Diagnosing and Repairing the Honda 85-01 OBD Code

Diagnosing and Repairing the Honda 85-01 OBD Code

If you’re a Honda vehicle owner or a car enthusiast, encountering trouble codes can be daunting. One such code that often puzzles many is the Honda OBD DTC 85-01. This code is associated with the Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) system, a critical component designed to enhance your vehicle’s stability and safety. In this blog post, we’ll delve into what the 85-01 code means, explore its implications for vehicle performance and emissions, and provide a comprehensive guide on diagnosing and fixing this issue.

What is the 85-01 Code?

The 85-01 trouble code indicates a problem within the VSA system, which could be due to various factors such as low battery voltage, faulty sensors, wiring issues, or even software defects. The VSA system helps maintain vehicle stability by adjusting engine output and applying brakes to individual wheels, especially during cornering or slippery conditions.

Top 20 Vehicles Commonly Affected by the 85-01 Code

Here are the top 20 Honda vehicles that are commonly reported to experience the 85-01 trouble code:

  • Honda Accord (2013-2018)
  • Honda Civic (2012-2016)
  • Honda CR-V (2012-2016)
  • Honda Fit (2013-2018)
  • Honda Pilot (2012-2016)
  • Honda Odyssey (2013-2018)
  • Honda Ridgeline (2012-2016)
  • Honda HR-V (2016-2018)
  • Honda Insight (2019-2021)
  • Acura TL (2003-2008)
  • Acura TSX (2004-2008)
  • Acura MDX (2012-2016)
  • Acura RDX (2013-2018)
  • Acura ILX (2013-2018)
  • Acura RLX (2014-2018)
  • Honda Crosstour (2012-2015)
  • Honda Element (2012-2013)
  • Honda S2000 (2006-2009)
  • Honda Clarity (2017-2019)
  • Honda Passport (2019-2021)

Implications for Vehicle Performance and Emissions

When the 85-01 code is triggered, it can have several implications:

  • Vehicle Stability: The VSA system may not function correctly, leading to reduced stability during cornering or in slippery conditions.
  • Engine Performance: The engine output may be affected, causing unexpected dips in power.
  • Braking: The brakes may be applied automatically, which can be unsettling if not anticipated.
  • Emissions: While the primary impact is on stability, any malfunction in the vehicle’s systems can potentially affect emissions indirectly.

Diagnosing and Fixing the 85-01 Code

Key Symptoms

  • VSA warning light on the dashboard
  • Reduced engine power
  • Unexpected braking
  • Stability issues during cornering

Diagnostic Steps

  1. Check Battery Voltage: Ensure the battery is fully charged and the connections are clean and secure.
  2. Scan for Codes: Use an OBD-II scanner to confirm the 85-01 code and check for any other related codes.
  3. Inspect VSA Components: Check the VSA sensors, wiring, and module for any visible damage or loose connections.
  4. Software Update: Ensure the VSA system software is up-to-date, as outdated software can sometimes trigger false codes.

Fixing the Issue

  • Battery Maintenance: Replace or recharge the battery if low voltage is detected.
  • Sensor Replacement: Replace any faulty sensors identified during the inspection.
  • Wiring Repair: Fix or replace any damaged wiring or connectors.
  • Software Update: Update the VSA system software if necessary.

FAQ Section

Is it safe to drive with the 85-01 code? While it may be safe to drive, the VSA system will not function correctly, which can compromise vehicle stability in certain conditions. It’s best to address the issue promptly.

What are the potential repair costs? Repair costs can vary widely depending on the specific issue. Battery replacement might cost around $100-$200, while sensor replacement or wiring repairs could range from $200 to $500.

How can I prevent this issue in the future? Regular maintenance is key. Ensure your battery is in good condition, keep the VSA system software updated, and have your vehicle inspected regularly to catch any potential issues early.


Addressing the 85-01 trouble code promptly is crucial for maintaining your vehicle’s stability and ensuring compliance with emission standards. Regular maintenance and timely repairs can help prevent this issue and keep your Honda running smoothly. If you encounter this code, follow the diagnostic and repair steps outlined above, and don’t hesitate to seek professional help if needed. Your vehicle’s performance and your safety depend on it.

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