What Does FCW System Failed Mean?

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The FCW system is one of the advanced innovations integrated into new cars as a “safety feature.” It works to notify the driver of a potential “forward collision” so the driver can slow down and drive more carefully.

However, the FCW system may fail due to different reasons, and when it fails, a notification will appear on your dashboard. But what does FCW system failed mean?

In a nutshell, it means that the FCW system sensor has failed and needs replacement. The majority of FCW system failure reports were linked to Honda vehicles, but the system is available in other cars; so, even if you don’t drive a Honda, there are chances you could get the FCW system failure notification too.

What Does the FCW System Do?

FCW – Frontal Collision Warning – is a safety system installed in modern cars to monitor upfront situations and notify drivers of a potential clash or collision with an object in front. The system works to alert drivers of their speed level and the possibility of hitting an object that’s ahead (if they continue at that speed.

Every vehicle’s FCW system is built quite differently depending on the manufacturer, but the purpose remains the same.

Notwithstanding, the FCW system comprises cameras (installed in the front and sides of the vehicle), radar sensors, and lasers. Information from the system is sent to the ECU, which sends the notification to your car’s infotainment screen.

Also, depending on your vehicle’s manufacturer, the warning signs of the FCW system vary; for some vehicles, the system would let out an audible “beep” sound, while on some vehicles, you’d only see the notification appear on the infotainment’s screen.

Not forgetting, on some vehicles, you’d notice that the steering wheel vibrates a little bit just to draw your attention.

Furthermore, in some vehicles, you can adjust how the FCW works. For example, you can turn off the feature or set it to notify you of long or short-distance collisions. But it is advisable to leave the configurations at the default settings – as set by the manufacturer.

Basically, the FCW system is a driver-assist technology, which can also be mentioned as part of the safety systems in a modern car. But then, the FCW system can fail, and when it does, you may see the “FCW system failed” notification appears on your car’s center console.

What Does FCW System Failed Mean?

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The notification means the FCW system in your vehicle has failed (stopped working) and needs to be fixed. There are several reasons why the system may have failed – majorly due to extreme weather conditions or the sensor has stopped working.

In literal terms, the FCW system failed alert means you won’t be notified of potential incoming collisions as you drive. The FCW system is pretty important to many drivers – especially those that easily get distracted; the FCW system can help to get back their focus on the road and avoid a potential collision or accident.

If you were driving in an extremely cold climate or high-heat climate when the FCW failure notification showed up, you might just have to park the car at a safe place – for a while – and let the car cool down a bit; then, you can continue driving.

Why Did The FCW System Failure Message Appear?

1. Extreme Climate

Bad weather can cause the FCW cameras or sensors not to function properly, which could trigger the FCW failure light or notification to appear on your dashboard. Driving in extremely hot or cold weather contributes to the FCW system’s failure.

2. Dirty or Failed Sensor

The location of the FCW sensor isn’t easily visible, but the sensor can still get dirty in its haven. So, when you get the FCW failure notification, one of the things you should check is the sensor. Well, it may not be a dirty sensor – maybe the sensor failed (got spoilt).

3. Faulty Camera

The FCW system uses a set of cameras and sensors to function and provide signals for an imminent collision. Thus, if the camera(s) are bad, the system won’t be able to do its job perfectly; hence, the failure notification is showing on your dashboard.

4. Physical Damage

Physical damage on one of the FCW cameras or sensors would cause the system to throw up an error notification on the dashboard.

So, you may want to look at the FCW sensor and camera(s) for possible physical damage. If this is the case, you’d need to replace the damaged camera or sensor. The replacement isn’t a costly repair anyway.

Where are The FCW Sensor and Cameras Located?

While there is no particular location to find the sensor and cameras in different vehicles, they are typically installed in the front of the vehicle where they can easily monitor and sense what’s happening up front.

In most vehicles, the FCW sensor(s) are installed close to the headlights, while the cameras are installed around the windshield. Check your car’s owner’s manual to know the exact location of the sensors and cameras in your vehicle.

Can You Drive With a Failed FCW System?

Well, although the design and privileges may differ on different vehicles, the FCW system failure won’t make your car stop driving; it has no direct connection with the drivetrain.

When the system fails, it simply means you should be more concentrated when driving, as there’d be no warning if you’re approaching an obstacle.

If you’ve gotten used to the FCW system warnings of a potential collision, its failure may affect your driving. But the fact remains that you can still drive with a failed FCW system. So, when the notification pops up on your dashboard, don’t get skeptical; keep driving and attend to the situation at your convenience.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Fix/Reset FCW System Failure?

The truth is that you should have a professional auto mechanic or electrician reset or recalibrate your vehicle’s FCW system if you get the FCW system failure alert. Yeah, that’s because most auto scanners cannot be used to reset the system; instead, you need to use some specific tools, which, of course, require some level of mastery before you can operate them.

Can You Turn Off FCW?

Yeah, sure, you can turn off the setting if you feel like you don’t need it anymore. The procedure to turn it off differs by vehicle. However, the option should be available on the driver assistance suite’s settings page. So, you access the Driver Assist System settings page and turn off the FCW system.

Why Would The FCW Fail?

Bad weather, faulty wiring, traffic conditions, ECU failure, FCW sensor/camera failure, and physical damage to any of the FCW system components are some of the widely known causes of FCW system failure. This is common with Honda Accord and Odyssey vehicles.


Conclusively, what does FCW system failure mean? It means your car’s FCW system has stopped working, and you won’t receive further notifications about an impending collision or accident – the failure of the FCW system calls for more concentration while driving.

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