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 4 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #20

Feb 132012

Pilot EX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 160,000 miles


Noticed the ignition key started to have some difficulties inserting and within a week I had several back-to-back really tough attempts to get it in, while being sure not to force it in. Each time I tried, it got worse, so I've decided to leave the key in and use my spare key to unlock/lock the doors.

While miles and fact that I just spent $4200 last year to rebuild the transmission, I doubt I'll take it to the dealer for a $500 repair. Not worth it.

- , Roanoke, VA, USA

problem #19

Feb 052012

Pilot EX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

We have had trouble putting the key into the ignition for months, but it always moved and came out. Now it is stuck between "Off" and "Accessories". It would be one thing if we could get the car started, but we can't do that. We've tried 1. Pounding it, 2. Jiggling the cables below 3. Lubricants to no avail.

At what point does Honda do a recall?

- , Chicago, IL, USA

problem #18

Dec 192011

Pilot EX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 119,000 miles

Can't get the key in the ignition. Jiggled the lock and the steering wheel individually and at the same time. Took ten minutes at least and the key never went in. Tried the spare key (thankfully I was at home when it happened and had the spare there!). Another 5 minutes of trying and eventually it went it. After the key was in, I couldn't turn it. Frustrating is not an angry enough word. Started eventually and then car ran fine. Happened again three more times that day. Now I have to plan my days to only drive places I can leave my car running or not go anywhere at all. Honda Dealership said cost is $450+. Called American Honda just now and they said to take it to the dealer to diagnose the problem. When I said I already did, they pretty much said sorry about my luck. Well, that's great customer service. She did suggest that if there is ever a recall on this particular item I can apply to get a refund if I have it fixed at an authorized Honda dealer. Are there no other fixes out there? Ridiculous. I have loved my Pilot until now.

Update from Jan 19, 2012: Qwirky work around...leave the spare key in the ignition and turn the car on from the front passenger seat actually makes it work, at least for a while. I don't know if it's the angle, the pressure, the key or what -- but it worked. The mechanic said that might work, but then one day it will probably stop working completely. It did. $480 later at the Honda dealership to have ignition switch replaced and a locksmith. Only positive thing, they found a SRS recall on my Pilot and fixed it free of charge while it was in there.

- , Maineville, OH, USA

problem #17

Oct 012011

Pilot EX 3.5L 240hp V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles


2003 Honda Pilot Ignition Problem, Key Hard to Insert and Turn; wafers misaligned and tumbler turns…try certified locksmith to fix key-tumbler first. If not, replace ignition switch, to avoid programming, use old key/re-keyed to the new ignition cylinder(mechanical) and swap old security switch that reads the key. I have asked and researched and found so much problem and wonder why it wasn’t added on Honda Pilot recall list. Identical to my problem with good result shared by concerned owner; for those of you having this problem, here is a reasonable solution;

In my case the existing switch was "mechanically binding". The key was hard to put in and turn...I had to jiggle and fiddle to get it to go in. This was because the "wafers" inside became misaligned not allowing the key to fit properly and allow the tumbler to turn.In my case I bought a used switch (low mileage donor vehicle) however this will equally apply to a new switch. Mine came with a key (c/w security transponder built in...Common Honda).The largest problem with changing the ignition as far as I am concerned is reprogramming new key/ignition switch and doors. Honda wants so much money for a new switch installed, all doors re-keyed (mechanically). Programming of the new key for additional amount. There is however a simple way to go around this; I took my donor ignition to a locksmith and had it re-keyed to my old key-mechanically. So now I have an ignition switch with the same mechanical key as my old one. Now the problem is the programming. What is even worse is if I change the switch myself in my garage, I would still have to tow the Pilot to the dealer to re-program the key as they need the vehicle and the key at the shop to do it. Here is the best part, 2003 Honda Pilot has a "fixed" code for the key...not a roaming code. When you put your key in the ignition switch the chip is read by a device hooked to the ignition switch...or should I say "screwed" to the switch. It is a black plastic box with a ring that your key passes through as it slides into the mechanical tumbler. Well guess what...it is removable-easily and can be attached to your new ignition switch. It can be re-used on the new switch negating the need for reprogramming of the key. In my case I had the new ignition switch re-tumbled for my old key "mechanically", the programming was unchanged and I re-used the security ring off the old switch. So I have a new switch, with the same old key (that works the doors too) that is still programmed to the Pilot (PCM). All of this was done at a fraction of the cost. This is totally applicable to a brand new or used ignition switch. So if you are going to have the dealer do it, tell them to get the new ignition switch keyed for your old key (mechanically) before it gets installed. In my case it cost $25,tell them to re-use the old security ring off the old switch on the new switch and then re-programming of your key will not be required. Re-keying your doors will not be required either. Basically you are getting a new mechanical switch and keeping the old programming and key. By the way...neither the Dealer nor the Locksmith even considered doing this until I mentioned it to them...and they both went..."Oh, yah!!! That would definitely work…why didn’t we thought about that… "

