Vehicle Stability Control

Submitted: Wednesday, Apr 02, 2008 at 00:42
ThreadID: 56173 Views:1886 Replies:5 FollowUps:4
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This feature has various names depending on the manufacturer. It operates when the vehicle gets a bit out of whack and applies the brakes to each wheel in a more intelligent manner than the driver can in order to bring the vehicle back into line again.

But what if you are towing a heavy boat or van and that applies erratic forces to the vehicle and puts it out of line?

The VSC then tries to get everything straight but is not aware that there is a bloody great weight hanging off the towbar.

I think that the towing vehicle could get seriously out of line under these conditions and that the VSC should be turned off when towing.

What does everyone else think?

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Reply By: Richo (SA) - Wednesday, Apr 02, 2008 at 07:55

Wednesday, Apr 02, 2008 at 07:55
VSC effectively controls understeer and oversteer and can do this by sensing the driver's input via the steering wheel versus the yaw sensors that tell the computer what the vehicle is actually doing. When there is a mismatch the computer kisks in and fixes it. Therefore I think the driver still has control of the vehicle because the vehicle is only doing as the driver wishes.
On top of this it will deactivate the throttle and brake accordingly. All this in a split second with far more accuracy than the driver could ever do.
Anything being towed would be braked and shouldn't be affected.
AnswerID: 296085

Reply By: KSV. - Wednesday, Apr 02, 2008 at 08:37

Wednesday, Apr 02, 2008 at 08:37
As for me I do not like to see VSC in any of my cars. It is much more safer to learn what your vehicle can and cannot do and look after condition of your tyres and road then relay on some electronic gizmos to save your butt if you behave silly. Traction control IMHO useless gimmick as well. I can only accept ABS brakes in my family sedan (not in 4WD!), but only because I am driving among some unpredictable idiots. But again proper rubber beat *ANY* super-smart ABS to the death, thus your tyres, not ABS is your first and foremost safety device – fact not recognized by way too many. I personally believe that VSC (as well as ABS for this merit) is only good in “standard” situation and can behave funny in situation not foreseen by their creators. On big scale it is perfectly OK because “standard” situation covers 99.9% of all situations, thus such devices have potent to save butts of incompetent drivers. I just do not believe that I am such incompetent – as least for more then 25 years of driving I cannot recall situation when VSC would do any good for me.
AnswerID: 296091

Follow Up By: Member - Mike DID - Wednesday, Apr 02, 2008 at 18:47

Wednesday, Apr 02, 2008 at 18:47
You obviously don't understand what ABS and VSC can do.

I haven't needed to use my seatbelt in forty years of driving - so you're saying it would be logical for me not to bother putting it on any more !
FollowupID: 562262

Follow Up By: KSV. - Thursday, Apr 03, 2008 at 09:27

Thursday, Apr 03, 2008 at 09:27
Mike, I can assure you that I do understand all physics and mechanics behind ABS and VSC very well. Take ABS as an example. It *CANNOT* create stopping power – only breaks with combinations of proper tyres (most vital part actually) can. What ABS can do however it can unblock wheels and get it out of skid, thus not only revive stopping power (skidding wheel has much less of it comparing to rotating one) but what is most important keep car steerable – you can steer your car due to fact that rolling resistance thousands of times smaller then skidding one. What many people (read idiots) do not understand is fact that ABS *IS NOT* brake aids meant to be use daily, but rather safety device meant to be activated only in emergency situation. And even then experienced driver once feel skidding can release and reapply breaks. So came to main point – if I would be alone on road I will never need any such gismos purely because I will not put my car in skid at first place. But when so many unpredictable idiots use our roads I cannot guarantee myself from need of emergency stopping. Thus I am very happy to have ABS in my family sedan that I drive on bitumen only. As to 4WD I would be happy to have it only if they mount big red switch on dashboard that allows me to completely switch it off when I need so because ABS in some situation (most noticeable on gravel, but there are few others) make things much worse.

FollowupID: 562366

Follow Up By: Member - Mike DID - Thursday, Apr 03, 2008 at 09:49

Thursday, Apr 03, 2008 at 09:49
" I will never need any such gismos purely because I will not put my car in skid at first place."

