Ever been in a situation where you lose control of a brake? Did you have to act fast to avoid skidding down the wrong path or prevent a collision? Believe it or not, even the best drivers experience slipping once in a while. It’s a common occurrence, which is why car manufacturers, especially the makers of the Acura TL, have come up with a solution to guarantee your safety.
Safety is a priority for you and everyone around you, especially when driving on the road. Hence, the Acura TL uses Vehicle Stability Assist or VSA to put you on the right track and prevent driving accidents.
But, what is VSA in detail? How does it help my Acura TL when it comes to road safety? How do I engage this feature in my Acura? Knowing the ins and outs of this feature is the proper way to assume full control over your vehicle. Hence, there are several aspects to look into for peace of mind.
What is VSA on Acura TL?
VSA stands for Vehicle Stability Assist. It’s a safety feature that assists you when in motion.
It is designed to restore a car to its intended path of travel when oversteer or understeer occurs. In other words, when the vehicle begins skidding, VSA redirects your car’s movements and puts you on the right track. When skidding happens, your Acura’s systems can reduce engine torque. If needed, it brakes individual wheels to improve the vehicle’s stability.
The system’s traction control function can operate when the vehicle accelerates on a surface with varying degrees of traction. When drive wheels slip is detected, the system reduces engine torque and applies a brake to the slipping wheel. Engine torque is then directed to the wheel or wheels with better traction, thus controlling the acceleration.
VSA in the Acura TL builds on the car company’s pioneering efforts in anti-lock brakes and traction control to enhance side slip control. It comes in handy when making a sudden u-turn or even back and forth turns on the steering wheel.
How Does VSA Work?
VSA employs sensors to continuously monitor the steering angle, lateral acceleration, and the vehicle’s overall yaw rate. Yaw is the movement of an object turning on its vertical axis in a car, meaning its tendency to turn around its center as it moves through a curve. If the sensors determine that your Acura is drifting into understeer, your VSA kicks in to reduce engine torque and applies brake pressure to the appropriate wheels. By doing so, it re-balances the weight while preserving the correct direction.
On the other hand, if you have an oversteer situation, VSA applies pressure to the appropriate wheels. In this manner, the system helps to return the Acura to its optimum driving line.
VSA is so sensitive and responds so quickly that if not for a flashing light in the instrument panel, the driver would not be aware of its effect. However, if you desire, you can choose to disable the system. To do so, press the panel button located on the left side of the steering wheel. Yet, we recommend that you engage your car’s VSA features at all times.
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What Are the Benefits of the VSA?
Your VSA’s primary benefit is safety. It adds a measure of control when the Acura is pushed to the edge of the traction envelope. It also contributes to Acura’s class-leading performance.
The VSA system oversees several aspects at all times. It tracks the throttle, your vehicle’s speed and the steering angle. Plus, it makes sure you do not oversteer or understeer by observing the yaw rate and the lateral G-force. When necessary, VSA automatically reduces throttle and applies the anti-lock brakes to individual wheels to help the vehicle on its path.
VSA is automatically engaged each time you start the vehicle and you can turn it on / off at any time by using the VSA button. Your car illuminates the VSA activation indicator when the system is turned off and flashes when the system is active.
Also, the light marked VSA will activate and stay on consistently if there’s a malfunction detected in the system. So, in case of any VSA malfunction, you should get your Acura dealer to look into it as quickly as possible.
Is It Safe to Drive With the VSA Light On?
If your car’s VSA stays on while driving, you might have a faulty system. In this scenario, you can continue going as you still have brake and corner control of your car. However, keep in mind that in those moments, you can’t rely on the stability advantages provided by the VSA system.
If, however, the light comes on because you have a broken sensor, then you should have your mechanic take a look at it to identify and fix the problem. Even though you can still drive relatively safely in this case, you may run into issues if you forget that VSA is unavailable at that time.
Should I Drive With VSA On or Off?
Every time you turn on your Acura’s engine, your VSA automatically follows. As a result, you utile its assistance by default. However, there are certain instances when it would be okay to switch off your VSA. For example, if your Acura TL is ever in a trap like a mudslide, snow or any other movement-impairing situation, you should turn your VSA off until you’re in the clear again.
You can also choose to turn off your VSA if you would like to drive without it. However, we must advise you to use this function and keep it on at all times unless you’re stuck. Your VSA gives you the extra padding of protection should you lose control for even a split second.
What Would Cause the VSA Light to Come On?
VSA only activates when you require it. This means that it only comes on when you lose control of your car. It does not slow down your car’s pace or take over your driving.
When you turn your VSA on, it informs you that it’s working through a blinking indicator you can find on your car’s dashboard. However, if you notice that the light stays on permanently at all times, then your system may be warning you of problems you need to look into.
Often, you can identify the problem quickly by yourself. Sometimes simply restarting the engine can have an effect. If you cannot spot a solution, consider involving a more experienced hand or a licensed expert to analyze the vehicle’s condition.
VSA in the Acura TL is one of the many welcome tech innovations in the automobile industry. It’s safe to conclude that this invention contributes to the drastic reduction in road accidents in recent times.
However, it would be essential to point out that while this system helps monitor your steering and stability, it is not always perfect. In other words, it may fail every once in a while. Therefore, make sure to maintain and keep your system up to date. Also, never disregard your general safety by relying too much on the VSA when driving. Instead, think of it only as an assisting tool and drive carefully.