- , Waukegan, IL, US

problem #16

Apr 282011

Pilot LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 175,000 miles

Same problem as everyone else with the '03 Pilot, the damn key will barely go into the ignition and when it does 90% of the time it won't turn. I just leave the key in the ignition and since the door locks quit working too, I use the other key to unlock. Contacted Honda and got the same response everyone else has so I put them on my auto mailer and they get a complaint from me everyday and they reply each time, hilarious!

- , Danville, IL, USA

problem #15

Sep 072011

Pilot LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

The ignition started to play up by not " selecting" Drive. I would have to insert, then remove key, three or four times before the car would let me engage drive. I would have to allow ten extra minutes in the morning, in case the car decided to act up.

- , Exeter, NH, USA

problem #14

Jun 062011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 145,000 miles


When I put the key in the ignition it wouln't go all the way in or even turn to get the vehicle started.I turned the steering wheel all the way to the left and it doesn't matter. It still won't start. After trying for 2 days and calling and searching for a solution, I called the nearest Honda dealership to come pick it up. It finally turned and started for the wrecker driver..Great! The mechanics can't tell us if it is the tumblers that r going out or not, unless they take it all apart. That will cost us 100$. They say it's best to just make a different key to see if that solves the problem first. That might save us money but is that the best choice.

I would realy appreciate if someone can please respond to me with their suggestions and input. Single mom with 3 very active kids in sports and a college student who need to get to practices, games and school..any advise could help. Just don't advise me to junk it. It's paid off and I refuse to add another bill.

- , Houston, TX, USA

problem #13

Apr 282011

Pilot EX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,000 miles

The key won't turn without a bunch of wiggling & messing around. I sprayed WD-40 in it to see if that would loosen in up but nothing seems to help. Dealer siad it may cost $250 for the part. They do not have it in stock. Locksmiths do not gurantee it. May need different keys. Do not feel like buying Honda any more even though I have used 5 Honda's over last 18 years. Honda should fix it at no cost or do a recall.

- , Houston, TX, USA

problem #12

Sep 012010

Pilot LX 3.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 112,000 miles

The Ignition key won't turn. It costs $700 to replace it. So, I leave the key in the ignition and use another key to lock it. My Honda accord was great but Pilot is a piece of junk

Update from Jan 4, 2012: I took my car to the dealer for an oil change today. I told the service manager not to remove the key from ignition but he removed it anyway after the oil change. The car got stuck in their service bay. So I have to spent $500 to replace it. My next SUV is a Toyota for sure.

- , Vienna, VA, USA

problem #11

Mar 012011

Pilot EX-L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 112,000 miles

This problem started to happen within the last two weeks. The key wouldn't go into the ignition, would have to wiggle it around a lot to get it in. Currently the spare key will work if I wiggle it in and move it around and shake my left leg twice, the main key will not. It looks like Honda is going to get me for $480 to just replace the ignition and give me 2 or 3 new keys, the guy wasn't sure how many it comes with. I don't want to think about how much it will cost to have the doors keyed to match the ignition. It looks like several others have had the same problem, my local dealer said the tumblers are likely failing? WTF is that about? I've never had this problem with my Fords that I've driven (185,000 miles before we got rid of it). I don't know what else to do except have Honda replace it.

- , Idaho Falls, ID, USA

problem #10

Sep 112010

Pilot EX-L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles


Problem started about 6 months ago. At first I could wiggle the key or turn the steering wheel while I turned the ignition and it would work. Now - sometimes it starts right away, sometimes I have to wiggle the wheel and sometimes it can take up to 20 minutes to start. Very frustrating! The part is on order and I'm taking it in for repair. $420 for parts and labor to replace the ignition switch and I'll end up with two different keys for my vehicle. One key for the ignition and one for the doors. $700 - 800 if I want to change the door locks and have the same key for doors and ignition. Until then I leave my key in the ignition turned enough so the radio is not on, but the car will start.

- , Mcfarland, WI, USA

problem #9

Apr 282010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,456 miles

The dealer ship was totally clueless at first. After three days of having the car they finally were able to repair it but it costed us 671.00. And they did not wan to rekey all of our locks.

