Toyota’s pre-collision system might be one of the best safety features in a vehicle up to date. With the help of a front-facing camera and laser, the vehicle will automatically detect if there are objects on the road and alert you to brake to prevent any possible accident.
At times, the system even automatically applies the brakes and automatically brings your car to a complete stop.
While this feature is handy, there can be times when it can malfunction and fail to detect an object or incoming vehicle. Here, we will discuss what you can do if a pre-collision system malfunction happens. (Learn How Long Does It Take To Replace Fuel Pump)
How The Toyota Pre-Collision System Works
Before we get into what you should do in a malfunction, here’s how Toyota’s pre-collision system works:
- As mentioned above, the Toyota pre-collision system works with the help of a front-facing camera and an invisible laser. These two work together by measuring the distance between your car and the obstacle in front of you.
- The PCS system then considers your driving speed and determines if a collision is likely to happen.
- If it detects that a collision might happen, the vehicle will flash a dashboard warning light to notify you about the danger. You should be able to apply the brake once this flashes.
- If you fail to slow down or stop after the warning message, the Toyota pre-collision system brakes automatically for you.
Toyota Models with a Pre-Collision System
According to Toyota, their 2019 and 2020 models have a pre-collision system as a standard in their cars. Here are all the Toyota models that have this feature:
For Cars and Hatchbacks
- Avalon Hybrid
- Camry Hybrid
- Corolla Hybrid
- Prius Prime
- Prius c
- Yaris Hatchback
For Crossovers, SUVs, Minivans
- Land Cruiser
- Highlander Hybrid
- RAV4 Hybrid
Common Causes of Toyota Pre-Collision System Malfunction
From dirty radars to faulty airbag sensors, there are several reasons why a Toyota pre-collision system malfunctions:
Perhaps the most common cause, a Toyota pre-collision system usually malfunctions when a radar sensor is dirty. The radar sensor behind the car’s front grille is usually filtrated by dirt, snow, and bugs while driving or when left unattended.
Once any of these obstructs the sensor, it won’t be able to detect any objects, cars, or obstacles on the road, which makes you prone to accidents.
Unprotected Pre-Collision System
If you left your system unprotected, rodents might infest your vehicle. These rodents are known to bite wires and mess up your car’s wiring, which eventually leads to system malfunction. It’s best to do thorough checkups and maintenance once in a while to ensure rodents won’t damage the system.
Tow Hitch Installed
Some vehicles have a tow hitch installed for outdoor adventures, cargo management, and the like. However, when a tow hitch is not installed correctly, it can obstruct the sensor and cause the system to malfunction.
If you’re planning to have one installed on your vehicle, make sure an expert does it and double-check if it’s appropriately installed to prevent this from happening.
Faulty Airbag Sensor
Another possible cause for a Toyota pre-collision system to malfunction is when the airbag sensor is already faulty. This sensor can be found in front of the vehicle and usually detects when an accident happens. However, if the airbag sensor is defective, it can also affect your pre-collision sensors and lead to system malfunction.
Tinted Rear Windshield
Yes, a tinted rear windshield can also cause a PCS system to malfunction. This happens when a rear windshield’s tint is too dark, which can prevent the sensor from detecting objects and cars. If you need a dark tint, go for 25 to 35% but not the darkest shade. (Learn How To Use Break Cleaner)
Warning Signs of a Pre-Collision System Malfunction
Here are the early signs that your Toyota pre-collision system is already malfunctioning:
Forward Collision Warning (FCW) Off Error
If the FCW-off error flashes, the FCW light system is turned off. This might be caused by a few reasons, such as a filthy sensor or something obstructing in front of the sensor.
Red lights usually appear to notify you that the system is malfunctioning. You can easily reset it by turning the ignition switch off, waiting at least five seconds, and turning the ignition switch back on.
Fixing the Toyota Pre-Collision System Malfunction
Once you notice that the pre-collision system is malfunctioning, identify whether it’s a minor or major one before you take the necessary steps to fix it.
