pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
125,185 miles
Total Complaints:
80 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (45 reports)
  2. dealer to replace ingnition and comp at cost of 450+ (10 reports)
  3. replace ignition switch (8 reports)
  4. dealership says not under recall and new switch is required (5 reports)
  5. have a locksmith replace the ignition switch (5 reports)
  6. leave key in the ignition (3 reports)
2003 Honda Pilot accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2003 Honda Pilot Owner Comments (Page 2 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #60

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 #59

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 #58

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 #57

Mar 032012

Pilot EX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,662 miles


So I started having problems putting my key into the ingition (I only received one key when I bought the pilot which I've had for 3 yrs now) and it is becoming a pain to start my car as I constantly have to keep taking out the key & putting it back in, over and over, until the key would finally go in all the way and turn. My friend suggested I put WD40 in the ignition as it was probably just dirty. So I did and it was really dirty but it didn't help the problem. Now I find myself struggling longer to turn the key, to the point where my hand starts to cramp from trying to put the key in & out & trying to turn it. I loved my pilot...but now I just want to get rid of it. I don't have all this extra money to spend fixing it....why did it have to do this?

- , Edmonton, Alberta, canada

problem #56

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 #55

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 #54

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 #53

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 #52

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 #51

Jul 162013

Pilot EXL 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,970 miles

My wife began having difficulties with inserting the key into the ignition of her 2003 Honda Pilot. I went online and search for any recalls on Honda Pilots with ignition switch problems. Immediately I came across an ignition switch interlock recall. The next day, I took her 2003 honda pilot for the ignition interlock recall. The service guy at my local dealer stated that the recall did cover fixing the ignition switch and that it would cost me around $600 plus tax.

- , Fontana, CA, USA

problem #50

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 #49

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 #48

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

problem #47

Jun 172013

Pilot EXL 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,810 miles

We took our Pilot in Friday, June 14, 2023 for Campaign #S73/Service Bulletin #13-011, shift interlock lever recall. The recall was work was completed (after I was told we needed $200 of brake fluid & power steering fluid flushing). Monday morning the key did not fit in the ignition switch. I was told that this problem was in no way related to the recall work completed Friday. Further, I was told the repair would be in the neighborhood of $700.

I have a hard time wrapping my arms around this. The letter I received stated that a part of the ignition switch may need replacement and now I have issues with the ignition switch. I cannot see how this is not related; this is just too great a coincidence.

It appears that there is an issue with the ignition and mine was pushed over the cliff during the recall work.

I am waiting on a response from Honda.

- , Memphis, TN, USA

problem #46

Mar 222013

Pilot 3.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles

Key will not get into key switch and when it did, steering got locked down and key would not turn. Key come out when car shift is not in parking position.

- , Edmond, OK, USA

problem #45

Aug 012012

Pilot LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 167,000 miles

After taking my car for the safety recall, the techs at the dealership had to have me come into the service dept to turn my car ignition on because they were unable to. I had explained that my car has had this problem and that you must put the key in at an angle to get it to turn. Well after going into the service area twice to show them with no trouble, they wanted me to purchase a new switch and lever. Well that is currently not in my budget. Well a week later it is now getting difficult for myself to turn the key while in the ignition. I wish that Honda would find it to have a recall since searching the internet, I have ran across lots of people who have stated the same problem. $$$ is way to much to be paying when lots of people are reporting this problem. A youtube video shows how to change out the ignition but then you still have to find a way to get the car to a dealership to have it reprogramed to work which was way cheaper than having the dealership complete all the work. Wish for a magic wand to fix this problem.

- , Mooresboro, NC, USA

problem #44

Jul 112011

Pilot LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 66,386 miles

Had problem getting key in ignition. Had to leave key in ignition so I would not be stuck somewhere as key could not be inserted in ignition. Honda stated no recall. Dealership stated they had quite a few complaints on same issue. Received a recall in March 2013 - to get reimbursed you really had to have ALL required paperwork- I DID. I had everything needed (I knew there would be something coming up on this) sent into Honda and they replied 4 weeks later--Sorry repair bill does not STATE key could come out while in gears. What the heck??!!@@## Who tries to pull a key out of ignition while in gear driving down the road. I kept calling Honda stating there had to be something wrong with vehicle and there should have been a recall. I can see the switch going bad, etc, but the ENTIRE ignition being replaced. NOW they will not reiburse. All owners with same issue need to start class action suit. I will NEVER buy another Honda again and have spread the word how bad htey are when they are requested to fullfill obligation to reimburse for a recal repair already paid.....

- , Houston, TX, USA

problem #43

May 062013


  • Automatic transmission
  • 165,000 miles

The key can be removed from the ignition while the car is in drive or reverse. Recall for this was supposed to be fixed by Sanford Honda, but the problem is still there. Now, the key will not turn the ignition at all. We called Honda (the number on the recall.) The recall states that Honda will fix the problem, to the point of replacing the ignition if necessary. Both the dealership where I bought 1 of my Hondas, and the Honda customer service call center say that the ignition is not part of the problem.

Now, after driving a Honda (accord for 3 years, a pilot for 7) for the past 10 years, my loyalty has been changed. I will never purchase another Honda. Honda has lost a loyal customer (who was just about to buy a new Honda pilot) over a $450 ignition fix. Next stop.....Toyota of Sanford, NC.

- , Broadway, NC, USA

problem #42

Nov 102012

Pilot LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 113,000 miles

The key wont go in the ignition. Most times, it takes 4 times turning the key around trying both sides. After I get the key to go in, it takes a few tries to get the ignition to turn. I'm not sure if it's the key itself or the ignition.

- , allentown, PA, USA

problem #41

Mar 082013

Pilot EX L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

A few months ago, after mentioning the problem of key sticking going into ignition and at times having difficulty turning key in ignition the dealer promptly checked the starter -- yes that's right the starter -- and reported that everything was ok. HMMM....at any rate the problem continued but was not much more than annoying. Then finally, at around 7:30 pm when I left work, I STUCK the key into the ignition (emphasis important as over time, it became a kind of game to figure out which way the key would go in and make it work) and nothing would turn. It was locked in place. This happened in Wisconsin which is an important fact since a typical night in early March can be 10-20 degrees below freezing -- which it WAS. So, thankfully, I had a cell phone and it was actually charged, so I could call my husband to come and pick me up. Went back later on to give it "one last try" before calling for a tow, and low and behold, I wiggled and jiggled the key just right and got it to turn on. Drove to the dealer and he indicated that there had been a recall on ignition control system or some such and they would try that first to see if that might fix...which of course, it did not. $400 later and with keys for the ignition that DO NOT MATCH key to the door -- (really??? yes - and when I asked why they could not just order the key via my VIN so that I would not have different keys I was told that it would cost a lot more for that. I'm still investigating that one.) This has been really annoying as it already comes on the heals of $2500 in another repair and looking at $800 in yet another. I have loved my Pilot these many years and have serviced it faithfully as the plan has been to keep it until it dies. I guess that when I forked out $33K for a new HONDA 9 years ago I thought that 131K miles with no accident history and each recommended service and maintenance followed to a T would not be even CLOSE to the end for this car. At this time I would be hard pressed to recommend a Honda (or any other "higher end" vehicle for that matter). Seems to me that for all the cash spent in purchase and maintenance and now repair, it may have been a better bet to just get a less expensive vehicle and trade in every 3 years or so....Either way, I'm not too happy with Zimbrick Honda in Madison, nor am I too thrilled with seeing all of these issues over the ignition sticking problem and yet there has been no recall as yet.

- , Madison, WI, USA

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