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Vehicle stability assist on 2011 honda

On my wifes Honda CRV she has noticed better fuel mileage when the VSA is disabled. The book says not to drive it in this mode but with $4.00 gas she prefers to save $$$$$. Why didn’t they engineer this feature to be used only when needed & what harm is being done when driving while disengaged?? Car is a 2011 with 9K miles.

The problem with only manually activating VSA when it’s needed is that it’s impossible to predict when you’ll need it. It would be like having to turn on the airbags in preparation for a crash.

This disadvantage of driving without VSA is that its much more likely for her to accidentally roll the CRV. VSA helps keep the car going where its supposed to go and from rolling over. It works primarily by applying brakes to certain wheels when it detects a miss-allignment between the direction of travel of the car and the indicated direction from the steering wheel. It can (not sure about the CRV) reduce engine power for some cars.

All that said, how sure is she that she’s seeing reduced milage? Under routine driving, the VSA shouldn’t be doing anything. Does the VSA light on the dash keep flashing? Conceivably, it could be malfunctioning and apply braking far too often. Is there a lot of heat coming from any of the tires/brakes after driving?

She’s fooling herself about the increased mileage.

VSA has no effect on mileage, because it only functions under extreme conditions, such as when you’re right at the ragged edge of control. Unless your wife is racing her CRV, the VSA is just standing by, not doing anything.

I do not recommend driving around with the VSA disabled. It’s there for a reason, like the seat belts. Would she drive without her seat belt?

I agree with the others, I bet she’s not really seeing a mpg benefit. Easy for minor driving habit change to improve mpgs. And she’s turning off a major safety benefit of modern cars. New SUVs are now some of the most safe cars on the road, due in part to VSA and its counterparts.

Leave it on.

There should be no difference unless your wife drives NASCAR in her spare time and can squeeze better mileage driving at near break neck speeds. The system is seldom used in normal sane driving.

One more vote here for either of two scenarios:

Wifey is not calculating her mileage correctly.
She is driving the vehicle at its limits of roadholding on a regular basis.

If it is the latter, a fully paid-up life insurance policy would be a good idea if she insists on driving her car with the VSA turned off.

I agree with the others, there should be no difference at all in normal driving. The stability control doesn’t inheirently use any more fuel whether it be on or off.

I don’t think your wife is calculating her fuel mileage correctly.

I think the key word in the phrase is, she “noticed” better fuel mileage. That doesn’t indicate that any factual data was used to get a consistent difference. In cars I have, VSC is shut off only in situations you do not want the vehicle’s computer to limit fuel supply and curbs abs use so you can spin tires freely in deep mud and snow to clear treads w/o stressing the entire system. This, just to get unstuck and at low speeds only. So technically, shutting off the VSC allows more fuel to be used instead of less.

Not that this really matters in normal driving as we seem to agree upon. I would think it’s worse practice in a car designed for VSC to run around with it shut off then one that never had it. Some Honda engineer might disagree but systems are make depended sometimes so “trust the manual” is always the best advice. Why owners try to keep outsmarting the engineers who built the car and wrote the manual is difficult to understand. On a 2011, the service manager would be happy to interpret better than we can, anything you don’t understand.

"On a 2011, the service manager would be happy to interpret better than we can, anything you don’t understand.

True–in theory.
However, I have run into some service managers who were only marginally more knowledgeable than their service writers. Even from a service manager, it is still possible to get misinformation–at least in my experience.

Considering I don’t have the manual in front of me, I’m willing to bet you a six pack that any Honda service manager can give the right answer to this inquiry ! This one ain’t rocket science. We aren’t talking Subaru dealerships now…:=)

dagosa, if you’re saying the service manager will know whether or not the VSC system affects mpgs, I doubt it, and I doubt it’s addressed in the owners manual. You’d need the opinion of the engineers that designed it.

But I can’t think of a good reason the VSC would affect mpgs in normal situations.

Assuming the OP is right, when was the last time tire pressures are checked? Have the tires been rotated? Uneven tire inflations and tread depth can lead to the computer to conclude that the car is not following the intended path, causing VSC to step in.

For me, even having different 2 new tires, which means significantly different tread depth, caused VSC to step in well before I heard tire screeches.

VSA usually does two things. It cuts power to wheels that are slipping, and it applies the brakes to keep the vehicle stable. If your wife is really getting better fuel economy with the VSA disengaged, she is driving too heavily on the throttle, and forcing the car not to use the power the engine is generating. Don’t disengage the VSA. It might have already saved her life a number of times without either of you knowing it.

I’m with Whitey on this one. I can testify from personal experience that there are many, many women out there who either don;t understand the concept of slowing down for sharp curves and on/off ramps or simply don’t care. Combine that with the likelihodd that the CRV VSA ia probably calibrated to prevent rollover and it’s very possible that hers VSA system is often activated.

You have to really push a Maseratti to activate the stability system. I seriously doubt if the stability system on a CRV needs to be pushed as hard to activate it. I think Whitey’s advice to leave it “on” is prudent advice.

Tex, no I am not saying that. I am saying that a service manager can or should be able to give a layman’s explanation of how VSC works as per the manual. If anyone as a result thinks it has an effect on normal driving mpg when it doesn’t even come into play, that’s a real stretch. The comment was on interpreting the owner’s manual…it, the vsc, should always be on. And the manager “should be happy to interpret” anything you don’t understand, was my original comment.

Now, if Whitey wants to suppose that the car is not driven normally, but too fast for conditions, that becomes a different debate. I am still hard pressed to think it still has any effect, even minuscule, on mpg. I maintain still, that no actual measurements were taken in a way that anyone could come to the conclusion of OP’s wife. You’d have to run around , Squealing your tires constantly with the VSC off, then drive the same route and try to do the same thing, now at a forced reduced speed with the VSC on. VSC only comes on during occasions that happen less than .01% of your total driving time and with minimal effect on your ability to coast.

You may be able to emulate this on a track, never by a civilian driver in traffic situations. Again, she “notices” w/o formal measurements that I can tell.

BTW, You guys must have had some really bad experiences with service managers if you don’t feel they can help a customer read and understand the manual.

Ok, now I understand. I thought you were referring to the OP’s wife and her mpg opinion. Yes, they should be able to explain the VSC system.

I feel Whitey is on the mark about people’ s driving habits in general, and devices like VSC though life saving, may be insolating drivers too much from road feel. It may be a generational thing like the automatic, where with all these devices may lead to an entire generation treating the throttle like an on, off switch…full on, full off.