Check engine light + vsc lights on 2003 Toyota 4Runner

While driving 60mph, my check engine , vsc trac, and vsc off lights came on at the same time. Any ideas?

by in Jersey City, NJ on July 28, 2009
7 answers 47 comments
ANSWER by on July 28, 2009
The VSC, Trac and check engine light will frequently come on and be all traced to one problem as opposed to individual problems. Fixing the cause of the engine related code will fix all problems in most cases but a scan tool needs to be attached to the 16 pin diagnostic socket under the dash. It doesn't have to be a dedicated Toyota tool ,most aftermarket scan tools work pretty good on Toyota, they keep things simple. If you can tell us what the code is we can explain what the code is related to, the code will look like, P0420 or P1433.
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COMMENT by on June 07, 2010
Is it safe to drive the car when these lights are on?
COMMENT by on April 09, 2011
Oh My. Finally someone that is really interested in providing assistance with no strings attached. I was skeptical at first, but I did exactly what you instructed with the gas cap, that was successful. So I loosened that positive post on the battery and waited 30 seconds and much to my surprise, both the vcs and check engine light went off immediately. I was so pleased that I stated the care at least three times to make sure I wasn't imaging things. Thanks so much.
COMMENT by on May 17, 2011
Your suggestion of making sure the gas cap is on tight, and also loosening the postive post on the battery for 30 seconds works. It made the check engine and VSC light both go out. Thanks for this information.
COMMENT by on October 30, 2011
THANKYOU!!!! You saved us $$$ today, this happened to me Friday afternoon coming home from work. My husband followed your instructions and it worked. Thank you so much! Have a blessed day :)
COMMENT by on February 06, 2012
Yeah I took it to my local toyato and they scan it and restart it the whole system but then the lights came back on and they had to change the MAF sensor and after that was replace the light still came on again and now they are saying is the Brake booster this for a 2008 toyota highlander
COMMENT by on November 23, 2014
2005 4runner 4.6L v8 (recall on Tacoma and sequia but toyota won't own up to the v8 4runners)I have the same lights on. I got two opiniions from two different different shops one toyota dealership and one from another shop the toyota dealership ran the diagnostic and I got the code for the air restriction (don't have the code on me because I'm at work but it was something like p1440) they said I need to replace the air pump and Mayne the valves and gaskets which is gonna be 1400 dollars but they said if the valves and gaskets are good I just need to replace the pumps . The second shop did their diagnostic test and they decided to force the air pump to push air through the valves to get them unstuck. They did that then drove the truck with the computer hooked up and they said it passed . When I got the truck the lights were off but I drove maybe 15 miles then the next day the light were on again (they could of just unhooked the battery and reset it ) took it back there they did the same thing again and said it passed again after flushing then told me worst case scenario I'd need to replace the pump after the first time when they said my pump was fine >:(. I have two shops saying it's the pump but the lights will go away sometimes but not for very long . I'm worried it's a sensor issue or something that's just triggering the lights (my 96 4runner had a check engine light issue that said the o2 sensor was bad but we replaced it twice and it wouldn't go away so I did some research and it turned out to be a transition solenoid in the transition oil pan with the filter and it fixed it ) that's why I'm scared to throw down the 1400 dollars cuz the air pump might not be the problem . What do I do ?
COMMENT by on April 05, 2015
Your problem is EXACTLY mine. What did you end up doing?
ANSWER by on September 01, 2009
This happened today sept 1, 2009, vsc, trac, check engine light all on! The problem many systems are tied into the Vehicle Stability Control system: Solution: Take off gas cap and turn back on and listen for ONE CLICK check to make sure it is tight, if not do it again! Second, pop open the hood, (latch is adjacent to steering column on the left side at the bottom of the dash (two latches one is gas the other hood). Take a small crescent wrench and loosen positive terminal bolt from battery (six to seven turns should do it) take it off for 30 seconds then place it back on and tighten back on. Turn on engine, if lights did not go off, get a diagnostic check to find the proper code, there are a myriad of problems from a loose electrical connection, to oxygen sensors to brakes, etc. That can make this go on! This is the easiest and cheapest solution for the DIY tree mechanic. It worked on my Daughter's 2003 4runner Sport 4WD!
