Honda Pilot Won’t Turn Off – What To Do?

You might have recently tried to switch off your honda pilot, but it refused to turn off for some reason. There are different reasons why this could happen. We talked with some auto mechanics for reliable answers, and here are the answer they gave.

One primary reason your Honda Pilot won't turn off is that there is an issue with the ignition switch. While you should be looking for ways to fix the ignition switch, you should find other quicker alternatives to switching off your vehicle. 

Continue reading to understand the various factors that could cause an ignition switch to malfunction and the alternatives you can try to switch off your vehicle. 

A grey Honda Pilot parked near a lake, Honda Pilot Won't Turn Off - What To Do?

Why Won't Honda Pilot Turn Off? 

Your Honda Pilot functions with a powerful engine ignited and turned off through a switch. If your Honda Pilot is not functioning, it is most likely due to the malfunctioning of your ignition switch. 

Honda Pilot parked near a lake

How Can I Turn Off The VTM-4 On a Honda Pilot?

The VTM-4 system on your Honda Pilot should typically not require any driver interaction because it is an automated system. However, if the system is coming on at strange times when it shouldn’t, there are various ways to disengage the VTM-4 temporarily; they are as follows:

  • You can start the car by pressing the VTM-4 lock button. Then you must take the vehicle into drive, and the car must be turned off and put into the park on a break. Your light should go out after a few seconds.
  • Press and hold the VTM-4 button while the car is running. The button is on the dashboard next to the radio.
  • Change the shifter from the "drive" to "park" and then back to "drive" while stopped.
  • Move the ignition switch to the lock position, hold on for a while, and then restart the engine.

However, if the system keeps coming on more often than it should, you should take your car to a mechanic because it could indicate a more severe problem.

How Do You Reset Keyless Start Problems On a Honda Pilot? 

There are various probable causes of the keyless start problems on a Honda Pilot. In turn, there are various ways to fix or reset a keyless start problem; try the following: 

Make a Warranty Claim 

Since this keyless start problem mainly occurs in 2016-17 Honda pilots, you might want to check if the specific model of your vehicle falls within a warranty period or extended warranty. If it does, the manufacturer should be contacted to fix the issue.

Replace The Start/Stop Switch

Honda Pilot at a Honda dealership

When your car is no longer on warranty, you will have to fix your car problems yourself or take it to the mechanic. If your keyless start problem is caused by a faulty "START/STOP" switch, it will need to be replaced.

A  screwdriver is required to carry out the replacement procedure, and you will also need to remove the glovebox, starter assembly, and steering column assembly.

The steps for the replacement procedure are as follows:

  1. Remove the dashboard cover on the passenger’s side.
  2. Remove the dashboard trim panel on the passenger’s dashboard.
  3. After taking down the dashboard center panel, unplug the connector.
  4. Then pull back the right side of the driver’s lower dashboard cover to access the screws for the middle trim on the dashboard center.
  5. Remove the humidity and temperature sensors.
  6. Take out the dashboard center middle trim by unscrewing the screws that hold it.
  7. Remove the "ENGINE START/STOP" switch assembly from the center middle trim on the dashboard.
  8. Disconnect the harness connectors.
  9. Install a new "ENGINE START/STOP" switch assembly.
  10. Reinstall all removed parts in a reversed order.
  11. Clear all DTCs (Diagnostic Trouble Code) using a diagnostic system.
  12. Ensure that the "ENGINE START/STOP" switch now works properly and the error message on the dashboard has disappeared.

Key Fob Battery Replacement

Replacing your key fob battery is an easy DIY job. You will need a small screwdriver and a CR2032 battery to complete this task which should take about 10 minutes.

The steps are:

  1. Press the button on the key fob to remove the key assembly from it.
  2. Pry your key fob open using a prying tool or forcefully from within.
  3. Install a new battery and cover up the assembly, ensuring all clips are in place and well fastened.

What Does The VTM-4 Light On Mean? 

The VTM-4 means Variable Torque Management 4-Wheel-Drive System. It is an automated four-wheel-drive system that turns on and off in response to traction (the grip between tires and the road's surface).

