Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety.


really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
123,159 miles
Total Complaints:
62 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. had to be replaced (31 reports)
  2. rebuild of torque converter and transmission (11 reports)
  3. not sure (9 reports)
  4. replace transmission (8 reports)
  5. install factory rebuilt transmission (2 reports)
  6. replace 3rd & 4th gear solenoids on tranny (1 reports)
2003 Honda Pilot transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Honda Pilot Owner Comments (Page 2 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #42

Feb 102011

Pilot EXL 3.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles


Was a honda customer until i got this Pilot. had 6 Accords, and 2 Civics.

Honda has to recognized they messed up. i was their customer for life. Now went other route with my last 2 cars, and have diverted MANY people away from buying them, over 20 of peers came to me for advice on Honda and Acura ended up with other brands.

Really disappointed about their brands.

- , Chester Springs, PA, USA

problem #41

Mar 052013

Pilot EX 3.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

Well my son drives a 2003 Honda Pilot which he purchased used with 70,000 miles on it-- now has 150,000 miles. Has not had lots of problems with the vehicle but has had to deal with a couple of recalls. He is living and working in the Boston area now-- from Oregon. Has been having some serious issues with car-- Honda dealership told him that it needs a new transmission at a cost of $ 6,000 ! They told him that it would be silly for him. to replace the transmission....hmmmmm . Wondering if they are just trying to get him to purchase a new vehicle. I have priced transmission replacement at various Honda dealerships here in Oregon and they quoted varying charges BUT were willing to price match!!! I believe that the Ma Honda dealership is NOT being totally honest with son--gee I wonder if they realize that he needs a reliable vehicle to drive back home to Oregon after he completes temporary work assignment.... can get transmission replaced in Oregon for $ 4,000 !!!

- , Columbia City, OR, USA

problem #40

May 092013

Pilot EX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 136,000 miles

This is the third Honda Vehicle I have owned, and up until then never had an issue of this magnatude.

Without warning, the transmisson light came on, A/T Temp. There was no loss of fluid, but the transmission

just burnt up in it. After looking online i see ALOT of other customers have had the same issue out

of their 2003 honda pilot. I contacted HONDA.COM and because i never bought the vehicle new They would not help at all. The vehicle has 136,000 miles on it, and the person/supervisor at Honda stated they look at different things when seeing if they will help owners of hondas, like mileage, and if i bought the car new or Original Owner and keeping up with normal maintenance. All of these things are true But since i am not the original owner, its kinda like Honda Corporation is Prejudice against Pre-owned honda Vehicle Buyers.

- , Berea, KY, USA

problem #39

Feb 272013

Pilot EX 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 226,324 miles


Our transmission is having a hard time shifting through all gears. Even at parking lot speeds. I hope Honda can do something to make these last. At least last more then 110k miles. Another Greedy Corporation

- , Sequim, WA, USA

problem #38

Apr 012011

Pilot ES V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,000 miles

Never had a problem with the Pilot besides your normal wear and tear until the transmission failed us. Since then we have had nothing but problems. It's never been right after the transmission. I have always taken great care of the car. Oil changes were done every 3,000 miles. Tune-up was done at 75,000 miles. Honda's are suppose to last forever. I should not be having problems with my car. There is 130,000 miles on the car and I am not sure if it will last another year.

- , Babylon, NY, USA

problem #37

Oct 152009

Pilot V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

So my '03 Honda Pilot had the tranny replaced in '09 & now is getting replaced again. My family and I were on our way to the mountains & were 600 miles from home when the tranny went out on I10. We are getting it replaced by Aamco for $3500. This car has been so problematic. I was so excited when we purchased this CERTIFIED car, but will NEVER purchase another Honda again.

- , Austin, TX, USA

problem #36

Dec 152012

Pilot LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 146,022 miles


My Honda pilot has cost me tons of money to fix every now and then. The latest dilemma is I brought my two kids,their grandma and my wife for Christmas shopping with my little military pay at loydminister Alberta from CFB Cold Lake .We had the Christmas shopping done and ready to go home ,my Honda pilot didn't start. I got stranded with 79 yr old grandma two kids and my wife in a very freezing cold weather.i had to towed away my Honda and go and rent a hotel for the night at cost of $107.00 and the next day which was Sunday there were no car rental place that opened so in order for us to get back to CFB Cold Lake I had to take a taxi which cost me $230.00. Now I'm all pay is done I'm now don't know how I'm going to spent the rest of the Christmas holidays with my kids . I also have four more days work and I have to take taxi to and from to work on top that.

