really awful
Crashes / Fires:
6 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
121,441 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2003 Honda Pilot drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2003 Honda Pilot Owner Comments (Page 5 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #12

Dec 012011

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 145,000 miles


Same issue as every other Pilot owner with the 2nd gear not wanting to shift up around 30-40 mph, a delay and RPM's go up causing safety issues.

- Star, ID, USA

problem #11

Dec 152010

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 110,000 miles
Our transmission keeps slipping around 2 or 3 gear.. there was a recall about this part that was supposedly fixed on our car. Our car only has $116K miles on it, and it seems kind of fishy that it is the same part that was recalled and "supposedly" fixed. Transmissions usually last a lot longer than this before they fail. They need to take responsibility for their faulty vehicle parts!

- Grantville, GA, USA

problem #10

Dec 012011

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 126,000 miles
I inadvertently turned the ignition switch off with the transmission still in drive, and I was able to remove the key from the ignition. I then exited the car. The car started to roll backward as I was passing behind it, so I had to unlock the door and climb back into the moving vehicle and apply the brake. This same failure warranted recalls for 2003 Accord, civics, and elements, but so far not for Pilot. I wonder if the interlock mechanism is common among all these different models, and if so, why Honda wasn't required to issue a recall for the Pilot, also? the designs must be very similar for so many models to be experiencing the same failure.

- Bettendorf, IA, USA

problem #9

Jan 122010

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 80,000 miles


At about 80,0000 miles on my Pilot a vibration and noise while traveling at a steady speed anywhere between 30 - 50 miles per hour. The dealer says that it could be a problem with the torque converter but he is not sure. At times the sound is faint and often times it is quite loud. The dealer is quoting around $4000 to fix it. When I also researched on the internet, I found quite a few people with the same complaint. I agree that Honda needs to issue a recall.

- Lafayette, NJ, USA

problem #8

Aug 152011


  • 116,000 miles
The transmission initially started to shudder when the vehicle operated within the 40-60 mph zone. Now the shudder seems to occur in the range of 30 to 60 mph. The transmission is also erratically shifting up and down within the drive range causing for uneven performance. I now operate the vehicle while driving on city streets in the "D3" gear. Although it wastes gas, the car operates smoother and does not have the shuddering that was being experience while in the "D" gear. Given an emergency situation, I bought the car from a family member. Otherwise, I would have had time to research the car and would have found that the transmission is a very serious failure on this vehicle. It is in fact a latent defect that has occurred with continued regularity. Given the history of this issue, and the way Honda has responded, I will not be looking at Honda when I buy a new car.

- Madison, AL, USA

problem #7

Oct 252011

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 125,000 miles
Transmission going bad. Dealer says it is a bad torque converter and could be a safety issue if it locks up while moving. It appears that there are a lot of these issues with the Honda Pilot.

- Portland, OR, USA

problem #6

Oct 032011


  • 90,000 miles


Having difficulties puting car into gear from park to drive especially if vehicle is on a hill. Various friends who have the same car have the same issue. One friend had to replace transmission when it failed on the highway.

- Staten Island, NY, USA

problem #5

Oct 202011


  • 107,000 miles
As I was driving down a busy highway this morning my transmission started violently jerking in and out of gears so hard it was throwing me forward and my seatbelt was locking. After the jerking the RPM's went to 5,000 at 55 mph and the malfunction indicator lamp came on. I pulled over and had my vehicle towed home. The jerking was so bad the people behind me slowed down to avoid a collision. I do have two small children that ride in this vehicle and seeing that I am not the only person with this issue, why hasn't Honda owned up to this problem. I could have been seriously injured from this not to mention how scared I was while it was happening. This is a safety concern! Honda obviously did not fix the original problem. I have notified Honda motor corporation and have filed a complaint, my vehicle is being towed to the dealership to have a diagnostics done and sent to the "case worker", who should contact me in 24-48 hours. If Honda does not fix this problem and someone dies as a result of the transmission locking up, they are going to be in serious trouble. Why don't these corporations fix the problems before a life is taken. I expect way more than 107,000 miles out of my Pilot transmission.

- Bush, LA, USA

problem #4

Oct 122011

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 120,029 miles
While driving with my two small children in the car, the vehicle failed to shift to third, and instead shifted to first gear. This gave a serious jolt to the car, and nearly caused an accident. On review by a transmission shop, it was determined that the clutch pack was completely deteriorated and would need to be replaced. Honda of North America S unwilling to admit that there is a design flaw in the transmission. There were no warning lights, no flashing "D" symbol on the dash, nothing. Just a complete transmission failure on a busy road, driving normally. Please investigate.

- Montvale, NJ, USA

problem #3

May 012006


  • 70,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Pilot. The contact stated the air bag light remained illuminated and the transmission would not shift into second gear. The manufacturer advised that the air bag and the transmission recall were performed on the vehicle and the vehicle should be taken back to the dealer to be diagnosed. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 70,000 and the current mileage was 149,000.

- Severna Park , MD, USA

problem #2

Jul 042009


  • 165,000 miles
Our Honda Pilot will shutter while accelerating between speeds of 20 to 50 miles per hour. The shutter will continue if you continue to accelerate, if I let off the gas pedal shutter dissipates and I can resume on accelerating. Occasionally the rear end jumps when accelerating from a stop. It looks to be a problem with multiple Pilot/MDX owners. A recall needs to be addressed soon, before serious injury could occur. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Andalusia, AL, USA

problem #1

Mar 122007


  • 56,000 miles
My Honda Pilot has an unfixable life threatening defect. It is sticking gas pedal. Usually it sticks after the night in the garage and I need to idle until the engine is hot and then the pedal unsticks. But sometimes it happens while driving. This defect makes the car absolutely unpredictable while driving and could easily lead to the fatal accident. Actually, one time out of four when it happened while driving I was very close to such accident. First time I encountered this defect when my new car was still on warranty Nov 4, 2004. Since than the authorized Honda dealer has tried to fix this defect more than four times. They replaced the throttle body but all the attempts to fix it were unsuccessful. The problem is still there. I"M very concerned and scared to drive this car at this point as this defect not only directly jeopardizes my life but also the life of my 6-year old daughter who is almost always with me in the car. The american Honda stated that it was not anymore responsible for this defect because it"S unfixable and anything else concerning this defect from now on is my responsibility.

- Seaside, CA, USA

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