Modern vehicles are marvels of technology, and there are no two ways about it. So, it can be worrisome when a warning light comes on in your vehicle. If the VDC off light has suddenly turned on in your vehicle and you are looking for its cause, you have come to the right place!
Driving around in a vehicle with a warning light on can be a frustrating task. I’m stating this fact because people don’t like to see warning lights turned on in their vehicles. Plus, fixing the issue can take days while also costing hundreds of dollars.
Due to this reason, it is important that you understand the ways you can fix this issue quickly and easily. It is important that you understand why this light turns on, and most importantly how to turn it off. We will give you all that information as we go forwards.
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First, we will have a look at how the warning lights system of a modern vehicle works. This will help you to better understand what to do in this situation. Not to mention, what steps to take when you are faced with a warning light in the future as well. And with that, let us proceed.
Before diving into the root causes of VDC off, let us take a moment to look at how the warning lights system of a modern vehicle works. Understanding the basics can go a long way in helping you in the future. Therefore, if you are ready to have a brief introduction, follow along.
Introduction To Car Warning Lights
Here, we will have a discussion about the basics of how the warning light system functions. In addition, about its various elements.
In the good old days, mechanics had to work tirelessly for hours just to fix a simple issue. Do not forget that the cars they had in the old times were much simpler than the rolling computers on wheels we have now. Back then, the fixes were as simple as the vehicles themselves.
As cars got complex, the problems associated with them started getting complex as well. It was not feasibly for mechanics to try and fix these issues just with their ingenuity. Due to this reason, manufacturers started to implement systems into their vehicles to help the mechanics easily identify the mechanical issues with the vehicles.
You’ll be surprised to learn that one of the earliest dashboard warning light systems was implemented in a vehicle almost 90 years ago! Yes, that’s true. The 1933 Hudson Super Six came with a warning light appropriately named the “red jewel” on its dashboard. While nowhere near the VDC off light we are talking about today, the “red jewel” did a decent job of conveying battery issues to the driver.
This basic system has evolved throughout the years to the complex array of symbols we have today. These warning lights function with the help of the electrical system and various systems of the vehicle. Altogether, they do a great job of warning you about an issue before they cause a catastrophe. With that out of the way, let’s get into more detail about the VDC off issue.
Vehicle Dynamic Control
Before we look into the causes of the VDC off problem, it is important that we understand the concept of Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC). The Vehicle Dynamic Control system is a system in your vehicle that helps it gain more traction.
The VDC system functions with the help of the anti-lock brakes system of the vehicle to individually apply breaks to each wheel to recover and counteract the slipping of that particular wheel. This can be useful during wet weather conditions and low grip situations. The Vehicle Dynamic Control system helps with the maneuvering of the vehicle by helping the driver recover from understeering in corners.
The VDC system works together with the ECU of the vehicle to monitor the steering inputs and direction of travel of the vehicle. When it detects a mismatching of inputs from the driver and the vehicle, the system kicks in to correct the issue. It reduces engine power, prevents aggressive steering, and controls the braking system. All with the noble goal of ensuring the safety of you and your loved ones.
VDC can be seen as one of the most important safety nets of the vehicle. And, we hope that you were able to understand that fact. With that, let us look into what may cause this system to malfunction and cause the VDC off light to turn on.
VDC Off Meaning
The VDC off light is the vehicle dynamic control warning light, and when it stays on it can mean that there is a serious issue with the vehicle dynamic control and traction control systems of your vehicle. VDC issues can be caused by several factors, and here we will go through some of them.
1. Defects In ABS Sensors At The Wheels
Your vehicle contains Antilock-Brake System (ABS) sensors on each of its wheels. These sensors are tasked with monitoring the speed of the vehicle and sending that information to the ECU of the vehicle.
Information from the ABS system is then used by the VDC to determine whether any of the wheels have been met with a loss of traction. You can now understand that if a sensor sends faulty information to the ECU, it can in return cause the VDC system to malfunction and show you the VDC off warning.
2. Defects In The Steering Angle Sensors
As we mentioned before, the VDC system also monitors the angle of steering to function properly. The steering angle is measured by the steering angle sensors which are located on the steering column of the vehicle. However, due to the location of these sensors, they are known to malfunction and cause some issues. The VDC off light can turn on during a situation of this manner as well.
3. Road Quality
No two roads are the same, so it is not a surprise that some roads may have really rough driving conditions. During extreme conditions, the VDC system can malfunction for a short period of time. Typically, the system goes back to functioning normally once the conditions go back to normal once again.
4. Steering Rack Issues
The steering wheel is the main control device of the vehicle, and it is connected to the steering rack. Using hydraulic fluid, the steering rack turns the wheels. Sometimes malfunctions can occur in this component, leading to the VDC system malfunctioning and turning on the VDC off light.
