The Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) is installed in many Toyota & Lexus cars, and its job is to stabilize your car if it slips in severe weather conditions.
When the VSC system senses that your car is losing traction, it will automatically remove engine power from certain wheels to correct the course of your vehicle, to prevent an accident.
VSC reduces the number of traffic accidents a lot in rainy, foggy, and snowy weather conditions and therefore, it is important to fix your VSC system as soon as you see a VSC light on your dashboard.
In this article, we will go through what the check VSC system or VSC light means, what causes it and how you can fix it yourself. We will also go through some of the common questions about the VSC light, let’s begin!
What does the VSC Light mean?
The Check VSC System Warning or VSC light indicates that there is a problem with your traction control system, and your VSC and ABS systems will be temporarily disabled. It may also appear if you accidentally pressed the VSC button.
VSC stands for vehicle stability control, and it is Toyota’s and Lexus’ system for handling traction control. Traction control helps your car to maintain its grip by reducing the engine power sent to the wheels and sometimes even apply brake force through the ABS system.
VSC works together with ABS and other control modules. If you see the “VSC OFF” warning light on your dashboard, it means that the traction control is completely disabled and the traction control will not work if you lose grip. If you have a newer Toyota or Lexus car, you may also see a “Check VSC system Light” message on your dashboard instead of the regular VSC light.
What causes the check VSC system light?
The most common cause of a VSC light is engine problems if you see it along with a check engine light on your dashboard. It can also be caused by ABS problems such as a faulty ABS sensor or bad wiring.
Since the VSC system is integrated with the engine management and brake control system to control your car’s traction, there are quite a lot of things that could go wrong. Here is a more detailed list of the most common causes of a VSC warning light:
1. Engine issues
The most common reason for the VSC light to come on is due to an engine problem. This is especially true if you also see a Check Engine light on your dashboard along with the VSC light.
Modern engines have many different sensors, actuators and other parts that can result in a check light, which will also result in a VSC light if you have a Toyota or Lexus. Therefore, it will be quite impossible to just guess what causes it.
When the check engine light and VSC light illuminate on your dashboard, there will be a trouble code stored in the engine control module. You need to read this trouble code to find out what is causing the warning lights.
Some of the common engine issues that could cause a VSC light are:
- Faulty MAF Sensor
- Bad O2 Sensor
- Loose Gas Cap
- Faulty Accelerator pedal
- Bad Crankshaft position sensor
- Bad Camshaft position sensor
- Wiring Issues
However, there are many different parts that can cause this problem as well, so that said – it’s important to read the codes with a scanner first if you see both warning lights on your dash.
Learn more here about the possible causes:
2. Faulty ABS Sensor
The ABS sensors are located at each of your car’s wheels to measure wheel speed. It is not only the ABS control module that uses this information but also other important control modules such as the ECM and TCM.
These ABS sensors are located at the wheel spindle hubs and are therefore also very exposed to water, rust and dirt and are therefore prone to failure.
Because the VSC system uses this information, it will display a VSC light on your dashboard if there is a problem with an ABS sensor. It is also possible that there is a problem with the ABS reluctor rings from which the sensors measure the speed. It could also be a wiring problem between the sensors and the ABS control module.
The steering angle sensor is also used by both the ABS system and the VSC system, and if this sensor gives the wrong signal to these control modules, it will turn on the VSC light.
RELATED: 4 Signs of a Bad ABS Wheel Speed Sensor (Replacement Cost)
3. Faulty Brake Light Switch
The brake light switch or brake pedal switch is located on your brake pedal. Its job is not only to turn on the brake lights when you press the brake pedal, but also to provide information to many control modules when you press the pedal.
One of these systems that uses this information is the VSC system, and if there is something wrong with the brake light switch, it will store a fault code and turn on the VSC light on your dash.
4. Wiring Issues
Modern cars come with a lot of electronics, and all these electronics need wiring. This is also why wiring problems have become a fairly common problem on modern car models. Unfortunately, wiring problems can be quite difficult to diagnose without the right skills and knowledge.
So if you’ve checked everything else, it might be a good idea to talk to a professional if you think there’s a wiring problem with your car.
5. Pushed VSC Button by mistake
In most car models with a VSC system, there is also a button to switch off the VSC system. There’s always the possibility that you’ve pressed this button by mistake, so you’ll want to double-check this before jumping to any conclusions.
However, if the button is pressed, you will more likely see a VSC OFF light instead of a normal VSC warning light.
Which car models use the VSC system?
