Honda Element Alarm Going Off? (11 Causes & Solutions)

The Honda Element is a unique-looking compact SUV produced from ’03 – ’11. 

Like any car, the Element can sometimes experience mysterious alarm activation.

If your Element alarm keeps going off, this article is here to help you. 

Why Does My Honda Element Alarm Keep Going Off?

A Honda Element alarm is usually triggered by a faulty hood switch or door switch – these switches (sensors) are prone to failure. Other common causes include 12V battery issues, key fob issues, aftermarket alarms problems and various electrical issues.

1. Faulty Hood Switch

A faulty hood switch is a very common cause of unwanted alarms on the Honda Element.

The switch is typically integrated into the hood latch.

The small electronic device is designed to detect whether the hood is open or shut and is an important part of the car’s alarm system – if it is broken, loose or dirty it can send false readings to the car’s computer thus triggering the alarm.

  • Pop the hood and locate the hood switch.
  • Check for any obvious damage, rust or loose connections.
  • Give the hood switch a clean too (use contact cleaner), as dirt and grime can cause issues.
  • You can test the switch with a continuity tester

If you are mechanically inclined you can buy a new hood switch online and fit it yourself, otherwise we’d advise visiting your local mechanic.

Owners on and shared the following:

“Usually when the factory alarm is going off randomly there is a door or hood switch tripping the system. If it starts acting up again I’d look into those.”

“I’ve done some research and it seems the main culprits are the hood latch sensor, door sensors, and hatch sensor.”

2. Faulty Door Switches

Faulty door switches (including the rear hatch) are another common cause of random alarms on the Element, similar to the hood switch, these switches monitor the open/closed status of the door – if damaged, faulty or dirty they can send false readings thereby triggering the alarm.

Door switches are a common point of failure as they are subject to wear and tear due to the doors being continually opened/closed/slammed etc.

The door latches and door switches can get dirty too which can cause issues, so the first thing you should do is give all door latches a good clean and spray some WD-40 on the latch and work it in to see if that helps.

Also check the wiring leading from the body into the door for any signs of damage, it should be in a flexible hose on the hinge side of the door.

If you suspect the alarm issues are linked to the door switch, ask your dealer to run a diagnostic test to try and pinpoint the fault.

Owners on and had this to say:

“Basically, my alarm keeps going off, honking the horn repeatedly, and it seems to be related to the sensor switch in the passenger door.”

“Try locking the car with the other door. Does the alarm go off? If not, I would suspect the door lock actuator that triggers the alarm.”

Related: How Long Do Honda Elements Last? (Solved & Explained!)

3. Drained 12V Battery

A faulty or weakened car battery causes a variety of problems, including accidentally triggering the Element alarm.

The best thing to do is take your Element for a battery health check, these are usually quite inexpensive or sometimes free such as at AutoZone.

You can also test it yourself with a multimeter (see the guide at the end of this article).

A healthy 12V battery should be about 12.6 to 12.8 volts while a weakened battery reads below 12 volts.

4. Loose or Bad 12V Battery Connections

Loose or bad 12V battery connections can cause a number of problems, including triggering the alarm of your Element.

A bad connection can be caused by dirt or gunk buildup.

The terminals may have come loose from driving and vibrations etc.

Make sure the engine is off before doing any work on the battery.

  1. Inspect the battery and look for any signs of damage, dirt build-up, rust, or corrosion.
  2. Disconnect the battery and loosen the nuts on the clamps using a wrench.
  3. Remove the negative clamp, marked with a “-” first.
  4. Clean the terminals with a toothbrush dipped in a mix of baking soda and water, rinse with distilled water and dry with a cloth.
  5. Reconnect the battery, ensuring tight connections.

5. Low Key Fob Battery

A common cause of mysterious alarms on the Element is a low key fob battery. Similarly, if the fob is dirty or dusty this can also cause alarm issues.

Give the inside of your fob a clean and replace the battery to eliminate this possible cause. It’s worth spending a bit extra for a good brand of battery.

  • To open your key fob, stick your prying tool into the slit or gap between the two halves of the outer casing and gently apply upward pressure to pop open the device.
  • Remove the battery.
  • Give the key fob a good clean to remove any dirt or fluff – a cotton swab and some rubbing alcohol should do the trick.
  • Check for damage, rust or loose connection (you may need a new key fob depending on what you find).
  • Be sure to insert the new battery facing the right way up.
  • Assemble the outer casing of your key fob by clamping them back together.

