really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
179,592 miles
Total Complaints:
2 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (1 reports)
  2. scrap the vehicle (1 reports)
2003 Honda Pilot suspension problems

suspension problem

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2003 Honda Pilot Owner Comments

problem #2

Aug 032017

Pilot EX-L 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 160,185 miles


click to see larger images

excessive rust excessive rust

I was in the car with my 2 kids, driving down the highway on August 3, 2017, with the Pilot fully loaded for a week of camping. We went over a large pothole and the back end of the car bounced so hard it hit the highway and scraped. The steering immediately got wobbly, and I slowed down quite a bit. I figured the pothole probably damaged a wheel or something similar.

The Pilot had been in the shop 3 days before getting some brake work done, and I'd had the tires rotated less than a week before at a local Belle Tire. The Pilot started swerving back and forth if I went above 40 MPH, so I turned around at the next exit and drove home. I called our mechanic and asked them to look at it. When we got there, they immediately put the car up on the hydraulic lift. Then they said, "You need to come see this." In 15 years, they've never called me into the shop to look at my car. They showed me where the bolts that hold the rear tire assembly to the frame had pulled out of the frame. The bolts were still bolted to the frame bits, but the frame was rusted out and flaking off. They said the car was done; there was no way to fix this. They were surprised I was able to drive it in to the shop.

The Pilot had 160,185 miles on it and was 14 years old. There was very little rust on the easily visible parts of the car. The engine and trans were in good shape, and the interior was in good shape. I'd just spent $1,200 getting the brakes fixed, and the mechanic had not noticed anything wrong. In the photos, you can see how low to the ground the back end pieces are--the muffler was occasionally scraping the road as we drove home, and the tires were at an almost 45 degree angle.

I had asked the guy at Belle Tire about the back tires, but he told me it was normal for car back tires to be slightly slanted. I wonder how much had detached when they rotated the tires. When we got home, we found rusted metal bits of my car on our driveway. I shudder to think what might have happened if we had not hit that pothole and turned around.

- , Ann Arbor, US

problem #1

Jun 152016

Pilot EX-L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 199,000 miles

click to see larger images

excessive rust excessive rust

Our Pilot has been regularly serviced by both the Honda dealership and other reputable businesses (for routine maintenance). However, after experiencing a loud rear end bang, we took it in for inspection, thinking maybe a broken spring. We were shocked when told that our entire rear axle was at risk of falling off - two of the four mounts had completely rusted through and were no longer attached to the main under body frame. When up on the hoist, the rear axle actually hung a few inches below the frame (see pics), only the front two mount (of the rear) were holding in place. Obviously, this was extremely dangerous and the vehicle can no longer be driven, even though the engine and vehicle as a whole are performing well.

We have owned the Pilot since day one, so it received good care. In discussion with the diagnosing mechanic, nothing this catastrophic had ever been seen before. However, there is a fair amount of blog conversation about severe under body rust on Honda vehicles. Some it seems to be due to improper A/C drain line placement.

If we hadn't experienced the noise warning, followed by a visual inspection that seemed to show the rear wheels tilted very slightly inward, we may not have taken the vehicle in promptly for full diagnosis of the problem. Our rear axle probably could have completely broken away while in transit!! That would have had disastrous results, probably significant injury, or even . . . . .

Of course, the Honda dealership advises there are "no technical bulletins" or recalls for this tragedy. A perfectly well running car is now nothing but scrap. We have long been pleased with the Honda performance, but this scenario taints our decision as to whether trust the product line again.

- , Peoria, IL, USA

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