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pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
119,400 miles
Total Complaints:
60 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (33 reports)
  2. dealer to replace ingnition and comp at cost of 450+ (10 reports)
  3. dealership says not under recall and new switch is required (5 reports)
  4. have a locksmith replace the ignition switch (5 reports)
  5. leave key in the ignition (3 reports)
  6. replace ignition switch (3 reports)
2003 Honda Pilot accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2003 Honda Pilot Owner Comments (Page 1 of 3)

problem #60

Jul 012015

Pilot EX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 180,000 miles


The key started to become jammed. Very difficult to turn on. Of course on a very busy work day I finished one job and was ready to go to next appointment when I tried to turn on car the key would not turn. I was stuck at job site for 2.5 hrs waiting for a tow truck. Hand to cancel all of my appointments. Towed my car to Firestone where they quoted me $602. To have the key cylinder replaced, labor and to recalibrate. This should definitely be on Hondas list of recalls!!!!

- , Wesley Chapel, FL, USA

problem #59

Aug 312015

Pilot EX 4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 195,000 miles

ignition lock and switch went bad

I was surprisingly informed by Honda dealer that Ignition lock and switch went bad even though this was recalled. Therefore, they are making pay $683 for the entire repair. They will probably get away with this because of the mileage of the vehicle. I have never experienced an ignition switch going bad. We are the third owner of this vehicle which means the vehicle was purchased used from an individual.

Honda should at least try to make some remedy of the situation.

- , Odenton, MD, USA

problem #58

Jun 132015

Pilot LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles

So for about a week or so I have had to "jiggle" the steering wheel when putting the key in to get it in all the way or to be able to turn the key. Yesterday, nothing would help! Got the key in, but it would not turn for nothing!! Fortunately it happened in a place where I could safely leave my car until able to take care of it. And I was able to use a relatives car for the day to do what I needed to do.

After looking onlin , it seems Honda will probably charge me $500 or more, so I think the first thing I will do is check with a locksmith. That should also save me a towing fee!

I will update later this week when I decide how I will handle this.

Update from Jun 15, 2015: So I called Honda , they said $300 for part, $250 labor + $75 Re-key (additional $50 to tow it there)

Called some locksmiths, I've got one coming to my car tomorrow morning (no tow fee!) to fix it. $200 total. Says he's done this kind of thing many times. Hope it all goes well and I'm up and running by later tomorrow .

- , Millville, NJ, USA

problem #57

Nov 112014

Pilot LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 175,000 miles


I have the same problem of the key not wanting to go into the ignition without playing with it and praying! This needs to be a recall obviously, and trying to charge $500 to fix..Crazy!! I just leave a key in the ignition at all times. It's a pain not being able to use the remote since it won't work as long as the key is in, but I can't take a chance of it not going in at all!!

- , Lexington, KY, USA

problem #56

Feb 282015


  • Automatic transmission
  • 124,000 miles

This is a serious problem my wife and son almost got stuck in a empty parking lot at 9pm at night in 0 degree weather.I called Honda they wanted 250 for the part plus labor comes to 500. did some research called a locksmith found its a common problem that Honda refuses to fix. the teeth inside the tumbler become worn which causes the tumbler to stick. also the fact that Honda charges 200 in labor for a 20 mins it took to remove it is robbery. will be contacting my legislator and a few other sources to have the amount of money being charged for a 60 min job. also this is dangerous what happens If my wife and son were out in the middle of nowhere with no cell service they could have died or been severely injured. this needs to be recalled now before someone get seriously hurt.

- , Pittston, PA, USA

problem #55

Feb 162015

Pilot EX 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 180,000 miles

Key will not turn to start the engine right away. I can take the key out and put it back in. After a while something clicks and the engine starts. Sometimes changing to a spare key helps - sometimes not. Sometimes pressing the auto door open helps - sometimes not. It seems like the problem is getting worse and worse.

Update from Mar 7, 2015: Brian from American Locksmiths, LLC in Waukesha WI did a great job to fix my ignition key problem.

- , Brookfield, WI, USA

problem #54

Jan 122015


  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles


Key won't go into the ignition unless the wheel is turned just right. I fear I may not be able to get it in at all soon.

- , Bloomington, IL, USA

problem #53

Jan 152014

Pilot EX 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,000 miles

I noticed that you already have this complaint listed several times on your site and I just wanted to add mine so that Honda will take some action to fix the problem at their expense. My ignition key will not turn at times. I have to remove it several times and keep inserting it until it turns. It happens randomly but seems to be getting worse as time goes by. I am afraid that one day I will get stranded. I noticed that several people have reported that Honda will charge about $500 to fix this problem. That is a rip off to say the least. Given that many people have this problem, Honda should accept the fact that they installed an ignition switch that has a defective design and should initiate a recall.

