The Honda Ridgeline is an excellent compact pickup truck.
Just like every vehicle, the Ridgeline can have moments of unexpected alarm activation.
If your Ridgeline alarm keeps going off, this article should come in handy.
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Why Does My Honda Ridgeline Alarm Keep Going Off?
A Honda Ridgeline alarm is usually triggered by a faulty hood or door switch (including the tailgate). Other common causes are 12V battery problems, key fob issues, a faulty smart entry control unit, accidental press of the panic alarm and various electrical issues.
1. Faulty Hood Switch
A faulty hood switch is a very common cause of mysterious alarms on the Honda Ridgeline.
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 replace it yourself. Otherwise, we’d advise visiting your local mechanic.
Owners posted the following on RidgelineOwnersClub.com:
“After the alarm went off 4 times this past Saturday, I disabled the alarm by disconnecting the hood sensor (under the latch is a plastic connector, somewhat hidden, but easily reachable)…”
“I had this issue caused by the hood sensor.. I disconnected it.. Problem solved.”
On CarGurus.com, we found this post by a Ridgeline owner:
“It is most likely your hood sensor. In humid or rainy weather it can cause this problem it is dirty or malfunctioning. You can disconnect it on the engine side of the radiator support until you can have it serviced or replace it yourself.”
2. Faulty Door Switches
Faulty door switches (including the tailgate) are another common cause of random alarms on the Ridgeline, 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 RidgelineOwnersClub.com had this to say:
“ … I think you could have a loose door switch that is setting it off. Do you manually lock it or is it set to auto-lock?”
“I had that issue caused by my bed door not pressing enough on the sensor. Added a tiny piece of rubber (the ones you put on chair legs) to the door to push in the sensor more. Solved it.”
“ … The HDS spit out a report for the last three alarm triggers, identifying which sensor triggered it. In my case, it was the rear passenger door sensor. I disconnected it and it works fine. I can now lock the truck and everything works normally, except if someone breaks into that door, the alarm won’t go off. Not a problem in my case.”
One redditor on the HondaRidgeline subreddit shared his experience with the matter:
“Mine was doing this and it was the tailgate sensor, it kept indicating the door was open. I had the dealer check it out and they blamed the tonneau cover for putting too much pressure on the sensor. I just disabled the tailgate lock and the problem went away but it’s annoying I can’t lock the tailgate.”
3. Malfunctioning Smart Entry Control Unit
A malfunctioning smart entry control unit may be causing electrical issues that affect the accuracy of the security alarm system of the Ridgeline.
This component is essentially the “brain” of the keyless entry system (also known as the “keyless access module”) of the more recent Ridgeline models and is therefore an integral part of the pickup truck’s modern day features.
One owner shared his experience on RidgelineOwnersClub.com:
“ … Took to the dealer today, and after an hour or so of diagnosis, they have ordered a replacement Smart Entry control unit.”
On the JustRolledIntoTheShop subreddit, we found this comment by a Ridgeline owner:
“I had a similar case at the shop. It was the keyless access module that was going bad.I killed the battery of the car and the alarm went off on random intervals with the lights not turning off. After replacement of that module, all symptoms stopped.”
4. Defective Push Button Start
Ridgeline models with a push button start feature may experience issues with their alarm system due to miscommunication issues between this feature and the alarm.
The best way to solve this is to consult with a dealer for a comprehensive check-up.
An owner shared the following on RidgelineOwnersClub.com:
“I was having the same problem in my 2017 Ridgeline. The dealer determined it was due to a faulty push button start.”
5. Loose or Bad 12V Battery Connections
Loose or bad 12V battery connections can cause a number of problems, including triggering the alarm of your Ridgeline.
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.
On RidgelineOwnersClub.com, one owner shared this piece of advice:
“Yes and my first thought would be battery connections. Make sure they are clean and secure. If Honda or anyone else worked on it previously, they may have disconnected the battery cables and maybe didn’t get them back on tight enough.”
6. Drained 12V Battery
A faulty or weakened car battery causes a variety of problems, including accidentally triggering the Ridgeline alarm.
The best thing to do is take your Ridgeline 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.
7. 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 Ridgeline’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 shared this on RidgelineOwnersClub.com:
“There have been a few occasions when I have had my keys in my pocket (on a different vehicle) and managed to set the alarm off by sitting in a way that the button has pressed. I would see where the fob is when this is happening.”
8. Faulty Key Fob
Another reported cause of nuisance alarms on the Ridgeline 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.
The HondaRidgeline subreddit had this comment by an owner:
“Although there could be some problem with the vehicle itself, don’t forget the potential for it to be the remote. A faulty remote or something depressing the alarm button could be the culprit.”
9. Key Fob Running on Low Battery
A common cause of mysterious alarms on the Ridgeline 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.
10. Damaged Tailgate Harness
A unique yet common problem to pickup trucks such as the Ridgeline is a damaged tailgate harness. This could lead to a short in certain electrical connections that can trip the alarm system.
A good starting point is a visual inspection of the tailgate harness. If you find any cracks or signs of wear, visit your Honda dealership for assessment as soon as possible.
On the HondaRidgeline subreddit, one owner said this:
“Have your tailgate harness checked. Known problem. Mine did it too. The harness was cracked and was causing a short in the connection for the alarm trigger.”
11. 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.
We found this post by an expert on FixYa.com:
“If it is an aftermarket alarm, find the alarm module under the dash or under the hood and unplug it.”
12. 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 front 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.
13. 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.
14. 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.
15. 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.
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.