VSA stands for vehicle stability assist, the proprietary term for the electronic stability control system used on Honda and Acura vehicles.
Electronic stability control relies on sensors to detect when a vehicle is about to go into a skid and intervenes by reducing engine power and rapidly applying and releasing brakes at individual wheels to maintain steering control.
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Stability control has been required on all vehicles sold in the U.S. since the 2012 model year. The federal mandate for stability control was instigated in large part by a rise in the number of rollover and single-vehicle accidents involving SUVs in the early 2000s.
Honda was an early adopter of the technology; VSA debuted in 1997 on the Japanese-market Honda Accord sedan, and the 2000 Acura 3.5RL sedan was the first U.S. model to have it. The 2005 Honda Pilot SUV and the 2005 Honda Odyssey minivan were the first U.S. Honda models to get VSA, and by 2006 it was standard on four Acura and four Honda models.
Like other stability control systems, VSA uses various sensors to measure the direction a vehicle is traveling compared to the steering wheel position, lateral acceleration, wheel slip and other factors to determine that it needs to activate to prevent a skid. VSA includes traction control, which reduces power to drive wheels that slip (lose traction) during acceleration.