What Is the VDC Indicator Light?
Before we dive into what the VDC indicator light is all about, let’s first remind ourselves of what VDC is.
VDC, an acronym for Vehicle Dynamic Control, is Nissan and Infiniti automobiles’ electronic stability control system. It is a skid-prevention system that keeps track of your vehicle’s movement and modulates braking and engine power under certain conditions, such as inclement weather, to maintain it on the guided path.
VDC is just a term employed by Nissan for their automobiles to describe a feature that performs the same purpose as a traction control system. Like other stability control systems, VDC utilizes sensors on each wheel to detect when a wheel begins to slip (lose traction).
It also uses additional sensors that monitor throttle, steering wheel positions, lateral acceleration, and other variables to determine when a vehicle will likely skid. If the VDC OFF indicator light is illuminated on the dashboard, it means the stability control system is unengaged. You should have this fixed soon as possible.
What Can Trigger the VDC Light?
Several issues, such as the five listed below, can cause the VDC light to pop on your vehicle’s dashboard.
1. Faulty Wheel Sensors
Sensors are mounted to each wheel to measure their speed and performance. Any data collected by these sensors is transmitted to the ECU to be analyzed. If a wheel starts to slip, for example, causing it to turn faster than the others, the speed is transmitted to the ECU to indicate a problem.
As a result, the VDC system kicks in, reducing power to that wheel and improving traction. However, if your wheel sensor is faulty, it may fall short of relaying pertinent data. Hence, the VDC light will illuminate, signaling that the sensor is damaged or obstructed.
2. Faulty Steering Angle Sensors
Any wheel connected to a traction control system will have steering angle sensors as well. These sensors are responsible for measuring the angle of the wheel as you drive. However, due to their placement, the sensors are sometimes prone to failure.
3. Bad Roads
The VDC system is designed to provide stability when a vehicle is maneuvering around slippery terrain and bad weather conditions. However, if the terrain is too harsh, the system may fall short of optimal performance.
If you’re driving on ice or snow, the VDC light may come on for a brief period until traction is regained. However, the light should turn off as soon as the car regains stability again.
4. Flawed Steering Rack
The steering rack is responsible for adjusting the wheels using the steering wheel’s input. It is part of the steering system and is located on the car’s body. If the rack malfunctions, the vehicle may have difficulty steering, resulting in the VDC light turning on.
5. Malfunctioning ECU
The function of the ECU is to receive instruction from the car’s computer and limit power to the affected wheel(s) accordingly whenever they start to lose traction. However, the ECU is not infallible and can malfunction. Hence, the VDC light may illuminate if the ECU fails to accurately read the messages from the computer as transmitted by the sensors.
Warnings and Common Misconception About the VDC Light
- The Vehicle’s Dynamic Control system is to improve driving stability. However, the system is may not prevent accidents caused by sudden maneuvering at high speeds or by sloppy or risky driving tactics. Reduce your vehicle’s speed and be extra cautious when driving or rounding corners on slick terrain.
- The Vehicle’s Dynamic Control system may not function correctly and may turn on if brake-linked parts such as brake pads and rotors are substandard components or severely damaged.
- The VDC off indication light may activate when driving on an unstable surface such as a turntable, ferry, elevator, or ramp. In this case, the indication isn’t a technical issue. After you’ve reached a stable surface, restart the engine. The Vehicle Dynamic Control System is not meant to replace winter tires or tire chains for trips on a snow-covered road.