Are one or both of the ABS and/or VSA dash lights on your Honda as shown below staying on all the time? Have you recently had a dead or weak battery and couldn’t start the car? Read on, this may be just the solution you are looking for to clear those fault codes and save you having to go to a dealer and pay a labor charge.
A couple of times our 2013 Honda Odyssey battery has become discharged enough so the car won’t start (low voltage), usually due to our umbilical cable having some sort of issue while towing it behind our motorhome and not charging the battery. However, even after boosting the battery (we carry a portable booster just for such occasions) and getting the vehicle started, the ABS and VSA dash lights remain illuminated indicating a fault. In this instance, clearly the “fault” is some anomaly caused by the low battery voltage. The procedure below has worked for us to clear/reset the “fault” generated by the low battery voltage condition. This procedure probably applies to many models and model years of Honda vehicles.
Of course one repair option is to take the vehicle to a dealer to clear/reset the fault, but that is going to cost $50-$100 or more based on various reports I have seen. After fooling around with advice from various sources and checking fuses and disconnecting the battery negative cable for several hours with no success, I found the following procedure which worked perfectly:
Honda ABS / VSA Fault Reset Procedure:
- Short pins 4 and 9 on the OBD connector located under the dash on the driver side. I used a paper clip, but any stiff (solid) light gauge wire will do. Click on the photo below right to expand and you can see the pin numbers marked in the plastic.
- Now put your foot on the brake pedal and hold it down lightly while turning on the ignition switch to position “II” (all the dash lights come on, but don’t start it).
- The ABS indicator will come on, but then should go off, at this point release the brake pedal (some have found better success by releasing the pedal quickly after the light comes on).
- The ABS light should come on again, press the brake pedal again and hold down lightly.
- The ABS light should go off again, release the brake pedal (some have found better success by releasing the pedal quickly after the light goes off).
- After a few seconds watch for the ABS light to blink twice and go off, if it does you have successfully cleared the fault codes.
- Turn the ignition switch off, remove the key and disconnect the jumper wire from the OBD connector.
- If the ABS light comes back on again after step #7, do the entire procedure again, it may take a few tries to get the fault codes to clear.
Please note that if the ABS/VSA code has illuminated for some more serious reason than a discharged battery (such as a bad sensor or failed hardware) this procedure is probably not going to work and you will likely need to visit a dealer.
Push Button Start:
A reader posted the following comment (thanks!):
Worked great on a 2014 Accord EX-L with Push-Button start. If it wasn’t already noted, Begin with the original instructions of inserting the jumper. Do not step on the brake, but press the start button once to get to accessory (or ‘I’). Now follow the original steps by stepping on the brake and pressing the start button again, this will get you to ‘II’ but will not start the engine.
Power Sliding Doors Won’t Open!
Another annoying side effect of the VSA/ABS lights being illuminated (besides the fact that the important safety features of anti-lock braking and stability assist are disabled), is the two power sliding rear doors on the Odyssey will not open with the engine running. This is because the doors are programmed not to open if the car is in motion, but without the ABS working the computer can’t determine if the car is moving or not, so by default it disables those doors. If you turn the power door slide switch to OFF (see photo right), it is possible to manually open the door while the engine is running even with the ABS/VSA light illuminated. Note that the door will still close electrically with the engine running as long as the slide switch is ON. Also, the doors will close and open normally with full power control as long as the engine is off.