5. A Defective ECU
The ECU (Electronic Control Unit) acts as the brain of the vehicle. It takes information from all the sensors placed throughout the vehicle and takes actions accordingly. Sometimes the ECU can have faults and as a result, the VDC off light can turn on.
Now you know what can cause the vehicle dynamic control light to turn on. But sometimes, this light can turn on simultaneously with other lights to confuse and frustrate you even more. Want to know why this happens? Then let us proceed further.
6. VDC Off And Slip Light On
As you know now, the VDC system is associated with the traction control system of the vehicle. Sometimes it can turn on together with the Slip light of your vehicle. When this happens, it is important that you understand what causes this issue.
When the VDC off and slip light turns in together, it usually indicates an issue with the braking system of the vehicle. As we discussed in the earlier sections, the VDC system works in harmony with the braking system. So, when the braking system has been faced with an issue, it can cause the VDC system to not work properly. Simultaneously, it can cause the wheels to slip, thus turning on the slip light. Let us look into some possible causes for this problem.
7. Low Brake Fluid
If you have been met with this issue, the first thing you should do is to inspect the brake fluid reservoir of your vehicle. Why am I saying this? Well, that is because even though low brake fluid may not be the cause for your concern, it is really important that you keep your brake fluid at the correct level to be safe from brake failures at a critical time.
If filling up the brake fluid does not solve the issue, the brake fluid may be draining due to worn brake pads.
8. Worn Brake Pads And Rotors
Brake pads and brake rotors are essential components of the braking system of a vehicle. Over time, these components can wear out. This in return can cause the vehicle dynamic control system and traction control systems to fail and give you VDC off and slip lights on at the same time.
If your vehicle is not suffering from either of these problems, it can be suffering from a camshaft issue. Let’s proceed to take a look at that as well.
9. Camshaft Issues
The camshaft is responsible for activating the intake and exhaust valves of each cylinder of the vehicle. This allows the combustion gases to enter and leave the cylinder of the vehicle, ultimately producing power. The camshaft contains sensors that enable its functionality. Sometimes, these sensors can go bad and lead to the VDC off and slip warning lights to come on.
Whatever the cause, it is important that you get this problem fixed as soon as possible. Although you can still drive around in your vehicle with the VDC off warning, it can lead to a dangerous situation sooner or later.
Vehicle Dynamic Control system issues are covered under warranty, so if your vehicle is still in its warranty period you will probably be able to get it fixed free of charge. If your vehicle is not under warranty, VDC system repairs can cost as little as $80 for a switch or as much as $1600 for the whole system.
The term VDC is closely associated with Nissan vehicles. That is because Nissan is one of the manufacturers who refer to the traction control system as Vehicle Dynamic Control. If you are a proud owner of a Nissan vehicle, the next section will be beneficial to you.
Nissan VDC Off Light Stays On
While your Nissan would not be harmed by driving it with the VDC light on, it is a great safety feature to have. The VDC system is an optional feature on Nissan vehicles, so if your vehicle has it optioned be sure to reap the benefits of it.
The VDC system can help your Nissan to stay on track during slippery road conditions. The system can limit understeer and oversteer by using data from several sensors. The system also monitors and controls the brake pressure on each wheel of the vehicle. This aids the driver to control the vehicle.
In your Nissan, the VDC light will most probably be located above the key flob slot. If the VDC off light stays on in your vehicle, it can indicate one of several things that may be malfunctioning in your vehicle. It can be caused by issues related to the ABS system, steering wheel sensors, or wheel speed sensors.
If the Nissan VDC off light stays on, the best course of action is to take the vehicle to your local Nissan dealer to get it repaired. There, the technician will plug a diagnostic tool into the OBD2 port of your vehicle. This will allow you to read the error codes and then do the repair accordingly.
Manually Turning VDC Off In Your Nissan
On some occasions, you may want to manually turn off the VDC system of your Nissan. In doing so, the VDC off light will stay on until you turn it back on. You might wonder why would you want to do such a thing? All these times we were talking about the benefits and importance of the VDC system right?
Well, an example of a situation like this would be when your vehicle has gotten stuck in a pit of mud. During a situation like this, the VDC system can actually work against you by limiting the power output of the engine. Thus, in situations like this, you may manually turn off the VDC system of your Nissan. Then, turn it back on once you have gotten on the road again.
As we have talked about Nissans quite a lot, you may be interested in learning about the dashboard symbols and their meanings on a Nissan. If so, let us proceed by taking the Nissan Pathfinder SUV as an example.
The Nissan Pathfinder is one of the most popular vehicles ever produced by the Japanese manufacturer. Having been on the market since 1985, the Pathfinder can be taken as a great vehicle to take a deeper dive on. In this case, we will pay close attention to the dashboard of the Pathfinder, particularly its symbols and their meanings.