6. Faulty Key Fob

Another reported cause of nuisance alarms on the Pilot is a faulty key fob.

If you have 2 remotes, try taking the battery out of one and use the other for a while.

If the alarm problems persist, and you have tried cleaning the inside of the fob(s) and changing the battery, the best thing to do is speak with your dealer.

7. Incorrectly Installed Aftermarket Alarm

An incorrectly installed or faulty aftermarket alarm system is another cause of unintended alarm activation for the Element.

Aftermarket alarms are typically more advanced than any factory-installed equipment which makes them more susceptible to issues.

They may also have been installed by individuals who lack the necessary expertise. 

If you are experiencing problems with an aftermarket alarm, the best thing to do is speak with a reputable auto electrician.

Owners shared the following on

“Aftermarket security systems cause a lot of headaches. Anytime we have a car traded in with them or a remote start, we are instructed to remove them and mend the damaged wiring.”

“I have friends who install aftermarket alarms and they have their own car audio and electronics businesses and do custom competition work. Unfortunately, a lot of places don’t adhere to the stringent standards that the guys I know do (training, certification, bonding, etc.) and more often than not installs are quickly thrown in with the old pigtail twist and electrical tape level of quality…”

“It does sound like you have an aftermarket alarm installed along with the factory one and probably it has its own keyless fob that you didn’t get. Check under the dash and see if you can find the control unit for it and you should be able to unhook it but you will have to find the lock out relay for the starter and it should be near it and it’s a little black relay. If you follow the wires you will find where they cut the start wire and you can reconnect it…”

8. Damaged Wiring

Damaged electrical wiring can cause a wide range of problems, it can often be tricky to pinpoint too and you may need to have an auto electrician run some diagnostic tests.

9. Faulty Body Control Module (BCM)

A faulty body control module can cause a wide range of issues including nuisance alarms.

  • The BCM is in charge of electrical communication from different electronic systems.
  • This includes the car alarm system, lock-unlock functions, climate control etc.

If you feel that your BCM is the culprit behind random alarm activation, then book an appointment with your local dealership to have it inspected. 

10. Animals Climbing On The Vehicle

If your alarm has been set off in the middle of the night, it may have been by an animal climbing on the car.

Have a look for footprints on the hood and the roof.

11. Not Closing Doors, Hood, or Trunk Properly

Sometimes a false alarm can be caused simply by not shutting a door properly, including the hood and trunk.

Alternative Suggestions

Check for Recalls or TSBs

By entering your car’s VIN number on Honda’s recall page or the NTHSA’s Safety Issues & Recalls page you can determine whether or not there is a TSB or recall for your vehicle and if there is you’ll want to get it addressed.

A recall is issued by a vehicle manufacturer for issues that are safety-related, while a TSB covers components that may be malfunctioning but don’t compromise the safety of the vehicle.

Disconnect the Battery

Sometimes mysterious alarm problems can disappear with a simple reboot, there are no guarantees here but it’s worth a try.

Disconnect the battery for 20 seconds and this resets many of the electronics in the vehicle.

Check For Warning Messages

When the alarm occurs can you see any lights or warning messages on the instrument panel?

This can give a clue as to what’s causing the alarm e.g. ‘Hood Ajar’.

Take it to a Honda Dealership

If needed, take your Honda to the dealership.

Tell them you are NOT paying for a check on what the problem might be.

Ask them if they will check it for free.

Most dealerships and other places do quick/initial diagnosis for no money as they plan to make money for the repair of your vehicle.

If your unit is still under warranty then they should fix and resolve the issue for free.

How to Test the 12V Battery

How to Test the Battery:

  • Before testing, remove the surface charge from the battery, this allows for an accurate reading.
  • Simply turn on the headlights for 2 minutes then turn off.
  • Set the multimeter dial to the ’20 Volts’ setting.
  • Make sure the car is turned OFF.

The multimeter will have a red probe and a black probe.

  • The red probe is for making contact with the positive terminal.
  • The black probe is for making contact with the negative terminal.

Measure across the battery terminals.

  • The meter should display a reading, if the battery is fully charged the voltage should be between 12.2 and 12.6 volts.
  • Anything under 12V and the battery should be charged or replaced.