What I'm intending to do now is I instructed the towing company to drop my vehicle to Honda loydminister and get it fixed by the recall.,since it is already listed as recall numbers S73 and S74.. Please help.

- , Cold Lake, Alberta, canada

problem #35

Dec 012010

Pilot EX-L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,000 miles

Transmission began slipping out of 2nd gear occasionally. The problem worsened and our local mechanic had it rebuilt.

Update from Oct 24, 2012: Transmission failed again about 2 years later at 140,000 miles. My local mechanic said his research revealed that hairline cracks in the transmission case can cause loss of pressure. Since he had done the work for the original transmission rebuild 2 years ago he offered to change this one out without charging labor. The dealer is charging $3,360 for a factory rebuilt transmission with a 36,000 mile parts-only warranty which my mechanic will put in without a labor charge. The parts guy at the dealer said that the original problem with these transmissions was a 4th gear oil piping that Honda recalled but the recall didn't completely fix.

This really seems like a Honda problem and I agree with others who suggest Honda should do more to compensate its customers for these faulty transmissions. On a good note, my mechanic is excellent, goes out of his way to offer low cost solutions, and always treats me fairly. The shop is called Triple-A Automotive in Davis, CA if anyone is interested.

- , Vacaville, CA, USA

problem #34

Aug 242012

Pilot EX-L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

The whole idea of buying a Honda was for mechanical reliability and longevity. An otherwise a great SUV but plagued by Tranny problems. Now that I have the issue, I am finding on the web that this is a common Honda Pilot issue. I was hoping to buy another Pilot (Almost did last weekend) but after reading the extant of the Pilot transmission problems, I have decided to go with either Toyota or ford.

Honda will loose reputation if they don't address these kind of issues. I am getting a quotes of $3500 to $4000 to rebuild the tranny.. the KBB value on this car is $4800. I really don't want to buy a new car. I was hoping a Honda will run till 200K miles. I service it regularly and change tranny oils every 30K miles. This is a unacceptable quality issue by Honda

Sam Seelam

- , Downingtown, PA, USA

problem #33

Nov 232011

Pilot ES V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 134,000 miles

Have always maintained Pilot to Honda Specs. Transmission started to have problems at 134,000 miles, beginning with low speed shifting problems. Local mechanic found trans fluid to be scorched. Got vehicle back on road. 7k miles later, trans fluid scorched again. Honda wants $5,600 for rebuild. NOT ACCEPTABLE. Cost of ownership on this vehicle has been atrocious, including motor mounts all coming apart at 110k mikes. Honda (so far) unwilling to step up. I can get nasty. Ironically, I have a `98 Acura TL with 240k miles that is a dream car. Pilot is a lemon. I will WIN!!!!

- , Danville, CA, USA

problem #32

May 252012

Pilot EX 3.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 170,000 miles


Counting the original transmission that came with the truck and the one Honda replaced it with in 2004, we're heading into our 3rd transmission.This doesn't even count the solenoids replaced in 2011.

Of course Honda has been worthless in their support of this latest repair. After 7 Honda / Acura's, this will be our last

- , Canton, GA, USA

problem #31

Jan 102005

Pilot EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles

honda's are basicly good autos, but their transmissions are poorly manufactured, i now have 320,000 miles on car, and am the orginal owner

I had a 98 accord < first year for V6 put 3 tranies in it < still buying them


- , Canton, OH, USA

problem #30

Feb 212012


  • Automatic transmission
  • 101,000 miles

Transmission failure while car is in motion. Serious safety problem that Honda NA is not willing to address. Apparently someone has to die first before they are willing to rectify thier problem.

- , Wauwatosa, WI, USA

problem #29

Mar 032012

Pilot EX - L 3.5L V6 Mpi

  • Automatic transmission
  • 156,000 miles

If there was an issue with the Transmission back in 2004, why does it cost $4500 to repair a defective transmission. Honda wants to sell a re-manufactured transmission for $4500 and a used for $3500. If there is a class action suit, please count us upset

- , Aurora, CO, USA

problem #28

Aug 052011

Pilot EX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 152,000 miles

Had notice periodic "slips" after 140K miles and two separate local transmissions shops suggested not even touching it (e.g., not change fluid, etc.) because it was going to fail at some point due to history of this model.

