Why you need stability control

"Winter driving is filled with very different driving conditions and we must quickly adapt to each or suffer the consequences."

Blessed with living in the Kootenays means we get four distinct seasons.  Fortunately or unfortunately, winter is one of them.  During the winter we must drive and drive we do.  Winter driving is filled with very different driving conditions and we must quickly adapt to each or suffer the consequences.

If you own a vehicle with all wheel drive you may feel winter driving is less of a challenge than mere mortals with only two wheels to propel them up steep slippery slopes.

The addition of electronic computerized control systems means two wheel drive vehicles have come a long way when it comes to winter driving.  As important as ascending a slippery slope can be, the descent is likely more difficult and having four driven wheels is not nearly as important on the downhill slide so to speak.

The advent of anti-lock brake systems (ABS) begot traction controls systems (TCS) which begot electronic stability control systems (ESC).  Old Testament speak.  All these systems are now built into many late model vehicles.

If you have not driven a late model two wheel drive vehicle with all these systems you owe it to yourself.

They literally anticipate your mistakes and, provided the vehicle is equipped with four of the best in snow tires, the results can be amazing.  Some computers and software are now in charge of your throttle (gas pedal) and your brakes (all four wheels individually).

Inputs of lateral, yaw, and roll sensing accelerometers combined with a steering angle sensor increases the capability of a seemingly simple traction control system to a dynamic stability control system that can make you a master at negotiating winter’s traction vagaries.

How this all works is probably a very tedious physics lesson.  Suffice to say these accelerometers combined with wheel speed sensors that can read the driver’s intentions, do some calculations and apply the necessary correction to the driver’s input.

A little too much gas pedal, no worries. You can only have enough power to stave off the onset of slip.

Coming into a corner a little too quickly and your vehicle is not steering in the direction in which you have the wheels pointed.

A little braking of the front and rear inside wheels and voilà life is looking and feeling a lot better.

For these systems to work their magic, your vehicle’s braking system must be top notch.  They require very rapid cycling of the individual brakes.

That fine vibration you feel and noise you hear are the solenoids and pump controlling the flow of brake fluid in the brake system.  Many of these systems require a new lower viscosity (thinner) brake fluid to meet the needs of  fast action and reaction.

Remember that when any of the orange warning lights associated with these systems are lit then the system is no longer functional but basic braking is available.

If the red brake light is on with these orange warning lights, then you could have an impaired basic brake system and repair is a must.

Once you have experienced the capability of one of these newer systems, like your seat heaters, you just won’t want to live without it.

Trail’s Ron Nutini is a licensed automotive technician and graduate of mechanical engineering from UBC. He will write every other week. E-mail: nutechauto@telus.net

Just Posted

Forty sled dogs were seized by the BC SPCA from a Salmo kennel in February. A recent ruling has decided the dogs won’t be returned. Photo: Gounsil/Flickr
BC Farm Industry Review Board rules against Salmo kennel after 40 sled dogs seized

Spirit of the North Kennels was also ordered to pay BC SPCA $64,000

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

SD20 now has an electric bus. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay-Columbia School District 20 adds electric bus to fleet

Bus will be incorporated into Castlegar route for next school year

Painting by Dave Davies from Shaver’s Bench facing Teck Trail.
Happy 120th Birthday to the City of Trail!

The town of Trail Creek- or Trail Creek Landing - was incorporated as a city on June 14, 1901.

Cropped photo: Silver Screen Drive-in will be in the upper parking lot of Waneta Plaza.
Summer drive-in returns to Trail unveiling blockbuster movies

PHOTOS: Scroll to bottom for a trip down memory lane to the Auto Vue Drive-In

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Condolences pour in for Kathy Richardson, Naramata’s 3rd homicide victim in recent weeks

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
More than 75% of B.C. adults have 1st dose of COVID vaccine

The federal government has confirmed a boost in the Moderna vaccine will be coming later this month

Airport ground crew offload a plane carrying just under 300,000 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine which is developed by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
1st batch of Johnson & Johnson vaccines won’t be released in Canada over quality concerns

The vaccines were quarantined in April before they were distributed to provinces

The rainbow flag flies beside the Canadian flag outside the University of the Fraser Valley’s Chilliwack campus on June 26, 2020. Monday, June 14, 2021 is Flag Day, and also June is Pride Month. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 13 to 19

Flag Day, Garbage Man Day, International Panic Day all coming up this week

British Columbia-Yukon Community News Association’s 2021 Ma Murray Awards were handed out during a virtual ceremony on Friday, June 10. (Screen grab)
Black Press Media winners take gold at B.C. and Yukon journalism awards

Publications received nods in dozens of categories

Most Read