As drivers, most of us are used to the typical lights on the instrument panel. However, when a non-descript light such as VSC TRAC Off suddenly appears, our hearts will skip a beat. In this article, I’ll discuss VSC TRAC Off – what does it mean?
When the VSC TRAC Off warning light comes on your dashboard, either by accident or because of a trigger, it means your vehicle’s Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Traction Control (TRAC) are malfunctioning. The VSC is like a sliding vehicle with the letters OFF on your screen.
What’s the reason why the VSC and TRAC warning lights turn on? If these lights turn on and stay on, there could be a glitch in your car’s VSC and TRAC systems. You have to drive your vehicle to the local dealer of your particular car. Their qualified car technician will diagnose and uncover why this light came on.
Read on to learn more about the VSC and TRAC lights, what it means when the word OFF accompanies them, and why these lights will appear on your dash.
VSC TRAC OFF – What Does It Mean?
If the VSC TRAC OFF warning lights come on your dash, either by accident or on purpose, it disables the vehicle stability control and the traction control systems of your vehicle. The light indicator of the VSC appears like a sliding-off vehicle accompanied by the word OFF.
Why will this light turn on your dashboard? If this light appears not by accident but because of a trigger, there could be a VSC system malfunction or a bug in your vehicle’s computer. To verify the cause, you should bring your vehicle to the dealer where you bought your car.
Meanwhile, the TRAC OFF light turning on can mean the computer has shut off your car’s traction control. The trigger could be a vehicle speed sensor failure or malfunctioning wheel speed sensors.
Can you safely drive your vehicle with the VSC OFF and TRAC OFF lights on? No, this can be dangerous. The possibility of losing control of your car is high if these systems are not working. If you persist in driving your vehicle, you may get into a car crash.
You can turn off the VSC TRAC OFF light on your instrument panel. But check first if your car has no real VSC and TRAC issues. Just push their buttons, and the lights will fade off. These systems will go back in line to protect your vehicle.
How Do VSC and TRAC Work in a Car?
VSC Maintains Traction and Control Through Power Reduction
As the component that provides control over your vehicle’s stability, VSC maintains traction and control by reducing or completely cutting off the power delivered to the wheels. VSC automatically applies brake pressure on up to three wheels of your vehicle.
Safety Feature Requirement Since 2012
The VSC’s objective is to keep your vehicle in the direction where you pointed the wheels. It has been a safety feature requirement since 2012. So, if its indicator light says VSC OFF, it is not working.
With regards to TRAC, if you see TRAC OFF on your dash, it means you have either pressed its button accidentally or on purpose. This button is typically located on the left side of the steering wheel.
Only Disable the TRAC Feature When Your Car Is Stuck in Mud or Snow
You have a disabled traction control when your instrument panel displays TRAC OFF. You will not be able to use this safety feature if your wheels have traction problems.
However, you can intentionally turn off this safety feature. When can you turn it off on purpose? For instance, your vehicle is stuck in mud or snow, and you can’t move it even an inch.
Disable the TRAC feature or the VSC to reduce the power from the engine to your wheels. You can rock your vehicle back and forth by disabling the system to free it from the mud or snow.
Press the TRAC OFF Button
You can turn off this safety feature by pressing the TRAC OFF button. This button will light up on the dash. Then get your wheels unstuck from the mud or snow. After freeing your wheels, push this button again, and you will turn on the system again.
Is VSC OFF and TRAC OFF Light the Same?
The VSC OFF and TRAC OFF are different from each other. Their lights specifically refer to each system, so they are not the same. The VSC OFF light turns on if its system is disabled. It’s the same thing with the TRAC OFF light.
However, there are some car brands and models, such as Toyota vehicles. They may only have one of these two warning lights. In Toyota’s case, the warning light is either VSC OFF or TRAC OFF.
As far as most vehicle brands are concerned, when the TRAC OFF and VSC OFF lights illuminate on the instrument panel, the Traction Control and the Vehicle Stability Control Systems are disabled.
Why Do TRAC OFF and Check Engine Lights Come On At the Same Time?
The TRAC OFF and Check Engine Light turn on in most cars simultaneously. Why is that? When these lights come on at the same time, their sensors malfunction. The usual sensors that can cause this situation are the mass air flow and oxygen sensors.
