John Paul — AAA’s Car Doctor — answers a question from a reader about his car’s VSA indicator.
Q: Recently my 2008 Honda Odyssey had both the VSA indicator (the triangle with “!” inside) as well as the “VSA” light turned on and remained on. I knew it wasn’t good news so I brought it over to the dealer to check it out. What I was told was that the VSA modulator failed and needs to be replaced. The estimate is around $1300 parts and labor. I did some checking online and the part seemed to be fairly expensive. I know the dealer can be expensive, do you think this is reasonable? I suppose I can go to an independent garage, but I don’t know if this may be too sophisticated for garages that usually handle the routine maintenance.
A: There have been two different recalls related to the vehicle stability system. One of the recalls has to do with a sensor in the steering wheel called a “yaw” sensor and the second is air gets into the VSA modulator-control unit and causes a low/soft brake pedal. In this case I would return to the dealer and have them check for the recalls and see that if performed they were completed properly.
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With nearly 40 years’ experience in the automotive business, John F. Paul knows cars. As AAA’s Car Doctor and the Manager of Public Affairs for Southern New England for the past 30 years, he writes new car reviews, feature articles and a Q&A column in the AAA monthly publication “Horizons.” He hosts the “Car Doctor” radio program Saturday mornings from 9-10 a.m. on WROL AM 950 and appears as a regular guest on many radio and TV programs.
Certified as a Master Automobile Technician from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, Paul holds additional certifications in Advanced Engine Performance and Alternative Fuels along with a vocational teaching certificate for the State of Massachusetts. He is member and past President of the New England Motor Press Association, a member of the International Motor Press Association, and an affiliate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers. Paul is a certified lead instructor for the AAA’s Driver Improvement program and a child passenger safety technician and instructor. Paul sits on several advisory boards for traffic safety within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.