If the malfunction in your pre-collision system is only minor, you can quickly fix it by resetting it. All you need to do is disconnect the battery for a while before you reconnect it again. This simple step often fixes minor glitches in the system that causes it to malfunction.
While the usual resetting works, this might not be the case for major malfunctions. For bigger problems, you will already need help from a qualified technician to fix the problem. As opposed to simple resetting, more serious malfunctions already need fixing in electrical issues and other related concerns.
How to Reset Toyota Pre-Collision System Malfunction
There are general ways you can do to reset your pre-collision system:
- You can check the fuse box and make sure it’s intact
- If you see that the fuse box is blown, replace it
- Reconnect the battery
If any of this doesn’t work, you could also try the following ways below:
Dissociate The Battery
Dissociating the battery can help clear the glitches in your pre-collision system. This usually fixes a minor malfunction if your system fails to function.
Turn Off Safety Features
You can also reset the pre-collision system by turning off its safety feature. Once you’ve turned it off, the system will try to reprogram it and give you better results once it’s turned back on.
Turn Off Voyage Control
The voyage control is designed to keep your car at a regulated speed by automatically adding with the road ahead. If your pre-collision system is experiencing a malfunction, you can turn it off before doing a reset and turn it back on.
Try Troubleshooting the System
You can check and troubleshoot the Vehicle Stability Control and the Diagnostic Trouble Codes to check the problem before you reset.
If any of these fails, contact your car dealer immediately to make the necessary checkup and repair your car.
When To Reset the Pre-Collision System
You should reset your Toyota pre-collision system if you encounter any of these four conditions:
- The pre-collision system is not in its normal condition and starts to work improperly
- The vehicle and road ahead are out of range of the pre-collision system’s sensors
- The pre-collision system light or laser sensor is not working properly
- The pre-collision system has been turned off
How to Prevent Pre-Collision System Malfunction
There are preventive ways you can do to make sure your vehicle won’t experience any pre-collision system malfunction. Here are just some:
Keep your vehicle well-maintained
Keeping your car clean and well-maintained is the key to reducing the risk of a pre-collision system malfunction. As mentioned above, ensure that no debris obstructs your radar system and that no rodents are infesting your car’s wires. By doing this, you’ll keep your car in tip-top shape.
Avoid heavily relying on the pre-collision system.
While it’s good to have a car equipped with this feature, it doesn’t mean you will depend heavily on it. Remember, cars have limitations, too, so always be a cautious driver!
Frequently Asked Questions
If you still have unanswered questions about Toyota’s pre-collision system, this information might help:
Pre-collision system unavailable: what to do?
If your car’s pre-collision system is temporarily unavailable after malfunctioning, you can still use your car just like normal. However, remember that you should be extra cautious on the road to avoid collisions.
What is pre-collision assist?
Pre-collision assist is a feature that uses sensors to monitor the surrounding for potential danger. This is just one of the many driver-assistance features that are now essential in one’s vehicle, like departure assist, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high beams. (Learn How To Lift An Engine Without A Hoist)
What is pedestrian detection?
Some versions of the Toyota pre-collision system package include pedestrian detection. This works by checking your surroundings for smaller objects and examining their size, shape, and motion, such as people walking or passing by and applying the brakes when necessary.
Why did my pre-collision light turn on?
This warning light usually comes on when the vehicle senses an impending collision. This warns the car owner to act to avoid a collision immediately. This warning light typically turns on if another vehicle is approaching or an object in front is moving too quickly.
Like any other features, Toyota’s pre-collision system should be considered an added safety rather than a lifesaver. Malfunctions can be inevitable in any car, so it’s always best to keep it maintained. Once you notice something wrong with your pre-collision system, take the necessary steps to prevent further breakage.
We hope this guide helps in dealing with pre-collision system malfunction. You can always contact a qualified technician if you’re unsure about doing the other steps mentioned.