Nissan Pathfinder Dashboard Symbols And Meanings
The Pathfinder is a dependable and reliable vehicle. As such, its dashboard does a great job of conveying any potential issues to the driver through understandable symbols. Some of the most common dashboard symbols are.
- Master warning light – Appearing as an exclamation point inside of a triangle, the master warning can indicate major issues as well as minor issues. The manufacturer states that if this symbol is displayed while you are driving, the best precaution is to pull over your vehicle and observe the dashboard for more information.
- Malfunction indicator light – If an image of an engine is displayed on the dashboard of your Pathfinder, it typically indicates an issue with the emissions control system of the vehicle.
- ABS warning light – Indicated by the letters ABS inside of a circle, the ABS warning light indicates to the driver that a malfunction has occurred in the anti-locking braking system of the Pathfinder. As you may remember, the VDC system is also associated with the ABS system. So, you may even see the dreaded VDC off light along with the ABS warning light as well.
- Charge warning light– When an image of a battery suddenly appears on your dashboard, it indicates that a problem has been detected in the electrical charging system of your Nissan Pathfinder.
- Low tire pressure warning light – This is a warning light that deserves your immediate attention. It presents itself as an open circle with an exclamation point inside it. The low tire pressure warning light indicates that there is an issue with the tire pressure monitoring system. As we previously mentioned this light deserves your attention. That’s because not looking into it may cause a tire of your vehicle, leading to devastating consequences.
VDC Off Facts
Sure, here are the bullet points of the need-to-know knowledge from the article:
- VDC stands for Vehicle Dynamic Control, a technology in cars that attempts to combat loss of steering control in slippery conditions.
- VDC is the same thing as Electronic Stability Control (ESC), which has been mandatory on vehicles sold in the United States since 2012.
- Automakers that refer to ESC as VDC include Infiniti, Nissan, and Subaru.
- Electronic stability control systems detect wheel slippage before it is evident to the driver and apply countermeasures that the driver cannot.
- A VDC system continuously monitors steering and vehicle direction and determines the difference between intended and actual direction to mitigate problems.
- Subaru VDC uses AWD to maximize traction and restore vehicle stability, and it might also alter engine timing and reduce fuel flow to the engine to limit torque, further enhancing stability.
- Nissan and Infiniti’s VDC helps control and limit both understeer and oversteer.
- The Nissan/Infiniti VDC system controls brake pressure to individual wheels and regulates engine output to help the driver maintain control of the vehicle in both understeer and oversteer situations.
- The VDC system is a great tool to help a driver maintain control of a vehicle, but it cannot prevent loss of vehicle control in all driving situations.
- The driver is always responsible for the vehicle’s safe operation, so adjust your speed and driving inputs for the road and weather conditions you encounter.
During the length of this article, we took a deep dive into finding the meaning of the VDC off light. We started off by learning the basics about car warning lights. Then, we took a look at the functionality and benefits of the Vehicle Dynamic Control system.
After that, we took a lot at some of the common causes that may result in VDC malfunctions, as well as VDC system issues related to Nissan vehicles. Finally, we took a look at some common fixes for the Vehicle Dynamic Control system failures. All of which, can be used to turn off the VDC off light permanently.
What Does VDC Off Mean
VDC stands for Vehicle Dynamic Control system, which functions the same as the Electronic Stability Control system of your vehicle. The VDC system works together with the ECU of your vehicle to prevent it from understeering and losing traction. If the VDC off light has turned on, it means that this system has been turned off due to some malfunction, and you may encounter traction issues because of it.
How To Fix VDC Off Light
To fix the VDC off light, it is important to figure out its root cause. The VDC off light can come due to ECU defects, problems with sensors, steering rack issues, or even bad road conditions. Plugging a diagnostic sensor into your vehicle and identifying the error code is the easiest way of figuring out the fix the VDC off light. If the light has turned on due to the road surface condition, it will turn off by itself as soon as you return to a normal road surface. On the other hand, defective sensors may need to be replaced. Sometimes the sensor will return to normal after a thorough cleaning, but we recommend that you replace the sensor. Be sure to ask your mechanic to check the wiring, as well. ECU and steering rack replacements can be seen as the most expensive repairs.
What Is VDC Off
VDC off is a warning that is used to inform the driver about a potential issue with the Vehicle Dynamic Control system of the vehicle. The VDC system can malfunction due to problems with the ABS/ steering angle sensors, a bad steering rack, a defective ECU, or even due to bad road conditions.
Why Is My VDC Off And Slip Light On
The VDC off and slip light of your vehicle can turn on at the same time due to issues with the braking system. These issues can vary from the brake fluid level is low, or the brake pads and rotors being worn. The issue can also arise due to issues related to the camshaft of your vehicle. VDC stands for Vehicle Dynamic Control, which is the term manufacturers like Nissan and Subaru use to refer to their implementation of Electronic Stability Control. The VDC system helps to maintain the stability of the vehicle during low traction situations.