Traction Control on small cars

#1
Is there any advantage of having Traction Control on a small front wheel drive car such as the Vauxhall Agila, especially when driving on snow or icy conditions. Engine size is around 1.2 litres, petrol engine..

Can you have Traction Control on an automatic drive car?
 

jarrod248

LE
Gallery Guru
#2
All I see of traction control is a flashing light on the dashboard in snow and ice, normally means you aren't going anywhere. It is worse with an automatic as you can't dip clutch and not all will allow you to set off in a higher gear.
Small front wheel drive cars tend to be good in snow and ice if well driven.
 
#4
Is there any advantage of having Traction Control on a small front wheel drive car such as the Vauxhall Agila, especially when driving on snow or icy conditions. Engine size is around 1.2 litres, petrol engine..

Can you have Traction Control on an automatic drive car?
Traction control will help but to be honest if both your front wheels have lost traction there's little it can do about it anyway for that you'd need a limited slip diff of some form to shovel drive to whichever wheel has it.

If you're concerned about snow/ice don't get an auto, really because they are usually set up in a modern car for slushy economy driving and will tend to be in the wrong gear. If you haven't got the car yet and the main driver for you is good in snow/ice get the manual, and learnt o drive in snow ice ie always be in as high a gear as possible, use engine breaking for corners not the brakes, etc etc. You're in luck if its a petrol because high power/low torque is always better for snow, high torque is what will spin the wheels.


If you're buying a new car, like the agila and want an auto and are curious as to how well it'll do on snow - ok, generally. Some autos even have a special 'Snow Driving' button that alters the way the gearbox responds so check to see if it has that. I know for a fact Vauxhall do do them.

Overall though you'll get better benefit driving sensibly on snow than trying to rely on traction control.
 
#5
Down to the driver,not the gearbox.

Can't even remember how many 1,000's of miles,I've driven in serious snow,and ice,with a slush box,no major panics.

A 'moron with a manual',is just as bad as an '******** with an auto',just watch your speed,if you think you're going to have problems at 5 mph,then 5mph is to fast for the conditions,it really isn't rocket science!

Traction control is a tool,not a cure for bad driving technique,in snow and ice,your biggest problem is going to be 'other drivers',just buy some bigger mirrors,and a set of winter wheels,and tyres! ;-)
 
#6
I've got traction control in a 1.8 Mondeo and its very helpful as long as you don't get too ambitious. 20-25 max on the straights, 10-15 on the bends. But really it's down to driver skill and experience. Last time I used it to get to work in severe weather I might as well have not bothered as nobody else made it in, (or even tried, I suspect) and for H&S reasons I can't work solo.
 
#7
Of course you can have traction control on an auto. You'll hardly be burning rubber with a 1.2, but I guess it might be useful in icy conditions.
Burning rubber eh, would that involve driving on very bad roads at 55 miles an hour and praying that there are no bends ahead?
 

TheIronDuke

ADC
Book Reviewer
#8
Burning rubber eh, would that involve driving on very bad roads at 55 miles an hour and praying that there are no bends ahead?
That would be ABS which is handy. Although as has been pointed out, if the ABS kicks in it is Gods way of telling you, you are driving like a tit. Or it is a full-on emergency.

Traction control is useless unless you are a girl.
 
G

goatrutar

Guest
#9
It's handy on turbo charged rocket ship cars. They torque steer like a bastard otherwise.
 
#10
My old Rangie 4x4 has TC and is an auto. It only seems to come in on ice or wet grass not in mud and seems to help. it only works on the rear wheels at low speeds though.
 
#11
It is worse with an automatic as you can't dip clutch and not all will allow you to set off in a higher gear.
My Jaaaag is an auto, and you can start off in second using the J Gate. And it's AWD.

We had ice here on Sunday morning, and my S Class was going nowhere. The dashboard did lit up very prettily, though!
 

jarrod248

LE
Gallery Guru
#12
My Jaaaag is an auto, and you can start off in second using the J Gate. And it's AWD.

We had ice here on Sunday morning, and my S Class was going nowhere. The dashboard did lit up very prettily, though!
My new car I can set off in higer gears, we will wait and see what use it is. I do have snow chains though oh and a Bedford MJ =-D
 
#13
If you're concerned about snow/ice don't get an auto, really because they are usually set up in a modern car for slushy economy driving and will tend to be in the wrong gear. .
Pah...I throw my gauntlet at your feet Sir!

