Is her dashboard lit up choose a Christmas tree? This deal with for inspect engine and also VSC lamp is both simple and cheap. It’s necessary to keep in mind that this short article pertains come 4th gen (2003-2009) Toyota 4runners through these specific diagnostic codes. This is most likely a common issue with many other vehicles together well, yet you’ll must confirm the problem. We’ll gain into exactly how to do that shortly.

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“VSC Off” and also “VSC TRAC” lamp will often come on once an error code triggers the inspect Engine light. It doesn’t necessarily mean there is an worry with those systems. If lock all verified up in ~ the very same time, it’s likely that diagnosing the cause for the inspect Engine irradiate will fix them all.

Modern OBD2 vehicles have the right to be very sensitive to minor problems and that’s particularly the situation with the 4runner. Other as simple as a loosened gas lid is a typical reason because that these 4runners come act like the end of the people is near.

In my case, i remembered the it to be late in ~ night the last time ns filled up, and also I was fumbling through the tether chord top top the gas cap. It was very likely that i didn’t acquire the cap to click properly. This was the critical straw for the stupid chord, and I’ve due to the fact that chopped that off. Mine gut told me that was the issue, but I essential to be sure.


Before you begin spending money top top parts, you need to confirm the resource of the problem.

It’s so basic to throw a bunch of money under the drainpipe by replacing components you think are the problem. Browsing the web will rotate up loads of results saying the a brand-new gas lid will turn your check engine light off.

The reality is, the won’t execute a point if your inspect engine light is on since you need a brand-new O2 sensor (or any kind of other problem). You must pull the diagnostic problem codes indigenous your computer system to number out what’s leading to that dreaded irradiate to it is in on.

Investigating the factor for your inspect engine light

The great thing about modern vehicles (1996 and also newer) is that they’ll tell girlfriend what’s wrong if you ask them. When your inspect engine irradiate (or CEL because that short) is illuminated, your car’s computer system will store any type of diagnostic problem codes.

Some vehicles will actually have tricky actions to do these codes display up in the odometer readout. Plenty of Chrysler cars and trucks will carry out that by transforming the ignition on and also off a certain variety of times at specific intervals.

But in general, your best bet is to acquisition a cheap password reader. You’ll more than likely need the again in the future, and also they’re much simpler to use.


My password reader of selection is the Innova 3030. It’s a very straightforward design the plugs right into your vehicle’s diagnostic port and also shows any trouble codes as well as whether or not all of your computer’s monitors are ready.

One point it doesn’t display is what each code means. A rapid search top top google or her vehicle’s most popular forum/group will revolve up that info too as feasible tips to resolve it. More expensive password readers will describe each code, however to me, that feature isn’t worth the extra money. This Innova unit does every little thing I need it to in ~ a an excellent price.

Scanning my 4runner revealed 3 trouble codes: P0455, P0441, and also C1201. Ns searched the forums at T4r.orgto break down what every of this meant.



Evaporative Emission manage System Leak detected (no purge flow or huge leak)


Evaporative Emission control System not correct Purge Flow


Engine control System Malfunction

The 2 P0 codes allude to a leak in the emissions system. Technically it could be in the filler neck, or the heat to the charcoal canister, but the bulk of the moment it’s merely a leaky gas cap. Either an improperly mounted cap or a worn the end one.

The C1201 code is the one that tells the car to rotate on the check engine light and disable the traction and VSC. Basically, when the various other two codes popular music up, this one is in fee of letting you know there’s a problem. Addressing the other codes should additionally fix this one because they’re the persons that resulted in it.

How to deal with the problem

Again, ns can’t anxiety this sufficient – if girlfriend have different trouble codes 보다 the ones ns mentioned, a brand-new gas cap probably won’t resolve your problem. You’ll require to figure out what her mean and repair that problem.

There seems to it is in a myth going roughly the web that a new gas cap is an easy way to trick your auto into turning the inspect engine light off. It’s not – unless it was the trouble in the an initial place.

My thought procedure for just how I to be going to deal with this consists of starting from the cheapest and also easiest solution, then working my means up come other choices until it was fixed.

Fix #1: Tighten the gas cap

My an initial plan was to make certain that I wasn’t the problem. Since I recalled fumbling with the cap the critical time I fueled up, I want to check to watch if the cap simply wasn’t clicked tight. Ns tightened the up and also cleared the codes.

They came ago approximately 4-5 restarts later.

Fix #2: Clean and grease the gas cap’s seal

My following idea was that the cap was leaking, but maybe just slightly. The rubber seal top top the cap looked pretty dry and also worn, so i cleaned it and also applied a little bit of grease come soften that up. Ns tested the function of the cap itself by lightly tapping the in the direction to ease it come see just how much resistance the had. It seemed to still have plenty of feather tension, so i figured the cap itself wasn’t damaged… simply leaking.

The result was the same as fix #1


Fix #3: acquisition an aftermarket gas cap

My totally free fixes didn’t work, so next up was to replace the cap. I had seen civilization on the forums mention that the OEM Toyota cap weren’t really expensive to get from the dealership. Clearly, these users were American.

For part reason, here in Canada, we have to pay much much more than simply the exchange rate difference when buying parts from dealerships. I priced a cap the end at Toyota and it would have actually been nearly $50 with tax.

