As a "people mover" minivan, the Honda Odyssey incorporates many vehicle features for passenger comfort and safety. One such safety feature is the VSA, which stands for Vehicle Stability Assist. So what is VSA, and how does it work for you? We've done the research for your convenience.
Honda's Vehicle Stability Assist is a safety system that:
- Uses multiple sensors to monitor the vehicle's condition.
- Actively applies brake pressure or reduces throttle to specific wheels to help correct a vehicle's movement.
- Helps the vehicle gain traction to move forward more safely on slippery surfaces.
Would you like to learn more about the Honda VSA and how it benefits you and your loved ones as you drive them in your Odyssey? Do read on, because we've prepared a few tips on how you can maximize the advantages of this safety feature.
What Is Honda Vehicle Stability Assist?
The Honda Odyssey is one of America's top-selling multi-purpose vehicles (MPVs) because of its outstanding safety rating and its passenger comfort features. Consistently garnering a 20 to 30% market share, the Honda Odyssey has always managed to be in America's top 5 minivans for the past several years.
When you're using a seven- or eight-seater minivan-type vehicle with a 280-hp V6 engine to transport your loved ones, there's no such thing as too much safety. Honda understands this well, and the automaker outfitted the Odyssey with a whole suite of passive and active safety systems.
One component of the Odyssey's active safety systems is the Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA). The VSA is Honda's own version of electronic stability control (ESC), which is a requirement for all light-duty vehicles in the USA since 2012.
As its name suggests, Honda's VSA system helps stabilize the vehicle during cornering as well as slippery road conditions. During cornering, VSA tries to correct the trajectory if the vehicle turns less or more than what the driver intended. During slippery conditions, VSA also helps the vehicle maintain traction.
How Does Honda VSA Work?
The Honda VSA helps maintain vehicle stability by monitoring your Odyssey's condition on the road and correcting the allocated power and brake force as necessary. To do this, the VSA system uses several vehicle sensors, namely:
- Wheel sensors
- Steering angle sensor
- Yaw rate lateral acceleration sensor
These sensors send their readings to the VSA modulator control unit. When any of the sensors report something off with regard to the vehicle's traction or trajectory, the VSA modulator control unit controls one or more of the following systems to attempt to correct the condition:
- Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)
- Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD)
- Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA)
- Traction Control System (TCS)
- Brake Assist
Together, these systems can work to regulate the braking power and torque that your Odyssey's wheels receive. The VSA modulator control unit ensures that each complementary system functions in coordination with each other to help regain vehicle stability.
We know that some of these terms are a bit technical, so here's a video that will help explain the functions and benefits of the VSA system:
Is VSA The Same As Traction Control?
Although many people confuse stability control and traction control systems with one another, they are not the same.
Traction control systems work by monitoring and correcting any wheelspin that the vehicle experiences. This can happen when one wheel is off the ground (such as in off-roading conditions) or when it rolls over a slippery surface like sand, mud, or ice.
During a wheelspin event, the TCS uses either the brakes or the engine management system to cut the power off the spinning wheel and divert more torque to other wheels. Put simply, TCS helps the vehicle gain more traction and avoid skidding or getting stuck.
On the other hand, electronic stability control systems are more focused on keeping the vehicle moving along the driver's intended direction.
By monitoring the vehicle's steering wheel angle, yaw, and the vehicle's position along the X, Y, and Z axes, ESCs know when your vehicle is veering away from the right path (i.e. understeer or oversteer).
Like traction control systems, ESCs also control the torque and braking power sent to the wheels to correct or minimize understeer or oversteer, particularly during cornering situations.
In the Odyssey's case, Honda integrated both traction control and electronic stability functions under one holistic system called "VSA With Traction Control."
What Does The VSA Light Mean On Honda Odyssey?
Honda's VSA system automatically activates every time you start your Odyssey's engine, even if you turned VSA off previously. This automatic setting helps ensure that you or your loved one will drive the Odyssey with a little more safety technology—until you decide to turn the VSA system off manually.
Newer Odysseys have two VSA indicator lights on the instrument cluster, namely the (1) VSA system indicator light and the (2) VSA Off indicator light. These new lights look like traction control icons, showing a vehicle with two swerving lines underneath.