It can also be due to a failing catalytic converter. When these sensors and the cat converter malfunction, the Check Engine Light and the TRAC OFF light may come together.
It is also possible that you have a loose gas cap. If the gas cap is already broken, you can replace it with an OEM gas cap for your particular vehicle.
Hopefully, this will fix this problem if it is really what caused the warning light to come on in the first place.
What Triggers the VSC TRAC OFF Light on the Dash?
Several things can trigger the VSC and TRAC light. You need to understand these triggers if you want your car’s safety features always operate without any problem:
1. Bad Speed Wheel Sensors
Broken or malfunctioning speed wheel sensors are one of the most common reasons the VSC OFF and TRAC OFF lights will come on. These sensors are installed on every wheel of your vehicle.
They assist the ABS in assessing how fast each wheel is rotating. If even one of these sensors goes bad, the VSC OFF or TRAC OFF light will be triggered.
2. Dirty Sensors
Wheel speed sensors of the VSC and TRAC systems are very sensitive. They don’t need to be broken to trigger the lights. Dirty sensors cannot work correctly. If they are dirty, the VSC OFF or TRAC OFF light will pop up on your instrument panel.
3. Failing ABS Control Module
If the ABS Control module of your car is not working correctly, it could also cause the VSC OFF or TRAC OFF light to turn on. This module takes care of controlling your car’s ABS. Without it, it is unsafe to drive your vehicle.
4. Newly Mounted Tires
Mounting new tires on your vehicle can also trigger the VSC OFF or TRAC OFF light on your dash. This usually happens if the new tires you mount are incompatible with the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended tires.
They may not be the same size or tire tread pattern as the tires you replaced. This can confuse the computer that regulates the tire operation of your vehicle and trigger the VSC OFF or TRAC OFF warning light.
Again, why are your VSC and TRAC OFF lights on? VSC and TRAC OFF lights might be on due to an issue. If they don’t have problems upon checking, then you can push and release the VSC and TRAC OFF buttons to turn them off.
5. Underinflated Tires
Even underinflated tires can cause the TRAC OFF and VSC OFF lights to turn up on your dash. The warning light will come on even if just one of these tires is underinflated.
The reason is that tires with low pressure inside can cause the wheels to rotate unevenly. This situation will throw off your car’s ABS.
6. Newly Installed Brakes
If you replaced bad brakes with new brakes, it could also cause the VSC and TRAC OFF lights to come on your instrument panel.
Again, if the new brakes are incompatible with the brakes recommended by the car manufacturer, they will throw off your car’s ABS, causing the triggering of the VSC and TRAC warning lights.
7. Brake Light Switch Issues
Problems with your brake light switch can also cause the TRAC OFF light to come on your dash. You will find this brake light switch close to the brake pedal.
Step on this pedal, and your car’s brake light turns on. So, if the switch is failing, you will see the TRAC OFF light on your dash.
8. Loose Wire Connections
If the electrical wiring connections of your ABS, it will also trigger the VSC OFF and TRAC OFF lights on your instrument panel.
The reason is that the components of the traction control system, along with its sensors, have electrical wires that connect them. If only one of these wires is loose or gets disconnected, you will see the TRAC OFF light on your dash.
9. Turned Off Traction Control System
If the traction control system of your vehicle has been turned off accidentally or on purpose, you will have its warning light flashing on your dash. You won’t be able to enjoy this safety feature as long as it is turned off.
10. Malfunctioning ECU
The ECU or electronic computer unit of your vehicle is a complex device. It is sufficiently protected from any outside elements that may cause it to malfunction. However, it is still a human-made device subject to stress, wear and tear, and outdoor elements that will cause it not to work correctly.
When it malfunctions, one result is that the VSC and TRAC OFF lights will light up on your dash.
If the VSC TRAC Off warning light appears on your instrument panel, either by a trigger or by accident, the vehicle stability control system and the traction control of your vehicle are no longer working. The VSC is represented by a sliding car accompanied by the word OFF.
When you see these lights on your instrument panel, there could be a problem with your car’s VSC and TRAC systems.
You must bring your car to the car dealer to find out why it appeared on your dash. They should have a qualified mechanic who can diagnose and pinpoint the cause and fix the issue.