Modern automakers have one thing in mind when manufacturing cars: safety and comfort. With the increasing number of vehicles on our roads, accidents are experienced daily. This has led to the need for safety features through various technology implementations. Some cars have an FCW which stands for Forward Collision Warning (FCW). While many car manufacturers have not perfected the feature, others, like Tesla, have gone further to add automatic emergency braking when the system detects a collision danger on the front. The forward Collision Warning feature has been well embraced since the innovation. And many car owners view it as a beneficial feature for car occupants and pedestrians. However, this innovative safety technology has some drawbacks, just like any computer system. And one major concern with many car owners is the FCW system failed warning sign. Let’s learn more about FCW car meaning in the next topics:

 What Does the FCW System Failed Message Mean?

FCW system failed, or the LDW system failed message means your vehicle's forward collision warning or lane departure warning system has malfunctioned. As such, the car system will not notify you or work effectively to save your car from a collision. In most cases, the system may fail to function due to minor issues you can fix. But in other cases, you may need a specialist to restore your system to function normally. What are some of the major causes of the FCW system failure? Most of the causes are mechanical and electrician issues, especially with the Honda FCW system failed. We will cover the causes in detail. Read on!

How the FCW System Works

What does FCW mean in a car? It means a computer system that assists the driver in avoiding collision dangers behind the wheel. Different car manufacturers have their unique FCW systems. And some are more advanced than others. For instance, Honda car models have FCW systems that only warn the driver to take action. On the other hand, some models like Tesla and Volvo are more advanced with their autopilot features. The system detects a collision danger and applies emergency brakes automatically. In this article, let’s look at two different car manufacturers' approaches to this safety innovation. One used simple features, while the other used advanced features. Let’s take Honda and Tesla.

Honda FCW System

The Honda manufacturer has installed several sensors on the car bumpers and the camera on the windscreen. The front bumpers sensors use radar technology to detect any slow-moving car or a stationary object at the front of the car. Honda FCW System: photo   On the upper side of the windshield and behind the rearview mirror is a wide-view camera that records the activities at the front of your car. When the radar sensors and the camera records the signals, they send the information to the Electronic Control Unit (ECU), a computer system that controls numerous car systems. According to the programming, the ECU interprets both signals and concludes there might be a collision danger in front. Then, it alerts the driver with a Honda FCW warning, a dashboard warning message, a warning sound, or both. The Honda FCW system has no combination of an automatic emergency brake. It’s the responsibility of a driver to take action and avoid a collision.

Tesla FCW System

FCW Tesla system is included in an advanced feature named Collision Avoidance Assist. The car models use ultrasonic sensors that measure the distance of the target object by emitting ultrasonic sound waves. Afterward, the sound waves are converted into electrical signals for interpretation. Additionally, the Tesla manufacturer has added cameras in the autopilot system to work with ultrasonic sensors. The Collision Avoidance Assist has two features, and it responds in steps. See the explanation below: Forward Collision Warning - the car sensors and cameras detect cars, motorcycles, bicycles, pedestrians, and other objects. Then, signals are sent to the ECU for interpretation, and the system warns you with a sound and a red indicator on the infotainment screen. Automatic Emergency Braking - the automatic emergency braking activates if the driver takes no action after the warning. This braking feature is designed to reduce the car's speed slowly depending on factors like the speed the car is moving and the environment. Automatic Emergency Braking: photo Again when the automatic brake activates, there is a warning sound and light on the screen. Additionally, the brake pedal moves downward, and the rear brake lights turn on to alert other road users. It’s important to note that the automatic brakes won’t turn on if:
  • You sharply sway the steering wheel.
  • You press and release the brake pedal.
  • You accelerate while the automatic braking activates.

Common Causes of FCW System Failure

FCW systems in various car models fail due to wear and tear, software update issues, and physical damage. Below we have compiled a list based on our experience with modern cars' FCW systems:
  1. Wear and Tear - with time, components like sensors, cameral and electrical wiring can wear. That’s the reason manufacturer recommends regular maintenance and change of the components once they serve in the car for a certain duration or mileage.
  2. Software failure - as with most computer systems, the software can fail and cause the whole system to fail or respond incorrectly. Most possible software failure causes are delayed or failed updates or bugs.
  3. Dirty sensors - most radar sensors are located at the lower part of the front or rear bumpers. The area is prone to dust and grime, which can block the sensors from detecting objects.
  4. Physical damages - sometimes, cars get involved in minor accidents that do not need much repair. But in these instances, the sensors can get damaged and expose you to collision dangers.
  5. Bad weather - there are reported cases of camera and sensor ineffectiveness when it’s raining and driving on a muddy road. The rain and fog block these devices, causing them to send wrong signals. Also, there are several reported cases of camera failure during hot seasons. The cabin overheats and affects the camera functionality.
Common Causes of FCW System Failure: photo

