What Does Honda’s ‘ECON’ Button Do & When to Use it?

Honda Econ Button

If you drive a Honda vehicle, you might be tempted to push that ECON button, but should you? It’s supposed to make the drive more efficient, but there are clear times when it is appropriate to use and others when it should be avoided. 

We take a closer look at what the Honda ECON button does and when you should consider pushing it. With our guidelines, you can ensure the most efficient drive possible. 

What Does Honda’s ECON Button Do?

  • Adjusts Throttle Response
  • Limits Shifting Behavior
  • Reduces A/C System Capacity
  • Reduces Fuel Injection

1. Adjusts Throttle Response

ECON mode helps the vehicle consume less fuel by adjusting the throttle response. This is especially important when accelerating. 

While the ECON mode will ensure that lower and higher-level throttle responses remain unaffected, the mid-range behavior is altered. The only difference you might see will be if you attempt to accelerate while cruising on the highway. 

2. Limits Shifting Behavior

By frequently shifting up and down, the car’s fuel economy suffers. However, the ECON mode ensures that the transmission only shifts when it is really necessary.

By altering the shift points, the vehicle runs more efficiently. On the other hand, if you are driving on hilly terrain with your cruise control on, the ECON mode also limits downshifting, so you will sacrifice some speed. 

3. Reduces A/C System Capacity

When it is hot outside, you rely on a powerful air conditioning system to keep you cool. However, this system uses a good amount of fuel to run and can hurt the efficiency of your vehicle. 

ECON mode reduces the use of the air conditioning system. While you will still be able to run it, the system isn’t going to cool the cabin as quickly. On the bright side, you will save more fuel, keeping some extra cash in your pocket.

4. Reduces Fuel Injection

The fuel injectors are responsible for delivering gas to the engine, allowing internal combustion to work the way it should. Without the fuel injectors, the gas wouldn’t be able to get to the motor, where it creates power.

Depending on how you are using your vehicle, the amount of fuel needed varies. By activating the ECON mode, the amount of fuel injected into the engine gets reduced. While this helps your vehicle use less gas, it can also lead to performance issues if you need to accelerate quickly. 

RELATED: How to Enter Honda Security Radio Code

When to Use the Honda ECON Button

Econ Button

There’s a time and place when the ECON button should be pressed. If you find yourself in these driving conditions, consider taking advantage of the fuel-saving mode offered by Honda.

  • Cruising on the highway at a steady speed
  • Traveling through the city under normal conditions
  • Driving across flat terrain
  • Nothing is being towed by your vehicle
  • The day isn’t unbearably warm, so you don’t need maximum air conditioning power

A little experimentation will help you determine when the ECON button is right for you. If you push it and aren’t satisfied with the performance, it’s just as easy to turn back off. 

When Not to Use the Honda ECON Button

Honda Econ Button

Knowing the appropriate times to use the ECON mode can help you maximize fuel efficiency without losing any valuable performance. However, there are clear times when you don’t want to attempt activating this mode. 

For starters, when you enter the highway, you need all the power the car has. Using the ECON mode now will only limit the throttle response and reduce downshifting. You might have trouble getting the vehicle up to speed quickly enough during these moments. 

RELATED: How to Reset the Oil Life Percentage in Your Honda

Additionally, if you need to pass a vehicle on the highway, you need all the speed you can find. Instead of using the ECO mode, it’s best to allow the engine the flexibility to pump out as much power as possible.

If you are driving on steep inclines or hilly terrain, you don’t want to activate the ECON mode. This drive mode reduces downshifting and limits power. As you hit the incline, your car will lose speed and end up consuming more fuel in the long run. 

On top of that, when you tow with your Honda, you need maximum power and torque. The engine and transmission need to operate as they were designed. With ECON mode, you are going to reduce power and make it harder to tow. In the end, the vehicle will likely use more fuel and cause additional wear on the engine. 

Finally, it doesn’t make sense to activate the ECON mode when you need the air conditioning. When the weather is brutal, you want maximum cooling power. You won’t be willing to trade this in exchange for superior fuel economy because you don’t want to show up at work covered in sweat. Additionally, when the ECON mode is activated on a hot day, the air conditioning system actually works harder, trying to keep up without full power. This condition leads to reduced fuel economy and excess wear on the A/C components. 

Written by: Magnus Sellén

Founder, owner & main author of Mechanic Base. I have been repairing cars for more than 10 years, specialized in advanced diagnostics & troubleshooting. I have also been a drifting driver and mechanic for over 7 years.