really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
84,455 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 steering problems

steering problem

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2003 Honda Pilot Owner Comments

problem #15

Oct 202016


  • miles


I drive between 20-40mph and my Honda shakes and shudders for 8 seconds then goes away. Any idea what can that be.

- Kent, WA, USA

problem #14

Aug 022016


  • 195,000 miles
Ignition key can pull out while driving

- Grapevine, TX, USA

problem #13

May 052016


  • 210,000 miles
I own a 2003 Honda Pilot my rack and pinion is in bad condition so is their a recall on this year make and model? my number is 334-468-3394

- Union Springs, AL, USA

problem #12

Mar 252014


  • miles


Issue with Honda Pilot's ignition switch not fully engaging the park position. Received recall paper work ordering this issue to be fixed at local Honda dealer free of charge. Recall paper work was signed by [xxx] chief recall management division. Local Honda dealer, williston Honda and Chrysler performed the recall service on April 4, 2014. The recall job for a Honda Pilot was botched. The service mechanic refused to fix. Requested management to investigate this issue. As of today April 18, 2014 an answer to fix or not to fix this issue from the management of williston Honda and Chrysler has not been given. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Williston, ND, USA

problem #11

Mar 072013


  • 130,000 miles
I was about to turn the key in the ignition but it could not get in. The key meets resistance and gets in after I tried several times. When I attempted to turn on the ignition, it wont budge and acted as if it was locked. Since then, I do not take the key off the ignition because I am afraid I will not be able to get it in. It is a really safety issue and Honda refuses to address it voluntarily. I went on line and there are several owners who are left alone to deal with the same safety issue. Why do I have to leave my vehicle with the key stuck in the ignition. Honda should be ashamed of their flagrant irresponsibility. Please help us. Thank you.

- Stamford, CT, USA

problem #10

May 172012


  • 63,545 miles
I have the same problem with the transmission and being able to remove my key even when it is not in park that has been reported by others. Its led to an accident and a near one.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #9

Jun 242012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 127,345 miles


2003 Honda Pilot ignition - at first we were having issues inserting the key into the ignition. Then it progressed to needing to jiggle the key in order to get it to turn to any position of the ignition. The key would go in but it'd take several attempts, of a minimum of 10 to 15 minutes, before we could get the ignition to start. We read the manual and understood the importance of keeping the wheels straight - that seemed to help for a few attempts. Now the key goes in but doesn't turn at all. With everything that has been documented about this issue from Honda customers and the volume of customers it is affecting why isn't Honda doing the 'right thing' and issuing a voluntary recall?!

- Orangevale, CA, USA

problem #8

Apr 082012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 168,000 miles
Having trouble inserting key into ignition. Have to try multiple times, turning the key upside down, right side up, repetitive in & out, eventually it goes in, but afraid that eventually it will not work. Called american Honda as I saw multiple complaints online, but Honda said they never heard of this problem and that it's not widespread enough for them to take notice. I'm afraid that I will not be able to get the key to work, so will take it to Honda dealership for repair (apparently only dealership has to fix it because new keys will need to be programmed. There are 2 different choices for cost, one to just replace the ignition and get new keys, and another choice is to also change the door locks so that the new keys will open the door.) if you're having the same problem, please log a complaint so that it becomes "widespread enough to take notice" and may be those of us who pay/paid to get this issue repaired can get a refund. Thank you!

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #7

Oct 052002

Pilot 6-cyl

  • miles
2003 Honda Pilot. Consumer states mechanical problems with the vehicle the consumer stated the drive light began to flash intermittently from the beginning of ownership. The dealer told the consumer it was related to the gas cap not being secured properly. However, once the transmission was replaced the light no longer flashed. On August 19, 2003 the vehicle was taken to the dealer due to a hesitation issue, but the dealer was unable to duplicate the problem. Four months later, the check engine and SRS lights illuminated. Also, the vtm lights were flashing. On September 8, 2005 the transmission light began flashing. The consumer was informed that a special part had to ordered. The consumer also stated the power steering pump and gear box had to be replaced. Also, the egr, V-tec seals and O-ring were all replaced to rectify the engine light problem. The timing belt and left and right control arm links were replaced. The inner and outer cv boots were replaced. On February 8, 20011 while driving 70 mph, the transmission suddenly downshifted almost causing a complete loss of control of the vehicle. The next day, the vehicle was taken to the dealership, where the consumer was informed the transmission had failed again.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #6

Oct 032010


  • 103,000 miles
Steering rack failure 2003 Honda Pilot.

- Cincinnati , OH, USA

problem #5

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 #4

May 152009


  • 73,333 miles
Vehicle will not accept key, after playing with it finally get the key into the ignition, but will not start. Play and play with ignition and car finally starts. Take to Honda dealership in el cajon ca, they say because of weight of keys, have a total of 3 keys on my chain, that it has worn out the key and the tumblers in the ignition. They make a new key, it goes right in but the ignition is still not turning over, have to get a ignition. They replace the ignition but now I have two heavy Honda keys because the "new ignition" is a sidewinder and it comes with a key that they can't program to fit the doors. Now my key chain is heavier than before. This cost me $850.

- Santee, CA, USA

problem #3

Feb 092007

Pilot 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2003 Honda Pilot recalled due to transmission problems; avery green motors in vallejo ca purportedly "fixed" the recall problem. Two years later, the entire transmission failed and was replaced, at my own cost of $4,700. Honda refused to assist with the cost, even though it was apparent their "fix" at time of recall was deficient. At same time, avery green did a periodic maintenance check, or which I was charged several hundred dollars. 3 months later, the power steering failed. Avery green failed to detect any problem with the power steering pump during the maintenance checkup. I am told the repair will be very costly as it will be necessary to replace both the pump and the drive train to which it is connected. This car is a lemon, and Honda should be required to do competent repairs under recalls and maintenance checks.

- Benicia, CA, USA

problem #2

Apr 212006

Pilot 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles
I was driving West on highway. I was driving in the left lane at a speed of approximately between 70 to 72 miles per hour. My vehicle swerved towards left a bit, and to compensate that I tried to steer towards right. At this time, vehicle went out of control and I had no control over the steering. The vehicle went to the next lane and spun one time and went towards the left lane. It then changed direction and was facing North, went four lanes over and hit the median head-on and this collision brought the vehicle to complete halt. Both air bags were deployed and vehicle had extensive damage. It looks like, it was a mechanical failure which led to the crash.

- Northville, MI, USA

problem #1

Feb 122003

Pilot 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 4,600 miles
While backing out of the drive way and turning the steering wheel in either direction you can hear a thumping sound, it's a constant thumping. If only the back 2 windows are rolled down, the sound of the wind passing through the car is deafening. It creates a booming that immediately affects the ear drum.

- Buena Park, CA, USA

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