Honda Odyssey FCW System Failure (Explained!)

The Forward Collision Warning(FCW) system prevents frontal accidents. The Honda Odyssey’s sensor is placed in the rearview mirror to monitor and warn the driver of a possible collision. The sensors have wide varieties, such as laser, radar, and cameras. Honda Odyssey uses the camera.

This classic system comes with a couple of cool features including:

FCW System Features

FCW indicates “brake” on the dashboard, signals an audible beep or the steering wheel might start vibrating if there is peril. The driver can then use emergency brakes to avoid possible collisions. The vehicle can also automatically stop, though rare. 

FCW uses distance and speed to calculate the impending danger between the driver and their surrounding objects. If the focal objects are too close, FCW alerts the driver.

The system works 24/7. It senses objects that are a maximum of 500 feet ahead. However, those driving at 3 MPH and below do not get warnings.

Can One Drive with the FCW Off?

One can set the system in a short, long, or normal range. One can deactivate the warning if one is in a crowded area and the driver is driving past 10 MPH. However, a driver should only deactivate the FCW when necessary. Putting the FCW off means the system does not alert the driver of an impending collision. 

How to Turn off the Sensor System in Honda Odyssey

Turning off the sensors can be done in two main ways:

Step 1

One should long press the steering wheel button. 

There will be a sound which indicates that the FCW has been turned off.

Step 2

One can also turn FWC off by:

  • Clicking on the setting button on the dashboard 
  • Then hit on the “vehicle” setting
  • Scroll down to “all” or “driver assistant system”
  • Click on “forward collision warning distance”
  • Choose “off”
  • And click back to the exit

What Causes a Failure in the FCW System?

A malfunction with the FCW is caused by a range of factors, including:

  1. Wear and tear

Regularly service the vehicle to maintain its parts. Servicing also detects minor faults and fixes them before they escalate. Additionally, outdated software may be a contributory factor.

  1. Faulty sensors

Faulty sensors may not detect an imminent collision. If there is an accident, one should ensure that the sensors are working correctly. Ideally, this should be done by qualified personnel.

  1. Dirt

The cameras may be obscured by dirt, leading to minimum or zero environment recording.

  1. Harsh weather

Inclement weather, either too high or too low, may interfere with the system. Therefore, the system indicates a failure even when there is no failure. In effect, the driver should halt the car when it’s safe and switch off the engine. After about half an hour, the problem should be solved.

However, the dashboard may still be indicating “FCW system failure.” One should therefore take their car to their dealer if they have a warranty.

  1. Faulty operators

Such include the ABS modulator and the VSA module, One should therefore replace the operators or update their software. 

How to Reset the FCW

After replacing the windshield, one should adjust their camera to remove the error message. 

One can opt for a static or dynamic, aiming to get back online after replacing the windscreen. A 

Honda dealer should perform static aiming. The dealer turns off the light, works in a place free from direct light, and applies the brakes. One can fix this in two main ways.

  • The driver can reset the system with the Honda diagnostic scanner.
  • If one lacks a scanner, one can unplug the batteries for about 30 minutes. However, one should update information such as time after replugging the batteries because the information will be faulty.

Tips When Using FCW System Detector

There are several tips you can employ to get the most out of the FCW system, including:

  1. Always be cautious when driving

FCW supplements the driving experience, but shouldn’t be a substitute for caution. Therefore, one should not drive under the influence of alcohol and drugs or when on the phone. 

  1. Keep the area around the camera clean

One should regularly wipe off snow, ice, or anything that can obscure the cameras.

Snow, mud, ice or scorching heat may interfere with the FCW system to detect objects, rendering them ineffective. 


The Honda manual indicates that extreme temperatures such as snow, ice and heat can interfere with the efficiency of the sensors. The sensors, therefore, give false signals. One should turn off their engines or unplug their batteries for a while. If the dashboard still indicates “FCW system failure”, one should inspect the sensors, which might be faulty because of outdated software, or damaged sensors, among other reasons.