoid the gravel. For this given example, you may put too much steering input when turning left and cause the car to understeer. To correct the understeer, the Stability Control could apply the brake to the inside front wheel. In this case, during the left turn, the inside front wheel would be the left front wheel. This braking of the left front wheel causes the car to get back to the driver's intended path by reducing the amount of understeer. The deceleration of the vehicle causes weight transfer and puts more weight over the steered wheels. During this evasive maneuver, you are only half done and have not steered back into your lane. When making a quick left/right turn, weight transfer can be quite dramatic and the car can deviate from your intended path. When initially turning left, the weight transferred to the right side of the vehicle. When turning back right and getting back into your lane, the weight will unload from the right side of the car and will quickly transfer to the left. This weight transfer will immediately unload the rear tires and can cause the car to oversteer or fishtail. A common method to prevent oversteer in this scenario, thinking back to the car spinning on the rod, would be to slow the inside rear tire. Slowing down the right rear tire will slow or prevent the rotating of the vehicle on its vertical axis - the rod in our example.

Here are the common marketed names Stability Control is called and their respective manufacturers: " Audi: Electronic Stability Program (ESP)
" BMW: Dynamic Stability Control (DSC)
" DaimlerChrysler (Mercedes Benz): Electronic Stability Program (ESP)
" Ford Motor Company: Advance Trac
" General Motors: Active Handling System (Corvette)
" Precision Control System (Oldsmobile), Stabilitrak (Pontiac, Buick, Cadillac)
" Jaguar: Dynamic Stability Control (DSM)
" Lexus: Vehicle Skid Control (VSC)
" Porsche: Porsche Stability Management (PSM)
" Volkswagen: Electronic Stability Program (ESP)
" Volvo: Dynamic Stability Traction Control (DTSC)

Modern vehicles, that offer traction control devices, perform a self-test on the ABS, Traction Control and Stability Control computer(s). If there is an error encountered in any of these systems when starting or while driving, an error light will steadily illuminate in the instrument cluster of the vehicle. During this time, one or more of these traction control devices will be unavailable and you should know how to maintain vehicle control if these aids are unavailable. It is also possible that a vehicle make and model may offer switches which power off the ABS, Traction Control or Stability Control. Please familiarize yourself with the vehicle's controls and owner's manual. In a later article, we will cover situations where a traction control technology should be switched off.

Remember, these technological advances only aid the driver and cannot defy the laws of physics. As an example, if you are trying to drive 50mph around a corner that your car can negotiate at 30mph, you will go off the road, no matter how many traction control devices your vehicle is equipped with.

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Wednesday, September 16th, 2009 AT 1:51 PM
Tiny
CHAS_SR2000@YAHOO.COM
  • MEMBER

So, is this also true if the light comes on during engine idle only? I connected the battery again last night and started my car and literally sat in my car with it running in park. I sat approx. 2 min and the trac off light came on. I wasn't even driving.

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Wednesday, September 16th, 2009 AT 2:10 PM
Tiny
RASMATAZ
  • MEMBER

If your're talking about the trac off light is shouldn't do that its not moving-Are you stepping on the brake if so could trigger a bad signal and causes the PCM to pop the light. The PCM is the main command of all systems which has an additional computers to communicate with. Have the computer scanned for codes even if the CEL is not on-Shifting hard could be caused by these sensors the throttle position sensor, vehicle speed sensor which the computer uses to command and control the transmission thru its upshift, downshift, lock-up/overdrive etc-Who knows the computer is lost between wheel speed and vehicle speed and reacting on it due to other problems-My best advise to you is bring it in, its hard for me to determine what's causing the problem I'm not with the vehicle its a lot tougher to do

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Wednesday, September 16th, 2009 AT 2:32 PM
Tiny
CAVY24Z
  • MEMBER

I Have The Same Exact Problem If You Where Able To Find Out What The Problem Was Could You PLease Divulge Into What Is Causing This, I am Loosing My Mind! My Car Does Exactly What You Described That Yours Was Doing. I Have Bought New Throttle position sensor and a new Vehicle Speed Sensor. I Had An After Market Stereo And I read Somewhere online that the Chime Thing Was The Cause Took It Off Yet No Luck! Every time I turn off The Car Then Turn It Back On The Light Goes Away (Trac OFF) but after a while it Pops BAck On. I Don't Have the money right now to get it "Diagnosed, " and I don't want to run the risk of not getting it diagnosed correctly and loose my hard earned money please any help would be great
Thank you.

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Wednesday, October 6th, 2010 AT 6:25 PM
Tiny
BOBJOHNSEN
  • MEMBER

Anyone find a fix for this? I have an 02 with the same issue. Trac off/hard shifting. Check Engine light is also coming on, but only when the Trac off light is off (they alternate). When the Trac off light goes out, the car shifts perfectly fine. STUPID CHEVYS ;)

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Tuesday, December 7th, 2010 AT 12:03 AM
Tiny
LFRANKLINHGG
  • CHEVROLET CAVALIER

I have a 2000 cavalier, that recently the trac off light comes on, yet goes off when I shut the car off, upon putting the car back in drive it seems to engage hard, then runs fine. Do you think it could be a sensor in the traction system?