The VSC system is Toyota’s traction system. However, you will also find it in manyLexus cars. Here are some models with a VSC System:
- Toyota Camry
- Toyota Avensis
- Toyota Verso
- Toyota Sienna
- Lexus RX400H
- Lexus is250
- Lexus is220d
How to fix the VSC light?
To fix the VSC light, you need to read the trouble codes with a scanner to find out what is causing the warning light to come on. You can also check the brake lights and brake fluid level.
Here are a few more detailed steps on how to fix the VSC light:
1. Read trouble codes
Because of the variety of problems that can cause a VSC light, you must always scan the fault codes from the engine control module, ABS control module, and other related control modules before doing anything else.
Modern cars have advanced diagnostic software, which will diagnose and tell you if there is a problem with an engine sensor or an ABS sensor. That’s good because then you don’t have to measure and diagnose every sensor in your car if there’s something wrong. This information can be read with an OBD2 scanner.
To read the engine control module, you can use almost any scanner on the market. However, to read the ABS control module, you may need a special scanner for your car model.
You can try reading the codes with a less expensive scanner, or you can go to an auto shop and have them read the ABS codes for you, if you couldn’t find a problem in the engine control module.
2. Check Brake Lights
The brake light switch is a common part that can cause the VSC light to come on. Therefore, checking the brake lights can be a simple and quick solution.
Have a friend or family member press the brake pedal with the ignition on, while you check to see if the brake lights are working. Unfortunately, some brake light switches use two different currents inside them, and even if the brake lights work, it could be a problem with the switch.
But if there are no brake lights on your car, it’s definitely time to take a closer look at the brake light switch.
3. Check Gas Cap
A common cause of the VSC light on Lexus and Toyota if you see it along with a TRAC OFF light and a check engine light is a leaking or loose gas cap. If the VSC light came on after you refueled your car, you definitely want to make sure the gas cap is properly tightened.
It can also occur if you leave your car running with the gas cap off when refueling the car. If so, simply clearing the code memory may be enough to fix the VSC light. However, you will want to inspect the O-ring on the gas cap and make sure it is sealing properly and not leaking.
4. Check brake fluid level
Another quick fix is to check the brake fluid level. Low brake fluid can cause many different problems with the ABS system, which can also result in VSC system failure.
Therefore, you want to check the brake fluid reservoir and make sure the level is not too low. If it is very low, you need to inspect for any brake fluid leaking around the brakes and then refill the reservoir.
5. Talk to a professional
If you’ve tried everything above and still can’t figure out what’s causing the problem, it might be a good idea to get help from a professional. It can cost a lot of money to take the car to a mechanic to diagnose the problem. However, it can be a quick process as many mechanics have dealt with the same problem many times before and will solve the problem quickly.
RELATED: Mechanic Labor Rates Per Hour – US Market
How to reset the VSC light?
There is a simple solution to try to reset the VSC light. Maybe it was just an intermittent problem that caused the VSC light to come on. To reset your VSC light, try the following:
- Stop your car and put the gear in Park.
- Locate the VSC button. It’s often near the gear stick, but it can also be by your steering wheel or behind it, depending on your car model.
- Press and hold the VSC button for a few seconds.
- You will now see that the TRAC OFF and VSC OFF indicator lights will come on. Both the traction and VSC system are now off.
- Press the VSC button again for a second. Both the TRAC and VSC lights will turn off, and the systems are now re-engaged.
If this doesn’t work, you need to check the error codes and do some real diagnosis to find the problem. Take your car to a workshop if you don’t have the knowledge to do it yourself.
Where is the VSC button located?
The VSC button is usually located under the steering wheel on the left or near the gear lever on both Toyota and Lexus. Some cars have the text VSC on the button, but some models just have a skidding car symbol.
Can I drive with the VSC light on?
In general, it is safe to drive with the VSC light on, and your car will run fine if you drive carefully. However, you should be extra careful because the car’s traction control system will be disabled and therefore it’s recommended to fix it as soon as possible.
How much does it cost to fix VSC system?
Fixing a VSC system can cost anywhere from $50 to $2000 because there can be many reasons why your VSC system is not working. For example, if a bad ABS sensor causes it, it could cost $250. But if it’s a broken throttle body, you could easily spend over $1000.
How do I clear my VSC light?
Sometimes you can reset the VSC light by disconnecting and re-engaging the VSC system by pressing the VSC button. But sometimes you need an OBD2 scanner for the job, and most of the time there’s a problem you need to fix before you can clear the codes.
The VSC system works together with many other systems in your car model, and therefore many different problems can cause the VSC light to come on. Therefore, it is also particularly important to start the diagnosis from the right place and read the codes from all control modules.
