Honda Odyssey Not Recognizing Key – What To Do?

Technology has made minivans seem almost futuristic in many ways. But what happens when technology fails or glitches? If you drive a newer model Odyssey and it won't recognize your key, we can help you solve the problem. We researched this popular minivan from numerous professional sources, so that you will know for sure what steps you need to take to remedy the situation.

Should your Honda Odyssey not recognize your key fob, a red light will appear on your Odyssey's dashboard. This means the key fob battery is dead and needs to be changed as soon as possible. We outline how to change this battery ahead in this post. 

Now that we know what to do when the Odyssey does not recognize your key fob, we'll look a bit more closely at the key fob's buttons. You might also be wondering what a green key light means for the Honda Odyssey or how to change the batteries in the key fob. Can you reset the Honda Odyssey's immobilizer system? How can you get into your Honda Odyssey without a key? For the answers to these questions and more, read ahead in this post to see what our research has uncovered.

A brand new Honda Odyssey minivan in large parking lot on a sunny day, Honda Odyssey Not Recognizing Key - What To Do?

What Does a Honda Odyssey key fob do?

A Honda Odyssey key fob has six different buttons. They are:


As you can already imagine, you would press this button each time you want to lock your Honda Odyssey. 


Unlocking your Honda Odyssey is as easy as pressing this button. Press it once to unlock the driver's side door. Press it twice to unlock all doors.

Remote start

Chilly day? You can start your Honda Odyssey from the comfort of your warm home by pressing this button. This saves you from going outdoors and starting your minivan, leaving the keys in it while it warms up. Doing the latter is inadvisable, as it will increase the likelihood of theft. 


This button will make the alarm system go off on your Odyssey. Pressing this when you are in fear of your safety while near your vehicle can save your life. Press it again to shut it off. 


Pressing the tailgate button will unlock and lower the tailgate of your Honda Odyssey.

Remote sliding doors

You can open the sliding back doors of your Odyssey by pressing this button. Press it again to close them. 

Familiarizing yourself with all six of these buttons and how they work should be one of the first things you do when getting a new Honda Odyssey. While these features are convenient, they might take a bit of practice to be able to utilize correctly.

Consult your Odyssey owner's manual if you have any questions or need more detail on the key fob itself. Your Honda dealership will also be a great source of additional information.

What does the green key light mean on a Honda Odyssey?

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A green key light on your Honda Odyssey dash is a good thing. It means that your Odyssey recognizes the key that is in your possession. It must be green in order for your Odyssey to start up.

A green light means that the key you are using is coded correctly and that the key fob battery is charged enough to transmit the required signals from it to the onboard computer.

But what if the key light is red? Read on to see what this indicates and how to solve this problem.

What does red light on Honda Key mean?  

Should you notice a red flashing light on your dashboard, it usually indicates that there is an issue that requires your immediate attention. The key symbol that is flashing red on your dash is no exception. This means that there is a problem that needs to be addressed.

The red flashing key light indicates that the Odyssey's computer is not recognizing the key fob. Without computer recognition, the Odyssey will not start. 

In the vast majority of cases, all this means is that your key fob has a dead battery. Batteries can be quickly and easily changed, getting you back on the road in no time. To change the key fob batteries for your Honda Odyssey, follow these steps, as outlined by Motor and Wheels:

  1. Locate the knob on the backside of your Odyssey key fob
  2. Press this knob to release the metal key 
  3. Pry open the key fob with the metal key, or use a flathead screwdriver to separate the two parts of the key fob
  4. Locate the battery, and then carefully remove it
  5. Replace the battery with a fresh one
  6. Reassemble the key fob

It's best to keep at least one fresh battery on hand for your key fob. You never know when your battery is about to die, and being stuck without an immediate replacement can cost you a lot of time. This can be especially inconvenient if you are in a hurry to get somewhere, only to find out that you need to replace something as simple as a key fob battery.

Close up of car tachometer with many illuminated indicators

How do I reset my Honda Odyssey immobilizer? 

Your Honda Odyssey is equipped with immobilizer technology, which renders the vehicle useless to anyone who is using an unauthorized key.

The key is coded so that if someone attempts to use a key without the correct encoding, the Honda Odyssey will not start. Upon determining someone is using an unauthorized key, the onboard computer will shut down the Odyssey's fuel system, making it impossible to start.

You are able to reset the immobilizer technology but will need the assistance of your Honda dealership. Upon proof of ownership, they will give you a five-digit code; enter it into the computer using the emergency brake.

While there are other supposed methods of overriding this immobilizer system that you can find on various Odyssey chat forums, none seem to be authenticated. Some forums will discuss the various methods of totally overriding the immobilizer system completely. While there might be some legitimate reasons to do so, Honda strongly encouraged to never do this on your own.

Tampering with this security feature can cause some unexpected problems with other working electrical parts of your Odyssey. Therefore, it's advised that you always have your local Honda dealership assist you in resetting this system. Getting their professional determination as to whether or not you should override the immobilizer permanently will better serve you and your Odyssey.

How do you unlock a Honda Odyssey door without a key?

There's nothing more frustrating than realizing you cannot open the door to your vehicle after locking them inside. While a locksmith can easily get you back inside your minivan quickly, it can cost you a bit out of pocket. The charges tend to be more if they are called out on evenings or weekends.

You can always do this yourself and save yourself some cash. All you need is an inflatable door wedge and a wire hanger. Insert the inflatable door wedge between the door frame and the door. Inflate it, to create an opening big enough to insert a wire hanger into. Maneuver the wire hanger to wear it can hit the unlock button. Problem solved. 

In closing

Becoming familiar with all of the dash lights that are displayed on your Honda Odyssey is important. You never know when one of them will flash, requiring your immediate attention. Thankfully, the key lights flashing indicate that your key is either recognized or that it needs to have its batteries replaced. Learning how to accomplish this will prepare you better as a driver and get you back on the road much faster. Drive safely!

If you found this post on the Honda Odyssey to be helpful, we believe you'll enjoy reading the following posts about this popular minivan:

Is the Honda Odyssey AWD? [Other Systems Help Keep It Stable]

What are the Honda Odyssey Interior Dimensions?

Honda Odyssey vs Kia Sedona vs Toyota Sienna

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