How Traxxas TSM Can Improve Your RC Performance

Traxxas TSM (Traxxas Stability Management) is a driver assist found exclusively on their brushless RC cars. Like traction control on a full-size car, it helps the tires maintain their grip during high-speed cornering and prevents fishtailing when accelerating quickly. 

If you’re used to driving brushed RC cars, you’ll notice a HUGE power difference the first time you drive a brushless car. That happened when I moved from my brushed Traxxas Rustler 2WD to the brushless Rustler VXL.

But I soon realized just how well the Rustler VXL got the power to the wheels. 

That’s all because of Traxxas’s TSM.  

In this article, I’ll explain what Traxxas TSM does and if it’s a feature you should get on your next RC car. 

What Does Traxxas Stability Management (TSM) Do?

TSM or Traxxas Stability Management is offered specifically on brushless RC cars, trucks, and buggies. 

It’s intended to make driving their RC cars easier on difficult terrains like dirt, loose gravel, sand, ice, or snow. 

In these conditions, the motor puts out so much power that the tires lose grip, usually causing a spin or crashing. 

Even on quick starts, the back tires struggle to maintain traction. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve crashed my Rustler because I gave it too much throttle input off the line. 

Traxxas TSM technology adjusts the car’s steering when it loses traction, automatically turning the front wheels into a slide to keep the car traveling as straight as possible. This prevents spinouts on slippery corners and terrain.

The sensors in the car will automatically adjust the steering when they detect the vehicle is losing traction. These sensors automatically determine how much adjustment is needed to prevent the system from over-compensating.

What Are The Benefits Of Traxxas TSM?

OK, we know what Traxxas TSM does, but what does this mean for your driving and your experience with a TSM-enabled car?

Limits Fishtailing & Spins

Fishtailing happens when you use too much power on a slippery surface, and the rear wheels kick out to one side. Most new drivers instinctively over-compensate on the controls, causing the wheels to kick out on the opposite side.

TSM countersteers to limit the fishtailing effect when it detects the situation arising, keeping the car pointed straight.

This allows you to go faster on starts and straightaways on slippery surfaces, or perform controlled power slides during cornering.

Low traction surfaces pose a challenge for cornering your RC car. This can easily result in spinouts as you over-compensate on the controls or give too much power in a corner.

TSM is designed to limit cornering spinouts in these conditions by automatically steering the car appropriately if the system detects an imminent slide or spinout.

Delivers More Power In Slippery Conditions

In real cars, you can usually feel how well the car is gripping the road, whether through the steering wheel or by the seat of your pants. This gives you time to adjust power levels to avoid slides and spinouts. 

RC cars don’t give you that same tactile feedback, making it challenging to adjust power accordingly.

The TSM system controls the car’s steering to adjust to the high power from the drive wheels combined with the slippery conditions.

This means you can keep the power on in these challenging driving conditions, drive the car in a straight line, and corner more effectively in this terrain.

Since you don’t have to feather the throttle, Traxxas TSM lets you perform faster starts from the line, keep your car straight, and corner faster on slippery surfaces.

It’s easy to see how this gives you an advantage in races. When every second matters, traction loss or spinning out can mean the difference between winning and losing a race. 

TSM Is Great For New Drivers And Experienced Drivers

The Traxxas TSM will make it easier for new RC car drivers to learn to drive their Traxxas vehicles, reducing their time to master driving in slippery conditions.

Experienced RC car drivers can benefit from the technology by driving faster under challenging conditions and with less loss of control in low-traction conditions.

TSM lowers the frustration level for new RC car drivers and increases the fun level for experienced drivers. This makes Traxxas TSM an advantage for RC drivers at all levels.

Does Traxxas Stability Management Limit Your Throttle?

Many stability management systems interfere with the power being supplied to the drive wheels from the engine and consequently reduce your RC car’s speed and power.

The Traxxas TSM leaves the RC car operator in complete control of the throttle and the power delivered by the motor.

The TSM doesn’t affect your control over the throttle in any way, even if the system is set to maximum assist.

Multi-function knob controlling Traxxas TSM

Can You Switch TSM Off?

Certain Traxxas TQi controllers have a multi-function knob. This enables the driver to select how much assistance the Traxxas stability management system offers or to switch the system off entirely.

You may need less driving assistance from the system in some terrain types. The dial on the controller allows you to finetune the amount of aid the system will offer while driving.

Traxxas recommend that the dial is set to 50%, but you can lower this value if the terrain doesn’t warrant this level of complete control. You can also increase the assistance level to 100% if the terrain is particularly challenging.

Some drivers choose to lower the assistance level to improve their driving skills under challenging circumstances.

In certain types of RC car racing, such as some drag racing events, driver assistance technology is sometimes not allowed.

When participating in these events, you can turn the TSM dial to the off position. It’ll be inactive until you increase the level on the dial.

Wrapping It Up

The Traxxas TSM system is intended to increase the driveability of RC cars in low-traction conditions. The technology allows you to keep driving and having fun without the frustration of continual loss of control over the vehicle in difficult situations.

If you have the Traxxas Link app, you can adjust your Traxxas stability management settings on the fly with your smartphone. You can even save settings for multiple vehicles or situations.

The level of TSM assistance is controlled by a multi-function knob on the TQi transmitter. This lets the driver adjust the driver aid to varying levels throughout the run. Traxxas Stability Management can be switched off entirely if desired.

Tim Wells

Tim Wells is the creator and driving force behind His passion for RC cars began when he caught a glimpse of a Kyosho Optima while on a family trip to Japan. Although he couldn't afford it then, the seed of his RC car hobby had been planted, and he knew he had to have one. Fast forward a few years, and he could finally dive head-first into the hobby as an adult. He found a ton of websites and YouTubers doing crazy stunts with their expensive RC cars but very few resources for the average person who just wants to go out and have fun. That's when he launched his RC car website: ClutchRC.

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