As vehicles have become more computerized, warning lights have gotten exceptionally specific in reporting potential problems. A good example of this is the light for the Variable Torque Management System (VTM-4) (also known as the Intelligent Variable Torque Management System (i-VTM4.)
Understanding how the VTM-4 light works and what to do when it turns on will leave you less stressed as you drive your Honda Pilot.
What Does the VTM-4 Light Mean?
Your Pilot’s Variable Torque Management system transfers varying engine torque to your vehicle’s rear wheels when you need more traction. It is part of your All Wheel Drive (AWD) System, and its benefits are better handling in bad weather and superior performance on low traction surfaces, including:
The VTM system allows better handling and steering precision than front-wheel, rear-wheel, or conventional AWD systems. VTM-4 got better traction and handling by alternating torque between the front and rear wheel axles, which allows for better grip on slippery surfaces.
In earlier models of the Pilot, the VTM4 system could be manually engaged when needed. With the i-VTM4 system, the AWD system engages i-VTM4 full time when the vehicle is in operation.
The VTM-4 Light
When your VTM-4 system is engaged, the light on the dash for the VTM-4 system will be on. The light is orange-yellow, and when all things are working, it will be on by itself (provided other systems are not also engaged.)
Can You Drive Your Pilot With the VTM-4 Light On?
If all you see as you drive is a VTM-4 light, you do not have anything to worry about as long as it is steady. If you have an earlier model of the Pilot, you should only use the VTM-4 system when you need better traction. With i-VTM4, it will always be on.
What Causes the VTM 4-Light To Come On?
It is important to remember that a steady VTM-4 light in and of itself is only indicative of you using the VTM-4 system. Honda does warn drivers in the Vehicle Owner’s Manual that the VTM-4 system should never be used on “dry, paved roads” because you can damage the rear differential when you turn the vehicle.
Blinking i-VTM4 Light
When operating the i-VTM4 system, if the light blinks, your differential is overheating. You should pull over, shift to park, and keep the vehicle idle. You can resume driving when the blinking stops. If the blinking does not stop, you need to get your vehicle checked out as soon as you can.
VTM-4 and Check Engine Light Together
Typically, when the Check Engine Light comes on with the VTM-4 light, there is an issue with your vehicle. The following is a quick rundown of what it could mean if both these lights come on together.
Wheel Speed Sensor or VSS
The traction control system depends on the VSS (vehicle speed sensor) and wheel speed sensors to determine if any of the wheels are slipping. If the VTM-4 light and the check engine light are on, pull the codes with an OBD2 scanner and see if they are related to the sensors mentioned above.
How To Make Both Lights Go Off
If the issue is low oil or a bad gasket, addressing each should make your light go off.
For the other issues, your mechanic will have to replace whatever it is that is tripping the light warning.
Should You Ignore the Issues?
Whatever the issue that is prompting your two lights to go on, ignoring them is not the proper approach. It is asking for more problems, probably in the not-so-distant future. You can harm your differential, wreck your engine, damage your rear axle, etc. Even if money is the reason you want to ignore the warnings, it will cost you a lot more if the issues worsen.