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COMMENT by on September 09, 2010
I have a 2004 4runner, and this happened to me today Sept 9, 2010, I did what you instructed and it worked, thank you very much for sharing your knowledge, it saved me $$$ for not bringing it to the dealer, thanks also to the web.......
COMMENT by on September 13, 2010
I have a 2001 lexus RX300. Just found VSC and energy check lights on today. I searched this website and tried exactly what you said. It works!!! Thank you so much and thank this web also.
COMMENT by on October 23, 2010
I am jumping for joy!! The problem is fixed and my husband is impressed, we don't have to tell him I didn't put the gas cap on tight enough to hear a click.
COMMENT by on October 25, 2010
I am glad that the fix was beneficial to all especially since today is my birthday and I am up late with insomnia! To all congratulations on your tenacity to seek out answer to your problems it is refreshing that people are still able to be independent and dedicated to finding solutions to their needs. I hope this continues to help all of those who own toyotas and other vehicles that get this annoying glitch. Gas caps now such an important piece of equipment I recall my dad's 48 plymouth never had one (auto accident disfigured the port) being a practical man he just made one out of tinfoil-never happen today.
COMMENT by on November 29, 2010
I just went out and turned the gas cap, and pulled the "positive" cable off of the battery, waited 30 seconds, put the cable back on, started the car, and my lights were off! Thank you so much for saving me a day of hell going back and forth to the dealership!!!
COMMENT by on November 29, 2010
You are very welcome! It makes me feel good that so many are benefiting from my research! Dealerships can be trying to say the least. It amazes me that so many issues can arise from the simple gas cap. It goes to show you the sophistication that is going on with all the sensors and computer that are now attached to the modern day vehicles. I hope you pay this forward. With the money saved get someone a special gift at Christmas. Papaobewon
COMMENT by on December 10, 2010
omg. have a 2004 camry v6 xle and vsc/trac off and check engine light turned on for no reason. I know about the fuel cap manuever but I put in a full tank of gas yesterday and always make sure that cap is tight. So when I got home I did the cap a couple of times -all three lights still on . Stressing out of little things like these since I can see my dealer droolingwith dollar signs on his eyeballs. Lo and Behold-did what you said. Cap one click and positive terminal off 30 seconds - GONE. Thank you. Made my weekend!!
COMMENT by on December 10, 2010
HO HO HO Merry Christmas pay it forward to a loved one with the money you saved from not having going to the dealership for this insider information (hee hee) ! I know my good fortune has benefited from my paying it forward. Today I saved an additional 155 dollars on a washer and dryer for my wife as a Christmas Gift ! I hope she likes it since she won't let me buy her jewelry ! Sincerely, Papaobewon
COMMENT by on January 12, 2011
Thanks for the tip. It worked like a charm.
COMMENT by on January 17, 2011
Fixed the same problem on my '06 4Runner by following the instructions. Thanks a lot for sharing the information!
COMMENT by on January 24, 2011
08 Avalon. Same problem and your solution worked (at least for now).
COMMENT by on February 02, 2011
This just happened to me while in the ice and snow and rain from yesterday; (NY/CT) area. Thank god I read this because Toyota wanted to charge me $125 just to do a diagnostic test. Removing the (+) positive charge on the battery and reconnecting a several seconds later worked like a charm. For those who don't know or can't see the + and - signs, it's the one with the red covering. Also - be sure to have your keys out, the alarm sounds when you reconnect!
COMMENT by on February 05, 2011
Simple gas cap was loose. Tightened gas cap, pulled negitive battery cable for 30 seconds and like magic, lights are off. The traction control was not responding while the gas cap was loose. Made it more fun in the snow, but just couldn't handle those lights being on.
COMMENT by on February 05, 2011
This really works! Thanks! I have a 2005 Highlander and had the Check Engine, VSC and Trac Off lights go on yesterday morning after spinning a bit the night before getting up my steep driveway in the ice and snow. I knew nothing was probably wrong and found your post. I tried it when I got home last night -- tightened the gas cap and disconnected the positive battery charge for 30+ seconds. It worked like a charm! Thanks so much for saving me tons of time and $ going to the dealership! You're a life saver!