- so you should have written "people who are perfect and never make mistakes don't need ABS or VSC"

I give up.

FollowupID: 562372

Follow Up By: KSV. - Thursday, Apr 03, 2008 at 10:03

Thursday, Apr 03, 2008 at 10:03
I can easy argue that what you call “mistakes” actually silly behavior on the road and trying to push envelop beyond safety limits. I am not talking about “perfection”, but rather about simple wisdom to have some allowance for small mistake rather then drive on the edge in hope that ABS,VSC, EBD etc saves your butt in unforeseen situation. And again I am perfectly happy to have ABS on my sedan driven on bitumen only, but frankly my piece of mind lying in good tyres (never save on them) rather then on ABS. Also I have it (ABS) for more then 8 years and I *NEVER* (and I *DO* mean never) manage activated them in “real” situation, but only on purpose when I tested them. And I can emphasize once again – if one managed to activate them in ordinary situation, that I will state that he is bad driver.

FollowupID: 562375

Reply By: Redback - Wednesday, Apr 02, 2008 at 08:37

Wednesday, Apr 02, 2008 at 08:37
The best of these systems is ACE (Active Cornering Enhancement) but it doesn't work of the brakes, it uses rams to adjust sway and in conjustion with SLS (Self Leveling Suspension) keeps the car level and in control whether your towing or not, LAND ROVER recommend NOT TO USE weight distribution hitches with this system, because they have designed it with towing in mind.

They are factory fitted to Land Rover Discovery 2 and 3.

AnswerID: 296092

Reply By: jeepthing - Wednesday, Apr 02, 2008 at 09:22

Wednesday, Apr 02, 2008 at 09:22
A car and a caravan combination can behave in a different manner to driving the vehicle itself and the most important consideration is that the tow vehicle is heavier than the caravan. In my view in this situation the vehicle, if driven "skillfully" the driver should have control over the caravan.
I was following a fellow towing a 20' caravan with a nissan patrol many years ago and he was travelling at 100k on a road that really he shouldn't have been travelling on at that speed. As he started going around a corner a semi came the other way and forced him slightly off the side of the road. The caravan got a bit sideways ininially he corrected it but then, as he said to me later he paniced when the van corrected itself due to the jolt as it grabbed the road, and lost control of the vehicle then both the vehicle and van did a complete roll down the middle of the road. He also admitted he shouldn't have been going so fast on that road a bitter lesson learned.
Anyway, from my obversation the caravan didn't take control it was only the fact that he lost control of the vehicle. He agreed that it was only the fact that he had lost control of the vehicle and he said he didn't feel like the caravan caused the vehicle to loose control t was simply his driving error.
These stablility programs are there to help a driver keep control and in my view if a driver doesn't do anything stupid I think they are a great innovation. I believe if this fellows vehicle had been fitted with a stability program he would have driven out of the situation.
Personally I'd leave traction control and the stablility programs on.
AnswerID: 296102

Reply By: Stephen M (NSW) - Wednesday, Apr 02, 2008 at 22:14

Wednesday, Apr 02, 2008 at 22:14
I have driven both vehicles (commodores )one with the old traction control the latest with stability control. I found the traction control in the VX commodore too intrusive. The latest stability control brilliant. Two totally different systems. I purposely planted the foot in my mates VE R8 clubsport (with him in it) with S/C turned off first gear was sending me side ways (rear end) while this was actually happening I reached down and hit the S/C instantly straightening the vehicle. I was amazed how well the system worked. Not sure if many have driven the new VE R8 clubby but with 307kw punching the commodore along in my opinion could be a life saver. I have driven it in the wet as well and found it so easy just dabbing the throttle or even taking off from the lights as easy as possible that it was nearly impossible for the rear wheels not to slip a tad all with new tyres 3000k on the clock. Would I have it ?? yep for sure. He does tow a boat behind it and said he hasnt noticed any difference but hasnt had a reason yet (I hope not) that the S/C has had to take over so cant comment on that. I think any life saving device is better then nothing. I optioned wifes new car with the extra 2 side airbags and 2 side air curtains on top of the two already standard. How much money do you put on some ones life ?? Regards Steve M
AnswerID: 296258

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