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All-in-One Guide to Forward Collision Warning & How to Use It

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Does your car have a dashboard light that indicates potential frontal collisions? This function may look unfamiliar to new drivers, but it has become common. Almost every new release of well-known car companies has this feature called Forward Collision Warning and is available in aftermarket models. It helps prevent head-on crashes, among the most common types of accidents.

Many drivers can effortlessly transition from their regular car to an FCW-equipped car. However, some may require help on how to use it. This guide works as your all-in-one source of information on using the forward collision warning. From its setup to usage, we will cover everything. So, let’s get started!

Installation of Forward Collision Warning

Right off the bat, there is no specific way to install an aftermarket collision warning system. Like all the other advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS), it comes in several types. Thus, each model has its specifications regarding the setup.

That said, let’s look at the general methods of installing the two most common FCW systems:


1. Sensor-Based FCW

Sensors are more user-friendly, especially for new drivers. That’s mainly due to their waterproof and weather-resistant body. Generally, radar-based sensors remain unaffected in extreme outdoor conditions, including rain, snow, fog, etc. But the question remains: how do you install them?

  1. Generally, a sensor-based FCW comes with a single sensor. You can install it on the front bumper at an optimal position that covers a larger frontal area with its detection.
  2. Secondly, place the alert system on the A-pillar or dashboard of your car.
  3. Lastly, you will connect the respective cable of each component to its designated connection.

Most FCW systems may have a central piece, a control box. It manages all the connections and links directly to the car’s power source. However, the arrangement of components can vary depending on the forward collision warning sensor model.

2. Camera-Based FCW


The camera forward collision warning systems are very accessible. They rely primarily on two components: a camera and an alert system. However, some models may also have a control box for managing cables.

  1. First, place the camera in the middle of the windshield. It comes with adhesive stickers or mount brackets.
  2. The camera may also have a cable extending from its end that requires a power source. You can hide that wire behind the A-pillar to keep your interior organized.
  3. Next, set up the alert system on the dashboard or A-pillar. Note that it would also come with adhesive stickers, making it easier to mount.
  4. Now, you only need to connect the respective cables to their designated sources.

Forward Collision Warning Installation Tips


Are you having problems installing your forward collision warning? Review the following tips to get a better understanding:

  • Every model might have its product manual. Make sure to read it before the installation process. That’s because some systems might have specific instructions, considering their components.
  • Calibrate your camera after its installation. Otherwise, you will get an ineffective view.
  • Update the FCW firmware if it is outdated. It might be causing unexpected errors in the system.
  • Clean the camera lens before your first usage, as it can catch dirt or scratch marks during the installation.
  • Make sure the camera/sensor is at the optimal location for maximum area coverage.
  • Consider consulting a professional if the problems persist.

How to Use Forward Collision Warning Systems?


The forward collision warning light might confuse most drivers for the first time. However, there’s no need to worry. We will tell you what it means and what to do when it turns on.

How to Turn On the FCW?

Here’s how to activate your factory-installed and aftermarket collision warning system:

1. Aftermarket Collision Warning Systems

Most modern aftermarket collision avoidance systems come with a tie-in mobile application. Install that on your smartphone to turn on the system or change the default settings.

Alternatively, you can head to the system’s firmware and turn it on. Remember that you don’t have to activate it every time you start driving. You can set it on, and it automatically starts after detecting your vehicle’s power source.

2. Factory-Installed FCW Systems

Their activation method might worry depending on your car model. However, most companies, like Hyundai, Toyota, Lexus, and Kia, have a similar mechanism. Here’s what to do:

  • Open the display menu and select Setup.
  • Now, choose Vehicle from the menu and head to Driver Assistance.
  • Here, you will see the option to turn on your FCW if your vehicle has one. If it doesn’t, you can always opt for an aftermarket add-on.

These methods will answer your question, “How do I turn off the front collision warning.” Simply go to the settings how you activated the system, and toggle it off!

