What Does VSC Mean On A Car? Everything you need to know

Most car manufacturers placed so many components in a car for maximum performance. Each of these component work hand in hand to ensure the smooth and safe running of the vehicle. This is also true with the VSC. So what does VSC mean on a car?

The VSC is one of the many car accessories that help to keep you safe while driving. It is mainly found in Toyota cars. But because Toyota is also the manufacturer of Lexus, you will also see it on Lexus cars. This protective accessory is also found in other vehicles but with a different name.

What Does VSC Mean On A Car?

VSC is an acronym for vehicle stability control; it is found in Toyota and Lexus cars. It functions to keep the car under control in harsh conditions when driving or cornering.  VSC helps regulate engine speed and brake to avoid skidding.

vsc off meaning

Another car system called Traction control is often used interchangeably with the VSC, but both are not the same. Yes, both have the same purpose, but they function at different times. While the VSC keeps the car stable during cornering, the traction control stabilizes the car during acceleration. Aside from traction control, VSC works with other car components, which I will explain as we progress.

Toyota or Lexus cars have sensors in their four wheels. These sensors often communicate with the powertrain control module (PCM) to tell what happens in the wheels. The PCM helps control the engine and transmission for optimal performance. For example, the PCM tells when it is appropriate to change gears. The VSC also functions with the ABS in modulating brakes to control the rotation of wheels. 

When these wheel sensors perceive that a wheel is sliding, it quickly informs the PCM and ABS. These two systems then help to regulate the engine, transmission, or brake to minimize slippage. Say the sensors detect that the front right wheel is slipping, it tells the PCM. The PCM then helps to reduce engine speed and supply more braking power to slow down the vehicle.

Sometimes, when driving, you may see the VSC light come on. So what brings this light on, and how do you turn it off?

What Will Cause The VSC Light To Come on?

Many things can make the VSC light come on. A perfect example is accidentally pressing the VSC button. In this case, it’s a minor issue that you can easily correct.

But like I stated earlier, many other components work with the VSC for optimal performance. So if these components are not working well, the VSC won’t work well. Let’s take a look at them.

Faulty Anti-locking Brake (ABS)

The ABS helps measure the speed of your tires and, in turn, transfers this information to the PCM. When the PCM discovers your wheels are skidding, it then decides what action to take. 

Now, if your ABS light turns on, it probably means something is wrong with it. Your VSC will not work well if your ABS is not functioning correctly because both systems work hand in hand. So when your ABS light turns on, the VSC light also comes on.

Engine Related Issue 

When something is wrong with the engine or its accessories, it triggers the engine check light to come on. Even a loose cap gas can also trigger the check engine light to illuminate. When the check engine light is on, it also triggers the VSC light to come on. And sometimes, this check engine light turns on together with the ABS and VSC light.

These three lights turning could mean that there is an engine-related issue, something is wrong with the ABS or even the VSC.  In this case, trying to detect the fault can be difficult. So the best cause of action will be to detect the fault using an OBD II scanner or any scan tool that can read codes.

All you need do is connect the scanner to your vehicle’s onboard diagnostic system to show the error codes. If you can decode these codes, it means you already know what is wrong with your car.

If you happen to have a more costly code reader, the reader can directly tell you what those codes mean and what the issue is. Once you have identified the problem, fix and reset the check engine light.

Malfunctioning ASR (traction control)

ASR is an acronym for acceleration slip regulation. The ASR can also be called traction control.  It helps prevent wheel slippage during acceleration. It uses your wheel sensor to deduce whether each wheel spins at the same rate or if one wheel is spinning more than another. After figuring this, it automatically checks whether the brake is sufficient to lower the spin.

If the brake isn’t sufficient, the ASR communicates with the PCM and asks the PCM to lower the power supplied to that wheel that is slipping. In doing this, your car gets its grip again and retains power.

But when ASR is faulty, it causes the ASR light to come on displaying as TRAC OFF. So what does trac off mean? It simply means the traction control is disabled and is no longer working.

Faulty DSC

Another system that works together with the VSC is the DSC. DSC is an acronym for dynamic stability control. It also uses the sensors in your wheels to communicate with the PCM. 

This system turns on when you are driving on tough and unstable roads. Unlike the ASR, the DSC can give your wheel room to spin more than each other to gain a better grip.

But as your car begins to slip, it takes over and decides what to do so that your vehicle can regain traction. When this system is faulty, it won’t work well, which also affects the VSC.

ESC Issues

ESC is an acronym for electronic stability control. This system also works together with VSC to help the ASR system. The ESC becomes active when your vehicle suddenly loses traction and is sliding.

This system can help calculate how long such a slide will take place. After which, it provides the right braking power the wheel needs to regain grip. Like other components that work with the VSC, if the ESC is faulty, the VSC will not function well. In this case, both the ESC and VSC lights will come on.

vsc off blinking

How Do I Turn Off VSC Light?

