In one of your long drives alone, the inevitable eventually happened - car trouble. Your Toyota VSC light turned on. you panicked and called for your friend to come to get you
And now, whether or not you can identify yourself as that clueless, whether you’re a young lady or you’re a big, or even a tough hunk but is just us helpless when it comes to car engines, I want to pay it forward. Let’s talk about that VSC light on your Toyota, shall we?
What Is a VSC Light? What does the VSC light mean on a Toyota?
VSC stands for “Vehicle Stability Control”. When this is lit, it means that your vehicle’s traction control will not work. This is bad news if you're driving at high speed or on wet, slippery roads!
Fortunately, your car will not just give up on you when this happens. Your car will not whisper “Abandon all hope…” and spin out of control, silly! When the VSC light goes off, your car will spontaneously apply the brakes evenly on all four wheels to prevent your car from skidding. It will also lessen the engine power to allow you to regain greater control of the vehicle.
Often, especially for Toyota vehicles, the VSC light goes off together with the “Check Engine” light.
Where Do I See the VSC Light and What Does It Look Like?
Hey, don’t be shy! We don’t do shaming here. All questions are welcome!
The VSC light can be seen on the dashboard. It is often quite literally written as "VSC". It could also be depicted as a drawing of a car with a zig-zag line behind it on one of the buttons on the control panel right in front of you.
When Should I Turn Off the VSC on Purpose?
While we know that the VSC is a safety feature that is built-in for you and your passengers’ protection, there are some instances when it is advisable to turn it off.
One such incident is when you get stuck in mud or fresh snow that the engine can no longer power through. Turning off the VSC and traction will allow you to rock the vehicle to disentangle it.
How to Fix the VSC Light on a Toyota?
Now that we know how important the VSC is in preventing road accidents, it would be smart to never ignore it when it does light up. The best thing to do when these indicators light up is not to panic, and then drive extra carefully to the nearest accredited and trusted repair shop.
A first cheap and quick fix they could do to remedy this is to check on your car’s gas cap or O2 sensor. Simply tightening or replacing the gas cap might turn the indicators off again.
A caveat though, should you resort to this remedy about the O2 sensor, you may still drive safely afterward, however, you won't be achieving optimal gas mileage.
If this trick does not work, plugging your engine into a code reader will be the next step to further diagnose the problem.
How to Reset the VSC Light on a Toyota Highlander
Let’s get into specific models here. What do you do to reset a VSC light on a Toyota Highlander? Here is the step by step guide.
Materials You Would Need: Ratchet and Socket Set
- Step #1: Start the engine and apply the hand brake so the car stays put.
- Step #2: Open the car hood and look for the air filter box. The air filter box is located on the left-hand side. It is a large, square, black box with a ribbed hose attached to it.
- Step #3: Check on all of the thin black vacuum lines connected around the air filter box. See if any of them is loose or disconnected. Make sure they are plugged in nice and tight.
- Step #4: Once all the vacuum lines are secured, close the hood and get back into your car. Restart the engine and drive your car for a short distance. Check if the VSC light is no longer lit. If it still stayed lit, get back into your garage and let’s work on the next steps.
- Step #5: Do Step #1 then check under the hood again.
- Step #6: Locate your car’s battery and disconnect the negative cable for 15 seconds using the appropriate size socket. This step will enable your car’s computer to do a reset together with the VSC warning.
Also Read: oil change light
How to Turn Off the VSC Light in a Toyota Camry
For those who would want to turn off the VSC, such as those who would need their full engine’s capacity driving through a snow bag, here are the steps you could do. It is recommended that below short and simple steps specific to a Toyota Camry be carried out every time you would start your engine. Let’s begin:
- Step #1: With your engine still off, ensure that your car is in Park mode with the hand brake disengaged.
Step#2: Start the engine while quickly pulling up the hand brake
Step #3: Step on the brake pedal down then release. Immediately disengage the hand brake, too.
Step #4: Step on the brake pedal down and hold. Engage and disengage the hand brake while keeping your foot firmly on the brake pedal. Do this step two times.
Step #5: Engage the hand brake again, step on the brake pedal down, and then release. Do this step twice, as well.
These steps should be done in 30 seconds or less for the fix to work. With a little bit of practice, I’m sure you’d get the hang of it pretty soon!
A little warning though, be very sure that you prefer the VSC off before you incorporate this in your routine. It would be smart to check the road conditions you expect to drive through that day, before deciding on the best option for you.
How to Turn Off the VSC Light in a Toyota Rav4
This is probably the model that is easiest to maneuver when it comes to VSC! No long or repetitive steps needed, no skill involved. You simply turn on or off a button. That simple!
Press and hold the appropriate button. The button will toggle between the “VSC ON” and “VSC OFF” indicator.
How to Reset the VSC Light on a Toyota Corolla
There are two simple ways that you can do to reset the VSC light on a Toyota Corolla.
The first option is to turn the engine on and off for 10 times. The light should go off after this, otherwise, it might be time to take your car for a diagnostic check.
The second option, if available, is clicking the button with the drawing of the car with two squiggly lines underneath it. This button is found right under the air conditioning vent nearest the door at the driver’s side.
Pressing this button once and quickly will reveal the "Traction Off" sign on your dashboard. Pressing it again while holding for 3 seconds will turn both traction and VSC off. Pressing it a third time, this time quickly will put both traction and VSC turned on.
How to Reset the VSC Light on a Toyota Sienna
For the Toyota Sienna, there is also a “Trac Off” button you could use but mixed with some simple tricks. Read on to learn how to reset the VSC light for this model.
With the car’s engine still off, press and hold the “Trac Off” button. Start the engine while maintaining the “Trac Off” button pressed. This should turn off the VSC and traction warning lights immediately. Release your hold on the “Trac Off” button. If the warning lights come on again, press the “Trac Off” button again but this time, just do a quick press.
If this above trick does not work, the steps for the Toyota Camry could also be done for the Sienna.
If after you have done all the above tricks and are sure that it is not a gas cap or O2 sensor concern, be wise. Prioritize your safety. Do not ignore the warning light!
Do not further attempt to remedy the problem yourself. Bring your car to a trusted repair shop and let a licensed mechanic check on the engine.
So there you go, folks. I hope you learned a lot from this article. Stay safe on the road and enjoy driving. See you on our next adventure!
James is a certified auto technician specializing in commercial vehicles. With 30 years of experience under his belt, James has encountered almost every type of automotive issue there is! Besides his day job at the repair shop, he is also an amateur race car driver.