So, you keep getting this annoying check VSC system message on your Toyota or Lexus? And you are asking yourself the question why is this happening, is my car broken? Do I need to take it to a repair shop to fix it?
- What is the VSC system?
- How does the VSC system work?
- What Makes this Light to Pop On?
- DIY Fix
The answer is yes, you need to take care of this issue. As something seriously wrong can happen if this issue persists and you ignore it. So, don’t be that person and take your car to your local Toyota mechanic in your town and let them address this issue for you.
If you are a car owner, you know that you need to do all of your maintenance on time and change the parts that wear on a certain mileage, that is a good owner, a person that takes care of his car and does the regular maintenance. But sometimes unexpected things like this may pop up, nothing goes as planned in life, and neither does car ownership.
There are many lights that can pop up on your dash, but if you are a Toyota or a Lexus owner, the warning check VSC system light will pop up from time to time, we can say that it’s just a Toyota thing.
But it is fortunate for you and we understand how these systems work and we gathered some really helpful info on why this issue comes up, we will start from the details and go up to the solutions of this check VSC system issue, so follow along.
What Is The VSC System?
The VSC or Vehicle Stability Control is a feature created by Toyota’s engineers and is used on many of their and Lexus models. It was introduced in 1995 as one of the biggest advancements in road safety at the time of its inception.
This feature basically helps you out with keeping the car on the road, specifically if you live in a place with harsh conditions, where the weather is crazy. This system will always ensure that you are safe and help you when you lose traction. It is basically the same thing as ESC (electronic stability control) but branded by Toyota as VSC (Vehicle stability control) system.
This system basically works in a simple manner, the computer of your car is aware of the conditions that you are driving in and knows that you lose traction, then the system decides when to apply the brakes to the wheels and prevent further skids that may throw you off the road, we will take this explanation in detail in the next chapter.
It basically saved your life many times and you probably didn’t know it by now. But since you searched “check VSC system” and found this article you are pretty aware of its existence.
Nevertheless, when the check VSC system light comes up often it may be a different reason why it is popping up so often in front of your eyes, and that is pretty concerning since it may not work when you need it, so how does this system work in detail?
How Does The VSC System Work?
The VSC light is directly connected to the ECU computer that controls the VSC system. As we know the computer is the brain of the car and he decides what to do in certain situations. So, the computer gives the right input to the brakes and other components when is alerted by the VSC.
The VSC monitors the vehicle steering and overall stability. It kicks in just when it starts losing traction. It does everything by itself, firstly it applies the brakes wherever is necessary and reduces engine power, so the car keeps its stability and the driver doesn’t lose control and successfully manages the situation. During this process, the VSC works in a pair with the ABS system to maintain the overall vehicle stability.
But what is ABS? Since we already mentioned it. ABS is also a safety feature like VSC, this system’s goal is to prevent the wheels from locking up when brakes are applied in emergency situations. And to help maintain tractive contact with the road, allowing the driver to keep the car from crashing and avoiding some serious incident.
It works by applying the brakes when needed to reduce the stopping distance, for example, if you don’t have ABS, braking from 60 miles per hour you will need much more distance to stop. With ABS, on the contrary, you will need much less stopping distance and will help you avoid some serious situations.
What is The Mechanism Behind This VSC System’s Action?
On each of the wheels, there is an electrical sensor, and this sensor communicates with the Powertrain Control Module or PCM, and the sensor sends data regarding the conditions of the stability and steering performance in bad weather. These factors include the rotation speed of the wheels and the vehicle’s horizontal and vertical motion.
The sensors then are getting the information when there is some issue with the traction, then they relay the information to the main computer or ECU. The ECU then starts analyzing the data in order to determine what actions are needed in order to keep the car’s traction. These actions are performed by the ABS and VSS systems.
Any issue that is connected to the traction and steering stability is going to trigger a red light to the computer and the check VSC system will pop up. The VSC system will help the driver to maintain control when it comes to hard cornering, understeering, and skidding.
Many accidents on a daily basis happen because drivers are losing control over their vehicles in harsh conditions such as rain, fog, snow, slippery and frozen roads. This system works for the driver and the passengers, it has saved thousands of lives during all of these years since these systems were publicly available.