If your VSC Lexus or Toyota light is displaying on your dashboard, it means the VSC system is not activated. And peradventure you are in a place where you need the VSC to prevent slippage, it won’t work.

However, how to turn off this light depends on the reason it was turned on in the first place. It could be that you accidentally pushed the VSC button or the components working with it are faulty. To turn it off;

  • Completely stop your car 
  • Locate the VSC button (the location depends on your Toyota or Lexus model. But most times, it is placed on the dashboard. You may also find it close to the gear stick). The button has VSC inscribed on it or a picture of a sliding car with the inscription “OFF.
  • Push the VSC button again; the VSC Trac light should come off. When it is off, it means the VSC and traction control systems are working again.

Turning off the engine and turning it back on can also help get rid of the VSC light.

If the light refuses to come off, it may be that something is wrong with the VSC system. This doesn’t mean your VSC itself is faulty. It could be those other components that work with the VSC are malfunctioning – fix those components.

However, if, after fixing these faulty components and trying the above methods, the VSC light doesn’t turn off, you can reset it. But make sure you do this reset only when the VSC light is on. That is, no other warning light should show aside from the VSC light.

Odometer Resetting

This process is quite simple. To do this

  • Turn your ignition key to ACC or start your car immediately
  • Press the odometer until it reads your car’s mileage
  • Turn off your vehicle totally and leave for 60 seconds.
  • Turn on the engine again and push the odometer button
  • Check if the VSC light is gone

Hard Reset

This process requires you to take some safety precautions. Make sure you have no accessories on (rings, necklace, earrings, etc.) – they can trigger electrical shock. Also, ensure you do this in a dry and well-ventilated environment. Your car should be completely off before you touch the battery. Also, check for symptoms of corrosion and fix them before doing this.

To do the hard reset

  • Park your car in a dry place
  • Turn off the car completely
  • Open the hood of your car
  • Disconnect the battery terminals
  • Reconnect the battery terminal after ten minutes
  • Switch on your car to see if the VSC light has gone

Please note that this action will reset other electrical components like your clock or radio.

Using A Code Scanner

If all other methods fail, then you may need to use an OBD 2 scanner. This scanner helps to read code and tell you what the issue might be.


Is It Safe To Drive With VSC Light On Lexus

You can drive with the light on, but you will need to be extremely careful. When this light is on, it means the VSC system is not working. In a case of slippage where you need the VSC to help, you won’t get it. This could result in a severe accident.

Also, note that the VSC light is often accompanied by the ABS and check engine light. If these lights are on, then you might have other issues to deal with aside from the ABS. In this case, diagnose and fix the problem.

What Does VSC Light Mean On Toyota?

So many people will ask, what does it mean when the VSC light comes on? Like I explained, it could be that you accidentally press the VSC button, causing the light to turn on.

In other cases, this light might mean that your VSC system is faulty or other systems that work together with it are bad. VSC light on means VSC is not working. When this happens, your car might lose traction in slippery terrains.

How Much Does It Cost To Fix VSC On 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.

 Should VSC Be On Or Off?

Ideally, the VSC should always be on (not the VSC light). So that in case you are driving on slippery terrains, the VSC can help put your car in order. If you experience a skid and your car loses traction, you might lose control without the VSC working.

However, there are instances where you should put it off – say, you are driving on rough terrain, or your front wheels get stuck in snow or mud. In this case, you will need to turn off both the VSC and traction control.

The reason you need them off is, in these types of situations, you need more engine power to scale through. But with the VSC and traction control activated, they reduce the engine power. So when they are off, the engine releases enough power for you to move your car.

Simply push and release the VSC button if you want to turn tarc off. In this case, you need to make sure that the tarc off light indicator is popping up. To turn it on, push it back. This button has multifunction as well. You can push and hold it for three seconds to turn both Tarc and Vsc off.

How Do I Check My Toyota VSC System

To check if your VSC Toyota system is working, you will need to locate the VSC button, Press it and see how it works on your dashboard. But where is the VSC button on Toyota?  Depending on the model, you may find it in your dashboard or near your gear. 

Final Words

By now, the question of what VSC means on a car must have been answered. Ensuring it works all the time properly will save you from dangerous situations. So, the minute you see this light on, turn it off using the process highlighted above. If it refuses to turn off, then try resetting.

There are also instances where other car components that work with it are faulty. When this happens, the VSC won’t work as well. So, ensure that you have checked and fixed all underlying issues before carrying out the reset. Reset when the VSC light is displaying.

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Osuagwu Solomon

Osuagwu Solomon is a certified mechanic with over a decade of experience in the mechanic garage, and he has over five years of experience in the writing industry. He started writing automotive articles to share his garage experience with car enthusiasts and armature mechanics. If he is not in the garage fixing challenging mechanical problems, he is writing automotive repair guides, buyer’s guides, and car and tools comparisons.

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