Modern vehicles have several warning lights on the dashboard that comes up when there are issues with the vehicle. The illumination of these lights tells the driver when something is wrong. With so many warning lights on the dash, the driver may get confused when some of these lights appear on the instrument cluster.
A good example is the illumination of the VSA light on a Honda Accord. You need to know the meaning of a VSA light when it comes on and how to address the problem.
In this article, I’ll explain the meaning of a VSA light on Honda Accord, how it works, possible causes, and the effects of the light. You’ll also learn what to do when the light appears on the dashboard, and towards the end of the article, you’ll learn how to fix VSA light on Honda Accord.
What is VSA System, and how does it work on Honda
Stability control is an important safety feature in vehicles. Most auto manufacturers have adopted this feature in their vehicles to ensure safety on the road. However, the name for stability control may differ from vehicle to vehicle. Honda calls their vehicle stability assist (VSA).
Honda first adopted the VSA system in their 2006 facelift seventh generation V6 engine, and they equipped it only on their V6 engined vehicles through 2007. By 2008, Honda released their eighth generation cars, making VSA standard on their vehicles.
Vehicle stability assists is a safety feature that monitors and evaluates the vehicle’s dynamic behavior in real-time and intervenes when necessary. In other words, the VSA prevents the vehicle from oversteering and understeering. If the car is skidding or the wheels are not hugging the road perfectly due to slippery terrain, the VSA will apply selective brakes as needed.
Typically, the VSA on Honda Civic, Accord, or any Honda model will light up once you start the vehicle and disappear after a minute or so. The illumination of the VSA light on the dashboard means the car has noticed a problem with the stability control system and automatically shut it off.
Also, once the stability control system senses a need to intervene, the VSA warning light will appear on the dashboard to show that the vehicle stability assist system is working. Moreso, the VSA light will turn on if the driver switches off the system.
Now, let’s look at what causes the VSA light to come on in the next section.
What causes VSA light on a Honda Accord?
The most common cause of The VSA light on the dashboard is when the driver mistakenly switches off the vehicle stability assist system or when the system detects a problem. However, other factors like defective ABS reluctor ring, ABS wheel speed sensor, steering angle sensor, and low tire pressure can cause the VSA light to appear on the dashboard.
Let me explain these causes in full detail.
Problem with the stability control
If the VSA warning light appears on the dashboard and stays lit when driving, it means the system has sensed a problem in the control stability system or has automatically switched off.
As explained earlier, your vehicle control system evaluates the car’s behavior in real-time; if the tires are not at the same pace, the vehicle control system will trigger the VSA light on the dashboard. If the warning light pops up due to a traction issue, it’ll disappear once the wheels regain traction.
However, if you’re using the wrong set of tires, the system will notice the continuous imbalance movement of the wheels, and the warning light will remain on the dashboard.
Driving with underinflated tires will cause the same issue as using the wrong set of tires. If one or more tires are underinflated, the wheels will not run at the same pace, which could trigger the VSA light on Honda Accord 2008 or your respective model. So, it is essential to keep your tires at the proper PSI and check the pressures regularly.
Switched off system
Another reason the VSA light comes on is when you manually switch off the system. Some drivers may prefer to switch off the system when driving on certain terrains. It is also possible that you or your kid mistakenly turn it off. If you suspect the system is switched off, press the button and see if that will address the issue.
If none of the above possible causes is the leading cause, it could mean you have a failed component. The easiest way to check if you have a failed component is to run a scan check with a diagnostic scan tool.
Some components that will likely cause the VSA light on Honda Pilot, Accord, or CRV include;
- Reluctor steering ring
- Lousy sensor wiring
- Defective ABS wheel speed sensor
- Defective steering angle sensor
- Lousy ABS control module.
- A fault brake switch
- Lousy yaw rate sensor
If the VSA light appears on your Acura, Honda Civic, CRV, or other Honda model dashboards, one or more of the above causes could be the culprit.
How To Fix 2008-2012 Honda Accord VSA light Stays On (YouTube)
What will happen if the VSA light comes on the dashboard?
If the VSA light blinks on the dashboard, the following will happen.
- The gas pedal will not increase engine power as much as it should when you depress it.
- The brakes may apply on their own, although this won’t be too much or sudden.
- The engine may lose power even when holding the gas pedal.
But if the VSA warning light stays lit on the dashboard, the vehicle stability control system will not work until you track and address the leading cause.
What To Do When The VSA Light Comes On?
If you see the VSA light blinking on the dashboard, it means the stability control system has sensed a problem and is working to intervene. The vehicle could be slipping, and once it regains control, the light will disappear. In this case, you don’t have to do anything.
