The VSA or Vehicle Stability Assist is a feature in Honda that helps the car with more stability. In this system, a group of sensors works together to detect any possibility of the car getting out of control including oversteering, understeering, or slippage. It then prevents the car from losing stability by adjusting the braking and/or engine power.
To understand what is the VSA System in Honda Cars, and its importance in your car, keep reading.
What Is The VSA System In Honda Cars?
The VSA in Honda cars stands for Vehicle Stability Assist. Its function is pretty much self-explanatory by its name. It is a safety feature found in a few renowned models of Honda cars.
This assists the driver to maintain control of the car in situations where the car tends to lose control. For example, in bad weather when the road is slippery while cornering or accelerating.
The VSA prevents the car from oversteering and understeering. It also works as a traction control which prevents the car from slipping.
How Does Honda VSA Work?
Honda’s VSA system continually monitors vehicle speed, throttle position, individual wheel speeds, steering angle, lateral g-force, and yaw rate to detect oversteer or understeer.
When necessary, VSA automatically reduces the throttle and applies the anti-lock brakes to individual wheels as needed to help keep the vehicle on the driver’s intended path.
It prevents the car from losing control by making some changes, such as-
While Oversteering: VSA will detect oversteer by monitoring the vehicle’s yaw rate. The VSA also detects which wheel is skidding and causing the car to get out of control. And then, it applies the brake to that particular wheel to help bring the car back under control.
While Understeering: While cornering frequently, the VSA system also detects when the car is understeering and which wheel is losing traction. And then the VSA system applies the brake to that particular wheel and ensures the control of the car.
As a result, you get the appropriate steering of the car that you have intended.
During Slippage/Traction Loss: Slippage or traction loss happens when the wheels of a vehicle lose traction on the road surface. VSA will detect slippage or traction loss by monitoring the car’s wheel speed and comparing it to the car’s speed.
If it detects that one or more wheels are slipping or losing traction, it will reduce engine power and apply the brakes to the slipping wheels to help regain traction.
Summary:VSA system works by constantly monitoring the car’s movement and driver inputs. And then it makes adjustments to the brakes and engine power as needed to help maintain stability and control.
Should VSA Be On Or Off?
It’s better to keep the VSA turned on in most situations for better car stability, especially in situations like slippery roads or cornering.
However, in some cases, it’s better to turn VSA off. So, when should you turn off VSA? You should turn off the VSA system when you require more traction. For example, while driving in deep snow, or uneven terrain when you need more power and less friction.
Also, you have to keep the VSA system turned off while drifting as when the system is activated, it will restrain you from drifting.
How To Turn The VSA On/Off On Honda?
In Honda vehicles, the VSA system typically activates automatically whenever you start the car.
However, in case you have kept the VSA system turned off for some reason, and want to turn it back on, there’s an option as well. To turn on the VSA system follow the below process
- Locate the “VSA Off” button on the dashboard. The button is usually located on the driver’s side control panel. In some Honda car models, the button can have a sign of a car on a squiggly road.
- Press and hold the button until you hear a beep.
Now, the VSA system is turned on.
To turn the VSA system off, press and hold the same button. A VSA off light or indicator will appear on the monitor when the system is turned off.
What Happens If The VSA System Is Off/Faulty In A Car?
If the VSA system is off or faulty, the car might slide around more. You will face this more often in bad weather like rain or snow. You will also face this when you’re driving on a slippery road.
When the VSA system is off or not working properly, you won’t get stability support if you oversteer or understeer.
Moreover, if the VSA sensors are faulty, they can send the wrong information to the VSA module. As a result, the VSA system can act on the wrong wheel and cause accidents.
However, the VSA system has its limitations. Although the VSA system works for controlling the car in understeering or oversteering situations, it may not be able to control the car in extreme turns. So, even if the VSA system is on, you still need to drive at an appropriate speed and take caution while steering the car.
