FCW System Failed? Everything You Need to Know

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fcw system failed

Cars equipped with Forward-collision Warning (FCW) Systems are unique safety mechanisms that may lower the likelihood of rear-end incidents. FCW systems, which are available on many modern automobile models, are a popular safety feature that helps minimize the incidence and frequency of such incidents. But what if it fails? What does it imply if it flashes on your dashboard? Is it dangerous?

In fact, numerous Honda patrons have reported problems with the FCW system when their dashboard warning “FCW System Failed” appears. A check engine light even accompanies some owner’s same problem. This problem is prevalent in the Honda Odyssey, Honda Accord, and Honda Crosstour. In this article, we’ll tackle the concern; “What does FCW System Failed mean?” and other appropriate approaches to address the issue. Read on to learn more!

What Is FCW System?

The FCW system uses your car’s sensors to monitor the roadway ahead for obstructions, like other cars, immovable obstacles, and even people. FCW detects the distance and speed of your vehicle and surrounding objects as you drive. If your vehicle approaches too near for you to use the brakes in an emergency efficiently, this technology alerts you of a probable collision.

According to studies,  this technology reduces rear-end accidents by 27%. In modern vehicles, a combination of FCW systems and automatic emergency braking units is possible. You’ll need to consult your owner’s handbook to learn about the safety features installed in your car. Regardless of all safety features, you are always accountable for your driving and habits while on the road.

How Does FCW System Work?

Your FCW system uses sensors to identify impending collisions. These sensors could include a front camera, lasers, or radar. FCW technology will alert you when a crash is determined; an alert can be an audio alarm, a visual indicator, or steering wheel vibrations. Such an alert aims to provide you with time to prevent the accident. In rare instances, the system can automatically engage the brakes if it senses an impending collision and you fail to take appropriate action.

However, in your Driver Assist System Setup menu of your car’s infotainment system, you can choose between short, regular, and long forward-collision warning distance settings for the minimum range your FCW system alerts you. When you notice an “FCW System Failed” alert, bad weather is likely the reason. According to your vehicle’s service manual, your FCW system could provide a misleading signal while driving in rainfall, snow, mud, fog, or high heat. Stop your car when it’s safe and switch off your engine.

Primary Features of the FCW System

Your Forward Collision Warning system may prevent a possibly expensive or life-threatening accident for you and your car. Among the essential elements of your FCW system are:

  • Identifies automobiles, bicycles, motorcycles, and even people
  • Day and night operation
  • Can scan your path about 20x per second
  • Sensors can detect up to 500 feet ahead of your car
  • Allows approximately five seconds of response time
  • It doesn’t work at speeds under three miles per hour to prevent unwanted warnings

What Does The FCW System Failed Mean?

If you’ve gotten in a car crash, you might have encountered the words “FCW system failed.” It refers to your frontal collision warning system and is a function of some automobiles intended to avoid collisions. This technology functions to assist you in avoiding collisions by delivering an alert when it identifies a possible crash. 

This system’s failure can be highly hazardous. The FCW system failed means that your vehicle’s frontal collision warning system has been unable to engage. Although you don’t feel you’re hurt, you should seek medical assistance promptly if you are involved in a car crash.

FCW Sensor Location

Your FCW system measures the distance to the car in front of you using its distance sensor, usually situated under your front bumper. The “vehicle ahead detection indicator” flashes, and a warning tone plays once the system determines that your car is approaching the automobile ahead. If you’re uncertain about the location of your FCW sensor, check your owner’s handbook.

Have your technician or car dealer recalibrate your radar sensor if the notice “FCW Front Radar Temporarily Blocked” appears regularly without rain, snow, dirt, mud, or any similar blockage. Also, it’s better not to install a front-end protection, snow plower, aftermarket grille, or grille modification. This could prevent your sensor from functioning and impede FCW performance.

Reasons Why FCW System Fails

When your FCW system fails and ceases to operate, it instantly poses a danger. Therefore, you must be extra cautious and watchful for any hazards on the road. Below are some causes of your failing FCW system.

Defective Sensors

Another possible reason for the FCW system breakdown is a defective sensor. If the sensors are broken or not functioning correctly, this system could fail and can’t sense an incoming impact.

Computer System Problems

Another typical reason for FCW failure is computer difficulties. The FCW system could fail if there’s a malfunction with the program supporting and managing it.  Guarantee that your automobile’s software is often updated to remain up to date and accurate.