History of Cases Connected With This Issue
If on the dashboard of your Lexus or Toyota suddenly appears a “Check VSC System” warning light you may have a serious issue to deal with, and also some skill will be needed to diagnose. Similarly, to the check engine light, or the battery light. This is a warning that you need to take into consideration and take your car to the local Toyota authorized mechanic to deal with this issue. Because there are other things that may pop up if it’s not properly addressed.
There were some instances in the past with older Toyota’s where this system fails in a very dangerous way. Some drivers that were driving Toyota’s from 2008 have reported that the “check VSC system” light would pop up and the car suddenly becomes difficult to handle and also stopping proved to be a hard task in some of these cases, while in others wasn’t an issue.
If this is happening to you as well you should not ignore it, just visit a local mechanic and he will help you out on fixing your car easily and effectively.
What Makes This “Check VSC System” Warning Light To Pop On?
Since cars now are packed with computers and sensors, the probability of something failing is quite big. Every data that your car needs go through them, and then the ECU analyzes this data and delivers a solution. Some of these sensors are prone to failures. After certain miles, everything is starting to give up at some point, as well as the sensors. They know to be costly to replace, depending on the particular sensor needed to be replaced.
The VSC warning light on your dashboard is indicating several issues related to traction. For example, it could be a faulty steering angle sensor, defective rotation speed sensor, malfunctioning wheel speed sensor. In some cases, even a bad steering rack could be one of the culprits, there are many connections that pass through it and sometimes it knows to fail. So, the most important this is to check the ABS and VSC components when the VSC light comes on.
In some cases, the light comes on because the computer needs a simple resetting. This is a very simple problem that you can solve by yourself, just unplug the positive battery cable and reattach it after a few moments, it should come back to life and the computer will be resented, the light should go away.
Also, if you are driving in some harsh conditions such as blizzards, the snow may prompt the light, since the car sensors are confused and think that the car will lose traction anytime so they overreact. This situation may also trigger an error engine code.
Getting fixed this error code is an easy task, you just need to have a place to wait for the snow to meltdown, the light is very likely to turn off by itself, if it doesn’t get a cheap OBD2 scanner to fix the error code, and if you don’t know-how, you will need to take it to your local mechanic.
If the light stays on for a longer period and persists, the car is definitely having some bad sensors or a bad steering rack as we mentioned above. You should definitely consult a mechanic to give you some input on your next step.
How To Solve This Issue DIY?
Every problem has a solution and if you are one of those types of guys that want to fix their cars by themselves there is a solution for you. Many people don’t want to spend their hard-earned money on some expensive mechanics that are waiting to grab their money. And also, there are people that do not like other people to touch their cars and want to take the car and all of their problems by themselves. So, let’s get to the point and the different ways that you can tackle this issue:
- Unplug the battery, this is a simple and easy method on how you can solve this issue. Turn off your car if you have it running and disconnect the positive cable of the battery. Now it’s the most important part, let it sit for a couple of minutes for the electricity to drain from the car. Then hook up your positive cable, turn on the key and you are ready to go. The computer should be reset and the problem should be solved, if it persists, we can take on solution number 2.
- For this solution, you will need an OBD2 connector. Just get a cheap one from Amazon and plug it in the car while the car is running. By doing this you will get access to your car computer and will see the readings and errors that will pop up. If there are errors just erase them, after you erase them, your car will be free from any lights on the dash if there isn’t something that is failing on the car, if it runs nice and all the sensors are good it means that you are ready to go. You saved yourself a couple of hundred dollars, but if the problem persists then you have a bigger problem.
- Get an OBD2 computer that is more advanced and that will allow you to dive deeper and get into some real science fiction stuff. It will get access to all the readings of your car sensors and more. You will know how this car breathes and will get the right solution for your problem. The error will pop up and you will see which sensor is failing and when. This is a very precise piece of machinery, but it also costs a few hundred dollars. If you like to spend some money and fix the problems that pop up on your vehicle this is a nice way to do it. But sometimes even this computer cannot find the right solution.
- If the problem still persists, the best thing for you to do is to visit a mechanic, not any mechanic but a Toyota certified one, you will need an expert to dive into your problem and deliver the solution for you, and this can be also very pricey. A good mechanic will cost hundreds of dollars to even thousands, but since this isn’t a big issue and it mostly happens because some sensor is failing it shouldn’t cost that much, labor should be low, but the price of the sensor may be high. Sensors are known to have high sale prices, especially if they are specific and hard to find.
