My parents have a 2006 RX330, and I decided to see how their traction control works, so I tried doing a quicker acceleration on a sharp turn to see how it would react. I found that the vehicle started to lightly tilt and beeped, making it seem like the traction control wasn't activating at all (unless its only function is to beep). Is this normal?
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Welcome to Club Lexus Sashko!
Yes this is normal. Toyota traction control is more liberal than a lot of other traction control systems out there. There is 2 "levels of activation". The first is where the light just flashes at you and it dials back throttle input to reduce wheel spin. The second "level of activation" is when it beeps at you. At this point it detects that you are starting to slid, so it uses the brakes to get the vehicle pointed in the direction you are steering (gets you back on track). The system will allow a little bit of slide before it intervenes. However, just because you are starting to slide doesn't mean that you don't have the traction for close to the throttle input you were at, so it will not slow you down dramatically. For example, if you are on dry pavement and you start to slide as you are turning, it will beep at you and it will just correct your line and will not dramatically slow you down. In other words, just because it beeps at you doesn't always necessitate that it dials back throttle input. I know that that is a little wordy, but I hope it makes sense.
I would recommend that you take the vehicle out to an empty parking lot or some other open space where you are not putting anyone in danger during low traction conditions (e.g. very heavy rain or snow) and toss the car around a little bit and experience both "levels" of traction control for yourself. This of course will also help you learn the limits of the vehicle's traction.
My main concern was that the wheels continued to spin while I did this test. I'll do a bit more experimenting in a larger empty parking lot as you suggested Neel, on my next visit to my parents', after we get some snow on the ground.
Yes you may experience a little wheel spin even when traction control does kick in. It is actually pretty liberal in that it does allow a bit of spin before it kicks in, but depending on conditions and specific scenarios, it may allow a little bit of slip to get you back on track. It's actually a pretty intelligent system, and ends up working well for most cases.
Another thing to note, you did not specify whether the car was front wheel drive or all wheel drive. The all wheel drive seems in intervene faster and a bit more aggressively than the front wheel drive does. I suppose the reason for this is because the all wheel drive has the ability to adjust torque as well as slow down wheels to help compensate for the slippage, though I could be wrong on that. And of course tires make all the difference when it comes to traction, but let's save that for another time.