really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
87,807 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Honda Pilot Owner Comments (Page 2 of 6)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #85

Nov 102010


  • miles


Transmission beginning to go bad. A very common problem on the 2003 Honda Pilot. Honda knows about this and refuses to do anything about it. Also motor mounts going bad.

- Panama City, FL, USA

problem #84

Oct 302010


  • miles
I have a 2003 Honda Pilot with 137,000 miles on it and it vibrates somewhere around 35-45 mph. My mechanic recommended we have the transmission checked as he has seen 3 or 4 other Pilot do the same thing. This has been going on for thousands of miles to the point where I just got used to it. With the thought of a new transmission looming, I decided to search if others have this same issue and am shocked to see how many others have dealt with this. I have been a Honda owner all my driving life and seeing this issue so prominent definitely makes me rethink another one. I do hope Honda will rectify this before something serious happens.

- Chester, CT, USA

problem #83

Jun 112008


  • 110,000 miles
2003 Honda Pilot, transmission slip between 25 and 40 mph almost like it's slipping into neutral, usually when it's shifting from 2nd to 3rd. Happens occasionally without warning. Usually stall for several seconds sometimes cannot proceed causing safety hazard in traffic situations. Also told that motor mounts need replaced. Seems to be very common problem can't afford repair. Transmission cooler that Honda installed was obvious patch to attempt to extend the life of a faulty design. Are we going to let them get away with this ?

- Tulsa, OK, USA

problem #82

Oct 202010

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 144,000 miles


Owner of 2003 Honda Pilot. About a year ago "D" light started blinking on the car. Took the car to the dealer and was told that no problems found. About three months latter, car started hesitating when shifting into 2nd - 3rd gear. Went back to dealer and told that no problems found with transmission. The problem became worst and the transmission started slipping out of gear at about 30 mph. I would have to coast to the side of the road and put it back in gear to continue driving. I returned to the dealer and this time they flushed the trans fluid and said that this should fix the problem. Well it didn't. now the dealer is telling me that there is a transmission failure and it will cost me $3221.79 to replace the trans (this is after the $1,300 that Honda Corp agreed to pay). I don't understand why Honda would take so long to diagnose this problem, it's obvious that there is a transmission problem with this car. Maybe it was because my car was still under the extended warranty when I first complained about the transmission. VIN [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #81

Aug 092010


  • 110,000 miles
My 2003 Honda Pilot transmission failed in August of this year. The "D" light was blinking so it took it to Honda of nanuet and they said I need a new transmission" there was a recall on this transmission that they claimed they fixed, by adding a fuel kit to fix the problem" it didn't work! I have researched many complaints on the internet about the same problems e.g. (emonds.com). Can anyone help the consumers in this case against Honda" Honda wanted to charge me over 5,000 to fix it" VIN# [xxx] fixed the transmission with a private auto service for 4,120 because I felt it was Honda failed to own up to there responsibility. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Orangeburg, New York, NY, USA

problem #80

Sep 262010


  • 124,893 miles
I am the owner of a 2003 Honda Pilot. I had this problem in June 2010. On a moderate uphill climb, the vehicle slowed down to about 35 mph and I felt vibration and shaking. From a standing stop, the vehicle hesitated for a few seconds before shifting to the 2nd gear, and then again before shifting to the 3rd gear. The problem came off and on until yesterday. I was again driving on a moderate freeway uphill climb when the vehicle shifted gears, slowed down to about 50 mph, vibrated before shifting again and picked up speed. I got fortunate that the vehicle behind me was able to slow down and did not hit my vehicle. It could have been a serious accident. This is when I noticed that the drive D indicator was flashing and the engine warning light came on. I got off from the freeway and turned off the engine for about half an hour. When I turned the engine back on, the flashing D disappeared. I took it back to community Honda today with the same complaints I told them in June, plus what happened yesterday. I was shocked to hear that my Honda Pilot needs a new transmission, to the tune of $4,100 plus tax. I searched the internet for the same problem on other 2003 Honda Pilot and I found out that it is very common for this particular model. What infuriates me is that Honda issued a service bulletin (06-003 dated June 9, 2007) for the 2003 Acura MDX which is basically the same as the 2003 Honda Pilot. This problem could have been avoided. Because of Honda's failure to issue the same service bulletin for the 2003 Honda Pilot, I believe that Honda should be paying for the transmission replacement on my vehicle.