- , Randleman, NC, USA

problem #52

Jul 152013


  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles

Key suddenly became difficult to insert into the ignition. Problem got worse, and key was almost impossible to turn to start the car, requiring several minutes of fiddling each time. This was a huge personal safety concern, as I was worried about being stranded alone. I was told by independent mechanic and the Honda dealership that the ignition would have to be replaced at a cost between $500 and $600. This did not seem right to me, as the ignition worked fine, the problem was with the ignition lock. After extensive calling around to locksmiths, I found one in a larger city that said he could fix the problem for $125. I drove to meet him, and an hour later the problem was fixed. He said that one of the tumblers in the ignition lock cracked. He was able to replace it in under an hour. I still use the original key. The locksmith confided that he does a lot of work for dealerships fixing this problem, and that they turn around and charge the customer $500 or more for this 'fix.' So glad I did the legwork to find a locksmith who could fix it for me!


problem #51

Aug 012013

Pilot LX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 175,000 miles

I got a great deal on a used 2003 Honda Pilot from a individual seller almost 7 months ago. It was much needed. I've been a single mom for 17 years and I had only one vehicle and now 2 boys that were going off to college and needed a car. I felt blessed to find such a good deal.

There was an issue with the driver's side door not being able to be locked, but you could unlock it from that side. This was a little annoying, but I could deal with it because of the deal I got on the car. I did replace the timing belt as the seller (original owner) had never had this done and it was at 175,000 miles. I took the car to a Honda dealer and had it inspected. There were a couple of recalls that needed addressed so after they were taken care of and the timing belt was replaced, I decided to let the boys use my now paid off KIA Sportage because I was the original owner and knew everything about the car. I felt it was safer this way.

I"m glad that I made the switch because out of the blue 2 months later I couldn't get the key into the ignition!! I was on my way to pick up my sister and heading out of town. I panicked! WHAT???? I kept trying to get the key in the ignition and after about 20 minutes finally go it in. I had to hurry and pick up my sister and get on the road. We were out of state for 3 days and I had to keep the key in the ignition with a blanket over the steering wheel hoping no one would break in. Once we returned, one of my sons was home from college and went out to the Honda to get something, saw I had the key in the ignition and took it out as he thought I had forgotten it...YIKES.....it took him 15 minutes to get it back in. To this day (four months later) I haven't removed the key in fear that at one point I won't be able to get it back in.

I called the dealership and a mechanic and they quoted about $500. I don't have $500 so I guess it won't get fixed. As I'm reading the posts here I am seeing that eventually it seems that the key won't even turn. Dreading that day!!! It seems this is more common then thought so Honda should really step up to the plate and take care of this problem.

I wanted to add that now the key also won't fit into the hatch door. So that means I can't lock the car from the door from the driver's side, can't lock it or open it from the hatch and have to keep the key in the ignition. I truly don't mind going OLD SCHOOL and having two keys, one to open the door and one to start the car, but to have to pay a considerable amount to fix this problem? That should be a recall, really bites!! So much for getting a good deal :(

- , Charleston, WV, USA

problem #50

Jan 042013


  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,000 miles


I have a 2003 Honda Pilot. About a week ago I was having trouble getting the key to turn in the ignition. After about 45 minutes of trying I finally got the key to turn and took it to the Honda dealership. They said I need a new ignition switch. It cost $552.00 to fix. I have read on the internet where a lot of people were having this trouble with this make and year vehicle.. Does anyone know if there are any recalls and does anyone know where I can complain to Honda about this?

- , Bloomsburg, PA, USA

problem #49

May 242012

Pilot EXL V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 147,000 miles

The key started getting stuck in the ignition about a month back. Now it is not turning AT ALL. Thanks for all the threads on this website... I should be making a decision what to do with it within next hour or so. Had to get a ride with a co-worker last evening after the ignition failure.

- , Houston, TX, USA

problem #48

May 042012

Pilot EX-L 3.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 118,000 miles

The key won't turn at all when I put it in the ignition after many weeks of hard, ignition turning. I plan on getting a new ignition installed and having two keys for the car. One for the ignition and one to open the doors. Honda should really make this a recall.

- , Germantown, MD, USA

problem #47

Jun 222012

Pilot EX 3.2L V6

  • Manual transmission
  • 114,500 miles

OMG, I tried for about an hour to get my key into the ignition (broken up in 15 minute increments). It was late in the afternoon, and auto mechanics are about to close up on a Friday afternoon, and most auto shops aren't open on Saturday here. I cannot get the key in the ignition no matter how hard I tried.