COMMENT by on February 06, 2011
Happened 1/24 w/ my Avalon (see above) and then came on 3 more times after I was to Toyota Dealership for them to check it out. They finally determined it was a value in the fuel line that is known to have a problem regulating the oil pressure. If your light goes on when hitting the accelerator or hitting something slick, this may be it. The dealership told me they recalled this same part in several other Toyota models but for some reason did not do it on the Avalon. If it is not something simple like the gas cap, this may be the issue.
COMMENT by on February 20, 2011
Thank you, this seemed to have worked on my 2000 Avalon XLS. Adjusted gas cap & disconnected/reconnected battery. I will keep an eye on the car's operation. Thanks again.
COMMENT by on February 21, 2011
Thank you!! Appreciate the help! I was worried, but this seems to have worked!
COMMENT by on March 11, 2011
Awesome! Worked on my Toyota Sienna 2005. The dope didn't put the gas cap on right (was loose). Your trick did the trick!
COMMENT by on May 18, 2011
You are welcome, ahh attention to details is our lot in life. Glad to have helped. Papaobewon
COMMENT by on July 13, 2011
This worked for me too! I have 2004 4Runner. The dealership wanted to charge $100 for the diagnostic, plus $700 to replace the o2 sensor. I am logging a formal complaint with the Better Business Bureau against my dealer, since this is obviously a common fix yet they don't offer it as a solution. Thanks for the advice!!
COMMENT by on August 08, 2011
Tried this today, 8/8/11 for my 2005 Camry XLE. It works. Thanks for this great solution.
COMMENT by on October 04, 2011
thanks for the help. went out and checked gas cap and sure enough it wasn't tightened when I got gas today. Started car up lights are all out. Just saved me from having a diagnostic tomorrow.
COMMENT by on September 07, 2012
Holy Crap...single mom, here in FL...had the check engine light and VSC Trac/Trac Off lights come on right after washing my car. Came home and looked it up. Tried the tip about cleaning the gas cap and tightening one click and disconnecting the positive battery cable...and voila'....it worked. THANK YOU so so much. I really appreciate all the tips and tricks. Can't afford a mechanic bill. Thanx again!
COMMENT by on January 16, 2013
Happened to us today, Jan 2012. Found this sight and it worked perfectly!! Thanks Patrick Mannion. You saved us a lot of headache and even more money!!!
COMMENT by on June 30, 2013
Thank you so much!! Worked on my 04 4runner.
COMMENT by on July 28, 2013
Thank you so much for sharing this, papaobewan. Just happened to me this a.m. And lo and behold I popped the gas cap cover and the cap was definitely loose. I recapped, reset the positive battery terminal and voila it was fixed.
COMMENT by on August 12, 2013
Just got back from vacation and found your response! Just pay it forward! Papaobewon
COMMENT by on November 23, 2014
2005 4runner 4.6L v8. I am experiencing the check engine light and vsc and abs lights on but I got it taken to the toyota dealerdhip said it's the air pump that needs to be replaced . If the valves and gaskets are still good they will just replace the pump which will save me money (I don't have the codes on me because I'm at work )but it was close to the p 1440 (air restriction code ) the other shop said I just needed a flush (they flushed /forced the air pump air )through the valves to get it unstuck . They said they drove it with the computer hooked up and it passed . I drove it maybe 15 miles and the next day the lights came back on I took it back to that shop and they did the dame thing and said it was good so they said worst case scenario I'd need to get the pump replaced after the first time they said my pump was good . I think it's a sensor that's messed up only because on my 96 4 runner the check engine light wouldn't go away because it said it was an o2 sensor was bad but we replaced it so we did research and it turned out to be a transition solenoid was bad so we replaced that in the transition pan where the filter is and it fixed it . But I read that there was a recall on the tacamo and sequas and the 4.6 v8 had the same problem with the air injection system but no recall .should I replace the pump or is there some other things I can check before I throw down the 1400 it's gonna cost to supposedly fix it
ANSWER by on September 19, 2010
try the simple things first. the vsc light is activated every time the check engine light goes on. Check engine light can go on for the simple things like gas cap not tight, wiper fluid is low, low brake fluid, and I think low coolant. Simple checks that anyone can do
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COMMENT by on November 28, 2010
The wrench / battery trick worked! Hope it stays off!
