How to Fix FCW System Failed? | What is the FCW System?

The FWC system (Forward Collision Warning system) is a safety feature used in modern vehicles. It monitors a possible collision ahead of the vehicle and sends a warning signal both audibly and visually to let know the driver to press the brakes to avoid a collision. The FCW system usually has a radar sensor and a camera. However, whenever your FCW system goes bad, an FCW system failed message will appear on your vehicle dashboard. This article explains the causes of a bad FCW system, its replacement cost, and how to fix it.

What is the Honda FCW System?

The FCW system stands for the forward collision warning system. The forward collision warning (FCW) system is one of the most important safety features that use data from various vehicle sensors to monitor the road ahead of the driver.

This system takes information from different sensors, including radars, lasers, and cameras, to prevent the vehicle from collisions. When the FCW system of the vehicle detects a collision, it warns the driver to avoid the accident.

FCW System, forward collision warning system

The forward collision warning system sends a warning to the driver in the form of a visual warning, wheel vibration, or an alarm. According to the vehicle model, the vehicle may automatically brake if the driver doesn’t respond to the FCW system message.

This warning is intended to enable the driver to respond quickly and avoid the collision. But in different situations, the system assists the driver by gently braking or steering to slow down the vehicle.

What does the FCW System Failed message mean?

The “FCW system failed” message indicates that the FCW (front collision warning) system of your car has gone bad.

FCW System Failed message

As we discussed above, the front collision warning system of your vehicle is an important safety unit that warns the driver about a coming-up collision while driving. This warning assists you in taking the required moves to avoid a collision with an obstacle ahead. When your FCW system goes bad, it will not warn you about a possible collision.

Honda Odyssey and Honda Accord are the two most common Honda vehicles that frequently trigger the FCW system failed message. When you see the FCW system failed message on your vehicle dashboard, you should stop driving and fix it as soon as possible.  

Causes of FCW System Failure

The efficient working of the FCW system is very important to ensure the safety of the vehicle. Your FCW (forward collision warning) goes bad due to one or more of the below-given causes:

  • Harsh weather
  • Normal wear
  • Dirty sensors
  • Faulty camera or sensor
  • Physical damage
  • Computer system issues
  • Extreme temperature

1) Harsh Weather

Bad weather is one of the most common causes of FCW system failure. Driving in harsh weather such as heavy snow or rain may cause the forward collision warning system to incorrectly assume a collision is possible and cause the system to malfunction.

Therefore, you should adopt some extra caution while driving in bad weather conditions. But if the FCW system does not warn you, you should stop the vehicle and turn off the engine as soon as possible. You should always properly inspect the system for damage before driving and make sure everything is in order.

2) Normal Wear

Like other auto parts, the radar sensor may wear out with the passage of time. Therefore, you should regularly inspect and maintain the parts of your vehicle.

You may not see major damage to the sensor, but it may need replacement. When your sensors start producing problems, you should contact a professional to find the main problem.

3) Dirty Sensors

A dirty sensor or camera is one of the main causes of a bad FCW system. The dirt may build up in the sensor when you drive the vehicle on a muddy road or leave the vehicle unwashed for an extended period of time.

When the radar sensor or camera is covered with mud or dust, it doesn’t work efficiently and your FCW system may show you the wrong reading.

Therefore, you should regularly clean the interior of your vehicle or the front area of your radar sensors or camera.

4) Faulty Camera or Sensor

Your vehicle’s camera and sensors play a big role in ensuring the proper working of the FCW system. A faulty sensor or camera is one of the major causes of the “FCW system failed message.” A camera or sensor may go bad hastily without any reason or fault. Even if you regularly inspect and maintain the car, the sensors or camera may spontaneously fail.

When the camera or sensor goes bad, it sends a signal on the vehicle dashboard to warn the driver about the issue. To ensure safety, you should immediately react and fix the issue.  

5) Physical Damage

The physical damage of the FCW system is one of the major causes of its failure. In case of a collision, the radar sensor or camera can be damaged and become unusable.

Therefore, you should properly inspect your car after every accident, no matter how minor. If the sensor or camera is damaged badly, you should replace it as soon as possible.

6) Computer System Issues

A computer system is used to run the forward collision warning system. In this computer, specific software is used that is designed through special programming. This software is prone to crash.

Some auto manufacturers can update the software to fix the problem. Otherwise, reprogramming is required.

7) Extreme Temperature

In some cases, this system goes bad due to the extreme temperature of your vehicle engine. If the temperature of the engine is extreme and the FCW system warning light illuminates, park the car in the safe area and wait for a few minutes to cool the engine. When your engine temperature becomes normal, start driving.  

