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post #1 of 19 Old 02-17-2008, 07:30 PM Thread Starter
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VSA off Ice and Snow

Question, does VSA off also turn traction control off? Do you find VSA off driving under 25mph in the snow is actually easier? (Im totally sold on its benefits above 25)

I turned off VSA when driving around town and found it was a lot easier to get going and up hills and that the car was a lot more predictable. Likely the effect is magnified since my car is a manual and I dont have a torque convertor to take up the slack before putting power down. Actually I can get it going without much if any gas and keeping rpms below 1200, but even being careful with clutch action the wheels still slip some - every manual car ive owned has been like this.

It seems VSA says oh your wheels are slipping let me cut the throttle to them for you. This seems to work great if your on a twisty curve or going around a corner too fast, but works really bad if your trying to get up a hill or start out.

Anyone else notice this effect? I am going to do some more testing..


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post #2 of 19 Old 02-17-2008, 08:28 PM
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So I don't have the VSA on my Accord, but I do have it on my '06 Pilot 4WD, and I can tell you that when you've got it in 4WD "lock" for getting unstuck (like from your front yard when trying to put a trailer back ) that the VSA and the VTM-4 "lock" mode counteract each other. Turning off the VSA on those lower speeds allows all 4 wheels to get full power to get moving. Now, it may have a similar effect on a 2WD car like the Accord - just thought I'd share my observations with a somewhat similar result...

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post #3 of 19 Old 02-17-2008, 08:39 PM Thread Starter
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interesting

Very interesting, Ive been doing some reading online and it sounds like some cars are more pro-active with stability control and others more passive. I did not know this, I cant seem to find the link to the article again.

Glad to hear your seeing something similar. Curious if any of your other ford vehicles have stability and if you have noticed anything similar there?

EDIT > ADDED LINK

"If your vehicle becomes stuck in deep snow, for example, automakers generally advise that you turn off stability control—there's usually a deactivation button on the dashboard—in order to get the full power of the engine and wheel spin as you try to work your vehicle free."
-msn autos

also a link below where prius owners are really complaining

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post #4 of 19 Old 02-17-2008, 08:42 PM
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It's risky, especially in the winter time, to turn off a technology that can save your a$$ when you are least expecting it.

Think about it, are you going to turn off and on the VSA as you go above and below 25 MPH? Are you going to remember to turn the VSA back on EVERYTIME?

This is like saying airbag is not needed below X MPH so you turn it off, but what happens if you had forgotten to turn it back on and got into an accident at a higher velocity which the airbag might have saved your life or decrease your injury?

There are very few instances which one should intentionally turn the VSA off, driving on race track being possibly one, but which one of us drive the Accord on a race track?

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post #5 of 19 Old 02-17-2008, 08:48 PM Thread Starter
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i agree

I agree with you somewhat, however when you get stuck knowing to turn it off to get unstuck is important. I did not know this, I got stuck and slid down a driveway backward (lost momentum from VSA cutting throttle), so im my case it actually caused an accident.

It really feels like VSA was sort of an afterthought with the manual, It feels like it would work great for an auto car with a torque convertor. Im not sure does your 05 have stability? Im curious what your experience is since you also have the manual.

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post #6 of 19 Old 02-17-2008, 08:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aviography View Post
It's risky, especially in the winter time, to turn off a technology that can save your a$$ when you are least expecting it.

Think about it, are you going to turn off and on the VSA as you go above and below 25 MPH? Are you going to remember to turn the VSA back on EVERYTIME?

This is like saying airbag is not needed below X MPH so you turn it off, but what happens if you had forgotten to turn it back on and got into an accident at a higher velocity which the airbag might have saved your life or decrease your injury?

There are very few instances which one should intentionally turn the VSA off, driving on race track being possibly one, but which one of us drive the Accord on a race track?
+1.

There are times to turn it off but why risk it.

A friend of mine used to drive his GS with it off for literally no reason at all. Of course, he had it turned off the one time he really needed and he lost control of his car and spun out while exiting an off ramp. The car was really bashed up because there was construction going on and he spun through all the orange barrels.

Now it can't counteract the laws of physics (or general stupidity) but it probably wouldn't have let him get going as fast as he was when he spun.

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post #7 of 19 Old 02-17-2008, 09:03 PM
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With the Pilot it's easy because you have to activate VTM-4 Lock with a button, so deactivating VSA at the same time isn't a big deal - then when you unlock, you activate VSA again. So for me it's "mentally" related. But the good news is that when the VSA is deactivated there's a pretty significant warning triangle on the dash to remind you - not very subtle, BTW. But just as the technology is there to save you, it can also have arguements with itself, and that's not good...

As far as my fords are concerned, there isn't VSA in either of them. But I will say that in the Freestyle, I've tried like HECK to get it in trouble and it just digs in and keeps things even. Heavy cornering in wet - just hangs in there. that Haldex system (AWD) does something that the Pilot just doesn't - I can't explain, but the lack of VSA in both the Fords isn't a negative. For '08 they added VSA, but also replaced the Haldex/CVT system with the more traditional ford AWD and 6-speed auto. I purposely chose the prior system when looking for my car, and went with a leftover '07 specifically for that reason.....

