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Hey everyone. So I have a 2006 Acura MDX that my husband just bought and it's got some issues that we are trying to figure out.

The check engine light has been on, which the codes read issues with the air bags and a couple cylanoids need replaced, along with a couple other little things... but the main issue here is the VSA. Sometimes the VSA light and the caution light (the triangle with the explanation point in the middle) come on and when this happens, taking off from a complete stop is hard. You really have to give it the gas to go. Feels like the break is on. And it doesn't seem to feel like it switches out of 3rd gear at this point. On the other hand, some days those lights are off and it goes through the gears just fine. It also idles a little rough.

I have checked all the fuses and relays. Only 3 had to be replaced. I have tried pushing the VSA button, but it does nothing... even holding it in waiting for a beep (which I have yet to hear) hasn't worked.

The TPMS, VTM-4, and maintenance required lights also come and go. Also, the cruise control and AT-Temp light flicker very lightly... but when I use cruise control, they both stop flickering.

Anyway, I'm really here to just ask about the VSA. What is causing this and how do I fix it??

Thank you for your time and help.
 

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There are a host of things that can trigger that symptom. Since you seem to have some sort of transmission issue, the first thing I'd do is look at the condition of the transmission fluid condition. Usually if it's nasty, a few drain-and-fills will improve the operation of the transmission. Also look at the history - if there's a doubt, change the differential and transfer case fluid (lots of threads on that subject, and it's easy-peasy).
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
There are a host of things that can trigger that symptom. Since you seem to have some sort of transmission issue, the first thing I'd do is look at the condition of the transmission fluid condition. Usually if it's nasty, a few drain-and-fills will improve the operation of the transmission. Also look at the history - if there's a doubt, change the differential and transfer case fluid (lots of threads on that subject, and it's easy-peasy).
Ya, we already changed the fluid once. As for history of the vehicle, we bought it from a guy who bought it from an auction. I'm not sure if there is any way to find history on it if it's been worked on from a dealer or other mechanics.
 

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The VSA system is responsible for making sure you don't lose control by using the brakes to slow down individual wheels on the car. If the system is not functioning properly it can cause the brake system to activate at the wrong time or not in the intended manner.

Is the ABS light on too? When is the last time the brake pads were replaced? The brake fluid? Do the brake calipers smoothly clamp down and retract on all 4 corners of the MDX? Are you getting any codes for wheel speed sensors?

I would check the fuse boxes and make sure there is not water finding it's way into them, that will cause a ton of lights to come and go randomly. The flickering lights make me weary of it being a parts problem but an electrical one. Please do not start buying parts and trying to replace them to fix items dictated by Check engine light. Do a little diagnostic work to find the real issue out so you don't waste your hard earned money.

Pine Hollow Diagnostics on youtube is a great channel to learn from. South Main auto is another good one!
 

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"It idles a little rough." "The VTM-4 light comes and goes." "I'm really here to ask about the VSA."
First, fix the VSA problem.

Second, know that any problem that results in a loss of engine power, e.g., rough idle, can trigger the VTM-4 Lock light. It's possible that the transmission is OK and the computer is mistakenly turning VTM-4 on. Thus, always fix engine problems first. Many times, once the engine problem is fixed, transmission-related codes go away.

Third, it almost sounds like this vehicle was in a flood. Thus, the reason it ended up at an auto auction.
 

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2016 MDX
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Do a VSA relearn first. My VTM-4 light comes on and off, but my cause is the front O2 sensor. Does this on my MDX and did it on my Pilot when I had the front O2 sensor disconnected.
 

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Pull down the OBD2 plug, and use a paper clip to jumper pins 4-9. One is a brown wire, not sure about the other. Not all pins have wires, so it is fairly easy to figure out. This is the same as what this procedure is saying to do with HDS in step 3.
Human body Elbow Font Sleeve Parallel
 

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I agree that the flickering lights & burned out fuses sound like they could be caused by an electrical issue. Making sure the battery is grounded properly to the frame is a basic place to start. I recently replaced my alternator for three second time since I've owned my 06. I'm 99% sure it was the voltage regulator that went out. I had a mix of strange sounds over the speakers and random flickering lights on the dash. It also toasted a pair of low beams. Around the first time my alternator went out, I bought a 12v diagnostic diagnostic tool (plugs into cigarette lighter) from Harbor Freight. Really similar, if not exact same thing, as this one. I just drove around with it in the socket in front of the shifter and anytime I saw the lights flicker I would glance down and see what voltages were showing. The alternator voltage was all over the place. After replacing it, everything was great.

I echo the sentiment from the previous poster about doing proper diagnosis. If you don't have a genuine Acura service manual specific for your generation MDX (and you want to DIY) I would strongly recommend picking one up. It is worth it's weight in gold.

Good luck!
 

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If you don't have a genuine Acura service manual specific for your generation MDX (and you want to DIY) I would strongly recommend picking one up.
its FREE via the following link:

 
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