- The easiest solution that you can make and probably a solution that will save you many headaches is probably selling the car right away. If you are fed up and tired of this light popping up every now and then this is the solution for you. It may be stupid to sell your precious Toyota, but trust me, time costs money, so it’s much better for you to spend your time on some more fulfilling things than buying expensive repair equipment or visiting some real expensive shops in order to fix your car. That’s my take.
- Change your gas cap, although sounds funny, many people had reported that replacing their old and cracked gas cap was causing this issue, somehow it messed up the readings of the computer and was popping up errors, some people have reported that replacing the cap with a new one fixes the issue, as air was leaking ing.
Here is a video on how some guy claims to fix this issue with fixing his gas cap.
From Where This VSC System Come From?
All of the modern cars have some sort of electronic stability system on board. Depending on the manufacturer of the vehicle, the system has the name given by it. Basically, all of these systems are ESC that in other words translates as Electronic Stability Control. Now, let’s discuss how some manufacturers decide to call these systems, and there are plenty of different names.
- Mercedes for example is calling this feature an Electronic Stability Program or ESP shortened.
- Honda on the other hand calls it Vehicle Dynamic Control of VDC shortened.
- Mitsubishi calls its stability system Active Stability Control or ASC.
- Ford loves to use Dynamic Stability Control or DSC as their name for the system.
- Nissan’s version is known as Vehicle Dynamic Control or VDC.
No matter the vehicle, all of these systems are pretty much doing the same thing, they keep you on the road and keep you safe. If there aren’t these systems many people would be lost.
Toyota’s vehicle stability control system takes its roots from back to 1995, and they even have earlier versions of this system. For example, in 1983 Toyota had a system in the Toyota Crown names anti-skid control. And by 1987 the company had its official traction control systems and kept its pace with luxury car giants like Mercedes and BMW that were one of the first companies that made these innovations to the public. And by this example, Toyota was one of the first brands that had one of these systems in their vehicle and how they cared about the people that are driving their cars.
In 1995 the Toyota Crown Majesta was their first model that featured the (VSC) Vehicle Stability Control and made the way for more innovations in car safety. And by 2012 the ESC systems were legally required on every vehicle that was sold in the United States.
Safety on the road is the number one priority according to Toyota.
What Are The Benefits Of The VSC System?
The benefits of this system are enormous for everybody in the traffic, not just for you. These systems were solely created for saving lives and keeping people safe on the road. Who knows how many times it saved your life and you weren’t aware of that, these systems are working under the hood for your safety and the safety of your occupants. This system will make sure that when you are driving in the rain will not let you slide off the road and face some irreversible consequences.
So, the owner of the car or driver should always keep things in check and fix all of the issues that arise with owning it. Owning a car may be expensive for someone and if you can’t afford to maintain it is better to sell it and buy something more affordable for your budget.
A car is never an investment, on the car, you will always lose money and if you are an owner, you should accept it, or sell it for a newer model that is less prone to expensive repairs. Maintaining a car is not an easy task, but it is doable if you are persistent and you want to get things done and drive safely on the road.
What Is Going To Happen If I Just Ignore It?
Ignoring the VSC light is a bad idea because you never know what is the real culprit of this problem until it is investigated and the computer scanned. It may be a serious issue with your traction control system and you don’t want to drive a car like this that is not safe. It can get you in trouble and you can suffer some consequences. In the best-case scenario, maybe nothing is wrong, but if there is some situation that is make something happen it can be really bad, especially if the problem is just a cheap sensor.
There are a ton of drivers that are facing this issue with the “check VSC system” light, and looking for a solution on how to solve their problem. It is not a simple problem but it can be solved if you decide to do it, and don’t ignore it.
As we said, you can do it by yourself if it’s something simple as a confused computer and reset it by removing the battery cable or if it’s something more pricey like a sensor, then you will need some expert advice and opinion on what should be your next step in fixing your car and the parts and labor that are needed to get your car fixed.
You will spend some dollars on a mechanic but the result will be a perfect running and safe car, with no lights on the dash and everything will run perfectly until the next issue, and then you may say enough is enough I’m selling this car.
These tools have been tried and tested by our team, they are ideal for fixing your car at home.