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post #8 of 19 Old 02-17-2008, 09:05 PM
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May I make an educated guess? I will bet you did not have winter tires when you slid backwards?

No amount of technology such as 4-wheel drive, VSA, TCA will do any good if the tires are not suited for the road condition.

A perfect example was this afternoon when I heard obvious tire spinning madly in snow/ice outside the house, turns out it was my neigbhor's wife having backed their small 4-wheel drive SUV (Honda CR-V) onto a bit of heavy snow accumulation on the side of our stree which had not been plowed after the number of snow storms recently, plus it's gotten cold yesterday then it rained today, so there's lots of water on top of frozen ice and snow that she backed her car onto.

She could not get her car moving even with the AWD CR-V, it wasn't helped by the all-season tires that were on the CR-V.

Would you believe I was able to tow her out with my 2-wheel drive Accord with a tow rope?

The critical part was that I have good winter tires, it made all the difference in the world.

I'm also willing to bet that you would most likely not slid backwards in the first place if you had winter tires at the time with VSA on, besides your (all-season) tires will most likely be spinning like a wailing banshee with little traction if the VSA (therefore traction control) was turned off as you tried to accelerate forward while the car continues to slide backwards.

Just to repeat an excellent quote I heard recently that I thought was very well stated:

"In the winter time, the worst winter tires will perfrom better than the best all-season tires"

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post #9 of 19 Old 02-17-2008, 09:17 PM Thread Starter
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no winter tires

No winter tires. But I have driven a lot in the snow, and I will respectfully disagree about the sliding backwards. see my quote from msn autos above about stability control being off in conditions where the wheels need to spin. Stability control is great for what it can do, but there are some things it does not do well, which is why honda gave us a OFF feature.

Rather than trying to debate the merits of VSA I was simply trying to find out what others experiences were with VSA on VS off.

Can we agree to respectfully agree to disagree?

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post #10 of 19 Old 02-17-2008, 09:35 PM
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We can certainly agree to disagree.

Note that the MSN article commented to turn VSA off "while stuck in deep snow", this is likely to allow more wheel slip (than VSA/traction will allow) while trying to get the car to rock back and forth to gain momentum, I would doubt it would help much if one was sliding backwards on slippery icy wet surface, since spinning tires will cause more melting of the icy surface to further reduce traction, kind of like skating blades glide over ice because the blade is riding on a thin film of water where the pressure of the blade causes the ice to melt in the contact area.

I have found my new winter tires are almost invincible in the heavy snow that we have had 5 or 6 times this winter, my Traction Control (no VSA until 06) is always on and I have no problem stopping or going up slight incline of my driveway that is coated with ice / freezing rain a couple of times, when it was so icy I had trouble standing without slipping and falling on my a$$!

BTW, I also wrote on another thread (about tires) that driving on winter tires is like having sex, once you have done it, you will never go without it!

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post #11 of 19 Old 02-17-2008, 09:38 PM
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I thought VSA auto turned itself back on upon the next startup?
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post #12 of 19 Old 02-17-2008, 09:43 PM Thread Starter
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it sure does

It sure does.

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post #13 of 19 Old 02-18-2008, 05:35 AM
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After having driven in NH winters for 35 years, I can say that snow tires increase grip when trying to GO, and even STOP, but once you start to slide when going slow, they don't help any more/less than all-season tires. I've had vehicles with studded snow tires slide down an incline, and even with a set of grippy blizzaks several years ago. There's a fine line between traction and then surface friction, when even the best grip tires will be at the mercy of physics. When you need to dig into the snow, a snow tire will have a definite advantage - but in other conditions, it depends on how well the surface wants to play along with the rubber on the tires.

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post #14 of 19 Old 02-18-2008, 05:59 AM
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You hit an extremely valid point with "how well the surface wants to play along with the rubber on the tires" comment, which is yet another major benefit with "winter" tires, their rubber compond will remain more flexable than the all-season tires, there are also more sipes in the tread pattern to help grip icy surfaces that the all-seasons don't do any where as well.

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Acura TL 5-spoke rims 245/45-17 Bridgestone Pole Position RE970
Honda steel rims 225/55-16 Michelin Primacy Alpin PA3


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post #15 of 19 Old 02-18-2008, 08:41 AM
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So it's ironic we were talking about this stuff earlier, since I just got the cr*p scared out of me in a very related situation! Here's the scoop - It's been raining overnight, on top of all the ice and snow, and now the temp is at like 55. So everything's wet. I parked both my Pilot (with Michelin LTX M/S) and the Freestyle (with Blizzak WS-60's) on our front gravel parking area about 2 hours ago. The parking are is showing no gravel on the bottom half, and both vehicles were backed in so the front wheels were downhill on the ice, and the rear wheels were on the gravel. Parking brakes were off. Can you guess what happened? BOTH vehicles started sliding ON THEIR OWN down the ice towards the road about 20 mins after I parked them. Gulp . My solution was to park both of them nose-in so the front (primary drive) wheels were on the gravel, and all is now well. But the example shows that even with the world's grippiest tires - on certain conditions - the rubber doesn't play well with the surface it's contacting.........

andy (who has never run so fast out of his office to get to the vehicles before )

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