If ns knew the was the only way to settle the issue, ns would have actually just payment the money. However curiousity got the best of me, and I wanted to give an aftermarket cap a try first. For this reason I reviewed to the nearest parts store (in the MR2 of course, since the 4runner remained in Time-out early to negative behavior)

I score an aftermarket gas lid for $15. I know what you’re thinking. It’s typical knowledge that these caps are junk compared to the Toyota ones. I wanted to check out for myself before shelling out for the actual deal.

Confirmed: They’re junk. You can tell instantly that the aftermarket cap has actually a “one size fits most” kind of universal feel that they market for lot of vehicles. I repetitive my check from resolve #2 and also it had actually barely any kind of spring anxiety at all. It was negative enough that vibration from driving could have loosened it. One tap and also it nearly fell off.

I tried it anyway, and although that lasted a couple of days longer, my lights and codes still came back. I wasn’t really surprised.

Fix #4: put the seal indigenous the new cap top top the original Toyota cap

Before I little bit the bullet on a Toyota gas cap, I had one more thing I want to try. My original cap itself seemed to not only still duty properly however was even far better than the brand new aftermarket one. I just needed to resolve the seal.

It just so happened that the garbage aftermarket cap had a brand brand-new rubber seal ~ above it. I pried the seals off both the old and new caps to compare them. Sure enough, the original was crushed to the allude where it was about half as thick. It additionally felt hard and brittle contrasted to the new one.


So i swapped the brand-new seal onto the original cap and also voila! trouble solved and I passed my emissions check easily. Ns now have the proper spring tension of the initial Toyota cap v a brand new rubber seal. I don’t feel that a brand brand-new cap from Toyota would be any more effective than this fix.

After any kind of of these fixes, you’ll should clear the codes from the computer. You have the right to either usage your code reader to do this the basic way, or disconnect her battery for 10 minute or so.

Keep in mind, the will likewise knock out your vehicle’s storage of other things favor your clock, radio presets and you may also need come reset the sunroof and also rear window settings. With the Innova code reader, her codes space gone and your lights room off with the push of a button.

What if nobody of these fixes work?

Unfortunately, climate it’s time come look at the rest of the system. This is whereby things could get expensive. It can be ideal to take it come a shop that’s capable of testing it for leaks. Areas of problem would it is in the fuel filler neck, charcoal canister, VSV valve, or the lines to run to the canister near the exhaust.

A note around passing Ontario’s drive Clean emissions test:

Drive Clean has actually two different species of tests. Because that 1995 and also older vehicles, they’ll carry out a sniffer check by putting a sensor in her exhaust pipe. Castle take separate readings at idle and roughly 2500 rpm. If her readings space within their acceptable parameters, you pass. If you’re outside of them, also by a little bit, girlfriend fail.

For more recent OBD2 vehicles, the check is lot simpler. All they perform is plug their an equipment into the very same diagnostic port we talked about earlier in this post. They’re check for two things: any kind of pending or existing problem codes, and also the readiness of her computer’s monitors. Basically, if your automobile has no existing problems affect the computer, you’ll pass with flying colors.

Some people are command to think that they’ll happen as lengthy as castle don’t have a inspect Engine irradiate on. That’s not true. Anyone with a password reader have the right to clear your codes in the parking the majority of the testing facility to turn any warning lamp off. The government is also smart to fall for that trick. It’ll still fail. So just how do you happen the journey Clean test?

The monitors of your computer system need to present up together “ready”. In order to perform that, the automobile needs to have been thrust through multiple drive cycles. Many mechanics recommend driving it because that a week after you resolved a problem and cleared the codes.

When you an initial clear your trouble codes, your monitors will certainly switch back to “not ready”. The computer needs to be able to run test on chin to make sure details functions space working properly. When it’s had the possibility to execute so and also there are no new trouble codes, each monitor will certainly switch to “ready”. Luckily, Ontario’s drive Clean allows you come pass through 1 monitor not ready.

In mine case, the monitor because that my Evap device was gift stubborn and also I couldn’t get it in ready mode for the life of me. Mine 4runner quiet passed since all the others were an excellent to go.

The recipe because that a clear pass: no inspect engine light, no problem codes, and all yet 1 of her monitors in ready mode.

The lesson here is the it’s feasible for you to fix any problems and turn every the warning lights off, however still fail a drive Clean test. Every that way is that you shouldn’t procrastinate in fixing any type of problems that would affect your check results. Your vehicle needs to be moved for a little bit after solving it in order to be all set to happen the test.

If friend have any doubts about whether your auto is walking to happen the test, a code reader can act together your own crystal ball right into the future. If friend scan it front of time and see the there room no diagnostic password stored and all the monitors are in prepared mode, you recognize that you’ll happen the test easily. Gambling on it can price you time and money (remember, the journey Clean check is only complimentary for the an initial time – you’ll have to pay for any type of retests!)


If this lights have displayed up on her Toyota 4runner and it’s in otherwise an excellent condition, you most likely don’t have to worry. Yet contrary to the advice the internet might give you, a brand-new gas lid isn’t guarantee to deal with it.

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Check your trouble codes (or have actually them checked by someone) first to provide you a much better idea that what’s actually going on. Hopefully, your worry is as basic as mine and your solve for examine engine and also VSC lamp only expenses $15!

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