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Click & Clack
Talk Cars
“The Tappet Brothers’’

By Ray Magliozzi

Don’t spin out this summer

Dear Car Talk:

on standby. And that’s the
you want them.
Is it good to keep the
traction control switch While snow or ice would
off in summer driving? -- be the most obvious
reasons for a wheel to
Why would you do that, spin, they’re not the only
ones. A summer rain,
Traction control is kind some leaked oil, or a
of the flip side of anti- patch of loose dirt or sand
lock brakes. The anti-lock can cause a wheel to lose
braking system (ABS) traction. And when that
measures the speed of happens, you want your
each wheel. If you’re traction control to work.
stopping the car, and one
of the wheels suddenly
goes slower than the
others, the ABS concludes
that it’s locked up -- which
can cause you to lose
control of the car. So, it
pulses the brake many
times a second to give you
maximum stopping power
just short of locking up the
Traction control uses
that same system to detect
if one wheel is spinning
faster than the others. If it
is, the system concludes
that the wheel has lost
traction and is spinning,
which can also lead to loss
of control of the vehicle.
So, it uses the ABS to slow
down that wheel until it
regains traction.

Plus, there’s absolutely
no downside to leaving it
on. You’re not “wasting”
anything or wearing
anything out. It’s inactive
until it gets a signal that a
wheel is spinning. Turning
it off in the summer would
be like turning off your
home’s fire alarm when it’s
raining. Sure, you could.
But why would you?.
Got a question about
cars? Write to Ray in care
of King Features, 628
Virginia Drive, Orlando, FL
32803, or email by visiting
the Car Talk website at

(c) 2018 by Ray
Magliozzi and Doug
Neither of these systems Berman
work unless and until you Distributed by King
need them. They’re always Features Syndicate, Inc.


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