I have a fairly new (as in about a year old) Chevy HHR. I love her and I take good care of her (i.e. keep her nice and shiny, regular oil changes and services, etc). As a matter of fact I took her in on Wednesday to have her 15k service.
I was driving to work friday morning and it was raining. I am sure in the last year it has rained harder. It wasn’t sprinkling, it was a definite rain, and the ground was pretty wet and every time I went around a corner the damn automatic traction control would flip on and the car would grip real hard (yeah I know that is the purpose of the traction control) and make it extremely hard for me to turn. Now this usually happened when I was either slowing way down to make a turn or from a stop making a turn. It happened multiple times and it just seemed a tad excessive and the difficulty I was having with the turning of the car was freaking me out just a bit. Now I will tell you right now I wasn’t driving too fast for the road or anything- at least not that I thought- I tend to drive like an old lady in the rain.
So I do what I always do when faced with car problems. I called my dad. Yeah I may be in my 30s but he tends to know more about these things than I do. We had the following conversation:
Me: Um I was driving to work this morning and the traction control kept coming on and I was having a really hard time turning the car and it just wasn’t right. Do you think I need to have it towed to Chevy? It was really hard to drive.
Dad: I don’t much about that automatic traction control…um..was it not right or did it just feel different?
Me: Um…both? It was hard to turn…and just felt…different.
Dad: (I could hear one of his coworkers talking to him in the background) Can you turn off the traction control?
Me: Yeah there is a button right on the dash.
Dad: Just turn it off. I think its for driving in the snow. If it doesn’t feel right just turn it off and drive it. Did it feel like trying to drive my truck in 4 wheel drive on the pavement?
Me: Um…I dunno I have never actually driven in 4 wheel drive on pavement or not.
Dad: Yeah just turn off the traction control. If you still have a problem then call the service department.
So later I took a break and took the car for a little spin. It was still raining but not as hard and I left the traction control on. I went around lots of turns both left and rights and the traction control didn’t come on AT ALL. Same thing at lunch (although at lunch it was a lot dryer by then and only a light sprinkling).
My question to you is:
Do you have a car with traction control? If you do does that sound normal? Also do you think low tire pressure could cause this? I notice that when they rotated my tires they now have (according to the little computer anyway) lower tire pressure than I like to keep in them. (the are all somewhere between 32 and 34 lbs and I usually like to keep them more in the 37 lb range (max is 40).
I am worried only because I plan to take a road trip at the end of February (can you guess where to?) and if I need it looked at I would rather it be looked at now.