Some Auto cars are set up perfectly with traction control. I have an Auto Subaru Outback and traction control is awesome! You can feel it working out which wheel has the best grip and apply the power to that.

I grant you, it is AWD, but it is an auto, it does have traction control and it is amazing on ice/snow. :)

I also had a rear wheel drive Merc estate that I drove through a very bad winter on standard tyres. All I had to do was lift my foot off the brake and it would start to inch forward, then I could apply the peddle and pull off without traction control kicking in.

Naturally, at the first roundabout it was fun trying to get the back end out, but the system fought backand would not let me.
 
#15
How many cars do you see struggling in Germania in winter? Not many, because they have cold weather tyres fitted.

Stop worrying about Traction Control, ABS, ESP or whatever and get yourself a decent set of winter weather tyres.

For your size of car should be able to get a complete set of top rated winter tyres complete with steel wheels for about £400

No they are not just snow tyres and the current generation do not wear out quickly. People who say that they can do just as well on summer tyres with careful clutch control, etc, etc are missing the point. Most have never used winter tyres and have no frame of reference.

It is the difference between creeping around trying to avoid losing what little control you have and being able to drive in relative safely. In Germany and Austria (esp. in the alpine areas) often got to a point where I have thought "ok that is it: shovel & snow chains time" but always managed to make progress and never got stuck although close.

And that was in in a Merc. E class auto estate long past sell by date fitted with Goodyear UltraGrips.

(Note: NEVER buy second hand part worn winter tyres. They become near useless in snow with less than 4mm tread and in Germany are classed as summer tyres.)
 
#16
Stop worrying about Traction Control, ABS, ESP or whatever and get yourself a decent set of winter weather tyres.
^^ what he said. It's a night and day difference. I am from MI, so I should know. And I regularly drive my 400 + hp RWD Pontiac G8 in the winter too.....it's about the tires and the driver at the end of the day. You mostly see all the idiots in the 4WD + all gizmos in a ditch at the side of the road, driving like morons thinking they're invincible.

God help if you hit a big patch of black ice at speed though, then you need god control.....
 
#17
Pah...I throw my gauntlet at your feet Sir!

Some Auto cars are set up perfectly with traction control. I have an Auto Subaru Outback and traction control is awesome! You can feel it working out which wheel has the best grip and apply the power to that.

I grant you, it is AWD, but it is an auto, it does have traction control and it is amazing on ice/snow. :)

I also had a rear wheel drive Merc estate that I drove through a very bad winter on standard tyres. All I had to do was lift my foot off the brake and it would start to inch forward, then I could apply the peddle and pull off without traction control kicking in.

Naturally, at the first roundabout it was fun trying to get the back end out, but the system fought backand would not let me.
Look *picks up gauntlet hands it back* you've taken it rather too far. The chap's looking for a small family hatchback, it won't be an off road auto it'll be the one I described, hence the advice was tailored.

I have an Audi S4 with the S-tronic gearbox, which it does as your subaru does in the snow - and I also have regular access to a LR Discovery which with its auto 'box and 'snow and sand' setting (which goes as far as re mapping how the engine delivers power let alone do very clever things with the Diff) will shit on any other vehicle short of a Unimog or a tank in the snow (and most other conditions). So yes, i'm well aware of all aspects.

However if someone asks for advice it's probably better to reply to the question rather than just say 'get a Land Rover/Subaru/Land Cruiser'
 
E

exmunkey

Guest
#19
All I see of traction control is a flashing light on the dashboard in snow and ice, normally means you aren't going anywhere. It is worse with an automatic as you can't dip clutch and not all will allow you to set off in a higher gear.
Small front wheel drive cars tend to be good in snow and ice if well driven.
Got a 3.0 saab 9000 with TCS and it make ice and snow so boring. It does what I used to do in a manual of picking a high gear and riding the clutch without thinking. The efficiency and driveability does vary thru manufacturers

When the snow arrives I switch it off on the side streets, till I slide into the first kerb then it's fun over and TCS on
 

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