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Hah, didn't quite know what title to put on this thread as I dare say hundreds of you out there would know the answer........Just that those hundreds do not include me [:$]

Jumped in the car yesterday as I had a longish journey and 2 warning lights came on the dash.

One said "TSC off" and the other one that lit up showed the handbrake as being ON when I had pushed it well down.

Can some kind person please explain to me the significance of these warnings and, if the problem entails a visit to a garage, is it going to be a "big" (ie expensive) job?

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If the messages are in French then my guess (and it is only a guess) is that it may be Traction Control. To put is it simply if one wheel looses grip it transfers power to the other like on snow, ice etc to decrease skidding. It could be the sensor on the wheel if your lucky or the 'Brain' of the car which can be expensive depending on make and model. Most cars allow a computer to be connected by the garage and they can tell in minutes exactly what the problem is. If the Traction Control is off then the car will behave like one that does not have any so perhaps don't go racing round corners till it is fixed.

The 'Brain' can also effect other warning lights like the brake (on some cars) or alternatively there may be a problem with one of the brakes which also has affected the TC sensor on that wheel. Some cars have a brake warning light which comes on if there is a problem with the brakes and it doubles up as a hand brake on light. Other cars have two separate lights for these warnings.

If it were me I would simply take it to my friendly garage straight away.

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Edited: "TSC off" is probably in English rather than French [:D]

Check the car's driver's handbook to identify it. This should help you decide if it's something serious.

It is probably something significant enough to bother having a warning light anyway

The handbrake warning light is often activated by the lever moving a small spring loaded switch on the floor, which can sometimes stick



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Hopefully its is something just as simple as you have inadvertently pushed the button to disable the traction control system, this will normally illuminate the warning light to tell you that it is disengaged, on my car the symbol on the TCS disable button may make sense to the designer but it doesnt to me being a seemingly random symbol.

That said the handbrake warning light may well indicate that Q is nearer the mark, on many cars it doubles up as a brake warning light to save one LED.

good luck

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Having read your post again "TSC OFF!" is more than likely to be that the button or switch has been actuated, it wouldnt say that for a failure or partial failure of the system.

Handbrake? Check to see there is nothing blocking its return like a sat nav lead which happens frequently to mine, pull it up and down fully several times and see if that does the trick.

If it is not fully releasing then your rear brakes could bind (99% vehicles handbrake to rear brakes) which you may feel when you drive but best to stop after a short journey and see if the rear discs/drums appear to be hot, you will both feel and smell the overheating.

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What vehicle is it? If I turn off the traction control on my car (Alfa), the warning light comes on, but it defaults to turn traction control back on whenever I restart, and the warning light goes out.

If you Google "tcs warning light", there are a lot of posts about lights staying on.

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Thanks for all the replies.  Will eliminate possible causes one by one but haven't had any time to do anything today as some unexpected visitors turned up.

It could well be the brakes.  It does seem that with either car, if I asked the garagiste to check les freins, he always said they were fine![:-))]

AZ, it's a Mazda Premacy, about 8 years old, from memory.

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On many cars that handbrake warning light also doubles as a low brake fluid warning. Check the wee plastic bottle (check the handbook if in doubt about which one.... I have had to deal with the after-effects of someone adding screenwash to their brake fluid reservoir!) it should have a minimum and maximum level stamped on the side.

Its rarer, but it can also double as an indicator that front brake pads are wearing low....get a mechanically minded person to check the pads.

For the TCS light - check you haven't turned off the traction control system. This is possible on most cars via a button somewhere usually for snowy conditions or driving like a hooligan.

after that, if they stay lit then you will need a diagnostic scan from a garage with the relevant equipment. Any main dealer and most decent indepentant garages should have a good quality OBD code reader. Possible faults range from faulty wheel sensors up to failure of the main control module....no point in worrying until it has been diagnosed.

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I agree with others...check the TCS button hasn't been selected. But, also check that the fuse hasn't blown (start cheap and work up). If it's not the switch...fuse...it could be a wheel sensor (next cheapest).

Our ABS light came on (citroen xantia), and numerous expensive garage visits failed to find the problem, so we disconnected it and drove it for 4 years before the clutch died.

