FCW System Failed Message Explained

Multiple Honda owners report issues with their Forward Collision Warning system, as they get a warning message on their dashboard saying FCW System Failed. Standard models that have this issue include Honda Accord, Honda Odyssey, Honda Crosstour, and other Honda models.

Here is what FCW System Failed means

The “FCW System Failed” warning can appear for various reasons, such as malfunctioning sensors, damaged wiring and connections, or a failed control module. However, the system can sometimes give a false warning when driving in the rain, fog, snow, or extreme heat.

You should pull over when safe to do so and shut the engine off. After ten minutes, start the car, and the message should go away. If the message is still there, it is recommended to visit a Honda dealer for a car inspection.

FCW System Failed message Honda

What Is FCW System?

FCW (Forward Collision Warning) system analyzes the traffic in front of your Honda when your vehicle speed is ten mph or higher. The FCW system uses sensors such as cameras, radar, and lidar to detect objects in front of the vehicle and calculate their speed and distance relative to the car’s movement.

It determines the likelihood of a frontal collision and provides you with visual and audible warnings to apply brakes.

The system evaluates the distance of your vehicle from the vehicle in front. If the distance decreases to cautious levels, it warns the driver to slow down with a “BRAKE” message on the dashboard, along with an audible beep.

However, sometimes the FCW system may fail due to various reasons such as sensor malfunction or software glitches. When this happens, drivers may see an error message on their dashboard display indicating that the ‘FCW System Failed.’

The minimal distance at which the FCW system warns the driver can be set from short, normal, and long in the Driver Assist System Setup on the vehicle’s infotainment system.

How The FCW System Works

The Forward Collision Warning (FCW) System is an advanced safety feature in many Honda vehicles, including the Accord and Odyssey. Using radar sensors, cameras, and complex algorithms, the FCW system keeps a watchful eye on the road ahead.

As you drive your Honda, the system continuously monitors the distance between your vehicle and the one in front of it.

When potential danger looms due to rapidly closing distances or sudden braking from other motorists, the FCW system springs into action. By analyzing sensor data in real-time, it intelligently calculates if there’s an imminent risk of collision.

Should this be detected as highly probable, drivers receive visual and audible alerts to grab their attention immediately.

It’s important to note that while an incredibly beneficial feature for accident prevention – especially during instances with heavy traffic or bad weather conditions – the FCW system isn’t infallible; false alarms can sometimes arise due to sensor misinterpretation or malfunctioning equipment.

Importance Of the FCW System

The Forward Collision Warning (FCW) system is an essential safety feature in modern vehicles, especially for Honda drivers. It not only helps prevent accidents but also enhances the overall driving experience by providing you with timely alerts about potential hazards ahead.

FCW systems utilize sensors, cameras, or radar to detect imminent collisions with other vehicles or objects on the road and warn the driver accordingly.

In addition to improving safety levels for Honda drivers and their passengers, the proper functioning of the FCW system can often help reduce insurance premiums due to its ability to minimize crash risks.

Other Honda Owners read: Why Is the Drive Light Blinking on My Honda Pilot?

Common Causes Of FCW System Failures

01. Driving in Extreme Weather Conditions

FCW uses a camera mounted on the windshield behind the rearview mirror to acquire the visual data of the traffic in front.

So, any dirt or debris on the windshield hindering the camera’s view can cause the FCW system not to work correctly.

The FCW might not be able to work in the following conditions as stated by Honda:

1.       Extreme weather

2.       Extreme interior heat

Extreme weather, especially rainfall or hail, can easily cover the camera’s view, resulting in a false positive or FCW failure message on the dashboard.

It has also been observed that aftermarket headlights (HIDs and LEDs) or extra bright aftermarket cabin lights might interfere with the FCW system and cause it to pop up an FCW system failed warning.

02. Malfunctioning Sensors

One of the primary causes of FCW system failure is malfunctioning sensors. The frontal collision warning system relies on sensors to detect any potential collisions, and if they are not working correctly, it can trigger the “FCW System Failed” message.

Malfunctioning sensors could be due to various factors, such as bad weather conditions or a sensor that has reached the end of its lifespan.

Sometimes, drivers may try to clean their vehicles’ front cameras or proximity sensors themselves instead of seeking professional help. While this is an understandable attempt at resolving the issue quickly, it’s generally not advised since doing so can damage components further without fixing underlying problems.

03. Damaged Wiring And Connections

If your Honda vehicle displays the “FCW System Failed” message, damaged wiring and connections could be one of the potential causes. The FCW system contains several sensors, cameras, and a control module that work together to detect an imminent collision.

For instance, salt buildup on connectors in areas with extreme weather conditions can lead to faulty connections. Additionally, rodents may chew through cables leading to broken wires and causing issues with the FCW system.

It’s essential to regularly inspect your car’s wiring and connections as part of its maintenance routine.

04. Failed Control Module

A failed control module may be one of the possible causes. The control module coordinates information from different sensors and sends signals to activate warning lights or apply brakes when detected an imminent collision.