But if the VSA light is permanently on, the system could have been deactivated via the VSA console button. All you have to do is to reactivate the system by pressing the console button.
If the system is not deactivated and the VSA console light comes on and stays lit, the system has a problem. You need to find a safe spot and pull over. Shut off the vehicle and turn it on. If the light reappears, you have a problem in the system that needs attention. Contact a mechanic to diagnose the issue with the vehicle and address it.
However, it is safe to drive with the vehicle, but the VSA system will not work when needed. Therefore, you have to drive with extra care until you address the underlying problem.
How do you reset the VSA light on a Honda?
The first thing to do when the VSA stays lit on the dashboard is to check if the VSA system is manually switched off. If that is not the problem, track and address the root cause. You have to reset the system if the light remains on the dashboard after addressing the issue.
Unfortunately, the Honda VSA reset doesn’t need a scan tool. It is a bit tricky. But don’t panic; I’ll show you a two-step process on how I reset VSA warning lights in my garage.
Here is the simplified two-step procedure to clear the ABS and VSA light on the dash, even though this article focuses only on the stability control system. If you skip the ABS procedure, the VSA reset will not work.
- Locate the OBD port on your Honda Accord
- Locate pin no.4 on the downside and pin no.9 on the upside
- Join the pins across using a paper clip or jumper wire
- Depress the brake pedal and switch on the ignition.
- The ABS light will turn on once you switch on the ignition; remove your foot on the brake pedal the moment the ABS light goes off. Once you remove your foot, the ABS light will reappear.
- Depress the brake pedal and wait for the ABS light to go out.
- Remove your foot from the pedal, and the ABS will blink twice to confirm the reset has been done.
After resetting the ABS, I usually perform a VSA system reset using the VSA button and the OBD pins. So, you should reset the vehicle stability assist using the below procedures.
- Ground pin no.9 using alligator clips
- Switch on the ignition and wait for the ABS light to disappear
- Press the VSA off button, and the ABS light should come back on
- Press the VSA off button again, and it’ll reset.
This is all you need to reset the vehicle stability control system. However, you should be careful when doing this. Do not use anything that could damage the OBD pins.
How much does it cost to fix VSA?
The cost of fixing the VSA and check engine light on Honda Accord depends on several factors like the car model, the root cause of the VSA warning light, and the repair shop fixing the vehicle. The most common causes are lousy wheel speed sensors, defective ABS modules, wrong set of tires, or low tire pressure.
However, the average cost of fixing a VSA warning light is between $1000 and $1,800. The truth is the exact repair price can be higher or lower than this because this is only an estimated price.
Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs
Q: Can low tire pressure cause the VSA light to come on?
Yes, low tire pressure can trigger the VSA light on the dashboard. If one or more tires are underinflated, the stability control system will sense that the wheels are not running at the same pace and trigger the VSA warning light. The system is trying to intervene at this point, and the light will remain on the dashboard until you inflate the tires to the recommended PSI.
Q: Can the battery cause VSA light to come on?
There’s a connection between a low battery and the illumination of the VSA light on the dashboard. The VSA components and the powertrain control module will see an out-of-range signal if the car battery is low. This can cause the PCM to project the VSA light on the dashboard. Plus, the car computer may throw an error code on its memory.
Q: Does VSA mean traction control?
The VSA does the functions of electronic stability control (ESC) system. And the ESC system includes a traction control function. It is safe to say that the VSA means ESC and can perform the functions of a traction control system.
Q: Is there a fuse for the VSA light?
Yes, the VSA system has fuses in the engine bay and in the fuse box beneath the steering wheel since the VSA works with several system components like the wheel speed sensor, the ABS module, the TPMS, etc. Some VSA fuses are TPMS/VSA, ABS/VSA, or ESC.
Q: Is it safe to drive with VSA light on?
It is pretty safe to drive with a VSA light on the dashboard. It won’t keep you stranded in the middle of nowhere. However, the VSA system will not intervene when there’s a need to do so. Therefore, you must fix the leading cause of the problem if you want the vehicle stability control to work at all times.
The VSA light on a Honda Accord can come on when the system has sensed a problem and is intervening to settle the issues or when the system is off. It can also come on when there’s a failure within the system components. There’s no cause for alarm when you see the light blinking on the dash because it means the system is intervening in a situation.
You may only need to reset the system if the warning light stays lit. Thankfully, this article has provided a two-step procedure on how to reset the VSA system to clear the light from the dash. Follow the above procedure religiously, and you’ll clear the warning light. But if there’s a failed component, you’ll need the services of an experienced mechanic.