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Sorry to disagree with the others but I strongly recommend you take it to the garage and have it checked out. My local garage who I have used for years will plug in the computer for nothing and tell me what's wrong. If there is nothing wrong and you have switched something off by accident then all you suffer is a red face. If there is something seriously wrong (like the brakes) then at best, if you carry on driving the car, you could kill yourself and at worse some innocent third party, man woman and/or child. I think ten minutes in the garage is a very small price to pay to find out if there is a fault or you have pressed the wrong button.

We can all make suggestions and many of us can make a guess but I am not sure any of us are proper professionally trained motor mechanics.

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Hi all

I am back to tell you what I did this evening with the car.

I took it out for a little turn around the village and braked hard several times in the communal car park.  Brakes worked very well.

Checked the brake fluid, as suggested by Dave.

Read an American forum and, whilst it sounded crazy, I tried one of the things suggested.  This was to turn on the ignition (but not start up the car), turn the driving wheel hard clockwise and then hard anti-clockwise.  Then start up.  The warning lights all disappeared.  Hooray, I thought and drove home.

Stopped the car and breathed a sigh of relief.  Started up again and still no warning lights.

So, should have left well alone.  But, not believing my luck, I started up a third time and all the warning lights came back.

At least, it can't be the central electronic system (the most expensive, I guess). 

The car is OH's and he's been advised not to drive until his new medical condition is reviewed in September.  As Wooly says, it's been tipping down for weeks so I have not taken his car out for a run for some time.  After all, I have my work cut out, driving my own car to do all the necessary shopping, etc.

Could just be damp affecting the sensors.  But will definitely take it to the garage on Monday.  If it's dry over the weekend, I will take it for a run and see if the lights go off.

Many thanks for all the advice. 

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Sweet, I think this sounds rather expensive, sorry! It sounds like the ABS unit has failed. The same components are used for ABS (antilock braking) as for the TCS (Traction Control System - which helps prevent wheelspin amongst other things).

I Googled "Mazda premacy TCS off" and got a lot of hits. Try this : http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Your_2004_Mazda_premacy_abs_tcs_off_brake_system_warning_light_do_not_go_out_after_starting_up

Your still have brakes, so driving to the garage etc will not be dangerous so long as you are aware that you won't have ABS.

I've seen this on VW Polos and Golfs on a recent TV programme about fraudulent garage operators; sometimes it's just the fuse, which cost very little but unscrupulous people charge for replacement units when it's only the fuse. That fact that your warning lights went out and then came back suggests (but I could be wrong) that it's not the fuse.

Good luck, Sweet! Please let us know for future reference.


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  • 1 year later...
Hi, folks, I've come back to say that I am hoping that this problem will be sorted in the very near future.

I haven't done a lot about it because 1) the car is driving well and there are no discernible problems  and 2) I have had the rear brake pads changed.

I am only able to attend to this matter now because poor OH has had a series of minor but important health problems which have meant tests for this and that and having to accompany him everywhere.

However, this afternoon, I took the car to a Norauto place near us (because that's the other thing, our nearest chez Mazda is 50 km away and I am constantly having to be around to see to stuff).

They spent a while connecting it to their computer, they took off the rear wheels and cleaned the parts (whatever they be) and then they told me that it was the capteur.

I have now looked up the word and it says "speed sensor" so many of you, including Q, were more or less in the right area of diagnosis.

They are going to prepare a devis for me and I am just hoping that their diagnosis is correct.  I don't mind paying for the work but I don't want to pay and then find that that wasn't what it was after all and I would have to go to a Mazda concessionaire after all![:-))]

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If it's just the sensor cable unit, it should be a simple pull one out, plug the new one in job, unless there is something unusual about the Premacy. I have changed one in minutes, bought off Ebay UK for about £12.

I have just checked Ebay UK for the Premacy and there is this, for example:


(Sorry, I can't make a link so you will have to copy and paste into browser.) You would of course need to make sure to get the right one for your car but assuming you are leaving it to the garage to supply and fit, the picture might give you a better idea about what the mechanic is talking about..
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