I hope this article helped you, and if you read through it all, you should now have the knowledge to fix your VSC light on your dash.
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- Locate the VSC/TRAC button in your Lexus ES 350. It'll often be next to the steering wheel or by the gear selector. ...
- Ensure your Lexus ES 350 is in park.
- Press and hold the button until your screen indicates that the system has been turned off.
- You can now drive with VSC off.
How to reset the VSC Trac Off, Check Engine lights on a Lexus RX330Why did my check engine light and my traction control light come on and my VSC light is flashing? ›
It will flash if the fault is likely to cause damage to the catalytic converter. The VSC light is for the Vehicle Stability Control system and it is probably indicating that whatever fault exists, is common to the two systems. In other words, you will probably be able to solve both lights with one repair.Where is the VSC button located? ›
If you find yourself and your vehicle stuck and need to get it out as soon as possible, that's when you use the Toyota VSC Off. Simply push and release the VSC Off button located near your gear shift, and your TRAC will be turned off.How do you solve a VSC problem? ›
- Make sure you are completely stopped. Put the car in park if you can.
- Press and hold the VSC button for a few seconds.
- The TRAC OFF and VSC OFF indicator light will come on. Both systems are now off.
- Press the VSC button again. Both lights will turn off and the systems are now reengaged.
On some vehicles, the “skidding vehicle” or “TRAC OFF” light may also be lit as well. Most Toyota owners will find that when the Check Engine and VSC lights are lit, there is a problem with an O2 Sensor or gas cap. Try tightening or replacing the gas cap for a hopefully cheap fix.How much does it cost to repair a VSC on a Lexus? ›
The cost to fix VSC on Lexus would range between $200 and $300. However, it depends on what caused the light to turn on. Vsc works with the ABS and other car components. So the best is to identify the fault before talking about how much to fix it.What would cause the VSC light to come on? ›
It could be a faulty Speed sensor which is located on the wheel calliper area. A bad steering rack could also be a problem so it is important that your mechanic checks the VSC and ABS components when you see a VSC light on. In some cases, the light comes on because it needs reprogramming.What does it mean when the VSC TRAC light comes on Lexus? ›
Vehicle Stability Control is, technically, what VSC stands for. When suddenly turning onto slippery roads or swerving, a driver can better control skidding thanks to this system. A warning light on the dashboard will flash when this system is on/activated.Why would my check engine light and traction control light come on at the same time? ›
The controller could be malfunctioning, the vehicle speed sensor could be malfunctioning, or the wheel speed sensors could be malfunctioning. Since the engine light is on, check for any codes that are stored in the computer for a starting place for diagnosing your traction control being disabled.
This light comes on when the computer has detected that something may be malfunctioning in the traction control system. The traction control system monitors the steering and stability of the vehicle and engages when loss of traction has been detected.Is it safe to drive with engine light and traction control light on? ›
If the light comes on, and you obviously have traction, it is safe enough to drive yourself to place to get an inspection of the light. However, a mechanic should check the TCS as soon as possible.How much does it cost to fix VSA system? ›
How Much Does It Cost To Fix The VSA System? The average cost to get the VSA system fixed is between $80 and $90. This price is an average for most Honda.How do I reset my traction control light? ›
Press the gas pedal 3 times in quick succession. Then, turn your engine on all the way and let it run for a minute. The TCS and ABS lights should reset and go away if there isn't any underlying problem with your traction control system.Can VSC cause check engine light? ›
“VSC Off” and “VSC TRAC” lights will often come on when an error code triggers the Check Engine light. It doesn't necessarily mean there is an issue with those systems. If they all showed up at the same time, it's likely that diagnosing the cause for the Check Engine light will fix them all.Do you have to pay for VSC? ›
VSCs, sometimes mistakenly referred to as extended warranties, are like health insurance for your vehicle. You pay a small amount each month, and the VSC company will cover all or most of the cost of necessary repairs.Can worn tires cause traction control light to come on? ›
To begin with, you shouldn't be driving with worn tires on the vehicle. That said, Yes, it can cause traction control light to come on because one of the tire has lost traction and is spinning faster than the others by at least 10 to 15% more.Where is the traction control sensor located? ›
In some vehicles it is located under the hood and/or is a part of the ABS control module. Other vehicles may have the traction control module located in the interior or trunk areas.Why wont my traction control light go off? ›
The traction control system light should illuminate for 1 to 2 seconds and then go out as the vehicle starts and begins to run. If the light stays on, it either means that the system is deactivated, or there is a problem in the traction control system.Why is my car saying engine power reduced and service traction control? ›
When this warning indicator light comes on in the dashboard, this could be an indication of several issues such as faulty wheel speed sensors, a faulty steering angle sensor, a faulty rotational speed sensor or a problem with the steering rack.