- Whittier, CA, USA

problem #79

Sep 222010


  • miles


2003 Honda Pilot ex-L: the vehicle shudders and hesitates between 35 - 50 mph. I was told by a Honda service dept. That the transmission and 2 motor mounts need to be replaced at a cost of $4162. This problem is too common to not be considered an immediate safety recall. There have been many complaints of the exact same problem with the same model vehicle. I hope no major injuries are caused from this problem.

- Huntsville, AL, USA

problem #78

Jun 102010


  • 150,000 miles
Our Honda Pilot will shutter while accelerating passing through speeds of 20 to 50 miles per hour. The shutter will continue if throttle is kept in, if I back of the pedal shutter dissipates and I can resume on accelerating. I can feel a slight vibration upto 60 miles per hour. I have spoken with Honda about this and they say the only fix is to replace the transmission. It looks to be a problem with multiple Pilot/MDX owners. A recall needs to be address soon, before serious injury could occur.

- Victor, NY, USA

problem #77

Aug 182010


  • 139,900 miles
I have a Honda 2003 Pilot. This week, I was on the highway during rush hour traffic. I was traveling 65 mph when the car suddenly downshifted into 1st gear for a couple of seconds. Because of the sudden stop (without brake lights), I was almost rear-ended by several vehicles which were traveling behind me. I kept driving and it happened again 4 minutes later. I eventually made it home. The next day, the same pattern continued but more often. I immediately took the car to the local dealership and was told that the car needed a new transmission, due to an "internal transmission malfunction", 3rd pressure switch failure, and incorrect gear ratio. The dealer's diagnosis revealed that codes P0845 and P0730 were generated. There was a recall on April 2004 for a transmission problem for this vehicle/year, "NHTSA 04V176000", in which the dealer would visually inspect the transmission and subjectively decide what was needed for remediation; either a 1) a transmission replacement or 2) "perform the revision to the oil cooler return line?. in March 2004, 3 months prior to the recall being released, I complained to the dealer about shifting problems. They ?serviced" the vehicle as a result of this complaint. Three months later, in June 2004, I again complained about shifting problems. This time, the dealer noted the recall and chose remediation number 2. currently, had the transmission rebuilt, but question the transmission failure with only 139,000 miles on the car. Also, the car has been serviced regularly according to Honda schedule.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #76

Aug 272010


  • miles
Frequently the Honda Pilot will shutter while accelerating passing through speeds of 20 to 40 miles per hour. The shutter will continue if throttle is kept in, if I back of the pedal shutter dissipates and I can resume on accelerating. I can feel a slight vibration upto 60 miles per hour. I have spoken with Honda about this and they have no explanation. It looks to be a problem with multiple Pilot/MDX owners. A recall needs to be address soon, before serious injury could occur.

- Inman, SC, USA

problem #75

Aug 232010


  • 114,131 miles


My engine light came on my 2003 Honda Pilot and I took the car to the dealer. The dealer informed me that it had a torque converter clutch system failure and that the transmission needed to be replaced.

- Weston, FL, USA

problem #74

Aug 222010


  • 120,000 miles
I have a 2003 Pilot with over 130,000 miles, I began to notice a problem while accelerating where the transmission would stick and rev up, if I let up on the accelerator it would correct. Now it is sticking, revs up, and it will not correct at all. I have to come to a complete stop and accelerate again. The "D" light has started flashing and engine light is on. Now I have to have the trans replaced for @ $4000.

- Trotwood, OH, USA

problem #73

Aug 202010

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 136,000 miles
2003 Honda Pilot with 136,000 miles began to violently jerk intermittently when accelerating between 30 and 60 mph. The jerking would occur when the vehicle wanted to shift gears. RPM would rev, however, the vehicle would not accelerate. Also had difficulty moving gear shift past D down to D3. On the 5th day of this occurring intermittently, the vehicle began to jerk constantly. Car began to rev and seemed gear was stuck. Malfunction indicator lamp came on and D gear drive light began flashing. This jerking/jolt movement occurred on highway and street roads when accelerating. This poses a great safety concern and can cause an accident resulting in injuries and property damage. We did some research and discovered this particular model may have been a part of a recall for a faulty transmission, however the fix described ultimately did not prevent the inevitable....there are hundreds of complaints regarding the same transmission problem. Most consumers end up replacing the transmission. Honda America should take responsibility and replace transmission at no cost to the consumer. Consumers expect to receive more than 200,000 miles on a Honda vehicle.