Navigating the Highways with FCW

So, your FCW system is up and running. Now, what to do? Follow the steps below:

  • Drive as you would usually do until you see the forward collision warning light on.
  • The light means you can possibly collide with the frontal vehicle if your movement remains consistent. Thus, check the road behind you and slow down your car.
  • Create a safe distance from the vehicle ahead and maintain it.
  • Now, check if the light has turned off/stopped blinking.

FCW Maintenance & Usage Tips

  • The best practice is to have test drives after installing your forward collision warning. It can provide an in-depth understanding of the system and its functions.
  • Consider cleaning your camera-based FCW system after multiple drivers. Sensor-based systems don’t require frequent cleaning. However, you should clean your equipment monthly to maintain accuracy.
  • You might get inaccurate results from the system. Consider recalibrating the system and resetting its functions.

Who Should Buy an Aftermarket Collision Warning System?

A frequently asked question is, who should use forward collision warning? Luckily, the system is suitable for drivers of all levels. Whether you are new or experienced, consider equipping your car with FCW. It can further enhance your driving abilities, such as response timing and critical decision-making.

Another thing to note is that FCW systems are available for all vehicles. You can buy them for cars, trucks, vans, buses, and emergency vehicles. Furthermore, the aftermarket collision warning system comes in universal models. That means an aftermarket FCW for cars will work for all cars, regardless of their release year, model, and company.

However, FCW is part of the advanced driving assistance systems. Hence, it is also suitable for differently-abled drivers. Such systems provide visual, audible, and other forms of assistance that work for impaired drivers.

5 Things to Know Before You Buy Forward Collision Warning


Are you looking forward to buying a forward collision warning for your car? That’s an excellent idea! However, you should consider the 5 following things, as they are integral to understanding FCW.

1. Use But Don’t Rely

Remember that FCW is only an advanced driving assistance system. It is not designed for drivers to rely on it entirely. Instead, combine your driving learning and best practices with this device.

How to do that? For example, double-checking the road is always a good idea even if your FCW shows no threat.

2. Errors are Possible

You might have heard reports of forward collision warning malfunction. That is possible, as the device can have errors. Some issues include inaccurate detection, outdated firmware, blocked cameras, or sensor problems.

The pro tip is to get these issues solved as soon as possible. Otherwise, you might get false alarms from the system, leading to further problems.

3. Various Types

FCW is available in a variety of types in the market. Generally, manufacturers categorize it by its components. You have FCW systems that use sensors, cameras, and lasers. Each type has its strengths and weaknesses, bringing something unique. It is better to understand your requirements to choose the best option!

4. Modern FCW Systems

Did you know that modern FCW systems have many automated functions? Furthermore, they provide secondary features, like parking assistance and GPS navigation. In short, they are extra helpful for drivers. Consider buying them if you have the budget, as they are significantly more expensive than traditional FCW systems.

5. Importance Of a Reliable Manufacturer

The market is filled with various manufacturers for FCW. But are all of them reliable? The short answer is no. So, how do you choose the right one? Here are some indicators:

  • A successful past record
  • Minimal failure rate
  • Affordable prices
  • Customer and after-sales support
  • Installation & maintenance guidance
  • Regular restocking

You might wonder, can a manufacturer have all of these qualities? Yes, we have many examples, like OYI Electronic, maintaining a success rate of 98%, providing excellent customer support, and restocking regularly. At the same time, they offer their products at factory prices by cutting down the middlemen costs!

OYI company's factory area


The forward collision warning has revolutionized the automotive industry. It influenced many other advanced driving assistance systems, including lane-keeping devices. In fact, many governments are promoting FCW on a national level. The prime examples are the UK, Japan, Italy, and the US.

Thus, it is the best time for you to buy this system. Remember that driving in today’s traffic is no easy task. So, having FCW on your side protects against unexpected head-on collisions.

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