hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
115,955 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Honda Pilot Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #22

Jul 222013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 170,000 miles


Driving in a residential neighborhood, our 2003 Honda Pilot stalled and would not re-start. We had it towed to our mechanic who has been servicing our vehicle. He states that the timing belt pulley had ripped out the water pump and caused a bolt to come in contact with the cylinder head.

- Danbury, CT, USA

problem #21

Sep 012010

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 93,500 miles
The motor mounts on my wife's 2003 Honda Pilot were replaced in 2010 and I was informed today by the dealership that they need to be replaced again. This vehicle had approx 93500 miles on it when it was replaced the first time and now three years later has 140,939. I have been told by Honda customer service that the mounts are warranted for 12 months. The vehicle is used by my wife to drive 20 miles roundtrip to work and on our trips. The vehicle is not used for towing and is not equipped with a tow receiver. Additionally, the ignition switch was improperly designed with a split wafer mechanism which according to the dealership and two local locksmiths wears out prematurely and causes jamming of the ignition cylinder as well as wedging of the keys in the ignition cylinder. Lastly, when a transmission recall was done on the car in 2005, it was done improperly. The recall specified a oil jet be installed on the transmission to lubricate the 2nd gear. The problem is that the hose used to connect the transmission fluid supply line to the transmission used a straight transmission hose which had to be bent 90 degrees in a distance of approx 2 inches to be installed. This causes the hose to be kinked and restrict the flow of fluid. Honda won't correct the problem or acknowledge the repair should have incorporated a formed elbow hose instead of a straight hose to ensure proper flow. Now Honda is telling me they don't have a representative in New Mexico that I can speak to about the above issues. My case number w/Honda is [xxx]. information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Albuquerque, NM, USA

problem #20

Jun 292009

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 62,804 miles
Front engine mount was broken and had to be replaced. Now, at 84105 miles, the side engine mount is broken. I have owned several cars since 1975, and have never had a problem with any engine mount until this 2003 Honda Pilot.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #19

Mar 052012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 139,438 miles


I took my Pilot in for a slipping transmission. I was told I had bad motor mounts and that was allowing the transmission to slip. I spent approx. $3600 to have the motor mounts fixed, timing belt and water pump, front struts, etc. Fixed. The problem started again, this time, getting a flashing "D" light. Took it back in for failure to fix the problem. Had 4th gear pressure gear replaced for cost. I now have a check engine light on posting a code of P0730, "incorrect gear ratio". I have been into Honda 4 times for this issue including today, and I was told I need a new transmission. I am out of warranty of course, but I know there are many, many complaints regarding this particular issue. I do not have the money to replace a faulty transmission that was built poorly. I am worried I might get into a crash because of this. I am contemplating hiring a lawyer to resolve this issue.

- Oak Grove, MO, USA

problem #18

Feb 182012


  • 75,000 miles
Front and right engine mounts need to be replaced per Honda dealership.

- Murray, UT, USA

problem #17

May 032010


  • 105,000 miles
My 2003 Honda Pilot has been shuddering at 35-45 mph. I also have had the "D" light flashing. I see that this is an issue with way too many Pilot. Honda needs to take ownership of this problem and fix it! I love Honda - we also have a 2004 civic. However, I am beginning to wonder if our next car will be a Honda. I have two small children that I drive daily in the Pilot, and I am terrified after reading all of these complaints to drive them in this car. This is ridiculous.

- Hodges, SC, USA

problem #16

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 #15

Sep 212011


  • 58,565 miles
Front engine mount broke under normal driving conditions; vehicle was never driven off road, only on paved roads.

- Mcallen, TX, USA

problem #14

Nov 272010


  • 103,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Pilot. While driving approximately 20 mph, the contact heard a loud bang coming from the engine, the power steering malfunctioned functioning and the ignition turned off. The vehicle was towed to a local repair shop but was not repaired. The technician stated the timing belt needed to be replaced. The approximate failure mileage was 103,000.

- Andover, MA, USA

problem #13

Jun 302010


  • 91,000 miles
2003 Honda Pilot ex failed motor mounts. Seems to be a common complaint.

- Newtown, PA, USA

problem #12

Apr 292010


  • 88,000 miles


Front and side engine mounts were broken and needed replacing.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #11

Feb 012007


  • 127,000 miles
2003 Honda Pilot transmission: My transmission continues to slip in 2nd gear. I have replaced numerous items on the vehicle - steering column, motor mounts, etc. The list is numerous. I have had transmission problems almost since the beginning of purchasing this vehicle in February 2006. The dealer never told me that the 2003 Pilot had any type of transmission problems. I know as a consumer, I should have done my own research, but I had always heard excellent things about Honda. My transmission continues to slip, after revving. I took it to the dealer and even then they never said anything about problems. I had my repairman look at it because I was concerned. He is the one that told me this vehicle had transmission problems & all dealers were aware of it. I bought the extended warranty when I purchased the car - but of course, it is no longer valid. I am really upset because I drive my 2 children and the transmission will just stall in the middle of traffic - won't leave 2nd-3rd gear. It just revs at about 20-30 miles. It happens quite often and now the check engine light is coming on. The message boards say this is the end of the line. I will attempt to speak with my local dealer. I contacted american Honda who basically offered no assistance. Now, I am learning about the horrible things that have happened with the Honda 2003 Pilot transmissions and am just disappointed that in the effort to make money, no one thought of consumer safety. Obviously, Honda recognizes that this is a huge problem and still they are not offering any help to consumers. It is appalling. My car did have the Honda repair patch for the transmission in 2004 according to american Honda records, as the transmission had a problem even then. Of course, I have the car fax report and it didn't show this information. Is there somewhere else that you can track repairs on used vehicles?