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Friday, December 16th, 2016 AT 4:35 PM (Merged)
Tiny
E40WATER12
  • MEMBER

Well if youre performance is effecting the drive abitly, Could have a trouble code in the transmission, U might have to go to a tranny shop to get it scanned.

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Friday, December 16th, 2016 AT 4:35 PM (Merged)
Tiny
RATBOY
  • MEMBER

This is caused because your motor mount/s is/are bad. This happen to my car 2002 cavalier 2.2, (replaced it and problem solved ) cost about $250.

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Friday, December 16th, 2016 AT 4:35 PM (Merged)
Tiny
LFRANKLINHGG
  • MEMBER

Since the trac off light incident the car now is difficult to start takes atleast two tries, then last night after filling up with gas the check gauges light came on and my fuel gauge read empty, but only for a moment, could it be a sensor? The trac off light only comes on occasionally.

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Friday, December 16th, 2016 AT 4:35 PM (Merged)
Tiny
MORRIS2008
  • MEMBER

It seems I have the same problem lfranklinhgg had.
I have a 2000 cavalier that recently the trac off light comes on, yet goes off when I shut the car off, upon putting the car back in drive it seems to engage hard and has the terrible sound from bottom of the car, and then it runs fine. We took it to different small shops, when they checked no codes came on. Do you think it could be a sensor in the traction system?

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Friday, December 16th, 2016 AT 4:35 PM (Merged)
Tiny
MORRIS2008
  • MEMBER

All the ABS Light, Service Light, and Track off lights come on together. Do you think it could be a sensor in the traction system? Anybody had the similar problem:

It seems I have the same problem lfranklinhgg had.
I have a 2000 cavalier that recently the trac off light comes on, yet goes off when I shut the car off, upon putting the car back in drive it seems to engage hard and has the terrible sound from bottom of the car, and then it runs fine. We took it to different small shops, when they checked no codes came on.

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Friday, December 16th, 2016 AT 4:35 PM (Merged)
Tiny
MORRIS2008
  • 2000 CHEVROLET CAVALIER

Electrical problem
2000 Chevy Cavalier 4 cyl Automatic 70000 miles

I have a 2000 cavalier, that recently the trac off light comes on, yet goes off when I shut the car off, upon putting the car back in drive it seems to engage hard has a terrible sound, then runs fine. We took it to different small shops for advice, when they checked it no code came on. Do you think it could be a sensor in the traction system?

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Friday, December 16th, 2016 AT 4:35 PM (Merged)
Tiny
MERLIN2021
  • EXPERT
  • 17,545 POSTS

What is your ABS light doing? Trac and ABS are a working pair!

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Friday, December 16th, 2016 AT 4:35 PM (Merged)
Tiny
MORRIS2008
  • MEMBER

All the ABS Light, Service Light, and Track off lights come on together. Do you think it could be a sensor in the traction system? What do you suggest?

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Friday, December 16th, 2016 AT 4:35 PM (Merged)
Tiny
MERLIN2021
  • EXPERT
  • 17,545 POSTS

First step is to have the codes read with a sanner that reads brake "C" codes, this will tell you were the fault is!

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Friday, December 16th, 2016 AT 4:35 PM (Merged)
Tiny
RUCKS
  • 2004 CHEVROLET CAVALIER

Brakes problem
2004 Chevy Cavalier 4 cyl Front Wheel Drive Automatic 87687 miles

I have replaced all the brakes on the car. Replaced all of the sensors on the brakes. Changed the brakes hoses and so many more thinge to do with the brakes. And the ABS, SERVICE AND TRAC OFF LIGHTS still continue to stay on. Do you know why.

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Friday, December 16th, 2016 AT 4:35 PM (Merged)
Tiny
PHANTOM01
  • MEMBER

Try unhooking the negative battery cable for a few minutes then if light comes back on check the ecm hook up to the abs computer

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Friday, December 16th, 2016 AT 4:36 PM (Merged)
Tiny
MMPRINCE4000
  • EXPERT
  • 8,702 POSTS

ABS codes are "C" chassis codes. Most autoparts stores only read "P" powertrain codes. You will have to get codes read with a chassis scanner, usually at a local shop or dealer.

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Friday, December 16th, 2016 AT 4:36 PM (Merged)
Tiny
ZIGGYTO
  • 2000 CHEVROLET CAVALIER

2000 Chevy Cavalier 4 cyl

For over a year now I have had a problem with the Traction Control Off, ABS and Check Engine lights coming on after I turn the steering wheel. Sometimes, if the lights mentioned above are off and I turn the steering wheel the Traction Control light (different than the Traction Control light off mentioned above) comes on and the car shakes until I straighten the direction of the wheels.

Recently, when I turn the car on and idle for a minute the Traction Control Off, ABS and Check Engine lights turn on. What could be the problem?

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Friday, December 16th, 2016 AT 4:36 PM (Merged)
Tiny
RHALL77
  • MEMBER

Have you had the vehicle scanned for trouble codes. You can stop at your local parts stores to have it scanned. Get back to me and let me know what you find out.

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Friday, December 16th, 2016 AT 4:36 PM (Merged)

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