FCW System Failed; How to Fix It

You can fix most minor causes of the FCW system failure. For instance, if the system fails due to bad weather, you can park the car and wait for the rain to stop before resuming your journey. Let’s look at how to fix FCW system failed warning: Weather issue - if the camera fails due to the extremely hot cabin, you can park the car, roll down the windows and wait for a few minutes before resuming your journey. On the other hand, if the camera is blocked by chilly or rainy weather, you can turn on the windshield wipers for a clear view. However, if you are driving on a muddy road, schedule several stops to wipe the sensor locations off the mud and grime. Dirty sensors - check the sensor locations and wipe off mud, dust, salt, and grime using a microfiber cloth and soapy water. Always use a soft cloth to avoid damaging the camera or sensors. Note that most modern cars have back and front cameras. They also have blind spots, parking, and other sensors located within the exterior. Dirty sensors: photo   Software failure - if the software misbehaves, park the car in a safe area and turn off the engine. Then, disconnect the negative battery terminal for about 30 minutes and reconnect. This allows the computer system to reboot and load all the software features. However, you must visit the nearest dealer for updates if the software fails. Physical damages and Wear - always visit a specialist to have your sensors, cameras, and electrical wiring repaired or replaced. As a rule of thumb, try all the above fixing methods if you are unsure where the fault is within the system. But if the FCW failure warning doesn’t go off, visit a specialist to have it fixed.

How Do I Recalibrate My FCW?

Recalibrating the FCW system involves the cameras and the sensors. If you had your windshield or the bumpers replaced, you will need a specialist to recalibrate the sensors and the cameras. The dealer shops have sensors and camera dynamic or static aiming machines that help to perfect the view or the radar distances. The specialist activates the parking brakes and turns off the DRLs and headlights before starting. Then, the cameras are aimed at specific locations and permanently fixed. Also, the system may need a reset at this time. The specialist will use high-tech code scanners to assist in resetting the system. Once they are done, the warning light will go off.

Why FCW System Failed is Dangerous

The FCW system warning is a safety feature added to the car by the manufacturer to assist the driver in case of collision dangers. Ignoring the FCW system's failed warning puts you and other road users in danger, so you should have the problem fixed immediately. What if FCW system failed check engine light illuminates in an area without a repair shop around? Drive carefully and at a lower speed until you get to the nearest repair shop. Always watch the potential hazards since you may have been used to driving the car with the system activated.

Can a Bad ABS Modulator or VSA Module Cause this Message?

Yes. A bad ABS modulator or VSA module will illuminate the FCW failed warning light. This is because the ABS and VSA are connected to the ACW system in most car models to help avoid a collision. Sometimes, a software update or an ECU reboot can solve the issue.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):


How Do I Turn Off My FCW Honda Accord?

If you don’t intend to use the FCW system or the FCW system failed Honda warning sign keeps pissing you off, you can follow the following guideline to turn it off:

Step 1: Search the settings button below the dashboard screen on your Honda accord. Then, select the vehicle settings option on the screen.
Step 2: Navigate to the driver assist setup and select the forward collision warning distance option.
Step 3: Select the OFF button to turn off the FCW system and press the back button to exit the menu.

The system will not give a warning in the case of Collision. But FCW light Honda Accord will never piss you off. Be extra keen if you drive at higher speeds.


Where is the FCW Sensor Located?

In most car models, FCW sensors are located on the lower part of the front bumper, near the grill, or the headlights. Consult the owner’s manual if you cannot locate your car’s FCW sensors.


Can I Drive with FCW System Failed?

Yes. You can drive with the FCW system failed warning. But be very careful because you will be driving without the assistance of the collision avoidance safety feature. This can put you at high risk if you endanger the lives of other road users.


How Do I Reset My FCW?

It’s not recommendable to reset your FCW system unless you have the knowledge and all the necessary equipment. Instead, visit a repair shop and have the system reset by a professional using a diagnostic scanner. But if you don’t have the dealer around you, try a simple reset by disconnecting the negative battery terminal before seeking any other help. Ideally, disconnect the terminal for 30 minutes, and your system will reboot. Suppose the warning light doesn’t go off; you need professional help.


Why is My FCW Off?

Most car manufacturers have made the FCW system with ON and OFF options. You can locate the settings by selecting the driver assist button and forward collision warning distance. Afterward, you can choose to enable or disable the safety feature. This process varies with the car model. For instance, if you drive a Honda Accord or Honda Odyssey models, their settings buttons are located on the steering wheel. So, you can easily press the buttons and turn off the feature unknowingly.


What Does FCW Unavailable Service Required to Mean?

FCW unavailable service required on display means certain conditions are altering the functionality of the FCW system. Such temporary conditions can be rain, fog, mud, dust, or grime. The system requires you to clean the sensor areas or turn on the windshield wipers.

Final Word From Auto-Tool Box

You have learned what is FCW in a car. And FCW system failed warning means the Forward Collision Detection system is malfunctioning. In this case, the system cannot warn or save you from collision until the issue is fixed. Normally, fixing the issue involves simple practices like disconnecting the battery terminals, cleaning the sensors with soapy water, or allowing the cabin to cool. However, there are some cases when you require a professional, especially if you want to reset or calibrate the system. Moreover, if the system fails due to physical damage or wear, you must visit a repair shop for professional services.