If you drive Honda cars, you know the Honda Automaker’s efforts in technological advancement. Honda has been one of the leading automakers in safety and fuel-saving features in their new car models. This is why you will see several light indicators on the instrument cluster or any display your car is equipped with. One of the notorious warnings is the Honda Pilot VTM-4 code.

But what’s the purpose of having all these warnings on the dashboard? Wouldn’t they bring a nightmare? In fact, the warning indicators are very helpful. Let’s look at the advantages of these warnings:

  • They warn you earlier if the car system has some faults, saving you from accidents.
  • They inform you of the car system faults to fix them before it faces further damage.
  • They ease your driving since the system can detect road conditions and inform you of the gears and speed to use.

As a rule of thumb, the new technological advancements in modern cars make driving easier and more enjoyable. And one of these favorite systems is the Honda Pilot VTM-4 system. Let’s dive deeper and learn more.

What Does VTM-4 Mean in Honda Pilot?

VTM4 stands for the Honda Variable Torque Management 4-Wheel Drive System. The system controls the torque required by all car wheels to enhance better traction. VTM4 system is also beneficial for safety and fuel saving. Read on how to use VTM-4 on Honda Pilot on the next topic.

Further Explanation of How the VTM-4 System works

Honda Pilot VTM4 is a lightweight all-wheel drive and essential system. It is connected to a single-speed torque transfer device. The device is directly connected to the transaxles, and the two electromagnetic clutch packs are fixed on both sides of the rear differential.

The VTM4 system doesn’t work all the time. In normal weather or a smooth road, the car engine powers only the permanently connected front wheels. The rear wheels spin freely until the computer system commands the torque transfer unit to power them.

Once the system detects that the front wheels are turning faster due to slippage or other weather conditions, the rear electromagnetic clutch packs lock to send power to the rear wheels. Eventually, the car attains maximum traction.

Further Explanation of How the VTM-4 System works: photo

So, the VTM4 system becomes effective in rocky, snowy, muddy, or sandy terrains. Additionally, the driver can activate the system instead of operating automatically by pressing the VTM4 lock. In this situation, the system operates fully. It’s recommendable when driving on a slope.

How Do You Engage VTM-4 Lock On A Honda Pilot?

Once you enter severe terrains, you must lock the VTM-4 system to operate full-time. And to engage the lock, follow the following instructions:

  • Stop your Honda Pilot car or drive it slower than 18mph.
  • Ensure the shift lever is on first or second gear. It’s also fine for the reverse gear if the car is reversing.
  • Press the VTM 4 lock button between the instrument panel and the radio.
  • Check if the button indicator light is on. The car will be using four wheels to tackle the aggressive terrain.

Engage VTM-4 Lock On A Honda Pilot: photo

How Do You Disengage VTM-4 Lock On A Honda Pilot?

It’s only advisable to lock the VTM4 system when necessary because full-time use can result in rear differential damage. So, here is how you can disengage the lock after completing the tough terrain:

  1. Park the car in a safe place.
  2. Press the VTM-4 lock button until the light goes off.
  3. Move the shift lever to “D” Drive.
  4. Turn the ignition switch to “LOCK” or “0” position. Your car will be back to VTM-4 auto mode.

Note that you cannot completely turn off the VTM-4 system. You either have to drive on full-time locked or the automatic.

Honda VTM4 System Advancement: i-VTM4

Intelligent Variable Torque Management (i-VTM4) is an advanced system that appeared in the 2015 third-generation Honda Pilot. The i-VTM4 combines two Honda technological systems; VTM4 and the Active Torque Transfer System (ATTS).

While the VTM-4 handles power distribution between the front and the rear wheels’ axles, the ATTS manages power distribution between each wheel in an axle. When combined, the two systems provide a basis for torque vectoring.

What Does VTM-4 Light Mean?

Honda Pilot check engine light VTM 4 glowing means the system is active to help the car handle difficult terrain. However, if the light glows even in the normal track condition, you should check if the lock is engaged. In case the lock isn’t engaged, then the system may be malfunctioning or receiving wrong commands from the computer.

VTM-4 Light: photo


What Causes a VTM-4 Light to Come On Unnecessarily?

