Have you ever wondered what the ATC button in your Peterbilt semi-truck does? It has caused some confusion for many people.
ATC or Automation Traction Control is an essential tool in a modern semi-truck.
If you want to know more about ATC, read on!
Here’s how to turn off the ATC on a Peterbilt:
The Automatic Traction Control can be turned off on a semi-truck by pressing the ACT button in the cabin. If the light is on, the ACT is engaged and vice versa. You can also disengage the ACT on your Peterbilt by disconnecting the sensors or changing the settings in your ECU software.
Table of Contents
What is ATC on a Peterbilt?
ATC stands for Automatic Traction Control. It can be your best friend if you’re driving in slippery conditions. However, some people report that it interferes too often.
The ATC system allows the semi-truck to accelerate more stably. This can either be in adverse weather conditions, slippery roads, or even while cornering.
When you’re driving a semi-truck in slippery conditions, there is a high chance f the wheels spinning when you begin to accelerate.
In the majority of cases, one wheel will spin more than others. For example, the lift side will spin more than the right.
When this happens, the wheel that is spinning too much will lose traction. This can cause the semi-truck to lose stability very quickly, resulting in an accident.
ATC was designed to detect how much each wheel is spinning. When one wheel begins to spin too much, the system will cut the power or apply the brakes on that specific wheel.
This is a very clever system that works similarly to the standard traction control system found on road cars.
However, it does limit the amount of power you can put down on the road, even if you push the throttle down fully.
In some cases, you need a lot of power to get you out of a sticky situation. ATC will cut the power preventing you from being able to go full throttle.
Do all Peterbilt Models have ATC?
Automatic traction control has been around for several years now. It was first built into a semi-truck in the early 2000s.
All modern-day Peterbilt semi-trucks will be equipped with traction control in some form. It has become a mandatory safety tool to use.
There are reports of Peterbilt semi-trucks using ATC systems as early as 2005. It is unclear when this system was implemented into all models.
We can expect the ATC system to remain firmly in place for the future as there is a significant focus on road safety, especially when it comes to semi-trucks.
However, the system is improving year on year as manufacturers develop their traction control. The sensors are becoming better at detecting how much power is needed to allow the wheels to spin adequately without completely cutting the power.
How does ATC on a Peterbilt work?
The ATC system on a semi-truck is clever. It’s software that has been built into Peterbilt’s ECU.
Several sensors are placed on the driven wheels that measure the rate at which each wheel is spinning. If the ATC system detects that one wheel is spinning more than others, it will take action.
It can do this in two different ways. It can either cut the power to that wheel for a split second, slowing it down just enough to match with the other wheels.
If the wheel is spinning excessively, it can also lightly apply the brakes on that wheel, which will also slow the wheel down enough to match the speed back with the others.
The first versions of ATC were highly disruptive in the way they slowed the wheel down. Frequently they would cut too much power or apply too much brake pressure to the wheels.
However, ATC systems have developed massively over the years, becoming more sensitive to wheel spin and applying brakes or cutting power more gently and naturally.
Why would you turn ATC off in a Peterbilt?
Many truckers prefer to drive their semi-trucks without the ATC system. The majority of truckers prefer to have the system on, though.
The main reason drivers prefer the ATC system to be disabled is that it interferes with the power output of the semi-truck.
This can bother some drivers who prefer to have complete control over their throttle input. It can make driving the semi-truck more challenging in adverse conditions, though.
How to turn off ATC on a Peterbilt?
The automatic traction control system on a Peterbilt can be disabled in a few different ways. One is temporary, and the other is permanent.
The first is to disable the system by pressing the ATC button in the cabin. This will only temporarily disable the system, though, so it’s not a long-term solution.
You could disconnect the sensors on the wheels as well. This will prevent the system from detecting any wheel spin, which means it can’t interfere at all.
However, in this case, you might get error messages and warning lights coming on to let you know that the system is faulty, especially in newer models.
Another solution is to disable the system entirely. This can be done at a workshop with a specialized tool to turn settings on and off on the ECU.
Can you switch the ATC off from the cab?
