Just had your eyes captured by the blinking “Check VSC System” light making you worried about what it may be pointing to? Want to know if it’s something crucial, worth paying your attention to?
Well, you’ve come to the right place, and here you will be getting answered all your questions. Keep on reading.
In Toyota and Lexus cars, there is a special control system used to keep the car from slipping in very harsh weather conditions. The system is known as Vehicle Stability Control, shortly, VSC.
Even though it comes to use very less often, its existence becomes very crucial when it’s actually needed.
So, first, let’s see how this system actually works so you can have the proper insight about it when we talk about it later in the article.
What Does the VSC System Do?
It just another regular day, and you’re roaming around on your car regularly. However, the weather is quite chilly, and the roads are getting more slippery than they usually are.
The very moment that the VSC system figures out that the car is losing enough friction to let it run smoothly and may start skidding, it automatically applies all the brakes on the car, making it come to an immediate halt.
This way, the car is saved from any further skidding, and the passengers plus the vehicle stay safe from any unwanted accident that could have happened as a result of skidding.
However, applying brakes is not the only thing the VSC system does. It also reduces engine power considerably, which allows the driver to gain better control of the vehicle.
Statistics tell us that the VSC systems have successfully helped to avoid a lot of accidents during extreme weather conditions for a long period of time now, which makes this an immensely important feature of your car.
So, one must make sure that the VSC system installed in his Toyota or Lexus is functioning properly at all times, especially if he lives in an area where the weather is often extreme.
Why Does The “Check VSC” light go on?
Whenever you see the VSC system light going on, you should put it upon your top priority to investigate the issue and figure it out before you get into any trouble.
The light obviously indicates that there is something up with the VSC or ABS system of your car and that it needs an immediate checkup before it could start working again normally.
The VSC and the ABS systems actually work in a combined fashion. And even one of them getting malfunctioned could cause the light to go on, especially snow.
When driving around in snowy conditions, the ABS sensors present in your vehicle could cause the light to go on. Hence the light can also go on without any problem being up with the VSC system.
The immediate and easy way of knowing if it’s the ABS that’s causing the light is to let the snow thaw. Once it’s done, you can undo the error code that is being displayed.
If, however, you see the light going on again, you might have landed in trouble and should consult a mechanic.
But, if the error does not return, you can be sure that it was just snow causing the issue, and there is nothing to be worried about.
How Does the VSC System Actually Work?
Now that we already have an idea of what the VSC system does and why could the light probably be going on let’s get a brief idea of how does the system work. So we can understand things happening here fully.
Landing straight to the point, VSC is the internal traction system of the vehicle. This system can effectively measure real-time friction that is being experienced by the tires of the car.
So, when the resistance between the tires and the road goes past a minimum pre-set value, the system gets turned on. As we learned earlier, the system getting turned on strives to give the rider better control of the vehicle.
The vehicle automatically gets reduced engine power, an automatic braking system when it’s about to skid while having electronic sensors on each tire that can communicate with the car’s powertrain control module (PCM).
These sensors on the wheels feed information about the vertical and the horizontal motion of the wheels to the PCM so it can take action accordingly. Failure to feed this information can be one probable cause of the “check VSC” light going on.
Other Related Engine Lights – Check Engine / ABS Light
As we discussed above, the functionality of the VSC and ABS system often overlaps, and most of the time, the check VSC and ABS will be going on side by side due to the issues causing them being the same.
ABS, which stands for Anti-lock Brake System, is mainly used to measure the rotational speed of each tire of the vehicle. This information, in turn, is fed to the Engine Control Module (ECM) of the vehicle.
However, due to different contacts being made by different wheels with the ground, the rotational speeds are mostly unique in every tire. When this speed differs by some threshold value, ECM perceives this as skidding.
When this happens, ECM, in order to save the vehicle from skidding, jams up some of the wheels so further damage to the vehicle could be avoided. This is actually the reason behind the ABS light going on.
So, the ABS system could also be a savior for car skidding instances; however, it uses an analog approach while measuring this, which is later converted to a digital signal. And according to studies, VSC does better at giving control to the driver.
The Electronic Stability Control (ESC) system is another electronic system that was devised to work alongside VSC and ABS systems to provide traction control to the vehicles in case of low friction.
First introduced with Toyota in the 90s, it worked impressively on a wide range of skiddy surfaces, ranging from frozen lakes to slipper roads, saving a lot of accidents since then.
This system, likewise VSC, gives control of the vehicle to the driver whenever needed, by calculating the resistance with the road automatically. The systems in collaboration work so well that sometimes not even the driver realizes them working.
Another technology used in collaboration with the VSR system is Acceleration Slip Regulation (ASR). The feature uses some parts of the ABS system as well as the electronic accelerator of the vehicle.
Imagine you are driving, and one tire has lost enough traction to the ground. What will happen is that the ASR will immediately send a signal to the engine management system to take care of it.
This is followed by an immediate power reduction to the wheel which is being slipped due to not enough traction with the road.
Dynamic Stability Control is another amazing feature that is automatically enabled whenever needed. It lets some of the wheels slip while increasing the traction of the others depending upon the road conditions.
Resetting The VSC Light
Once you have read the light going on, indicating there is something up with the VSC system. You immediately go on to figure out the problem and fix it. The next step is to reset the light to detect any problem in the future again.
Usually, a scan gauge is used to accomplish the job. However, there is also an alternative way in case you don’t own a scan gauge.
Switch on the engine to ACC and press the odometer long enough till it displays mileage. Turn off the engine and turn it back on using the odometer button. The light should be gone by now.
If this fails, there is a possible problem with any of the wheel sensors which would have to be replaced.
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Models That Support VSC System
There are various vehicles where you can find the VSC system involved; however, the most common of them are made by Toyota and Lexus. The models of these companies supporting VSC systems are stated down below.
- Toyota Verso
- Toyota Sienna
- Toyota Avensis
- Toyota Camry
- Lexus is250
- Lexus is220d
- Lexus RX400H
The VSC system is usually installed in both Toyota’s and Lexus’ cars, which is very useful for avoiding accidents due to extreme weather conditions where road traction becomes very low.
VSC systems essentially enhance the control of the vehicle by applying automatic brakes when needed and minimizing the engine power. This way, the vehicle is saved from possible skidding on the road, which is very hard to control if not for VSC systems.
The VSC light going on indicates something is wrong with either the VSC or the ABS system. It could have various reasons like wearing out of the sensors on the wheel or even snow stacking.
However, the reason should be immediately found out and fixed to keep the VSC system working normally to avoid any unwanted situations.