Is It Expensive To Fix The Vehicle Dynamic Control As The Light Is Staying On?

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    This is one of those “it depends” questions. “It depends on the vehicle.” “It depends on how much of the system has to be replaced.” “It depends on whether you go to a dealer or an independent auto repair shop.” “It depends…”

    On average, you will find that it costs between $700 and $1,600 to repair the system. And, the name varies with the manufacturer. For instance, Nissan calls it the Vehicle Dynamic Control System, while others such as Honda and Ford call it the Traction Control System.

    The VDC relies on sensors that sit at each wheel and continually receive input from those wheels. The sensors send the information to the Vehicle Dynamic Control Module which stores error codes if one of the sensors finds there is an issue.  To find this information, you must poll the Engine Control Module (ECM), the key module in engine management. It not only maintains a record of all error codes that are generated but it also reads them out when asked by an OBD-II diagnostic reader.

    Indeed, if you are thinking of doing any sort of do-it-yourselfing — not that there is very much you can do with today’s almost totally-sealed engine — you need an OBD-II scanner before you even think of tackling any job, other than an oil change or adding additonal fluid to the tranmission because you have to know the error codes generated to find out where the problem may be.

    For example, the Traction Control System/Vehicle Dynamic Control System generates three major error codes, P0881, P0881, and P0886. Without the OBD-II system, you would never be able to find where a problem lies, unless you know what is ailing the car in the first place. Since the Traction Control System (TCS) relies on information from two systems to work correctly, it is a rather complex repair that should only be attempted by a trained technician.

    Why is this a requirement? It’s simply because you are involving two major systems to make TCS work.  When the TCS system shows an error it refers to either the anti-lock braking system or the traction control system. In action, the TCS works by reading the information generated by the wheel sensors. If a wheel sensor throws an error for the ECM, the ECM not only stores the error code, but it also initiates an action.  It either shuts down the TCS altogether or it generates the error code which is then stored by the ECM. The TCS will continue working until another more serious error occurs. At that point, the TCM or VDC will shut down and you will lose the ability. If the system shuts down, the TCS/VDC light on the instrument display will light and stay lit. There is no way to turn it off unil you fix the system. Of course, there are times when the TCS/VDC light may just flash. When this happens, it indicates the system is working properly as it lets you know that the TCS/VDC is working.

    TCS is a safety/control that works automatically to give you better control in lousy weather when the roads may be slippery due to snow or rain. It also works when the system senses uneven traction between the driving wheels. The TCS, if this is the situation, will slow the wheel with the poorest traction while increasing speed and traction of the wheel with the better traction. In this way, the vehicle remains stable and you are more stable, too.

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