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CarComplaints.com Notes: We all want our SUVs to be able to stop on a dime, just not randomly and without warning. But that's what was happening to 2005 Pilot owners: their vehicles were slamming on the brakes even when they didn't. A government investigation of this problem led to a recall in March of 2013.

Another issue that keeps popping up is transmission fluid mixing with coolant in the radiator which is causing transmission failure, a costly repair to say the least.

8.6

pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
$1,092.00
Average Mileage:
102,214 miles
Total Complaints:
7 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace radiator and transmission (3 reports)
  2. replace radiator (2 reports)
  3. replace radiator and flush transmission (2 reports)
2005 Honda Pilot cooling system problems

cooling system problem

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2005 Honda Pilot Owner Comments

problem #7

Jun 032014

Pilot

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,500 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Left for work at 6am its a 10 mile trip. Felt a strange slip then surge on the trip but thought it might be due to wet roads. Almost to work heard a high pitch sound. Arrived parked saw steam, popped the hood and saw a nasty sludge at the transmission reservoir. Tried to make it home but stopped when the temperature gauge spiked. Dealership wanted to replace the transmission and radiator and head gasket for 7500.00. Had it towed to a small repair shop, his thought is to replace the radiator and possible rebuild on the transmission. We will wait for him to check the pilot out before we have it repaired. I have had Honda's since 1978 and have never had anything like this happen. When I found this site and saw others have had this problem I was shocked. Honda should step up to the plate and admit to this problem. We brought a 2013 Pilot last summer hope it wasn't a mistake.

- , Kalamazoo, MI, USA

problem #6

Jun 262013

Pilot EX 3.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,500 miles

MY 2005 HONDA PILOT IS MY 4TH HONDA VEHICLE, HAVE LIKED HONDA CARS BECAUSE OF RELIABILITY. HOWEVER WITH THE RECENT HORRIFIC PROBLEM THAT HAPPENED TO MY PILOT @ 86500 MILES I FEEL REALLY SCREWED OVER FOR BEING A LOYAL CUSTOMER. I WAS GREETED IN MORNING BT UGLY PUDDLE OF TRANSMISSION OIL UNDER FRONT RIGHT TIRE. AFTER SPENDING A GRAND TO FIX PROBLEM, DAMN CAR BROKE DOWN ON HIGHWAY WITH NO WARNING. HAD IT TOWED TO GARAGE TO BE TOLD THE ENGINE WAS TOAST! WHAT THE HELL DO I DO WITH THIS PIECE OF CRAP NOW! CAN'T EVEN TRADE IT IN!!!!!! THANKS HONDA FOR THIS NIGHTMARE. HAS ANYONE FOUND AN ANSWER TO THE ISSUE.

- , Auburn, NY, USA

problem #5

Apr 182013

Pilot EX-L 3.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 122,000 miles

I bought a 2005 Honda Pilot because I wanted a good vehicle that would be dependable and I could tow with.I recently was starting on a trip and got about 30 miles from the house when the transmission failed to shift through the gears.I had it towed back to the dealer I purchased the vehicle from and they told me the transmission was trashed and then they told me the transmission had antifreeze mixed in it and the radiator was going to have to be replaced.Now this is costing me on a vehicle that I planned on getting many years of maintenance free service and reliability.Now I have this incredible bill.

- , White Sulphur Springs, WV, USA

problem #4

Nov 012012

Pilot EX-L 3.4L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 127,500 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

So, based on easy internet searches, I guess this problem is old news for many 2005 Honda Pilot owners. The radiator failed (seemingly overnight) and within a couple miles of driving the transmission began slipping and the "A/T Temp" light came on. Followed the instructions in the owners manual and pulled over until the light went off. Got the vehicle home, and woke up to find the apparently-telltale milky pink/brown puddle underneath my front end ... and the same stuff in the radiator. Pulled the transmission fluid dipstick, and it was dry, so I remained hopeful. Had the vehicle towed to my favorite mechanic (NOT a Honda dealer), who did the diagnostics ... and found, sadly, that the mixed engine coolant/transmission fluid soup was not only in my radiator, but also tainting my transmission. Darn ................................ (!$!$!$).

Am trying the first-step fix of replacing the radiator and triple-flushing both the coolant and transmission-fluid, but suspect that my transmission's days (hours???) are numbered.

I am furious that this is a known issue for Honda and there was no consumer maintenance notice (never mind a recall).

I will update with new information as I have it. Meanwhile, I will be shopping for a new vehicle ... and will be wishing that I hadn't bought the new accessories I did just last summer (trailer hitch, bike rack, safari roof rack ...). Again ... just ... DARN.

- , Lincoln, MA, USA

problem #3

Oct 272012

Pilot

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,000 miles

Thank God that this problem happened at home - I was not driving. The "chocolate milk" occurred at our home; we didn't know what it was , turned the car off and searched the internet. THANK YOU SO MUCH TO EVERYONE WITH THIS PROBLEM WHO VOICED IT! We checked the web and got hits on this website. We did not drive the car and had it towed to the dealer immediately. It will cost us about 1K to fix because our transmission was not damaged. For what it is worth, we are loyal Honda owners, we will be addressing this with Honda.

- , Creamery, PA, USA

problem #2

Sep 302012

Pilot EX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 109,000 miles

Yep add another one to the growing list. Seems there is a design fault with the radiator. Vehicle was fine first part of the day, and defunct by the end. There were no warning lights or noticeable issues. After parking the car we noticed the oily wet spot under the front passenger side. Opening the hood there was trans fluid and coolant mix sprayed around the coolant recovery tank. Popping the radiator cap displayed the trans fluid and coolant pink/brown sludge. Dealer should be looking at this soon. Made Honda USA aware of the problem.

First time I've ever seen or heard of this sort of failure in the many years of driving and wrenching vehicles.

More to come.....

- , Naperville, IL, USA

problem #1

May 192011

Pilot EX-L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,000 miles

On Thursday morning I brought the car in to check on a rattling sound and the air bag light is on. The service consultant recommended that I am overdue for a transmission fluid and brake fluid service. So I told them that it was ok to get that done. The rattling sound was due to the heat shield was rusted and air bag light was due to some sensor that needs to be replaced. They didn't fix the 2 items since they had to order the parts I picked up the car that afternoon and drove it home. I felt a little hesitation on the car but I didn't think much about it since I just had it serviced. The following day I saw some pink fluid in the garrage but I just thought it was just residue from the service. Saturday came around and I noticed a larger spot in the garrage so I opened the hood and that's when I saw the pink sludge in the coolant reservoir and in the radiator. Called the dealer and they told me to bring the car back on Monday.

Brought the car back on Monday and that's when they informed me that the transmission fluid has leaked into the coolant in the radiator and now I need a new radiator and I need to service the transmission and cooling system which will cost me around 6,000 - 8,000. I told them that this is just not acceptable. I brought the car in to get serviced and it was working fine on Thursday when I brought the car. The dealer didn't want to take blame for this and pretty much claimed that this was not their fault.

- , Cresskill, NJ, USA

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