FCW Sensor Location

The location of the FCW sensor varies according to the vehicle model. In most models, the FCW sensor is usually located at the front of the car because this is an area where the collision happens.

However, the FCW sensors of some models are located in the grille or near the headlights. If your system also has a camera, it may be located on or near the windshield. However, you should check your vehicle manual to find the exact location of the FCW sensors and cameras. 

How to fix FCW System Failed?

Follow the below-given steps to fix if you want to fix your bad FCW system:

  • If your car is hot, turn on the air conditioning and make sure the windshield is off for just 5 to 10 minutes. The light will go out when the internal of your car cools down. This will make it work properly again.
  • Inspect the electrical connections of the speed sensor and replace them if needed.
  • If the problem is caused by a spare part, replace it.
  • Reset the ECU SOURCE if there is no access to the computer.
  • If your vehicle’s computer can’t be accessed, simply reset the ECU SOURCE.
  • If the “FCW system failed” message appears regularly (e.g., more than once in a race) in the absence of mud, rain, snow, or other obstacles, contact your authorized dealer and realign the radar sensor.

How to remain safe while driving with failed FCW System

The FCW system is one of the best methods to improve driving safety, but this is not a 100% perfect method. To improve the safety of yourself and others, it is important to be aware of safety inside and outside your car at all times.

As a driver, keep the below-given guidelines in your mind while driving with a faulty FCW system:

  • Avoid distractions while driving.
  • In order to maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you, you should keep a distance of at least 4 seconds or more from the moment of the vehicle in front passes the reference point to the moment your vehicle passes the same point.
  • Don’t drive your car while drunk or using any substance that impairs your ability to drive excellently.

FCW System Replacement Cost

The repair or replacement cost of the FCW system varies according to the vehicle model, labor cost, and your living area. If you just want cleaning of the FCW sensor, you will need to pay about $70 to $100. However, if your system is damaged severely, you will have to pay $1,400 or more. This is one of the most expensive systems.

FAQ Section

What is a FCW System?

The FCW system is one of the most important safety features that uses data from the vehicle’s radar sensors to monitor the road ahead of the vehicle. This system monitors different obstacles like roadblocks, vehicles, and other immovable obstacles ahead of the driver. 

It measures the vehicle’s speed and calculates its distance from the upcoming stationary or moving bodies. If the car reaches very close to an obstacle where the driver may need to use emergency braking, the FCW system will warn the driver about the possible accident.

Where is the FCW system located?

The location of the FCW system varies according to the vehicle model. It uses different cameras and sensors to monitor the obstacles ahead of the vehicle. This system has a camera installed between the rearview and windshield. This camera warns the driver when it observes that the car can hit the car detected in front of it.

It also contains a radar sensor. This sensor is usually installed at the front of the car, just behind the lower grille below the front bumper.

Can I drive with the FCW system failed message?

Yes, you can drive with a bad FCW system. When your FCW system goes bad, it will not prevent you from driving, but it isn’t safe to drive with a faulty FCW system. If you want to continue driving with a bad forward-collision warning system, you need to be very careful.

Why is my FCW light on?

The FCW warning light indicates that there is something wrong with the forward collision warning system. To determine what caused the warning light to come on, use a scanner to scan the trouble code and properly diagnose the problem.  

Can I turn off the FCW System?

Yes, you can turn off the forward collision warning system by following the below-given steps:

  • First of all, press the settings button. This button is located on the instrument panel just below the infotainment screen.
  • Now choose the “Vehicle Settings” option from the infotainment screen.
  • Go to the “Driver Assist System” tab.
  • Now pick the “Forward Collision Warning Distance” option.
  • Select “Off” to deactivate the FCW system. By selecting this option, your forward collision warning system will be deactivated.

Which car models use the FCW System?

Various car brands have various types of radar collision systems, but the Forward Collision Warning (FCW) system is the Honda brand. This indicates that the FCW system is only installed in modern Honda vehicles, but this system is also used in some other brands that use the Honda system. 

What does FCW unavailable service required to mean?

If the instrument cluster displays “FCW Unavailable Service Required,” it indicates that something is temporarily limiting the operation of the system. This issue can be caused by poor visibility, especially when driving in salty areas, mud, snow, or rain.

What are the causes of the FCW system failed message?

  • Harsh weather
  • Extreme temperature
  • Normal wear
  • Computer system issues
  • Dirty sensors
  • Physical damage
  • Faulty camera or sensor
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