- , Baton Rouge, LA, USA

problem #8

Oct 192009

Pilot LX V6 Vtech

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles

Contacted the dealer. only the dealer can fix the problem. lock smiths tell me they can't fix it. American Honda when contacted basically told me tough it is my problem and they wont stand behind their vehicle. The ignition will cost $600 plus all of the doors will have to be rekeyed. for about $200 more. I've Hondas since 1988. This is the last Honda I will buy. I don't trust companies that will not stand behind their cars

- , Santee, CA, USA

problem #7

Jul 292010

(reported on)

Pilot V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,000 miles

when i put my key in the ignition it won't read my key and won't turn. I keep on pulling it out and then putting it back in and wiggle with it then it would read my car it happened a couples of times I just though it might be my key that is not working. So we try calling a non dealer shop to see if they could fix it and they said that they can't because they since the key is program to the car we need to take it to the dealer and have them fix it.

So I call the dealer to take my car in the next day. Well guess what this time my key won't even turn no matter what I try to do and then my steering wheel look up I was really piss off because this was my own car. So I call the dealer back and told them that I can't take my car in because my key won't work.

I was so piss of by this time. I have to call a tow truck and have my car tow to they dealer but with my steering wheel lock and since my car is a 4 wheel drive they tow truck guy said that he won't do it until i try to unlock my steer wheel and that it might damage my 4 wheel systems. Now I was really piss off so i call back the dealer and they help me unlock my steering wheel and I told the tow truck guy that I don't care if my 4 wheel system get f*ck up because right now all i want is to get this ignition fix.

Finally got my car tow to the dealer and they charge me $450 to get the ignition fix. I ask them if they could just program my car key for the ignition but they said no they can't and I have a choice if I want the same key as my ignition key then they are going to charge me $700 so i said forget it sh*t I'm not going to pay that much just for a dam key. So now I have two different set of key one for my door and the other one is for my ignition.

I think that Honda should do a recall on this crap because this is their fault for putting an ignition that break down on us after a certain of miles. That is wrong for us and we should have to paid for this crap to get it fix.

- , Sacramento, CA, US

problem #6

Jul 282010

Pilot LX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

I went through a few old cars in my life and never had this problem. This is a pain in the neck . I hope the manufacturing takes the responsibility for this problem.

- , Mt. Pleasant, SC, USA

problem #5

Jan 012010

Pilot EX 3.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 111,500 miles

This is so painful! From one day to the next the key won't turn with out a bunch of wiggling & messing around. I sprayed WD-40 in it to see if that would loosen in up but nothing seems to help. I had a locksmith look at it & he was able to make it work a bit better. I just can't believe that an ignition system on such a great car could be so poorly designed. I have had many cars & I have NEVER seen this problem. I think that this should be covered by Honda as this is definably a defect that should never occur even with normal everyday usage.

- , Laredo, TX, USA

problem #4

Feb 282010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,131 miles

had this problem about 60000 miles ago, dealer told me someone tried to steal car. now 90000 miles later i guess someone tried to steal it again! i hope the dealer says this then my insurance covers this. two ignitions in 150000 miles, i have a 1986 bmw with 350000 miles on it and it still has the original ignition switch and key and is driven everyday!

- , Kutztown, PA, USA

problem #3

Mar 092009

Pilot LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 91,963 miles

I think this should be covered on a warranty. It's not a wear and tear problem, rather a defective problem! We pay enough to keep our vehicles in good repair to add this as maintenance.

- , Thorburn, Nova Scotia, Canada

problem #2

Aug 132008

Pilot EX-L 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

Switch just failed. The key would not turn. Had my mechanic look at it but he did not have the equipment to reprogram the switch for keys and recommended the dealer - who wanted 900 for the job.

I found a local locksmith who did it for half that. He said this was a pretty common Honda problem and that he had just finished with an Odyssey that morning with the same problem.

- , Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #1

Nov 122008

Pilot LX 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

When I put the key in the ignition it won't turn to get the vehicle started. I turned the steering wheel all the way to the left and it doesn't matter. The Pilot still won't start. When reading the manual, it's a PUSH sign under the ignition but this isn't addressed in the manual. It doesn't tell you the purpose of the PUSH sign. I've tried everything to get the key to turn and I've let others try also. And it doesn't work for anyone. The steering wheel is turned all the way to the left but the wheels are not and it won't turn to the right it all; it's locked. The vehicle won't go in neutral, so I can roll it or nothing. I really need some help to get this fixed at a reasonable cost.

- , Jonesboro, GA, USA

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