What Does Keyless Start System Problem Mean In My Honda Pilot?

Keyless Start System Problem

Your keyless start system is a handy feature on the Honda Pilot, but it’s not immune from problems. What’s interesting is the manufacturer is aware of a keyless start system problem with Honda Pilot models, so you aren’t alone in dealing with this issue.

In this guide, we discuss what causes this Honda Pilot problem and help you discover some of the best fixes. There’s a section talking about the Honda warranty extension if you need it. We also answer your top keyless start system questions, so you don’t have to wonder anymore. 

Causes Of Keyless Start System Problems on Honda Pilot

If the keyless start system is giving you trouble on a Honda Pilot, it could be due to a bad engine start/stop switch, which is a known issue. It could also be due to low key fob battery voltage, low car battery voltage or a bad key fob. 

Let’s look at the options in-depth. 

1. Bad Engine Start/Stop Switch

engine start stop button

The most common complaint stems from a bad engine start/stop switch. This feature turns off the engine automatically when you stop and restarts it when it’s time to get moving. It’s a fuel-saving feature, but in the Honda Pilot, it’s clear that the technology hasn’t been perfected. 

With some Honda vehicles, the keyless start system can’t find the key fob. This is something that occurs when the engine start/stop system is turned off due to a bad start/stop switch. To fix it, the system must be turned back on, but it’s not that simple because the switch is defective. 

2. Low Key Fob Battery Voltage

key fob battery

If the Honda complaint is causing the issue, the next possible cause is a lack of voltage to the key fob. If the battery dies in the key fob, the system isn’t going to work. As the battery starts to die, the signal begins to weaken too.

Some people choose to replace the key fob battery at regular intervals to avoid it dying. This may not be the only solution, but it does help to watch for signs of it dying, so you can replace the battery before it causes trouble. 

3. Low Car Battery Voltage

locate battery

There’s another battery you must think about. The car battery can start to die and the keyless start system won’t work. Car batteries only last around five years, so it’s important to watch for signs that it’s dying to replace it before bigger issues start. The headlights will start to dim and electronics may fail to work normally. 

Additionally, a blown fuse can also be to blame as its part of the electrical system. The system won’t be able receive the necessary voltage to run. 

4. Bad Key Fob

open car key fob

The key fob is the part needed to start this Honda Pilot system. It’s a substitute for the generic key because it can open doors and start the engine. If you are getting a Keyless Start System Problem message in the Honda Pilot, consider an issue with the key fob.

You’ve already looked at the battery, so that’s not the issue. However, it could have endured physical damage, especially if you have dropped it or it’s been submerged in water. 

How To Fix A Keyless Start System Problem On A Honda Pilot

Once you get the Keyless Start System Problem message, it’s time to take action. This warning isn’t just meant to alarm you, it should cause you to do something. Here are the steps we would take as professional mechanics. 

1. Claim Warranty For Start/Stop Switch Problem

Honda pilot interior

This problem has been recognized in Honda technical service bulletins, so mechanics know how to fix it. If you have a warranty on your Honda Pilot, you shouldn’t need to spend any money to have it fixed. Even if you don’t have a warranty, you can use this bulletin to perform the fix.

The switch itself needs to be replaced. If you want to do the job yourself, here are the steps.

  1. Take the dashboard side lid off.
  2. Remove the trim panel.
  3. Remove the dashboard center panel.
  4. Disengage the connector.
  5. Pull off the driver’s dashboard lower cover. You may not have to remove it all the way. 
  6. Remove the screws.
  7. Disengage the wiring harness connector.
  8. Remove the switch assembly.
  9. Install your new switch.
  10. Reconnect and install everything by working in the reverse order.
  11. Check the system and clear the DTCs. 

You can find more information about this problem and fix online. It’s been a common issue among Honda owners. 

2. Change Key Fob Battery

Honda key

It’s not difficult to change the key fob battery, so you should be able to do it yourself. Start by making sure you purchase the right key fob battery to fit the enclosure. While many of them look the same, they aren’t. 

