Slip Light Meaning, Causes, and How To Fix It

Your vehicle contains a variety of warning lights for different malfunctions. One such light that might be unfamiliar is called the slip light. This light looks like a car navigating a curvy, slippery road.

Slip Light Meaning

The slip control system was developed to enhance driver safety in challenging weather situations. This system relies on the performance of the ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) and wheel sensors. These sensors work in conjunction with the ECM (Engine Control Module) to monitor instances of reduced traction and changes in steering angle. This article explains the slip light meaning, causes, and how to fix it.

What Does A Slip Light Mean?

The slip light in your car indicates issues with the traction control system. This light turns on when your car is running on a slippery road, and the tires don’t grip well, or when something isn’t working right. Sometimes, the light might flash or stay on if there is something wrong.

Slip warning Light

Each wheel on your vehicle contains multiple sensors that send the speed of the tires to the engine control module (ECM). If one wheel starts to slide, the sensors inform the system, which then tries to help you recover control. But these sensors may also become faulty and send wrong information.

Usually, when the slip light starts to illuminate due to a problem, the ABS light also lights up. Both of these systems are so closely linked that if one part has a problem, it impacts the performance of both systems.

Cause Of A Slip Light

A bad wheel speed sensor is one of the major causes of the slip light to illuminate. It may also be caused due to a bad ABS ring or damaged wiring.

The explanation of the most common causes of the slip light is given below:

1) Bad Wheel Speed Sensor

ABS Wheel Speed Sensor

The wheel speed sensor is one of the major causes of slip light illumination. The wheel speed sensor or ABS sensor sends information to the ECM about the speed of the wheel. Each wheel has its own sensor.

If one wheel is rotating at a different speed compared to the others, the sensor tells the ECM that there’s a problem with traction. As the wheel sensor becomes faulty, it might transfer wrong information, causing the traction control system to stop working. In this case, it’s likely that both the slip light and the ABS warning light will come on.

Read More: Bad ABS Sensor Symptoms and Causes

2) Damaged ABS Ring

ABS Tone Ring

Each wheel has an ABS ring, which helps the wheel sensor measure how fast the wheel is turning. This ring is utilized by the wheel sensor to figure out the speed.

If the ABS ring breaks, the wheel sensor can’t get the right speed data. This wrong information goes to the ECM, which might make the traction system act strangely. In such conditions, you’ll likely see both the ABS light and slip light on the dashboard.

3) Driving on a Slippery Surface

Unlike most dashboard warning lights, the slip light could actually come on in normal situations. This makes it unique.

For example, if you’re driving on a slippery road and your tires start to rotate, the slip light might briefly appear on your dashboard. It usually goes away once your tires grip the road again. If the light stays on, it’s probably due to some other mechanical problems.

4) Bad ABS Control Unit

ABS Module

The ABS control unit of your vehicle is like a small computer that monitors the performance of the antilock braking system. This unit takes data from the brake system and ABS sensors and sends it to the main computer.

If the ABS control unit breaks, the slip light turns on. The only fix is to change the control unit.

Read More: Bad ABS Control Module Symptoms and Causes

5) Damaged Wiring

The ABS system of your vehicle has many wires that need to be in great condition to send signals properly.

If the wire that connects the ABS control unit and the wheel sensors is damaged or not working, the warning lights will come on. In some cases, a loose wire can be fixed quickly. But finding a broken wire can be tough and might take a while.

6) Faulty Steering Angle Sensor

Steering Angle Sensor

The steering angle sensor of a vehicle has the responsibility to measure how the steering wheel moves and turns. This sensor is most commonly found in the steering column. Some vehicle models contain more than one of these sensors for better accuracy and backup.

If one of these sensors goes bad, the slip light might start to illuminate. Plus, your traction control system will be unable to work efficiently.  

Read More: Bad Steering Angle Sensor Symptoms and Causes

How do I Turn Off the Slip Indicator Light

When the slip light turns on, it’s a signal to investigate and resolve the issue. If the light blinks intermittently, there might not be a serious problem. You can keep driving and observe if the issue persists. Follow the below-given steps to reset the slip light.

1) Read Error Codes

Every modern vehicle comes with a built-in diagnostics system that can identify issues with your vehicle. By using a suitable OBD-II scan tool, you may read the codes stored in the ABS control module. Make sure you have a scanner that can precisely read the ABS control module – not all scanners can do this.

  • Connect the OBD-II scanner to the diagnostic port located beneath the steering wheel.
  • Retrieve the Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs) and cross-reference the information with the trouble code library available online.
  • Maximum error codes are standardized, meaning they’re the same across all manufacturers to indicate an issue. But some codes are unique to certain manufacturers and might be trickier to interpret.

