What Is Toyota's Vehicle Stability Control?
Vehicle Stability Control is an active safety technology that improves vehicle stability. It’s especially helpful when the road is slick or in emergency situations.
In December 2010, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated that if every vehicle on the road had Vehicle Stability Control, it would save as many as 10,000 lives and prevent 250,000 injuries per year.
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How Does Vehicle Stability Control Work?
VSC helps prevent wheel spin and loss of traction. The vehicle will then reduce engine power and simultaneously apply brakes to slow down the wheels that need it.
The system reads data from a steering wheel sensor and the ABS wheel-speed sensors to determine if the vehicle is following the driver’s steering inputs.
Suppose the vehicle deviates from the direction the driver is steering. In that case, VSC is designed to reduce engine power and pulse the left- or right-side brakes to help correct the situation.
Main Components of VSC
Vehicle Stability Control comprises the following components: A speed sensor on each wheel. A rotation rate sensor that measures the vehicle’s rotation rate around its center line. And a steering angle sensor that reports the driver’s steering angle intention.
From the sensor signals, the control unit computes when and how to intervene, and the hydraulic regulates brake pressure so the driver can maintain control.
In this example, our driver has to swerve into the left lane to avoid a hazard.
In our emergency situation example, our driver has to swerve quickly to the left to avoid a hazard. The steering angle sensor transmits this to the Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) unit. However, the rotation rate sensor signals that the vehicle is drifting straight ahead toward an obstacle the driver is trying to avoid.
In milliseconds, VSC pulsates the left rear wheel very briefly and sharply. This produces the desired counteracting force to keep the vehicle on the path the driver intended.
The rear end swings out to the left when the driver returns to the original left lane. The turning force to the right will now be higher than intended. In this case, the VSC will now pulsate the front left wheel’s brake, reducing the turning force. Instead of the vehicle going into a skid, the VSC helps the car maintain control.
VSC is always working hard for you in the background, and you don’t even know it.
Benefits of Vehicle Stability Control
Enhanced Vehicle Stability: VSC assists in preventing lateral skids and stabilizing the car when turning on slippery surfaces, which would be particularly beneficial for your snowboarding trips, especially if you have to drive on snowy or icy roads.
Traction Control: Works with VSC to maintain traction on wet, icy, loose, or uneven surfaces, providing a safer driving experience.
Reduced Risk of Accidents: VSC can help to reduce the risk of losing control of your vehicle by reducing the throttle from the engine and determining which wheels need applied brake force.
Increased Driver Confidence: Knowing that VSC is there to assist can give drivers an added level of assurance, especially in challenging conditions.
Vehicle Stability Control & Toyota's Star Safety System
Toyota Star Safety System is a suite of safety features designed to help vehicles maintain control in emergency situations. The following features are included:
- Brake Assist (BA)
- Electronic Brake-Force Distribution (EBD)
- Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS)
- Traction Control (TRAC)
- Smart Stop Technology (SST)
Recap of VSC
In everyday driving, maintaining control is normal, but in surprising situations, the driver must take sudden evasive actions. It’s easy to over-correct, resulting in skidding out or losing control of the vehicle.
VSC can sense when this happens and can help stabilize the vehicle by controlling the brakes and cutting the power to the engine if necessary so you can avoid a road hazard altogether.
Toyota vehicles can also detect whether or not the driver is trying to brake or accelerate when pressing both the gas pedal and the brake pedal. This technology is called Smart Stop Technology.
Frequently Asked Questions
Vehicle Stability Control helps prevent wheel spin, which can result in a loss of traction. The system will then reduce engine power and apply brake force to wheels that need it. This will allow the vehicle to avoid a hazard the driver sees on the road and keep the car on the intended path.
The VSC light may come on when you start your vehicle as the car runs its systems check. The other way the light may be triggered is if the car begins to lose traction on a wet or slippery road, informing the driver that the Vehicle Stability Control is being activated. Visit your local Toyota dealer if this light remains on.
Electronic Stability Control, also known on other vehicles as Vehicle Stability Control, is designed to help cars regain traction if they lose grip on the road. This light will usually flash if your vehicle is making corrections to help you maintain control during a loss of traction. If this light remains on, visit your local dealer for service.
Note: Always refer to the vehicle’s Owner’s Manual for more detailed information about your specific vehicle. Safe driving practices should always be followed. For more details, contact your local Toyota Dealer or visit Toyota.com.