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About the ‘VSC TRAC’ & ‘VSC OFF’ Warning Lights

It’s a common issue on the 4th generation Toyota 4Runner to encounter the ‘VSC TRAC’ and ‘VSC OFF’ warning lights come on randomly and stay on. These lights may come on whenever you have an engine trouble code, which will be apparent when the engine light also comes on at the same time. However, if you are experiencing only the ‘VSC TRAC’ and ‘VSC OFF’ lights on without the check engine light on, then there might be a quick fix to getting rid of those lights.

4th gen 4runner vsc trac vsc off fix zero point calibration

First of all, ‘TRAC’ is for the Traction Control System and ‘VSC’ stands for the Vehicle Stability Control. These two systems work hand-in-hand and also work with the ABS system as well. In fact, this is why if you are having the problem with the ‘VSC TRAC’ and ‘VSC OFF’ lights, you might even see the ‘ABS’ light come on too. Oddly enough, the ABS light may be on for some and off for others. But the consistent thing is usually the two VSC lights come on and stay on.

Why do the ‘VSC TRAC’ & ‘VSC OFF’ Lights Come on?

There may be a number of different scenarios causing the ‘VSC TRAC’ and ‘VSC OFF’ lights to come on without a check engine light. I focused on one particular easy fix, which happened to fix this problem when it showed up on my 4Runner just recently.

In this particular case, it turns out there there was a problem with the 4Runner somehow erasing its stored “zero point calibration” data; since there is no stored data, the yaw rate and deceleration sensor has no numbers to work with and therefore disables the vehicle stability control and traction control systems. Accordingly, it illuminates the two lights to inform the owner that there is a problem.

Of course, you may not know that this is the specific issue unless you actually tried to fix and have it be successful. The fix is easy to do and doesn’t hurt if you already do have the correct zero point values stored in your car’s ECU. So if you have the ‘VSC TRAC’ and ‘VSC OFF’ lights on without a check engine light on, then its worth trying the Zero Point Calibration to see if it will fix your issue.

How to Perform a Zero Point Calibration to Fix ‘VSC TRAC’ & ‘VSC OFF’ Warning Lights

If you have a specific diagnostic tester that can perform a Zero Point Calibration. However, most of us don’t have this pricey and specific type of tool, so I’ll be showing how to perform the Zero Point Calibration using a paperclip.

When performing the Zero Point Calibration, you must make sure that the vehicle is stationary and parked on a level surface with a grade no larger than 1%. Ensure that you do not start the vehicle and that the vehicle continues to stay stationary during the entire calibration procedure.

First, locate your OBDII port, which is situated down on the lower left side of the driver’s footwell. The port is covered by a black cover. Pull this cover off.

You now have access to the “DLC3” OBDII port, which has 16 pins as seen in the diagram below.

4th gen 4runner vsc trac vsc off fix zero point calibration

Use a paperclip and bend it so that it makes a U-shape. This will be needed to make contact between the Ts and CG contacts of the port.

Make sure the the vehicle is in park and turn the key in the ignition switch to ON. Using the paperclip, make a series of open and short circuits between these two terminals 4 times within a period of 8 seconds. I did this by pulling out one side of the paperclip and plugging it back 4 times. FYI, you can also do it with two paperclips with one in the Ts terminal and the other in the CG terminal, then touching the two paperclips together to perform the open/short contact.

After making the 4 cycles of open and short between the Ts and CG terminals within 8 seconds, you will see the ‘VSC TRAC’ indicator light up and stay lit. This indicates any existing recorded zero point is erased. The ‘ABS’ light comes on and flashes as well.

4th gen 4runner vsc trac vsc off fix zero point calibration

Then, turn the ignition switch to ‘OFF’. Remove paperclip from the two Ts and CG terminals.

Turn the ignition switch to ‘ON’. The VSC warning light should go off in about 15 seconds. After the VSC light has been off for at least 2 seconds, turn the ignition switch back to ‘OFF’.

Recconect the Ts and CG terminals again with paperclip. Turn the ignition switch back to ‘ON’. The VSC warning light should stay lit for about 4 seconds and then will blink quickly and repeatedly.

4th gen 4runner vsc trac vsc off fix zero point calibration

After the VSC warning light has been quickly blinking for at least 2 seconds, turn the ignition switch to ‘OFF’. Remove the paperclip from the Ts and CG terminals of the OBDII port and replace the black plastic cover. The Zero Point Calibration is now complete and the ‘VSC TRAC’ and ‘VSC OFF’ lights should now be off.

4th gen 4runner vsc trac vsc off fix zero point calibration

As mentioned at the beginning of this post, this might be a quick fix for those of you with the ‘VSC TRAC’ and ‘VSC OFF’ lights on without the check engine light. The Zero Point Calibration worked for me and as soon as I performed the procedure, my VSC lights have stayed off. I hope this helps you if you happen to run into the same situation.

Author

Hi there! I'm Scott and I run The Track Ahead. My goal is to provide helpful articles and tutorials based on my experience and research related to car maintenance and automotive detailing. When I'm not writing and not working my day job, you can find me spending time with my family and working on home and car projects.

4 Comments

  1. Walid Koual Reply

    Hey bro I want thank you for the great work you’re doing, I have a 4Runner and you don’t know how helpful your tutorial was. Thanks again.

  2. Hey Scott,
    Thanks for posting this fix. I had just received my car back for another issue, from my mechanic when this issue popped up. I was able to research the error code but could not reset it with my Blue Driver Scan Tool so I thought I would have to bring my 04 4Runner back to the shop. But with your instructions and a couple of paper clips I reset it within just a few minutes.
    Thanks again

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