Honda Pilot VTM-4 Light and Check Engine Light On? Causes and Fixes

"This photo" by Dennis Elzinga is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Planetwagon is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

VTM-4 (Variable Torque Management 4-wheel drive system), along with the Engine Check Light on the Honda pilot’s dashboard, is an indication that something is wrong with your car. The lights can be triggered due to faulty sensors or mechanical failures that can be expensive to fix. 

Diagnosing this issue can be tricky if you have no OBD scanner or experience with cars. In this guide, I have covered this issue in detail; make sure you do not miss anything.


Understanding VTM-4 and Check Engine Light

VTM-4 (Variable Torque Management 4-wheel drive system) is a technology used in Honda cars to improve handling and traction in slippery or off-road conditions by distributing torque between the front and rear wheels. It does that based on your driving conditions. 

The check engine light is a general warning light on cars that indicates issues with the car’s important components (mostly engine-related).


Why Do Both VTM-4 and Check Engine Lights Appear on the Honda Pilot?

A lot of faulty components can cause warning lights to pop up; these components can be sensors, emission system components, and more. 

But a lot of people do not know that the VTM-4 light can appear with the Check engine light even when nothing is wrong with the VTM system.

In that case, simply addressing the check engine light and fixing the problem behind it will make both lights turn off. 


How to Fix the Problem?

The most efficient way to fix the issue is to scan the car with an OBD scanner for codes. If you do not have a scanner, you can get it scanned by Autozone or a local mechanic’s shop. 

Once you get the code, you can identify the component that is faulty and replace it. 

Addressing the issue without an OBD scanner will take way too much time, especially if you are not experienced. And there is a high chance you may end up with no knowledge about the part causing the problem. 

In the next section, I have explained the causes behind the warning lights; you can use that information to check whether those components are malfunctioning. 


Causes and Solution 

There are too many car components that can cause the warning lights; some can be directly related to the VTM technology, and some may not be related to it directly, but fixing those will make the VTM-4 warning disappear, too. 


1. Malfunctioning Sensors

Wheel speed sensors, mass airflow sensors, temp sensors, and oxygen sensors play an essential role in managing operations. If one of these sensors starts malfunctioning, it can cause increased emissions, engine performance issues, and the VTM-4 will not work properly in the case of malfunctioning wheel speed sensors; these issues will lead to the warning lights popping up on the dash.

The solution: Scan the car using an OBD II Scanner to get the code to help you find the exact malfunctioning sensor. For example, if you get code PO135 after the scan, you must replace the oxygen sensor. Once you know which sensor it is, replace it to get rid of the warning lights. 


2. Emission System Problems

The emission system components, such as the catalytic converter, EVAP system, and EGR valve, are not directly related to the VTM-4 system, but any of them not functioning properly can undoubtedly result in the warning lights. 

The solution: Get the faulty part repaired or replaced; mainly, the EGR valve and catalytic converter are the ones that need to be repaired/replaced. 


3. Transmissions and Engine-related Problems

Problems such as mechanical problems in transmission, low transmission fluid, and malfunctioning transmission sensors can cause the issue. Also, Bad spark plugs, loose gaskets, and other engine-related problems can be the culprits, too. 

The solution: Check fluid levels, inspect the engine and its components, and repair/replace the part behind the issue. 


Other Causes

There can be several other causes, such as a bad temp sensor in the rear differential, drivetrain components such as the driveshaft, differential, or related bearings, a failing water pump that ends up damaging the engine, a malfunctioning variable timing pressure switch, PCM software issues, and more. That is why I mentioned using the OBD II scanner to pinpoint the exact issue. 


Can You Drive Your Honda Pilot With The VTM-4 Light On?

In some cases, you can, and in some cases, you cannot. The answer depends upon your situation and the cause behind the lights, so it’s not recommended at all to drive the car with the warning lights because it’s not safe, and it may burn a hole in your pocket too. 



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here