Physical Damage

Physical damage to your vehicle is another reason for FCW system failure. For instance, if you modified your bumper and are unaware that you harmed your sensor, it might not function effectively. The only definite approach to determine whether or not your car’s sensors are compromised is to have a skilled technician check it.


Components might degrade or get worn over time. Therefore, it’s essential to get your automobile maintained periodically. Service might aid in identifying any issues before they get severe.

Harsh Weather

Harsh weather might lead your vehicle to deliver a false warning of an approaching accident. In extreme weather conditions, it’s essential to use additional caution while driving However, if your FCW system fails to notify, pull over as quickly as possible to do so and switch off your engine. Before driving, inspect any damage and confirm that all is operating correctly.

How To Remain Safe While Driving With Failed FCW

Automobile technology is an excellent method for enhancing safe driving, but it’s not perfect. To ensure your safety and others, it’s still essential to maintain constant awareness in and out of your vehicle. As a driver, remember the following fundamental guidelines.

Don’t Get Distracted While Driving

Don’t depend on FCW to let you do reckless driving. Safety technologies aim to assist an attentive motorist, not to substitute them—for instance, avoid using your phone or any gadget while driving. While typing or viewing text messages, drivers take their attention away from the road for about five seconds, equivalent to traversing the length of a whole football pitch at 55mph. In addition to phones, snacking and operating the car’s navigation system might divert a driver’s focus off the road.

Apply The Three-second Rule

To keep a safe distance between your car and the one ahead of you, you should be aware of counting at least three seconds or longer from the time the car ahead of you passes a landmark to the time your automobile passes the same point. You must provide additional time if you run a bigger car since larger automobiles take a longer time to stop.

Don’t Drive Under Influence

Drunk driving is the cause of about one-third of all roadway deaths. Never operate a vehicle while intoxicated with alcohol or other substances that can affect your capacity to drive effectively.

How To Recalibrate The FCW On Honda Cars?

Suppose your FCW System Failed notification continues to appear on your Honda regardless of your deep search for answers from an independent Honda enthusiast website. In that case, you might have to recalibrate your vehicle’s sensors. Typically, you can accomplish this by bringing your car to a skilled mechanic or your local Honda dealer or Honda motor company.

Suppose you replaced the market windshield installed in your Honda after a crash. You must reset your FCW system camera. It’s possible to reestablish its system with a dynamic or static FCW System camera aiming. A skilled mechanic can adjust the camera aim. Your camera aim is determined using targets presented as per your car’s service handbook.

Aiming is necessary whenever the camera or windscreen is uninstalled or replaced. Also, your camera aim depends on your camera-mounted position. Technicians also have the appropriate types of equipment to recalibrate your car sensors. After completion, your FCW system must be operational.

How To Reset FCW System Failed?

Whenever the FCW error message appears, you should immediately switch off your engine. Let a few minutes pass before restarting your car.  Typically, this will reset your system and remove the error notice. However, if this doesn’t resolve the problem and a warranty still covers your vehicle, you should get it examined by a skilled technician or dealership.

Tips For Using The FCW System

For the effective operation of your Forward-collision Warning System, you must be aware of how to use it. Below are a few tips on how to get the most out of your FCW System feature.

Clean Your Sensors

Your FCW system’s sensors might get obstructed by snow or ice; therefore, be sure to remove any accumulation from the sensors before hitting the road.

Be Aware Of The Sensor’s Location

If you’re confused about the placement of your FCW sensors, you can always consult your owner’s handbook or the dealership.

Don’t Rely Entirely on FCW System

Some FCW capabilities are susceptible to light at daybreak and sundown; thus, you shouldn’t rely only on this function alone. Always focus on the road when driving since rear-end collisions are the most prevalent form of accident.


Your vehicle’s FCW system is an essential safety function. Once it fails, you might not know that a crash is near. This technology intends to avoid disasters; therefore, you’re likely in danger if it fails. If your FCW system malfunctions while driving, use extreme caution and focus on any possible risks. Quickly seek emergency assistance in case of an accident.

If your FCW error message appears, you must immediately switch off your engine and only restart your car after a couple of minutes. Typically, this will reboot your system and remove the problem notification.


Can I deactivate my FCW system?

Most FCW systems are active by default at rates over 10mph. You can disable your system by tapping your FCW system switch or by accessing your FCW settings on the information display of your car.

Is there an FCW System Failed recall?

There are no said recalls related to this problem. However, if the warranty still covers your vehicle, the best action is to see your car dealer.

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