I have errands to run on Saturday, and I need to be in LA early Monday morning. I only have the one vehicle, and everyone I know is still at work or gone for the weekend. Oh, and I left my cell phone at home. I decided to wait until one of my friends got off of work -- another hour later -- to have her drive me home to pick up a spare key. I hoped this would work, otherwise I was going to be stranded without transportation. Luckily, it did. Unfortunately, I caused my friend to be late for a dinner engagement.

I cross my fingers every time I go to start the car, hoping that the spare key will continue to work until I can get to LA to get it looked at. Wish me luck. I agree with all the other complainants -- there should have been a recall.

- , Coalinga,, CA, USA

problem #46

Jun 162010

Pilot EXL 3.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,000 miles

ignition switch permits car to roll when keys are removed

Honda only replaced the ignition switch not the door key cylinders. This leaves you with two separate keys to start and unlock the vehicle

- , Chalfont, PA, mexico

problem #45

Apr 172013


  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,390 miles

Reference your C/I SERV-Bulletin 13-011; on April 17 2013 I visited the service office of Triangle Honda at 65th Infantry road in Carolina, PR. They took my Honda Pilot 2003 to their maintenance area and after, about an hour or more, Mr. Edilberto Bozquez, came and told me that they did not have in stock the part mentioned in the recall, that they have to put a special order and that they will call me when it arrives. I waited until May 30, 2013 for their call, but since they did not call me, the next day, May 31st 2013, I went back to Triangle Honda and they took my Honda Pilot to their service area and after a while came with my vehicle "fixed". I took it to my home, but noticed that something was wrong with the cylinder kit, they said, was changed. Sometimes the ignition key won’t get inside or give a hard time to get inside or take out. Today, 16 July 2013, I went back to Triangle Honda to comply with a prior made appointment, and there Mr. Edilberto Bozquez, told me that, since that was not covered by the recall, I have to pay for the inspection and for the parts. I told him to put that in writing and, also I ask him his full name, and him, in an inappropriate manner, told me that “there is my name" pointing to the front part of his desk. This is not the first time that this person addresses me with disrespect. I told him that he should be more humble with the customers.

After that, he gave me the papers, I went to the cashier to clear them and left.

I'm doing this statement, not to request anything against this person, but to aware you of the situation because a happy customer is the meaning of any company.

Thank you

- , Carolina, PR, Puerto Rico

problem #44

Oct 012012


  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles

Ridiculous. Dealer today acted like this was new to him. After reading this I see it was not. I don't see paying dealer $750+ as he estimated to fix this simple problem on a 7k valued car.

We chose Honda over Toyota. As someone already said next time we get a Toyota. Honda should fix this no questions asked.

This was my first and last Honda. Too many little problems that seem simple but very expensive to fix.

- , Austin, TX, USA

problem #43

Nov 102012

Pilot EX ?

  • Automatic transmission
  • 112,000 miles

There are 25 other complaints on this site regarding the same problem. Initially, I had trouble putting the key in and taking it out; last week, I was unable to turn the key, and have been unable to do so since then. Kinda hard to drive a car that you can't start. Talked to the SM at Pacific Honda in San Diego, who said, yeah, that's a common problem. WTF?!?!?! He said they would charge about $500 to fix it. We probably all bought these cars because of Honda's well-deserved reputation for reliability. What a disappointment! I plan to contact Honda about this. In the meantime, I found what sound like promising -- and inexpensive -- fixes, such as the one here: http://cr4.globalspec.com/thread/58151/2003-Honda-Pilot-Ignition-Key-Ignition-Switch-Problem Query why Honda can't do this instead of charging $500?!

- , San Diego, CA, USA

problem #42

Jun 232013

Pilot 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 147,576 miles

Complete nightmare. Both sets of keys we have will not turn on the ignition. Our local dealer in Canada tells me it's a $406.00 problem and not covered under any recall. I strongly disagree considering this is clearly a safety issue. So once we do get the truck started, we are forced to leave the key in the ignition or risk not being able to start the truck again. When we first came across this problem, we thought it was a defective key. Then we quickly realized all our keys take some time before they will turn the cylinder and FINALLY start the truck.

- , Tiny, Ontario, canada

problem #41

Jan 252013


  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

Same problem as everyone else. Key will not start the engine. Stuck for 30 mins one time. Should never happen. Yesterday, steering wheel locked too. Dealer asking way too much money for a new key and a new ignition system. There's been too many recalls with Honda Pilot 2003 & a new one coming up in Feb 2013. If there is a petition out there, I will be signing it. With the amount of customers reporting the same problem, it sounds like a manufacture error.

- , Dunwoody, GA, USA

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