Honda sensing is a group of safety systems to help drivers monitor changing road conditions. However there are growing concerns about malfunctions in the system that cause the auto-brakes to engage randomly, the radar to get confused on sunny days, and adpative cruise control forgetting to adapt.
Honda describes the system as “an intelligent suite of safety and driver-assistive technologies designed to alert you to things you might miss while driving.” It includes:
- Lane keeping assist which should adjust the steering to help you keep centered in a detected lane but can get blinded by the sun.
- Adaptive cruise control that maintains a comfortable interval behind detected vehicles until it doesn’t.
- Road departure mitigation adjusts steering and braking if you cross a detected lane and is also known as the I can’t believe you actually fell asleep while driving system.
- Collision mitigation braking assist which applies brake pressure when an unavoidable collision is determined or when an “unavoidable” situation is created out of thin air by the robot mind of your car.
The automaker plans to make the entire suite standard across all vehicles by 20221.
Common Problems with Honda Sensing
These technolgies are an exciting evolution in car safety. Or at least they should be.
Drivers should remember the systems are meant to assist you from driving off the road or into the back of that plow you’ve been stuck behind for 40 miles. And while they are intelligent, even inteligent technologies make mistakes which are amplified at 65mph.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common complaints about Honda Sensing. Some are annoyances, some are expensive headaches, while others can actually create more dangerous driving situations than cars without the technology.
1. Randomly brakes when it detects objects that aren’t there
There are rising concerns that the system will brake for no reason at all.
“Scared the crap out of me. Traveling along, not a vehicle within 500 feet of my vehicle to the front or the rear. No vehicles traveling near me in the opposite direction either. Was traveling at 40 mph and the car locked up the brakes on me to a complete stop. Very unsettling. I got out just to make sure that I didn’t hit anything that I didn’t see. Alas, there was nothing, just the car acting stupid.” – 2018 Accord owner in Illinois
2. Adaptive cruise control forgets to adapt
The adaptive cruise control forgets to adapt when approaching other cars and that might be due to the weather. Speaking of weather…
3. False positives due to weather
The system produces false positives on bright, sunny days and triggers warnings, particularly when driving towards the sun. This can also happen in heavy rain or fog. Additionally the system has been known to malfunction on extremely hot days.
4. Systems needs recalibration
Even a slight jostle in the radar assemblies can require recalibration. A process that can cost $3,000 bucks and for some reason isn’t covered under warranty?
“I was happy until the lights for the Honda Sensing Suite went on at around 5500 miles; the dash was inundated with warning lights that stated that the collision mitigation braking system, road departure mitigation system, and adaptive cruise control all had “problems” (which didn’t help much to narrow down the problem) … I immediately took it to the Honda dealership where I purchased the vehicle and they said that the radar and radar assembly was somehow moved upwards from below” – 2017 Accord owner in Pennsylvania
Speaking of calibration, your insurance company might cover the cost of replacing a windshield but did you know that you’ll probably still be on the hook for radar recalibration costs?
Honda Sensing Technical Service Bulletin
Many of these problems were discussed in an August 2017 bulletin titled MID Displays ACC, CMBS, LKAS, RDM, and Brake Warnings and Other Listed Symptoms. The TSB informs technicians to update the wave radar unit’s software and confirms many of the problems owners have been talking about:
- Front radar blindness due to severe weather conditions (rain, snow, fog, etc) may trigger a sporadic false “Radar Obstructed” message.
- The vehicle speed fluctuates at highway speeds when adaptive cruise control is set.
- The multipurpose camera unit temperature is too high resulting in error code DTC B2A60-98.
- The millimeter wave radar malfunctions resulting in error code DTC U12B7-00
Other areas where the system may break include:
- If there’s brake actuator malfunction (error code U0416-68) the collision mitigation system might trigger a warning.
- If the steering’s neutral position can’t be determined (error code DTC C0051-54) the lane keeping assist system might trigger a warning.
- If the integrated driver support system malfunctions (error code DTC P2583-76) due to misalignment.
Honda Sensing Lawsuits
In May of 2018, a class-action lawsuit was filed on behalf of 2017 CR-V owners. The lawsuit says that Honda Sensing, which is standard equipment for the 2017 model year, makes the SUVs more dangerous to drive due to defects in the software.
Allegedly the systems regularly cause numerous warning messages to intermittently appear, and the CR-Vs fluctuate their highway speeds without warning when adaptive cruise control is set. In addition, drivers are allegedly alerted to hit the brakes immediately although no obstructions are present.
The lawsuit points to TSB 17-064 as proof of defects.