If it comes on, your car has lower traction, automatically transferring various amounts of engine power to the rear wheel. Operating normally, the VTM-4 light means that your torque management system is working to control traction for adverse road conditions. 

If the light stays on continuously despite normal road conditions, you might have accidentally hit the VTM-4 LOCK, which will keep it on. 

How Much is a Car Battery For Honda Pilot? 

New Honda SUV Pilot 3 Generation Black in winter off-road

While purchasing a battery, you should go for a reliable, durable, and quality battery. You would need to make several considerations while choosing the best battery for your vehicle. Different companies manufacture these car batteries with specific features in mind.

There are certain battery brands in high demand. To mention a few, some of them would include Duralast, AC Delco, Odyssey, DieHArd Batteries, NAPA, and EverStart. Different factors can have some influence on the price.

For instance, the size of the engine of your Honda Pilot, the size of the battery required and specified by the manufacturer of your Honda, etc. The bigger the size of the battery you want, the more Amp-hour it possesses, the higher the price will be. 

On average, the cost of the battery of a Honda varies between $196 and $270, depending on the brand and what type of battery you require for your specific model. For your car battery replacement, prices may vary depending on your location.

You should also consider additional expenses such as installation in deciding the price of the battery. If you require professional assistance, you would also be paying for that. 

You should check in your local dealership, auto parts store, or automotive center for what is best suitable for your car’s model and details on pricing. 

What Does Check Keyless Starting System Mean? 

Exterior of the new premium SUV Honda Pilot in winter forest landscape

Your Honda Pilot has a keyless start system, which with an increasing number of malfunction reports, has been known to fail prematurely, especially on the 2016-17 models. By issuing a service bulletin for the 2016-17 Honda Pilot start-stop problems, Honda has addressed this.

Because of a malfunction of the keyless start system, the vehicle might fail to start on the first press of the "ENGINE START/STOP" button, and an error message shows up in the MID (multi-information display) on the dashboard.

The vehicle also stores an error message for that particular failure. Some of the probable causes of this particular error include:

Faulty Engine START/STOP Switch

This is the most common cause of keyless start system failure. Honda has mentioned that this premature switch error is due to a faulty switch. The manufacturer has provided an extended warranty to replace the switch for free on 2016-17 models.

Faulty Key Fob Battery

In the keyless start system, your car’s key fob is an essential part because it sends signals to the system to start the engine, and it needs to have enough power to do that. 

Reducted battery function on the key fob is another probable cause of keyless start system failure. If the voltage supplied by your battery is not enough for the system's proper functioning, the signals will be weak. The ignition sensor cannot detect a weak signal; therefore, the engine won’t start. 

Although, it is very unlikely for the battery on your key fob to be dead, especially within 4-5 years of purchasing the vehicle. Since it is quite easy and inexpensive to replace the battery, you can replace the key fob batteries if the issue is not resolved after the switch has been replaced.

System's Sensor Malfunction

Your car’s keyless start system has a sensor that receives the signals from a key fob and, in turn, sends instructions to the control unit of the system. Two things may cause your system’s sensor to malfunction.

It could either be due to an accident, or the sensor may be covered in dirt, preventing the detection of any fob signals. If the sensor is covered in dirt, you can wipe it off with a cloth; it should normally work again. However, if the sensor is damaged, you will have to buy a new one for replacement. 

To Wrap Up

A grey Honda Pilot parked near a lake


The Honda Pilot keyless start system has provided a more convenient way to start and turn off your car. However, you might encounter problems unexpectedly. So, you need to know why your vehicle won't go off and how to deal with the issue. 

For other related articles about Honda Pilots, read these engaging posts:

How to Remote Start a Honda Pilot

Honda Pilot Won't Stop Honking - What To Do? 

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One comment

  1. my 2013 pilot was running when I went out to my garage – my key fob would not unlock the vehicle – the car was off the previous evening – I had not been in the car for 24 hours. I had to manually unlock the drivers side door and as soon as I unlocked the door the engine shut off. How did this happen – how can a 2013 pilot engine start without a key in the ignition?

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