Lost all gears about 2nd while on interstate and was fortunate to be in town; drove to transmission shop in 2nd gear. Got parts list and was amazed at what all to be replaced; they even showed me the parts and why.

$2950 parts, $1150 labor, and balance taxes, etc. Found out the shop I picked actually does the rebuilds for our local Honda Dealer. Got 12-month or 12K mile warranty.

- , Roanoke, VA, USA

problem #27

Feb 202012

Pilot EXL 3.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,100 miles

Honda made defective automatic transmissions in the 2003 model year for the Pilot. These known quality defects should be addressed by Honda paying for the repairs. The cost for the repair is $4200 which is excessive. Owners need a class action lawsuit to punitively punish Honda for bad quality.

Update from Sep 24, 2012: Had the car repaired for $3100 - Honda offered a discount on the repair of abou8t $1200 - Transmission is a defective design so they should have replaced it for free. Purchased my last Honda. I have owned 6 in my lifetime

- , Chalfont, PA, mexico

problem #26

Jan 212012

Pilot EX-L 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,000 miles

With such low mileage (70K), gentle use, regular maintenance done on the Pilot, the diagnosed transmission failure is a reflection of the deteriorating quality of Honda cars. Honda USA offered a mere 10% assistance to me with the replacement cost, but it would still cost us over $3 K to get it fixed. This is totally unacceptable to us!!

Update from Jan 27, 2012: Honda should be responsible for all transmission problems that occurred before vehicles reached 100,000 miles.

- , Fayetteville, AR, USA

problem #25

Aug 082011

Pilot LX 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,000 miles

The transmission totally failed (began dumping copious amounts of black stinky smoke) while we were traveling 70 MPH on Interstate 95 with eight passengers, 400 miles from home. We got towed to a Honda dealer (in North Carolina) who saw the Maryland plates and the five kids and began salivating. The vehicle had just 71,000 miles. The quote was $5000 for replacement with a REBUILT transmission. We were stuck and had to accept, though they eventually reduced it to about $4800.

My wife almost lost control of the Pilot at full speed on I-95. I now know that the problems with Honda's transmissions from this era and even more recently are legendary, but are particularly bad for Pilots and Odysseys.

$4800 ($2900 for a rebuilt transmission) and $1900 labor is really over the top (I grew up in a shop). No transmission should fail after 70,000 miles. But on top of that, Honda GROSSLY overcharges for a rebuilt replacement and the dealers overcharge for the labor. They've taken their own defect, which harms consumers in and of itself, and turned it into a profit center that harm already screwed-over consumers even more.

I have been a loyal Honda customer for years, but will NEVER purchase another Honda or Acura product. Will happily joint a class action, and as an attorney, I think I'd have a lot to add.

- , Bethesda, MD, USA

problem #24

Oct 282011

Pilot V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

Fully loaded with 2 adults and 6 teens, the smoke poured out of all areas of the car. On a busy highway 60 miles from home, we waited 90 minutes on the side of the highway for the tow truck. After being attacked by wasps and waiting in the smoking car (difficult choice) a wonderful Martin County Sheriff (Grace) stayed with us for over an hour till help arrived.

This converter (which we have now learned) blew without any warning, We have been told that this is a vwry common 2003 Pilot problem. They should help with the cost

- , Coral Springs, FL, USA

problem #23

Nov 122011

Pilot LX 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 106,500 miles

My husband and I decided to purchase a used 2003 Certified Honda Pilot in 2006. With the last payment due 12/11, the transmission just failed. Estimated costs for repair are $3500+. Since we bought the car after the initial recall was sent out in 2004, we do not know if it was serviced. It would have been nice to have been notified of this when we bought the car. We purchased a Honda because we thought (especially Certified) that it would last us a good 10 years. Now we are faced with a large repair bill- which is ridiculous at 106,000 miles or purchasing a new car. Neither of which are acceptable at this time. We stopped at the Honda lot and we were told by the salesman that he knew nothing of any issues with the Honda transmissions from this time. Obviously, the line you expect from a salesman. No more Honda's for us!

- , Reading, PA, USA

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