Summary:When the VSA system of your Honda is faulty, you will not be able to control the car as much as you usually can.
What Does The VSA Light Mean?
There are two types of indicator lights for the VSA system in your car. Those are the VSA activation indicator and the VSA system indicator. Those lights mean three different things.
The VSA activation indicator blinking on slippery roads or in high-speed cornering is nothing to be worried about. It simply means the VSA system is engaged and working on ensuring the car’s stability. The light will stay temporarily and within a few seconds, it will go away.
VSA Activation Indicator Stays On
If the VSA activation indicator light stays lit up on the dashboard, it means that the system has been manually turned off via the console switch. Take this light as a reminder and drive carefully on the curved roads as the VSA system is off. If you press the switch and turn the VSA back on, the light should go away.
VSA System Indicator On
“VSA System Indicator On” refers to a warning light or message indicating that there is a problem with the VSA system (1). If this light appears on your Honda dashboard, this means any component related to the VSA system including the sensors or the VSA module itself is faulty.
Source: Honda The Other Side
Now, what should you do if the VSA system is faulty?
If the VSA system is faulty, it is important to have it checked and repaired by a qualified mechanic immediately. You may have to replace the wheel speed sensor, yaw rate sensor, the VSA system module, or any other relative components. Sometimes, reprogramming the ECU system might resolve the problem.
VSA System And Tire Size
The tire size of your car can affect the VSA system. The manufacturer of Honda programs the VSA to work on the specific size of tire for a car. If the tire size doesn’t match the manufacturer’s recommendation, the VSA system can malfunction.
Incorrect tire size includes if all four tires are not in the same size, and the tires are not in the manufacturer’s recommended size.
If the tires on a vehicle are not the correct size, the VSA system may not be able to provide the level of stability and control that it is designed to.
So while replacing the tires, keep the following things in mind.
- Keep all four in the same size.
- Make sure to use the tire as per the manufacturer’s recommended size.
- If you have to use a spare tire of a different size, keep the VSA system turned off.
- If you use winter tires, match the size with the manufacturer’s given winter tire size.
Is VSA The Same As Traction Control?
No, they are not completely the same. The traction control system is a part or function of the VSA system (2).
The traction control system is designed to improve traction by detecting and reducing wheel spin. It uses sensors to monitor each wheel’s speed and if one of the tires is spinning faster than the others, it applies braking force and reduces the engine power to that particular tire.
On the other hand, vehicle stability assist uses traction control as a part of its function. But apart from that, it also uses additional sensors to ensure the proper steering of the car. For example, steering angle sensor, lateral acceleration sensor, and yaw rate sensor. It has more control over the car than traction control.
Summary:Traction control is a specific part of the VSA system. The traction control manages the straight-line spinning of the wheels whereas the VSA (except the traction control) prevents the car from drifting sideways.
Can A Weak Battery Cause the VSA Light To Come On?
Yes, a weak or low-charged battery can cause the VSA light to come on. Every modern Honda car has a VSA system. The VSA system relies on the car’s electrical system to function its components, including the sensor and VSA module. So, when the battery is weak, it can’t send enough power to the VSA system.
How Much To Fix VSA Systems?
To fix a VSA system, you may have to pay around $300 to $700 depending on the car model and the severity of the issue. However, if the whole system is damaged and needs a replacement, the range will be around $1,200 to $1,800 including the labor charge.
Is It Safe To Drive With VSA Light On?
Yes, if you are careful enough, it is safe to drive with the VSA light on but you need to be extra careful as the light indicates a problem with the components of the system. If the VSA system gets wrong information from the sensor or sends improper power to the car, accidents might happen. So, it is recommended to fix the VSA problem immediately.
Now you know what is the VSA System in Honda cars. So, if you were wondering why you had better control of the car than you would have expected, thank the VSA system.
If your Honda’s VSA system is not working properly, you should repair it as soon as possible.
That’s all I had to discuss today. Drive safe and goodbye!