What is the Honda VAC System?

With a son in the Army, and listening to him speak over the years, mostly in acronyms… , when I first saw something written in the Honda service information about a VAC system, of course I wondered what VAC stood for? In Army speak, it may be “Vulnerability Assessment Certification”, but what does stand for in the automotive world? “Vacuum Assisted Control”? “Video / Audio Center”? “Variable “Alternating Current”?

In our business, keeping things simple and not trying to overthink everything is always the best course.

VAC is this case is not an acronym, but an abbreviation for VACUUM! Yes, starting in 2014, the Honda Odyssey Elite came equipped with its own built-in vacuum. Sadly, this feature will be discontinued in 2022 due to supply issues.

Interesting aspects of the system, at least to me, is that the vacuum system is controlled by the BCM. I guess mainly for safety and battery power reasons. Yep, you can’t have someone vacuuming the back of the van while you are driving. As stated in the service info:

When any of the following conditions is met, the HondaVAC motor stops.

  • Vehicle is set to the OFF (LOCK) mode.
  • If the mode is shifted to a position other than the P position/mode.
  • 12 Volt battery voltage is low, or experiencing a problem.
  • HondaVAC switch is set from OFF to ON.
  • The operation time of the HondaVAC motor passes about 8 accumulated minutes while the engine is stopped.

No matter how fast I vacuum a car, I sure can’t do it in 8 minutes, especially if it is a mini van!

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About the Author

Ken Ebert

Ken Ebert has worked in the automotive industry for over 38 years. Before that, he served in the U.S Army as an amphibious vehicle crewman and mechanic on a South Pacific island radiation cleanup project. He started his automotive career with VW, eventually becoming a shop owner specializing in Porsche cars, along with other German & Asian brands. Ken has held Master ASE certifications in both cars and medium/heavy trucks and has worked with the Editorial Group at Mitchell 1 since 2003.