The average cost for wheel speed sensor replacement is between $205 and $250. Labor costs are estimated between $62 and $78 while parts are priced between $143 and $172. This range does not include taxes and fees, and does not factor in your specific vehicle or unique location. Related repairs may also be needed.How much does it cost to fix traction control light? ›
Traction control system switch: Traction switch replacement may cost around $111 to $125. This includes labor charges ($56 – $71) and spare parts ($54). Wheel speed sensor: The estimated cost of wheel speed sensor replacement is around $208 to $250, including labor costs ($62 – $78) and parts ($146 – $177).How do you reset the check engine light on a Toyota? ›
- Turn off your engine and put on safety glasses and gloves.
- Locate the negative terminal on your car battery. ...
- Using a wrench, loosen the nut on the negative battery terminal and pull the negative connector from the battery. ...
- Reconnect the negative cable and re-tighten it using your wrench.
The simplest yet most common reason one or both warning lights may come on. The ABS controller could have just stopped working. Or a brake system malfunction, say an unresponsive brake pedal, may have caused the Traction Control Light to come on.What problems can a traction control system cause? ›
Though traction control provides benefits, it can sometimes be an impediment to progress, such as when entering or leaving a parking space with rutted snow. Some systems are so sensitive that at the first sign of wheel slip, they immediately reduce power or apply the brakes so much that you go nowhere.Can a weak battery cause VSA light to come on? ›
There is a "connection." When you drained the battery, the PCM and possibly the electronically controlled VSA components themselves "saw" an out of range low voltage, even if momentarily. Such will cause a trouble code to set and illuminate the warning light. It is a known issue.Can you drive with VSA and check engine light on? ›
You can continue to drive with the VSA warning light on, as you will have normal braking and cornering abilities, just without the stability enhancements the VSA System provides.Is there a fuse for the VSA? ›
The VSA fuse box is located under the interior fuse box on the passenger's side of the dashboard. To open it, push the tab and pull up the left side of the cover as shown. The under-hood fuse box is located in the back of the engine compart- ment on the passenger's side.› blog › the-traction-contr... ›
The Traction Control Light: What Does It Mean?
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The cost to fix VSC on Lexus would range between $200 and $300. However, it depends on what caused the light to turn on. Vsc works with the ABS and other car components. So the best is to identify the fault before talking about how much to fix it.
It could be a faulty Speed sensor which is located on the wheel calliper area. A bad steering rack could also be a problem so it is important that your mechanic checks the VSC and ABS components when you see a VSC light on. In some cases, the light comes on because it needs reprogramming.What does check VSC on my Lexus mean? ›
The VSC (Vehicle Stability Control) on the ES 350 helps a driver control skidding when suddenly swerving or turning onto slippery roads. If the system is on, a light will flash on the dashboard.How much does it cost to fix electronic stability control? ›
Cost to Service ESC
Depending on the vehicle, a replacement steering angle sensor can cost between $100 and $200 or more.
VSCs, sometimes mistakenly referred to as extended warranties, are like health insurance for your vehicle. You pay a small amount each month, and the VSC company will cover all or most of the cost of necessary repairs.How much does it cost to fix VSA system? ›
How Much Does It Cost To Fix The VSA System? The average cost to get the VSA system fixed is between $80 and $90. This price is an average for most Honda.Why did my traction control and check engine light come on? ›
This light comes on when the computer has detected that something may be malfunctioning in the traction control system. The traction control system monitors the steering and stability of the vehicle and engages when loss of traction has been detected.How do I reset my traction control light? ›
Press the gas pedal 3 times in quick succession. Then, turn your engine on all the way and let it run for a minute. The TCS and ABS lights should reset and go away if there isn't any underlying problem with your traction control system.How do you clean a traction control sensor? ›
If you need to, use warm, soapy water to scrub away dirt from the sensor—just make sure that the sensor dries completely before you replace it. Use a wire brush or file to gently grind away stubborn rust or dirt. Be careful if you do choose to do this, as excessive cleaning could damage the sensor.Can you drive with electronic stability control light on? ›
Of course, if your ESC light turns on, you can keep driving your car. Keep in mind, however, that the ESC light may be an indicator that you are driving on a slippery road, and you may need to slow down to improve your control.What does it mean if the electronic stability control light comes on while driving? ›
The ESC lamp comes on to alert the driver that the system has activated and the car is approaching its handling limits. It's a powerful driver aid but it cannot save a car once its traction limits have been exceeded.