Slip Light – What Does It Mean & Causes

Slip Light

The Slip light is a component of your car’s traction control system. It helps you regain control of the car when you are driving on slippery roads.

Each of the car’s four wheels has sensors that relay information to the Powertrain Control Module (PCM). When the wheel sensors notice that you are losing traction they will send information to activate the ABS and reduce engine power.

The traction control will also determine the amount of pressure to be applied to each wheel.

How does slip control work?

The slip control helps prevent your car from loss of control when you are driving under adverse weather conditions. The ABS is part of the traction control. Wheel sensors are attached to each wheel and they communicate with the PCM in regards to steering angle and traction loss.

The moment the slip control is activated the car may reduce power hence giving the driver greater control of the vehicle. The traction control also has solenoids, high-pressure accumulators and electric pumps. The function of the solenoid is to act as a point of isolation between the brake circuits while the accumulator assists in pressure distribution to the wheels.

Common reasons for the slip light

If your slip light only comes on on your dashboard in a few cases when you are accelerating, it might actually just be a slippery road you are driving on.

If your slip light is on constantly though, there might be a problem with your ABS system. In this case, it will often also light up together with another light the DSC or ABS. Here are the most common reasons for this:

Remember that the easiest way to locate the problems is with an OBD2 Scanner.

1. Faulty Wheel sensors

The wheel sensors/abs sensors are fitted at every wheel and are feeling the wheel speed of each wheel. If one of these wheels has a different speed than the others, the ABS control unit will brake the other wheels also.

If the sensor is faulty, it might send the wrong information to the abs control unit, which will light up the warning slip light.

Car Mud

2. Faulty ABS Rings

ABS rings are also fitted out on each wheel of your car. The ABS sensors are feeling the speed from the ABS ring. If one ring is broken, the abs sensor can feel the wrong signal and therefore send the wrong signal to the ABS control unit.

3. Faulty ABS Control unit

If your ABS control unit is faulty, you can also notice light like the ABS light or slip light on your dashboard. Use a scanner to check if it is possible to communicate with the ABS control unit.

4. Broken wires

If the wires between the ABS control unit and the wheel/abs sensors are broken or just have a bad connection, it might also cause an error in the abs control module, which will light up the slip light on your dashboard.

Benefits of having slip control

There are some important benefits that you will get with a slip control installed in your vehicle. Here are some important benefits:

1. Car safety for all weather conditions

There is often an increase in road accidents during snowy or rainy weather conditions. The car is prone to slippery. Having the slip control ensures that you have total control during these weather conditions.

The sensors on each wheel monitor oversteer or understeer and deploy ABS brakes where needed. Traction control is also responsible for reducing the car’s power when you are slipping.

Car Winter

2. Easy installation

Most of the modern cars coming out of production now come equipped with ABS. The same installations used for the ABS are used for slip control. In addition, organizations like US NHTSA have made it compulsory for all cars manufactured after 2012 to have traction control.

3. Reduction in road accidents

One of the key benefits of having cars with slip control is that reduces the chances of road accidents by up to 30%. The figures are higher for SUVs. However, having slip control does not mean that the driver should be less observant when driving.

Some drivers tend to assume that a car with traction control is accident-free. But, they need to be cautious to avoid reckless driving.

4. Insurance discounts

Some of the insurers will give their customers insurance discounts for cars with traction control. This is because the cars are deemed to be safer.


When there are some advantages, there are for sure some disadvantages also. Here are them:

1. Maintenance

There many electronic components that comprise the traction control. These components when faulty are expensive to fix. The ABS uses a set of wheel sensors to detect the wheel angle. But, these sensors become dirty and become ineffective. The onboard computer is also expensive to fix.

2. Limited control of the car

This applies to race drivers who desire to have more control of the car. Racers want to drift and traction control hinders this.

3. Higher cost to purchase

Cars with the latest safety technologies like slip control are more expensive to purchase. But, with increased adoption of technology, it is expected that the costs will come down.


If the Slip light is only coming on when you are accelerating it might just be a problem with a slippery road. If it is constantly on your dashboard, there might be an error in the ABS system. Use an obd2 scanner to read the trouble codes from the ABS module.

Written by: Magnus Sellén

Founder, owner & main author of Mechanic Base. I have been repairing cars for more than 10 years, specialized in advanced diagnostics & troubleshooting. I have also been a drifting driver and mechanic for over 7 years.