The ATC system can be temporarily disabled from the cabin of a Peterbilt semi-truck. There is an ATC button with a light on the dashboard.
Pressing this button will disable the ATC system. When the light is on, it means the system is disabled. When the light is off, it means the system is engaged.
The system will reset once the semi-truck is switched off. This means that even if you have disabled the system, it will turn back on the next time you start the semi-truck.
Do you need to replace the control module?
You technically don’t need to change the control module to disable the ATC permanently. However, it is an option if you would like a more permanent solution.
There are custom Peterbilt control modules that do not have an ATC. This can be installed on your Peterbilt semi-truck.
It is recommended to get the help of an expert as it can be quite a complex job. If done incorrectly, you might have some issues with your semi-truck.
Can you change the software?
Most Peterbilt semi-trucks can have the ATC disabled or adjusted in their software. If you have the correct equipment, this can be done relatively quickly.
There are 4 options for the ATC on a Peterbilt semi-truck. The first two are simple to have engaged (‘Brake and Engine’) or disengaged (off).
The third option is ‘Engine Only.’ This means that the ATC will only cut the throttle to control the wheel spin. The system will not use the brakes to slow the wheel spin down.
The fourth option is ‘Brakes Only.’ With this option, the system will not cut the power supply to the spinning wheel but rather use the brakes instead.
How to turn ATC light off?
When the ATC light is on, it means that the automatic traction control system is disabled. In order to get the light to turn on, you need to engage the ATC system.
However, many Peterbilt semi-trucks will automatically turn the ATC system back on when the semi-truck is switched off. This means that it will be engaged (light off) when you turn the semi-truck back on.
What does Disabling the ATC on a Peterbilt Affect?
Disabling the ATC on your Peterbilt is an important thing. You need to understand how it will affect your semi-truck fully.
Understanding this will help you know what to expect when you turn the ATC off on your Peterbilt semi-truck.
Aside from the fact that your semi-truck will experience more wheelspin in slippery conditions, there might be some side effects to disabling your ATC.
Does it affect the ABS?
In most cases, disabling the ATC system on your Peterbilt semi-truck does not affect your ABS (anti-lock brakes system).
However, in some rare cases, there have been reports that the ABS becomes disabled when the ATC is disabled within Peterbilt’s ECU.
This can be quite dangerous as ABS is essential to helping your semi-truck slow down properly.
Does it affect the transmission or engine performance?
Disabling the ATC does not affect the transmission performance. The traction control does not use the transmission in any way.
However, it will have an effect on engine performance. The traction control will not be able to cut the power to the wheels if it is disabled. Therefore you will have the full amount of power going to your wheels.
Is it bad if you turn off the ATC on a Peterbilt?
Turning the ATC system off on your Peterbilt semi-truck is not a bad thing. It could have some unexpected side effects, though.
There have been reports of the ABS being disabled when the ATC is disabled through the software. However, if the ATC is turned off properly, you shouldn’t have any issues.
It is said that there is a risk to turning the ATC system off on your Peterbilt semi-truck. You need to ensure that you are a skilled driver.
Without traction control, you need to be able to control the throttle of your semi-truck very carefully. If you’re too aggressive on the throttle, you will cause the wheels to spin.
When the wheels spin, it is going to cause you some problems. The first is that the wheel is losing traction, thus losing grip.
A wheel that has no grip is not helping towards the handling or the acceleration of the semi-truck and is simply sliding along the road’s surface.
This creates another problem. A wheel that is spinning excessively will cause the tires to begin overheating.
When the tire overheats, it will begin to wear out faster, and it could even cause flat spots. This can ruin an entire set of tires or cause them to shred off the canvas.
Can you reinstate the ATC on a Peterbilt if turned off?
The ATC can be turned back on in your Peterbilt semi-truck. It depends on which method you used to disable the ATC.
If you used the ATC button in the cabin of your Peterbilt semi-truck, you can either turn it back on with the same button or switch your semi-truck off and back on again, which will reset the ATC.
If you disconnected the sensors on the ACT system, you would need to take the semi-truck into a workshop to have them reconnected again.
If you changed the setting son the ECU software of your Peterbilt, you could change them back in the same way.