- West Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #72

Aug 192010


  • 123,986 miles
On my 2003 Pilot, I began to notice a vibration/grinding noise while accelerating through 35 to 40 mph. The noise would last for 10 to 15 seconds and then stop. Brought to the dealer and other shops many times over the past year and they always said they couldn't identify the problem. Started having some idling problems so took it to auto service center and had to replace all motor/transmission mounts, and idle air control valve. After we got it back and less than 90 miles later, the transmission started whining worse than before and then acted like it was slipping then bucked violently and the "D" light started flashing and engine light came on. Now the trans mission no longer shifts.

- Brandon, FL, USA

problem #71

Jul 072010


  • 126,000 miles
The 2003 Honda Pilot stopped with loud clanking noise. The engine would turn on but would conk-out when put in gear. The car had a broken engine mount at 2 places. This was replace at the dealer. About 3 weeks later the car stopped again on the road. This time again the car would turn on but will conk-out when put in gear. The dealer said the transmission needed to be replaced. I took it to a mechanic and had the torque converter replaced. I had taken the car to the dealer many times (since around 35000 miles) because the car was making growling noise around 1500 RPM. The dealer was not able to replicate the problem. I stopped going to the dealer out of frustration. I knew at some point that the transmission would need to be replaced. The engine mount and torque converter issue need to be addressed by Honda on 2003 Pilot.

- Sykesville, MD, USA

problem #70

Aug 142010


  • 130,000 miles
We were driving with our 2 young kids and our 2 dogs on the highway at 70 mph in our 2003 Honda Pilot with 130,000 miles on it. We heard an extremely loud bang and jerk and the car began to slow down. We pulled to side of the road with no collision. From then on we were unable to get any gear to engage (even park). Had car towed to repair shop and are awaiting estimate for a new transmission. We are the original owners of the vehicle. We had Honda service the vehicle and do all 100,000 mile recommendations, and there was no indication of a problem before total failure. We feel very fortunate not to have had a collision on the highway with our whole family in the car. Honda knew their transmission was flawed and just put a band-aid on it with the recall in 2004. I guess enough of a band-aid to get them through the warranty period. I believe these transmissions are faulty and dangerous to have on the road.

- Fountain Hills, AZ, USA

problem #69

Aug 142010


  • 68,000 miles
My 2003 Honda Pilot shudders when accelerating between 35-45 mph. It feels like driving over a bumpy road.

- Bellmore, NY, USA

problem #68

Jul 192010


  • 101,000 miles
I owns a 2003 Honda Pilot which was recalled under campaign #04V176000. The oil jet kit was replaced, yet the torque converter on the transmission has now failed. I have performed all maintenance as dictated by the manufacturer, with a certified Honda technician. The lock-up on the transmission is a serious safety issue.

- Livingston, NJ, USA

problem #67

Nov 012009


  • 90,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Honda Pilot. While driving approximately 55 mph the check engine light illuminated on the dashboard and he heard a high pitched whistling noise. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer where they were unable to diagnose the failure. The failure continued to recur while driving approximately 55 mph and the vehicle was taken back to an authorized dealer. The second gear speed sensor was replaced by an authorized dealer but the failure continued to occur. While driving approximately 60 mph the front wheels locked and the vehicle abruptly stopped moving for a few moments. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer who stated that the transmission needed to be replaced and the transmission failure broke the front motor mounts. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 90,000 and the current mileage was 139,000.

- Nashville, TN, USA

problem #66

Jan 012006


  • 45,000 miles
2003 Honda Pilot started "juddering" at 35-40 mph when it hit around 45K miles. Numerous visits to dealer and a mechanic even rode with me while I drove and duplicated problem, but when it went back into their shop they denied a problem. I gave up when we moved out of the area. Problem still exists and we just let off the gas then give it more and it corrects. Now, though, the gear shifter is getting "stuck" or not fully going into "P" and rolling, if the er brake is not on and the gear is not shifted into "R" and then "P" again. Acura bulletin #06-003 addresses exact issue as a torque converter problem and that the transmission needs replacing. Local dealer claims no awareness of issue and won't do anything since car has over 100K and is out of even the extended warranty. A recall should be issued by NHTSA before some 2003 Pilot transmission totally fails and someone is killed! please do something about this so my transmission can be replaced!!

- Davidson, NC, USA

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