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #10

Nov 152009


  • 84,000 miles
Driving Honda Pilot 2003 with 84,000 mil onto expressway on ramp--it started bucking---like it would lurch forward and then stop---finally went forward. Drove it for 1 more week and this happened a few more times. Took to a very good mechanic. They tested the car and nothing came up as wrong. Then yellow lights started flashing--and the car would lose power when going slowly through a subdivision--and then all of a sudden regain power. Sometimes I had to pull over and put the car in park and then in drive to get it to go. Took the car to the Honda dealership. They said it was a clogged gas line. They didn't want to hear about transmission problems. Cost was $400 for "clogged gas line" and another 400 for something else leaking. No lights on when leaving the dealership. One day later the yellow light was back on and it sometimes loses power when going slowly. There have been no deaths or accidents yet---but if anyone had been following me onto the on ramp, they would have hit me. The car looked like a bucking Bronco. I want your Honda dealership in waukesha wi ----wilde Honda to put in a new transmission---this is not normal--at your cost. I drive people around for a living---I am a realtor and it was very embarrassing when we swung into the subdivision and I had to pull over because I had no power. Imagine that on a highway with a semi behind me. This is a lawsuit waiting to happen.

- Brookfield, WI, USA

problem #9

Oct 292009


  • 97,000 miles
My 2003 Honda Pilot has cracked engine mounts. It causes the steering wheel to vibrate. The front and back mounts were replaced at 97,000 miles.

- Danville, CA, USA

problem #8

Jul 232009


  • 760,000 miles
2003 Honda Pilot motor mounts broken. Car only has 77K on it. Owned 5 other Honda never had this issue. No rough driving. Cost is over $500 to replace safety issue, could be a serious issue if the mounts fail. Also the key in the ignition is always getting stuck and sometimes takes 20 minutes to get it to turn the car on.

- Foothill Ranch, CA, USA

problem #7

May 222009


  • 78,999 miles
The motor mounts on our 2003 Honda Pilot broke, and we were alerted by our Honda dealers service department. The car has about 79,000 miles on it. The motor mounts help hold the engine in place. A google search revealed online chat boards with dozens and dozens of Pilot owners complaining that the motor mounts broke on their cars, at as little as 60,000 miles. This problem appears widespread and potentially very dangerous. We had our broken motor mounts replaced.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #6

Apr 212009


  • 84,000 miles
The front engine mount is cracked and one of the side mounts is torn and about to crack. My Honda Pilot was purchased new in February 2003 and has 84,000 miles on it. Honda claims that the engine mounts only last five years. This seems to be a defective part, especially due to the volume of similar complaints found on the web.

- Greenville, SC, USA

problem #5

Dec 302008


  • 113,906 miles
Had 2003 Honda Pilot in for service for the timing belt. Service mgr called and stated the front motor mount and side mount were broken. He stated this is a ongoing occurrence with the Honda Pilot....we had 137,000 miles. I am being informed that this occurs around 60,000 miles all the time.

- Cumming, GA, USA

problem #4

Nov 032008


  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Pilot. While driving approximately 5 mph on normal road conditions and proceeding from a stop sign, the engine began to rev. There was suddenly a 3-5 second delay before the vehicle was shifted into gear. The check engine warning indicator illuminated on the instrument panel and it remained lit until the engine was turned off. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic, but they were unable to duplicate the failure. The vehicle was previously repaired according to NHTSA campaign id number 04V176000 (power train;automatic transmission). On a separate occasion, the vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for identical failures. The technician recommended that the transmission be replaced. The vehicle is operable and has not been repaired. The failure mileage was 100,000 and current mileage was 105,000.

- Laguna Niguel, CA, USA

problem #3

Nov 232007

Pilot 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 29,800 miles
Driving on the interstate approx 70 mph for 150 miles. There was a smell similar to an electrical problem, noticed acrid smell and smoke out the rear view mirror. Pulled off the interstate. Lots of smoke for 5 min then stopped completely in 30 min. All levels ok, no leaks, no failures, all wiring cool, no shorts, all instrument ok. Waited approx 45min then drove 150 miles home with no problems. The next morning the car checked out ok. The fire burned approx 18 inches of insulation and scorched the passengers firewall in several places. Why did this happen?

- Plymouth, MA, USA

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