2) Check The Brake Fluid

Brake Fluid

The traction control and ABS systems of your car rely on strong braking power to function properly. That’s why it’s essential to maintain an adequate level of brake fluid.

To check the brake fluid, inspect the reservoir and note its level. If it’s lower than the MAX line, you should add more fluid. Be sure to select the correct brake fluid for your car, as outlined in the owner’s manual.

Read More: Brake Fluid Colors

3) Reset The Traction Control System Using a Button

If your car has a Traction Control or VSC (Vehicle Stability Control) button, you can reset the system. Find instructions in your vehicle’s service manual. Follow the following steps to restart the traction control system:

  • Put your vehicle in Park.
  • Press and hold the VSC button for about 5 seconds.
  • Both the vehicle stability control light and the traction control light will illuminate.
  • Press and hold the VSC button once more for 5 seconds.

This process will reset your traction control system. If your light again starts to illuminate, it indicates an issue.

4) Inspect The ABS Rings and Sensors

Consult your owner’s manual to locate the ABS rings, which might be in the hub. Examine these rings for a fault and change them if necessary.

When it comes to the wheel sensors, identifying damage is more challenging. You can attempt to clean them to improve their connection. Often, contaminants accumulation on the wheel sensor can lead to problems.

5) Contact A Professional

Now it’s a good idea to let the mechanics handle this issue. Contact a professional mechanic who may help diagnose and resolve the slip light issue.

If you’re not sure who to trust, seek advice from people you know. You can also read online reviews of local shops to discover which ones have a good reputation.

Pros and Cons of Having Slip Light

Pros of Slip Control System

1) Easy Installation

Installing a slip control system is relatively straightforward compared to other car components. Both slip control and ABS are now standard features in most models on the market today.

2) Improve Safety

Certainly! Slip control systems in vehicles help drivers stay in control on slippery roads during rainy or snowy weather, which can reduce the chances of accidents. These systems make sure the wheels don’t spin too much when you press the gas, so you can drive more safely.

3) Prevents Car Accident

A main advantage of having a slip control system is that it decreases the risk of road accidents. But it’s important to note that it can’t completely eliminate the possibility of accidents, despite what some drivers might believe.

Specifically, it offers improved control in challenging conditions, which is a great advantage for vehicle owners. Consequently, drivers should still exercise caution to avert uncontrolled driving, even when their vehicle has slip control.

Cons of Slip Control System

1) High Cost

Because of the added convenience of the traction control system, cars equipped with a slip control system generally have a high cost than those without it.

Although the cost is expected to decrease as the technology becomes more common, the initial high price remains a significant concern.

2) Limited Control

Contrary to common perception, a significant number of drivers actually prefer having more direct control over their vehicles rather than just relying on slip control. For example, traction control might restrict expert car enthusiasts, like race drivers, from achieving high speeds and executing controlled drifts when they desire.

3) High Maintenance Cost

Both the slip light and the slip control technology incorporate a range of electronic parts that perform their functions effectively.

However, over time, these parts can degrade and become dirty. Furthermore, repairing the parts of the slip control system in case of malfunction can be quite costly. Additionally, the cost of fixing the main computer in the dashboard is notably high.

FAQ Section

Can I drive with a slip light?

If the slip light on your car’s dashboard turns on for a while, it indicates normal operation of the traction control system, and you can continue driving without worry. However, if the light doesn’t go away, it may signify an issue. While driving is still possible, you might lose access to the traction control system and ABS features.

How much does it cost to fix a slip light?

The cost to fix a slip indicator light depends on the vehicle model, labor cost, and the relevant faulty part. In case of a minor issue like a faulty connector, the expense might not be significant, especially if you may perform this job yourself. Yet, the cost can escalate considerably, potentially reaching $520 or more, if you need a mechanic to replace a sensor.

What does the ABS and slip light mean together?

The ABS and slip control systems are interconnected, making any of the aforementioned failures a possible cause. It could be due to faults in the steering angle sensor, ABS control unit, ABS rings, ABS sensors, or wiring, necessitating replacement. To ascertain the exact issue, a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation is the only reliable way forward.

What is the slip warning light on a Toyota?

The slip warning light on your Toyota car indicates a traction control issue.

Can low brake fluid cause a slip light?

Yes, low brake fluid may cause to illuminate the slip light. Traction control and ABS depend on the braking system, and if there’s not enough brake fluid, they might not work properly. The good news is that checking the brake fluid and adding more, if necessary, is a simple task.

how to turn off the slip indicator light?

Typically, the slip indicator light and the system should reset automatically when you turn off and restart your vehicle’s engine or when you are on a stable driving surface again. Some vehicles contain a TRAC button on the main console dashboard that can be used to deactivate the light by pressing it.

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