The Honda Insight is the spiritual successor to the Civic hybrid.
Like any car, the insight can experience nuisance alarm activation.
If your Insight alarm keeps going off, this article is here to help…
Table of Contents
Why Does My Honda Insight Alarm Keep Going Off?
A Honda Insight alarm is usually triggered by a faulty hood or door switch. Other common causes are 12V battery issues, key fob issues, electrical issues, aftermarket alarm issues and accidentally triggering the panic alarm.
1. Faulty Hood Switch
A faulty hood switch is a very common cause of unwanted alarms on the Honda Insight.
The switch is typically integrated into the hood latch and is prone to fail at some stage due to wear and tear.
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 replace it yourself. Otherwise, we’d advise visiting your local mechanic.
We found this post by an owner on InsightCentral.net:
“ … There is a common problem with many Hondas that the hood latch switch goes bad. Anything, even a temperature change, can then set off the alarm. You can clean, replace the switch, or simply disconnect the switch.
I disconnected my hood latch switch and have had no false alarms since. The door alarms still work fine.”
On JustAnswer.com, one mechanic had this to say about the issue:
“The alarms usually go off due to a bad hood latch or door latch. You wouldn’t know which one unless you had a dealer hook it up to their scan tool.”
The HondaInsight subreddit also shared the same sentiments:
“Try unplugging your hood switch. I had the same problem about 2 weeks ago. I was able to Google it and found out that’s not uncommon.”
2. Faulty Door Switches
Faulty door switches (including the rear hatch) are another common cause of random alarms on the Insight, 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.
Here are a few insights by owners on InsightCentral.net:
“The door switches have a sliding contact which can change resistance over time. I just found this out while testing a ‘bad’ door switch that prevented the dome light and ‘you left the headlight switch on’ beeper from working. Remove the door switch(es) and test their resistance both open and closed. If one is very careful, the sliding portion of the contact can be removed, rotated 180 degrees, reinstalled and rechecked for resistance.”
“It is really common for one of the door switches to go bad. Often they can be ‘worked’ in and out a few times to free them up. They often get mangled by folks getting in and out or getting stuff in and out of the door.”
3. Loose or Bad 12V Battery Connections
Loose or bad 12V battery connections can cause a number of problems, including triggering the alarm of your Insight.
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.
- Inspect the battery and look for any signs of damage, dirt build-up, rust, or corrosion.
- Disconnect the battery and loosen the nuts on the clamps using a wrench.
- Remove the negative clamp, marked with a “-” first.
- Clean the terminals with a toothbrush dipped in a mix of baking soda and water, rinse with distilled water and dry with a cloth.
- Reconnect the battery, ensuring tight connections.
One owner shared this on the HondaInsight subreddit:
“It happened to me and I fixed it by cleaning the battery terminals. They had crust on them.”
4. Drained 12V Battery
A faulty or weakened car battery causes a variety of problems, including accidentally triggering the Insight alarm.
The best thing to do is take your Insight for a battery health check, these are usually quite inexpensive or sometimes free such as at AutoZone.
Or you can 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.
On InsightCentral.net, owners had this to share:
“I would have your 12v battery properly load tested. Just because you were able to start and drive it for 45 minutes doesn’t mean the battery is OK. When you drive it the charging system helps keep the car alive. If you have an older battery that is starting to have issues the drive won’t necessarily fix it. A battery with voltage drop issues could be the problem.”
“Indeed, the 12 volt under hood batteries in these cars only seem to last about 3 years. Weird things happen when they get weak.”
5. Accidentally Triggering the Panic Alarm on the Key Fob
If you keep your car’s key fob with other keys or objects in your pocket, then it is also likely that you are accidentally triggering your Insight’s alarm system.
To avoid this, have a dedicated pocket for your car key and make sure that it has enough wiggle room so that the buttons do not get accidentally pressed.
One owner made an interesting comment on Gen3Insight.com:
“Radio interference from your iPhone or the magsafe magnet on iPhone 12/13? The Insight probably had trouble detecting the keyfob inside the vehicle. I keep my keyfob and my iPhone in separate pockets.”
6. Key Fob Low Battery
A common cause of mysterious alarms on the Insight 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.
7. Faulty Key Fob
Another reported cause of nuisance alarms on the Insight 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.
8. Incorrectly Installed Aftermarket Alarm
An incorrectly installed or faulty aftermarket alarm system is a common cause of nuisance alarms.
Aftermarket alarms are typically far more complex than any factory-installed equipment which makes them more prone to issues.
They may also have been installed by incompetent individuals.
If you are experiencing issues with an aftermarket alarm, the best thing to do is speak with a reputable auto electrician.
One owner shared this tip on the HondaInsight subreddit:
“The one potentially helpful nugget I’ve come across is how often people who say disconnecting their latch sensor didn’t work discover that a dealer put a separate aftermarket alarm in the car.
So in your position that’d be my next guess. I don’t know anything about those types of systems, but from my understanding they’re usually installed near the main battery or electric lines, and are often pretty janky. Anything that looks out of place or is visibly glued/taped/zip-tied would be a likely suspect for closer inspection or removal.”
One owner had this to say on the HondaInsight subreddit:
“If it is an aftermarket alarm, your best bet is just disconnecting it, aftermarket ones tend to be a pain in the ass and cause more problems than they solve.”
9. Rust and Corrosion on Door and Hood Latches
Rust and corrosion can also damage the latches and switches, which may trick the sensors into detecting that a door or the hood is open.
If your car is frequently exposed to moisture or other external elements, then you should routinely inspect critical areas of your vehicle for any sign of rust or corrosion.
A simple yet effective solution is to lubricate your car’s hinges just to provide a layer of protection against rust-causing agents.
10. 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.
In some cases rodents may have chewed through electrical wires.
11. 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.
12. 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.
13. 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.
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.