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Discussion Starter #1
I'm about to order a 2006 Prius and wondering about VSC and HID lamps. How good is VSC and what are HID lamps?

I found the ESC technology page which of course claims ESC (and it's brand name variants including VSC) to be the greatest thing ever. The videos certainly sell the technology for accident avoidance, if they're to be believed. Anyone have first hand experience with VSC? I read somewhere that VSC sometimes activated at low speeds on slippery hills stopping the vehicle.
Any info or web page links appreciated.

Also, what are HID lamps exactly? What's the difference? Are those the annoyingly bright and bluish headlamps I see some people have, or are those just jerks with aftermarket kits designed to blind other drivers at night?
:roll:

thanks in advance.
 

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Niomeka said:
I'm about to order a 2006 Prius and wondering about VSC and HID lamps. How good is VSC and what are HID lamps?

I found the ESC technology page which of course claims ESC (and it's brand name variants including VSC) to be the greatest thing ever. The videos certainly sell the technology for accident avoidance, if they're to be believed. Anyone have first hand experience with VSC? I read somewhere that VSC sometimes activated at low speeds on slippery hills stopping the vehicle.
Any info or web page links appreciated.

Also, what are HID lamps exactly? What's the difference? Are those the annoyingly bright and bluish headlamps I see some people have, or are those just jerks with aftermarket kits designed to blind other drivers at night?
:roll:

thanks in advance.
I'd say HID fits your description. I was followed by a Prius one night and noticed the brightness. Not like I'll get rid of mine since I likes to see where I'm going.

VSC will save you more FAR more than it screws you, but if driving up hills with gravel driveways in Winter is important to you, the Traction Control that's important to protect the hybrid drive will be your real problem. That comes with the car, VSC or not...
 

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Discussion Starter #3
mikepaul said:
the Traction Control that's important to protect the hybrid drive will be your real problem. That comes with the car, VSC or not...
How so? I thought it was supposed to improve traction... or am I missing something? When driving on slippery surfaces, I was always told to lower RPM, which I’d hope VSC does. My assumption would be that TRC (and ABS/VSC) would lower wheel RPM, but not completely halt it, when acceleration pedal is depressed and not braking... true?

Any more opinions on VSC and related systems appreciated. thanks
 

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Search the site for TC and VSC, and you'll get the whole scoop. In short, TC is for accelerating, and cuts power when you slip; VSC applies brakes individually to each wheel to prevent a skid when cornering.
 

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Discussion Starter #5

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The tech training provided by Toyota says:

  • The Enhanced VSC system available on the '04 & later Prius helps maintain stability when the vehicle's tires exceed their lateral grip. The system helps control the vehicle by adjusting the motive force and the brakes at each wheel when:
    [list:2mwwepco]
    • The front wheels lose traction but the rear wheels don't. (front wheel skid tendency known as `understeer')

    • The rear wheels lose traction but the front wheels don't. (rear wheel skid tendency, or `oversteer')
When the Skid Control ECU determines that the vehicle is in understeer or oversteer, it decreases engine output and applies the brakes to the appropriate wheels individually to control the vehicle.

  • • When the skid control ECU senses understeer, it brakes the front and rear inside wheel. This slows the vehicle, shifts the load to the outside front wheel and limits front wheel skid.

    • When the skid control ECU senses oversteer, it brakes the front and rear outside wheel. This restrains the skid and moves the vehicle back toward its intended path.
Enhanced VSC provides the appropriate amount of steering assist based on driving conditions by coordinating EPS (Electronic Power Steering) and VSC control.
[/list:u:2mwwepco]
 

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Niomeka said:
mikepaul said:
the Traction Control that's important to protect the hybrid drive will be your real problem. That comes with the car, VSC or not...
How so? I thought it was supposed to improve traction... or am I missing something? When driving on slippery surfaces, I was always told to lower RPM, which I’d hope VSC does. My assumption would be that TRC (and ABS/VSC) would lower wheel RPM, but not completely halt it, when acceleration pedal is depressed and not braking... true?
Here's my best shot at the non-technical personal-experience stuff.

Traction Control does not like to let the drive wheels (either or both) spin too fast, which would put too much strain on the Hybrid Synergy Drive. Some algorithm is used to decide if the spin exceeds the right amount, and cuts back power if so. You'll see this a lot trying to accelerate briskly to the left or right, like when pulling out of a driveway onto a busy street. The sudden loss of power drove me nuts. This same power-cutback happens on gravel driveways up steep hills, so I'm told, which prevents the car from driving up them.

Lucky for me, new, stickier tires almost eliminates that driveway-takeoff issue. The GoodYear TripleTreds may cost me MPGs, but now I have to WORK at spinning the tires. Don't use gravel roads, so I don't know what would happen.

Traction Control is not an option, it's a requirement.

VSC, which I triggered once on a wet road rounding a curve a little too fast, is an option, and I wouldn't pass up on it again...
 

