5 causes of FCW system failure

FCW System Failed: Causes & How To Fix

Several Honda owners are growing concerned about their FCW system. Usually, the response comes in the form of “FCW system failed”. This is common among multiple Honda models, including Honda Odyssey, Honda Crosstour, and Honda Accord. 

The term “FCW system failed” is one that might be encountered after an accident. It is a form of a frontal collision warning system, which is a feature that comes with many cars to help prevent accidents. If you are a Honda owner and need information on the FCW system failure, keep on reading.

Source: https://www.driveaccord.net/threads/fcw-system-failure-message.77644/page-9

What is the FCW system?

Otherwise called Forward Collision System, the FCW system estimates the traffic in front of a Honda car anytime the car speed is at least 10 miles per hour. It also estimates the chances of a collision happening while providing audible and visual warnings to stop the vehicle. Simply put, it is a system that is designed to prevent collisions.

The FCW system makes use of radar, laser, or camera to scan the road ahead as it alerts the driver if an opposing driver is closing in too fast. In other words, the system detects an imminent collision by using a sensor behind the lower grille. The FCW warning light and continuous beeping represent the visual and audible cues that alert the driver.

The FCW system activates whenever the car’s speed reaches 10 mph. If the camera behind the windshield detect a potential collision, lights will flash in the heads-up display, the FCW indicator will blink and there is continuous beeping.

This is not dangerous but just a safety issue. The purpose of the warning is to ensure that the driver has time to react in time and avoid the collision.

Why does the FCW system fail?

As mentioned earlier, this error is common with some Honda models. There are several reasons why the FCW system may not activate:

Poor visibility

The FCW system’s ability to function well can be compromised by adverse weather. Driving in rain, snow, and fog can affect its camera, which is mounted in the upper part of the windshield. Droplets of water on it can cause the image to be magnified, thereby giving it a false reading.

Besides this, the presence of mud, dirt, or ice can also prevent the sensor or camera from giving accurate readings.

Extreme interior heat

When you drive in an extremely hot condition, this error could occur. Hot conditions can cause camera failure. 

Speed sensor

The Powertrain Control Module (PCM) controls the mph and receives data from the countershaft speed sensor. If this speed sensor has an issue, it becomes difficult for the Control Module to receive accurate speed data from the sensor, making the FCW system fail to issue a warning.

Aftermarket” accessories

Sometimes, people try to add accessories, including headlights, camcorders, or windshields, to their cars. However, these accessories can also affect the functions of the sensor. For instance, a windshield replacement can cause the FCW system to malfunction. 

Dead car computer

If something is wrong with the car computer, it might become difficult or impossible for it to relay messages. 

How do you fix FCW failure?

Are you having an issue with your FCW system, and you wish to fix it but don’t know how? There are many solutions you can explore, depending on different causes:

  • If there is interior heat, just turn on the AC and ensure that the front windshield is blown for a few minutes. Once it cools down, the light will turn off. This will get it working well again.
  • You can check if the connection on the speed sensor is faulty and replace it.
  • If the issue is due to aftermarket accessories, simply replace them.
  • Reset the ECU SOURCE if there is no access to the computer. If you don’t know how, just watch this video and follow the instructions:
  • Besides, if the “FCW failed” message occurs frequently (for instance, more than once per trip) without snow, rain, mud, or any other obstruction, ensure that you have the radar sensor realigned at your authorized dealer.

It is worth stressing that it is best to prevent this error from happening before it does. With this in mind, you should ensure that your front windshield is kept clean and free of debris. This prevents an issue with the visibility of the FCW system.

How to customize FCW?

If you wish to determine the warning timing or simply turn off the system, the following step-by-step guide will help you with that:

1. Click on the SETTINGS button.

2. Enter Vehicle Settings. Ensure that the vehicle must be in Park (P).

3. Click on the Driver Assist System.

4. Then, you will find a “Forward collision warning distance” mode. Click on it.

5. Select one of the following options:

  • Long: Early warning timing
  • Normal: Standard warning timing
  • Short: Late warning timing
  • Off: Turn the system off.

6. To log out, just hit the “Back” button.

For safety purposes, you should always remember that the FCW system may not detect or identify distant objects ahead since the system’s accuracy varies with the weather, high interior heat, and other factors listed above. FCW does not necessarily come with a braking function. For this reason, you are responsible for the safety of your vehicle as you avoid collisions. 

In case the FCW system fails as you are driving, you must be extra cautious while looking out for any potential hazards. You should seek immediate medical attention if you are involved in an accident.

FCW system failed and the Check engine light blinked at the same time

Source: https://www.driveaccord.net/threads/fcw-system-failure-message.77644/page-10

When this happens, you should stop driving immediately. Once the Check engine light blinks, it indicates that there is internal engine damage. If this engine is blown, the possibility of it being fixed depends on the severity or the extensiveness of the damage. A few parts can be easily fixed or replaced if the damage is minimal. However, for great damage, it might be impossible to repair, and you may need to replace the engine completely.

Bad coil or spark plugs are also potential reasons why the check engine light is on. The latter is very important since it is what supplies that spark. This spark is responsible for igniting the air-fuel mixture that creates the explosion needed for the power production in your engine.

Besides this, the FCW and the LDW (Lane Departure Warning) lights tend to be on anytime the light in the check engine is on. The systems go off if the car identifies a serious engine failure. How do you fix this? You can simply follow the steps below to achieve this:

  • You can tow it to a local dealer.
  • A Vehicle Control Module (VCM) issue can cause the check engine light to be on. If that is the case, you can replace the spark plugs while installing a VCM disabling device. You will find several devices that can achieve this. An example is VCMTunerII.

FCW system failed and the car won’t start

If your car does not start, it has nothing to do with the FCW system. The code you receive might indicate low voltage. Some of the reasons why your car will not start are discussed below:

Damaged ignition coil

This might be due to a damaged ignition coil. The coil converts the battery’s 12V into a higher voltage (25V to 30,000V) that can create a spark in the plug. When this is damaged, there is no sufficient power to do that. A multimeter – an instrument that can measure electric current, resistance, or voltage – can test how strong the coil’s current is.

Bad distributor cap

Besides this, when a distributor cap is damaged, the car might refuse to start. The engine ignition coil has a voltage, which can be directed by the distributor cap to the spark plugs. If the cap becomes moist, it might become difficult for your car to start. You can wipe this out with a dry piece of cloth before reinstalling it.

Poor battery connection

Furthermore, you can check the battery connections carefully. Different tools can help in achieving this. With a Solar BA9, you can test the electrical system. It can help you simplify battery, alternator, and starter troubleshooting. This will provide you with relevant information on the condition of your battery, as well as your alternator and starter.

There have been several instances when low batteries caused the FCW system and some other warning lights to come on. You can have low batteries if your battery connections are corroded or loose. In addition, low batteries can also be caused by:

  • Excessive short drives
  • Opening the doors for a long time
  • Leaving your headlights on for an extended period.

Final words

The FCW system represents an important safety feature in your car. The failure of this system is not dangerous, and this may be caused by bad weather, poor visibility, or high interior heat. You may not be aware of an impending collision if this system fails.

If the FCW system fails while you drive, ensure that you become extra cautious as you keep an eye out for potential hazards. Whenever the error message shows up, it is best to turn off the engine and wait for a few minutes before restarting. For better solutions, you can peruse the guides in this article or simply contact an authorized dealer.

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