Service Traction light - Chevy Malibu Forum: Chevrolet Malibu Forums
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-02-2011, 05:55 PM Thread Starter
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Service Traction light

Today we were stopped at a light and all of a sudden the service traction light came on and then check engine and then ESC and the chimes also went off. Then everything went away and all was fine before the light changed to green.

Searched the site and it looks like anything will set these lights off! Any suggestions on where to start looking or what to check to try and narrow this down a little. My first thought was a bad ABS sensor or something but after searching the site it looks like fuel injector wiring, throttle body issues, and just about anything else can set these lights off.
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-03-2011, 07:18 AM
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Re: Service Traction light

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Originally Posted by scott37300 View Post
and just about anything else can set these lights off.
That might be because all those other things might make the idle speed drop to a point where the computer "thinks" the engine has stopped.

It also could be a general electrical malfunction developing......like your battery going bad.

Unless you have noticed a low or rough idle, I would suggest having the battery and charging system tested (really cheap or free) and then waiting to see what happens next.

If you have not done all the recommended maintenance, now might be a good time to catch up on that.
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-03-2011, 07:44 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Service Traction light

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Originally Posted by MalibuKen View Post
Unless you have noticed a low or rough idle, I would suggest having the battery and charging system tested (really cheap or free) and then waiting to see what happens next.

If you have not done all the recommended maintenance, now might be a good time to catch up on that.
All maintenance has been kept up with. I will check the battery and charging system. I think it's absolutely stupid that the traction light can go off due to electrical in the engine bay, and while I'm stopped. If the computer isn't smart enough to figure out that the car isn't moving so it doesn't have a traction problem then the lights shouldn't be going off. My local dealer is absolutely horrible and I will not take the car to them anymore.
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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-03-2011, 08:26 PM
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Re: Service Traction light

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I think it's absolutely stupid that the traction light can go off due to electrical in the engine bay, and while I'm stopped.
It is not so "stupid" if you realize that those lights come on every time you start the car. If the computer experiences a momentary loss of power, that would be a pretty much normal response when the power comes back on.
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-03-2011, 08:52 PM
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Re: Service Traction light

Sounds similiar to a problem I had last year. See my post

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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-04-2011, 07:10 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Service Traction light

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Originally Posted by MalibuKen View Post
It is not so "stupid" if you realize that those lights come on every time you start the car. If the computer experiences a momentary loss of power, that would be a pretty much normal response when the power comes back on.
If the computer had a momentary loss of power wouldn't the car at least have studerd or missed? I would think if the computer had lost power even momentaraly that there would be nothing to tell an injector to fire along with many other things?

I checked the battery and it was 12.6 volts and then 14.5 at idle and then with lights, defrost, A/C on it droped to 13.6 which seems pretty low. Would this indicate a weak alt?
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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-04-2011, 07:39 PM
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Re: Service Traction light

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I checked the battery and it was 12.6 volts and then 14.5 at idle and then with lights, defrost, A/C on it droped to 13.6 which seems pretty low. Would this indicate a weak alt?
No. That sounds about right to me. At any voltage above 12.6, the battery is still charging a little bit. It doesn't start DIScharging until it gets below 12.6.

As for the computer thing, that was just an educated guess. Although I don't know for sure, I suspect that there is more than one "computer" running things.......and I suspect that the one for the traction control type stuff is seperate from the one that runs the engine.

If only that one computer....or section of the "main board", lost power, is my theory. Depending on where it is physically, it could mean a loose connector somewhere or a bad connection on a larger computer assembly. Like you said, it probably does NOT mean a general overall loss of power.

And then it is just a theory.
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-05-2011, 06:10 AM
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Re: Service Traction light

Terms:
-CM - Control Module
TCM - Transmission
ECM - Engine
BCM - Body
EBCM - Electronic Brake

The TCM is in the tranny, the ECM is mounted between the battery and the headlight, the BCMs are under the front center console, and the EBCM is mounted on the left strut.

Traction control is a mix of ECM, TCM, and EBCM working together. Some of the logic takes place inside the BCM.

So, if the engine keeps running and the trans suffers no ill effects but the traction control light turns on, you might have had a power loss at the BCM or a portion of it.


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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-14-2011, 07:12 AM
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Re: Service Traction light

This happened on our Malibu too (2009 2LT 2.4L). My wife mentioned that occasionally when she was pulling to stop light the car would just start shuddering then all of the service indicators came on as you mentioned above. Just as soon as the shuddering started, it stopped until some arbitrary future time then it would shudder again. Turned out to be a cylinder 1 misfire caused by a bad spark plug. Dealership service found multiple cylinder 1 misfire codes when they did a scan. Hope this helps.
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-27-2011, 12:33 PM
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Re: Service Traction light

Dear scott37300,

How are things going with the traction light coming on in your 2009 Malibu? Did you happen to find a different dealership to work with?

I am curious as to where you are at with your situation.

Sincerely,
Michelle, Chevrolet Customer Service
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