It’s important to note that fixing a failed control module yourself is not recommended, as it requires specialized knowledge and equipment. Taking your car to a professional mechanic or Honda dealership is the best option for diagnosis and repair.

How To Fix The FCW System Failed Error

To fix the FCW System Failed error, it’s recommended to check the sensors and wiring connections, replace the FCW module if needed, or seek professional help from a certified mechanic or Honda dealership.

01. Check FCW System Sensor

One way to fix the FCW System Failed error message is to inspect the FCW system sensor. Here are steps on how to do it:

1. Start by checking the owner’s manual or consulting a certified mechanic for the location of the sensor in your car model.

2. Once you’ve located the sensor, look for any visible damage, such as cracks, dents, or dirt, that may be obstructing its operation.

3. Clean the sensor using a soft cloth and a cleaning solution recommended by Honda.

4. Check if any wiring connection or cable is loose, disconnected, or corroded, and reattach them if necessary.

5. Test the FCW system by turning on the engine and checking if there is an improvement in warning signals from forward collision detection with another vehicle ahead.

6. If you’re still experiencing issues with the FCW system, it’s recommended to take your car to a certified mechanic or Honda dealership for further diagnosis and repair.

02. Inspect Wiring And Connections

To fix the “FCW System Failed” error message, one of the things you can do is inspect the wiring and connections. Here’s how:

1. Start by turning off the engine and opening the hood.

2. Locate the wiring and connections that are associated with the FCW system. They may be located near the headlight or front grille area.

3. Check for any signs of damage or wear, such as frayed wires or loose connections.

4. Tighten any loose connections and replace any damaged parts.

5. Once you’ve inspected and fixed any issues, start your car and check if the FCW system warning message has disappeared.

03. Replace The FCW Module

If the FCW system has failed due to a bad control module, then it needs to be replaced. Here’s what you need to do:

– Take your car to a certified mechanic or Honda dealership.

– The mechanic will diagnose the issue and check all the sensors, wiring, and connections related to the FCW system.

– If they determine that the control module is the problem, then they will replace it with a new one.

– After replacing the control module, they will reset the FCW system and clear any error codes from the system.

– Test drive your car and make sure that the FCW system is functioning correctly.

If you are still not able to find the root problem of this warning, you should visit your local Honda dealership for a proper diagnosis.

Can an ABS Modulator or VSA Module Cause this Message?

According to multiple owners from Driveaccord.net, various parts can fail, resulting in this error message coming up.

These parts include the ABS modulator, which can cost up to $1500 to fix, and a bad VSA module, which will also cost over $1000 to fix.

Sometimes a software update might fix this error if your car has not been in a dealership for a long time.

Other Honda Owners read: Why Does My Honda Pilot Says Keyless Start System Problem?

How Do I Reset My FCW?

You will require a professional Honda Diagnostic Scanner to reset your FCW system completely. It cannot be reset from any buttons on the vehicles.

If you do not have any dealerships with access to the scanner, you do not want to take your car to the shop. You can try resetting the entire ECU by disconnecting both battery terminals for 20 to 30 minutes.

It will also reset your vehicle’s FCW system and all other systems. The date and time on your infotainment system will also require readjustment afterward.

How Do I Recalibrate My FCW?

You might require recalibrating the FCW system camera aiming after a windscreen replacement on your Honda. Static or dynamic camera aiming can get the system back online.

Static aiming is done in the shop. T

The camera aiming is calibrated with targets that must be set up according to the vehicle’s service manual. Aiming is necessary anytime the camera or the windshield is removed or replaced.

Before performing static aiming, ensure that the parking brake is applied, the headlights and DRLs are turned OFF, and the vehicle does not face a direct light source.

How Do I Turn Off My FCW System in A Honda Accord?

To turn the FCW on a Honda Accord or access the FCW intensity setting, you must follow the following instructions.

1.       Press the settings button on the dashboard below the infotainment screen.

2.       Select the “Vehicle Settings” option on the infotainment screen.

3.       Navigate to the “All” or “Driver Assist System” tab.

4.       Select the “Forward Collision Warning Distance” option.

5.       Select “OFF” to turn off the FCW warning system.

6.       Press the BACK button to exit the menu.

Where Is the FCW Sensor Located?

The FCW sensor is a camera mounted onto the windshield just behind the rearview mirror if your Honda is equipped with the system.

Other Honda Owners read: What does Emissions System Problem mean on a Honda Pilot?

Is there a recall for FCW System Failed?

According to Honda Recall Lookup, as of now, there are no recalls addressing this issue. However, if your car is still under warranty, a trip to your local Honda dealer is the best thing to do.

Final Thoughts

The FCW System Failed message can be caused by extreme weather conditions and a bad ABS or VSA module. One can reset the system by disconnecting the car battery for at least 20 minutes or performing a system update. If this fails, I recommend getting the car to a dealership for a proper diagnosis.

It is important to note that by regularly maintaining and inspecting your Honda vehicle’s FCW system, along with safe driving practices and keeping the system clean, you can prevent this error from occurring in the first place.


Forward Collision Warning – Honda Owners