On older Odysseys, the first system indicator light is a "VSA" light, while the VSA Off light is a yellow triangle with an exclamation point inside.
VSA System Indicator Light
When you start the engine or turn the ignition to the "on" position, the VSA system indicator light turns on. After a few seconds of initialization, the VSA light automatically turns off, indicating that the VSA system is active and on standby mode.
The VSA system indicator light will blink when the VSA system is currently working to help your Odyssey maintain its stability. You may see this light blink during cornering or other less-than-ideal road conditions.
However, if the VSA system indicator light turns on with a steady light while you're driving, it means that something is wrong with one or more of the systems listed below:
- Hill start assist
- Brake assist
- Brake lighting
When this happens, you may want to have your dealer or a Honda expert technician take a look at your vehicle.
Because the VSA system is linked to several other vehicle systems, diagnosing the problem is quite challenging. However, if you're well-versed in automotive electronics, you may diagnose the problem with a professional OBD II diagnostic tool.
Check out this popular professional-grade OBD2 diagnostic tool on Amazon.
VSA Off Indicator Light Or VSA Activation Light
The "VSA Off" or VSA activation light also turns on briefly when you turn on your ignition or start your engine. Apart from system initialization, this indicator light will only illuminate if you manually turn the VSA system off.
How Do I Turn Off VSA On Honda Odyssey?
To turn off your Odyssey's VSA, you need to press and hold the VSA Off button until a beeping sound comes. This button is on the driver-side control panel, just below the leftmost air conditioning vent. It will have a similar icon to your VSA indicator light on your instrument cluster.
To turn the VSA system back on, you can press and hold the VSA Off button again until you hear another beeping sound.
What Does Turning VSA Off Do?
There may be times when you get your Odyssey's wheels stuck in mud, sand, or snow. In these situations, freeing your vehicle may be easier by turning VSA off temporarily.
By turning VSA off, your traction control system will be less restrictive of wheelspin. Slow wheelspin may be more effective in getting a vehicle unstuck in some situations.
Is It Safe To Drive With The VSA Light On?
Driving with the VSA system indicator light on probably means that something is wrong with one or more of your Odyssey's active safety systems. Alternatively, the VSA system indicator light may turn on if you're driving with a differently-sized spare tire or if you're using large snow chains.
In any case, driving while the VSA system indicator light is steadily lighted is neither safe nor recommended.
On the other hand, driving with the VSA activation light on means that your VSA system is inactive. Honda strongly advises against turning off the VSA system at any time, except when you're trying to get your vehicle unstuck from mud, snow, sand, or other slippery surfaces.
Based on accident records, vehicle stability control systems can prevent 9,600 traffic-related fatalities every year.
What Is The Safety Rating Of A Honda Odyssey?
The Honda Odyssey's safety ratings are very impressive.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the 2022 Odyssey an overall safety rating of five out of five stars. Moreover, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) chose the 2022 Odyssey as one of its Top Safety Pick Plus (+) awardees for the year.
Honda Odyssey Price
The 2023 Odyssey has arrived in Honda dealerships in the U.S., and this iteration has been garnering good reviews.
Check out the video below for a walkaround of the Odyssey. Aside from this minivan's exterior design, safety, and technology, you may also be interested in some of its unique comfort features like the Magic Slide seats.
If you're looking at the Honda Odyssey as your next family vehicle, then we're here to help you get started. Check out the list below for the starting prices of the different Honda Odyssey trims.
- EX : $37,340
- EX-L : $40,410
- Sport : $41,201
- Touring : $44,450
- Elite : $49,470
These prices are accurate as of October 2022.
The Odyssey's VSA stands for Vehicle Stability Assist, which is Honda's name for its electronic stability control system. Honda's VSA combines the functions and benefits of the traction control system with the oversteer and understeer correction assistance of the ESC system.
Thank you very much for reading. We hope we were able to help you understand as well as appreciate the Honda Odyssey's Vehicle Stability Assist feature.
For more interesting reads about the Honda Odyssey and other automotive topics, you may also check out these great articles below:
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