VTM-4 light can turn on when the car tires are underinflated. Also, a damaged rear differential or faulty knock sensors can illuminate the light. Normally, the VTM-4 light and check engine light Honda Pilot illuminate concurrently. Let’s dive deeper into every possible cause and learn more:

1. Stale Transmission Fluid

The transmission system and the VTM-4 system work closely. If the transmission system is faulty, it will send less power, and the VTM-4 system will activate continuously. One of the main causes of transmission problems is stale transmission fluid. The fluid expires like other substances, and you can detect it by its color and smell. Ideally, check the paperwork to note the normal color and smell.

If the transmission fluid is stale, drain and refill it with fresh manufacturer-recommended fluid.

2. Front Oxygen Sensor Failure

The oxygen sensor influences the engine’s power because it helps determine the fuel-air ratio. As such, if the sensor is damaged, less power is transferred to the wheel, and the VTM-4 light on Honda Pilot will illuminate.

Normally, you will notice other symptoms that come with the faulty sensor, like the engine misfire, poor gas mileage, and right idling. To test the oxygen or VTM 4 sensor, carry out the following procedure:

Step 1: Set your multimeter to resistance.
Step 2: Connect the multimeter leads to the heater power.
Step 3: Ground the connection wires.
Step 4: The resistance should read 10Ω to 20Ω.

3. Faulty Idle Air Control Valve

This valve is also associated with the engine power. If it malfunctions, your car engine will have less power, and the VTM-4 system will activate. The valve is mounted on the throttle body or the intake manifold. Here is how you can test it:

Step 1: Remove the screws holding the valve to the intake manifold or the throttle body and unplug electrical connections
Step 2: Set your multimeter to resistance.
Step 3: Touch each end of the valve with the multimeter leads. The reading should be between 0.00 to 0.05. A higher reading indicates a faulty valve.

Faulty Idle Air Control Valve: photo

Step 4: Check for any dirt inside if the reading is within the accepted range and clean it.
Step 5: Reinstall the valve and allow the engine to idle for a few minutes. This will enable the valve to read the correct airflow for the engine.

4. Low Oil in the Engine

The engine oil level and quality impact the whole performance. As such, it can cause the VTM-4 system to activate unnecessarily. Check the engine oil level and quality, then top up or drain and add fresh oil. A contaminated oil has dirty debris and black color.

5. Tire Pressure is Not Even On All the Tires

Low tire pressure affects the tire grip on the road, and the VTM-4 system can activate. Actually, low tire pressure is the leading cause of the VTM-4 problems since the computer system will activate it even on normal terrain.

Any time to notice the light for a long period, try to balance your car tires with the recommended pressure and check if the issue is solved.

In summary, low engine performance will activate the VTM-4 system. As such, ensure your vehicle is well serviced to have your system work efficiently.

How Do I Clear the VTM-4 Light?

The Honda Pilot VTM-4 system is automatic and doesn’t need much drive input. However, if you are confident that everything is okay, you can try to restart the system. Here is the procedure:

Step 1: Park the car and shift to parking mode (P).
Step 2: Turn off the engine and wait for a few seconds or a minute.
Step 3: Turn on the engine and shift back the lever to drive (D).
Step 4: Drive the car and confirm the system has reverted to automatic operation.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

What Is Honda i-VTM4?

The Honda i-VTM4 (Intelligent Variable Torque management) system is an advancement of the standard VTM4. It first appeared in the 2015 third-generation Honda Pilot and is currently implemented in models like the Honda passport and Ridgeline. This advanced system combines two Honda technologies; the VTM-4 and the Active Torque transfer system (ATTS). The VTM-4 handles power distribution between the front and rear axles, while ATTS handles the power distribution between each wheel in the axle.

Is it safe to drive with VTM-4 light on?

If the light illuminates on a tough terrain or you have chosen to lock the differential, then there is no problem. But if there are other internal faults, you must check your car.

Can I Turn Off the VTM-4 System in My Car?

No. The system has no option to turn it off. You either drive the car on its normal automatic mode or lock it to handle tough terrains.

What Does the VTM-4 Light Mean?

VTM-4 light on means the system is activated to handle the tough terrain. Also, it can turn on when you lock the system. In another case, several engine and transmission faults can also cause the light to appear.

Wrapping Up

The Honda Pilot check engine light VTM-4 shouldn’t worry you because it means the system is activated to enable the car to handle challenging terrains. However, the system shouldn’t activate all time; rather, it should work on slippery roads. Suppose the issue is complicated; take the car to the professional for diagnosis.