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from the 2004 New Car Features manual, page CH-30:

"*The Enhanced VSC system helps prevent the vehicle from
slipping sideways as a result of strong front wheel skid or strong
rear wheel skid during cornering.
* Effects cooperative control with the EPS ECU in order to
provide steering assist in accordance with the operating
conditions of the vehicle."

and on the US Toyota website:
http://www.toyota.com/vehicles/2006/pri ... y/vsc.html
"Vehicle Stability Control (VSC)
This feature automatically controls the throttle and brakes during emergency stops to reduce skidding action. An available option on Prius, VSC also enhances the steering response to further improve performance."
 

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I think I'll just add to everyone's description.

It uses a yaw sensor and is integrated into the your ABS system. Once it senses that your car is rotating on its axis (i.e. understeering (ploughing) or oversteering (fishtailing)) it'll brake the individual wheels to keep things under control. All you need to do is steer (and I guess lift off the accelerator would be a good idea too).

Traction Control retards the engine's power and/or apply brake power to the wheels that are spinning. This limits wheelspin on slippery surfaces allowing you to maintain control of the vehicle in motion. The Prius' TRAC system is different from regular cars. Since the engine isn't connected to the wheels directly, TRAC uses the electric motor to limit the spin. TRAC is also there to prevent the electric motor from overspinning.
 

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While looking for something else I found a 2004 news release from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (http://www.iihs.org) about ESC systems (called VSC on the Prius). They concluded that having "ESC reduced fatal single-vehicle crash risk by about 56 percent".

http://www.iihs.org/news/2004/iihs_news_102804.pdf

The article also had some nice diagrams and explanations about how ESC works.

Also, this forum had a good discussion about VSC, including comments from a number of people who had VSC activate on them. http://priuschat.com/index.php?act=ST&f=19&t=5486
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The verdict on VSC aka ESC

After a lot of research, (thanks for links and help) I've found that VCS (aka ESC) is definitely an important feature. It can do some very important things no driver can. For example its computer can calculate rate of spin and loss of control in an instant, and then apply brakes to each wheel independently to counter the spin and restore control to the driver, making it more effective than ABS or TRC.

Stopping a spin or a lateral skid can literally be a life saving feature. (I once locked brakes on a wet road with worn rear tires and did a 180 which could have been fatal had there been traffic.)

So, I'm absolutely sold on VSC aka ESC as a 21st century safety feature all vehicles should have.

Good link with movie demos of ESC tech:

http://www.esceducation.org/
 

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vsc

i have this on my BMW, with a new Prius coming in January. Wouldn't do without it. Amazing to see when the little light comes up telling me the VSC is operating to keep me safe......mostly rain, slush, ice around corners.
 

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VSC Demo. The car's a Camry if you were wondering.
 

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We just had out first snow since I bought the Prius. I was amazed how well the car drove on the snowy streets. I tried very hard (at slow speeds) to get the car to slip/slide/spin, but it tracked straight with the dash light flashing that the various systems were over-riding my efforts to screw up. Seems like a must for teen drivers-if the roads are bad I insist my son take the Prius. Nav system is worth its weight in gold too.
 

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Niomeka said:
I'm about to order a 2006 Prius and wondering about VSC and HID lamps. How good is VSC and what are HID lamps?
I bought VSC on my soon-to-arrive 2006 Package 4. An article in Consumer Reports within the last 6 months stated that VSC will save more lives than seatbelts and airbags.

The main thing is roll-over avoidance. I was convinced. Nice combo in the package: VSC, backup camera plus the standard tire pressure monitor, MP3 jack. VSC is like an insurance policy or ABS. You hope you never need it.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Consumer Reports are the people to trust, if trusting anyone. Actually, I'm incredibly skeptical of marketing material usually, so I was especially leery of the VSC promotion and the hype. Having said that, I understand mechanically how it works and how it will help avoid accidents. For example, braking applied individually to wheels hooked up to an accelerometer and steering sensor.... yeah, that makes perfect sense, and no driver can do that ordinarily. That sort of fly by wire technology is pretty well established in other fields, especially planes, so why not apply it to cars as well.

Yeah, I'm totally sold on it. I once locked brakes and spun with nearly unpleasant results. Another time I had to make an emergency maneuver to avoid an accident, and did an impromptu reverse steer lateral skid thing, while partially hydroplaning, that would have impressed any Hollywood stunt driver I’m sure. Iwas in control, but just barely. My tail easily swung 90’ one way to avoid the accident and then 120’ the other, before going straight again, while doing about 50 on a flooded road with an accident ahead of me, why I avoided by about 10 feet. So, yeah, VSC would have helped to cut down some of the dramatic stunt driver stuff I think.
 

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One wonders why were you driving 50 on a flooded road? VSC won't help with that problem...
 

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No, not really, thanks to the law of motion. What is harder is fishtailing when driving straight, since you're pulling the car rather than pushing it. But you can make a sharp turn, and the back end may still want to go straight, overshooting your intended turn. I don't know how one would understeer though.
 
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