COMMENT by on December 10, 2010
The battery is key what is going on is a reset on the computer settings! Papaobewon
COMMENT by on December 18, 2010
thank you!
COMMENT by on December 20, 2010
Thank you for this advice, Perfect! I have an 04 Sienna replaced spark plugs after 130K miles, believe it ir not they don't look that bad, anyway after that task became quite a bit more work than I had planned I was floored when I finally got eberything back together to then get these VSC, Check Engine, and Trak lights on. What a bummber after spending six straight hours just replacing plugs. Anyway added coolant, removed batter ground and removed gas cap. Runs great now and my high 2K idle is back to where it should be now. Thanks a bunch Papaobewon! Now its on to my clicking washing machine problem. Mike
COMMENT by on December 20, 2010
You are very welcome! Clicking Washing Machines? Ouch I hope it isn't the motor !!!! We just replaced ours for Christmas new washer and dryer as the old dryer tried to burn down the wiring internally but we were fortunate nothing else melted! Hope your holiday is a glorious one as I stay grounded in the present and cherish each day with my family I hope you do the same! Papaobewon
COMMENT by on June 26, 2014
2005 Toyota 4runner did the 3 lights VSC, VSC off and check engine light while I was pulling Into a hotel 4 hours from home! I googled the issue found this forum Did as suggested with the gas cap and battery cable and Much to my delight it worked! I don't have tools in the car with Me so I asked the maintenance man at the hotel to undo the battery Cable. I think he was as surprised as I was! Thank you!!!!!
COMMENT by on January 25, 2015
Worked for me on my 2003 Avalon.
ANSWER by on January 06, 2011
THANKS TO EVERYONE ON THIS SITE!! I had this problem sneak up on me after a business trip in my trusty 4-Runner and I followed your advice - low-n-behold! VOILA! Issue solved! YOU ROCK!
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COMMENT by on January 07, 2011
It is very satisfying to research a problem and discover that a solution exists. Papaobewon
ANSWER by on February 02, 2011
This happened today sept 1, 2009, vsc, trac, check engine light all on! The problem many systems are tied into the Vehicle Stability Control system: Solution: Take off gas cap and turn back on and listen for ONE CLICK check to make sure it is tight, if not do it again! Second, pop open the hood, (latch is adjacent to steering column on the left side at the bottom of the dash (two latches one is gas the other hood). Take a small crescent wrench and loosen positive terminal bolt from battery (six to seven turns should do it) take it off for 30 seconds then place it back on and tighten back on. Turn on engine, if lights did not go off, get a diagnostic check to find the proper code, there are a myriad of problems from a loose electrical connection, to oxygen sensors to brakes, etc. That can make this go on! This is the easiest and cheapest solution for the DIY tree mechanic. It worked on my Daughter's 2003 4runner Sport 4WD
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COMMENT by on February 12, 2012
Tried but did not help. then left car overnight without + connected, still did not help. brought car to Advance auto parts and it shows several code readings: Lexus RX300 1999-2003 P0021, P0300, P0304 change it all and still the same.. ;-( more here: http://www.clublexus.com/forums/rx-first-generation/617906-lexus-rx300-1999-2003-p0021-p0300-p0304.html Will apprisiate any help thank you.
COMMENT by on August 13, 2014
Gents, I have done as advised and it worked for the day, on the next day the lights came on again! So what should be the solution this time...can anyone help?
ANSWER by on May 07, 2012
thanks guys tightened the gas cap and loosend the positive terminal of the battery after 30 seconds reconnected and my 2005 avalon drives like a soft smooth car
COMMENT by on August 12, 2013
You are absolutely right! I purchased gas today and noticed VSC and ENGINE lights on. Did as above and my 2004 4 Runner is back to normal! I would have gone to the dealer without this site and would have probably been told I needed at minimum, O2 sensors fixed, or even worse, a new catalytic converter!
COMMENT by on August 12, 2013
Satisfying to fix your own car? Yes it is! Glad to hear it worked! Pay it forward is all I ask!? Papaobewon
ANSWER by on May 02, 2015
I got the same lights on couple days ago, thanks to the previous answer. I followed the instruction to re-check gas cap, then removed the battery positive terminal for 30 seconds. It worked and all lights went off now. Thank you thank you.
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