With the right battery in hand, follow these steps.

  1. Slide the button on the key fob that locks it.
  2. With a flathead screwdriver, pry the battery case open carefully. 
  3. Remove the old battery and dispose of it properly.
  4. Install your new battery.
  5. Seal the back of the key fob up again. 

Test out the key fob to see if it works. You may need to reset the DTCs to get the message off of your screen. 

3. Charge The Car Battery

If the car battery is starting to die, you may need to replace it. You can have the car battery voltage checked at your local auto parts store. If you have a voltmeter, you can also take these steps.

  1. Turn off all accessories and the ignition. Make sure your headlights aren’t on.
  2. Set the multimeter to 20V DC if it doesn’t auto-range. 
  3. Put the red (positive) lead on the red battery terminal.
  4. Put the black (negative) lead on the black battery terminal.
  5. Read the measurement. 

If the reading is below 12.4 volts, you should try charging the battery. If charging it doesn’t help, go ahead and replace it. 

4. Read Trouble Codes

read trouble codes

Today’s cars are equipped with onboard diagnostics to tell you when something is wrong. When you plug in a code scanner, you can read the trouble codes that the system has set. In general, the codes are going to be a letter and a series of numbers, such as P0300.

To the untrained eye, these codes mean nothing to you. Thankfully, you don’t need to be experienced to figure them out. With our trouble code library, you can figure out what the code is saying, so you can resolve the problem. 

5. Replace Key Fobs

If you have a spare key fob, now is the time to try it. Grab the fob and see if using that changes the warning message. If it does and you’ve already replaced the battery in your fob, it might be time to get a new one.

The cost to replace a smart key fob can be anywhere from $220 to $500. You will probably need to purchase it at the dealer and have it programmed to work with your vehicle. However, they should be able to get it done for you right away. 

6. Contact A Professional

After you’ve walked through all of the other steps, it makes sense to reach out for some help. A qualified mechanic in your area may have some more suggestions. 

It may also pay to contact a Honda specialist that understands this problem. Instead of banging your head against the wall, pay a little bit of money to have the issue fixed. 

Honda Warranty Extension

In the past, Honda has extended its warranty because of major mechanical defects. It never hurts to ask if you are struggling with a situation that hasn’t been resolved during the warranty period.

Otherwise, you may consider a third-party extended warranty for your Honda Pilot. With so many companies to choose from and a variety of plans available to you, it’s easy to customize the warranty to fit your needs. 

What can cause a Honda Pilot not to start?

If the system has a remote start, there could be something wrong with the key fob or the start/stop switch. Additionally, a dead car battery, a failing alternator and a malfunctioning starter are always causes for trouble. Aside from these common issues, any lack of fuel or spark can stop the engine from performing its normal duties. 

Why is my Honda keyless entry not working?

In most cases, the key fob simply needs a battery replacement. Carefully remove the back cover to put a new battery in and see if that fixes your situation. Otherwise, you may need a new key fob, which would require having it programmed at the dealer. 

Why does my Honda say the keyless remote is not detected?

Most often, it’s a problem with the key fob. You either need to replace the battery inside the cover or get a new key fob. In rare instances, the problem could be with the keyless remote system itself, which is much more complicated and costly to repair. 

How do I reset my Honda key fob?

Some Honda models make it easy to reset the key fob, which keeps you from having to visit a dealership. To find directions for your model, look in the service manual or perform an online search that includes the model year and make of your vehicle. 

The Keyless Start System Problem on Honda Pilot models is not normally a major issue, even though the automaker has issued bulletins on it. By replacing the switch, key fob battery, the key fob itself or the car battery, you should be able to get rid of the pesky message. 

Follow in the footsteps of those of us that have gone before you and start with the obvious solutions first. Hopefully, your first fix will be your last and you will be back to enjoying your Pilot once again.


Categories: Troubleshooting, Warning Lights

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