really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
122,887 miles
Total Complaints:
63 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. had to be replaced (31 reports)
  2. rebuild of torque converter and transmission (12 reports)
  3. not sure (9 reports)
  4. replace transmission (8 reports)
  5. install factory rebuilt transmission (2 reports)
  6. replace 3rd & 4th gear solenoids on tranny (1 reports)
2003 Honda Pilot transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Honda Pilot Owner Comments (Page 4 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #3

Apr 132009

Pilot LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,523 miles


The "D" Light started flashing after about a mile normal drive had started. Engine and automatic shifting seems normal, no unusuals felt. I asked the dealer about it and their response was a usual reply, "money", $95 to run the diagnostic and we will go from there, which means "yes, more money". I went to some mom and pop repair service and they too wanted $85 to run diagnostic. Found AAMCO transmission repair shop and they ran the test for FREE and the diagnostic says liquid is full but smells burnt, Flare Slip Gear 1 to 2 and Flare Slip Gear 2 to 3. They offered me a full repair for $3,000 or replace the transmission from an old Passport for $2,000. That was too much for me, I just spent more that a $1,000 2 months ago to the dealer for check engine lights and other issues.There are more repairs needed left on other issues for another $1,000 according to the dealer. This car is a big purchase mistake of a lifetime I made. I will try to contact and work something out with Honda and see how they can help me get out of this mess. I will contact Honda Goodwill Repair I found here. I will be back for updates.

Update from May 26, 2009: As I have promised, I will come back to continue to tell my experience with Honda Pilot and repair shops. After I have AAMCO's diagnostics and report saying that the transmission has to be fixed or replaced due to "flare slips" and burnt liquid, this is the reason why the "D" light was keep flashing, (AAMCO gave an estimate of $3,000 to fix or $2,000 to replace from used Pilot), I brought my Pilot to the Honda dealer for a second opinion, now I am ready to pay $95 for diagnostics just to prove that the transmission is really needing replacement as what AAMCO said, I dont have that much trust on AAMCO I never been there.

After the dealer ran the diagnostics procedure, the report said that the problem is in the "Switch" and will cost me around $100 for that parts to replaced and the "Transmission Service", I have no idea what is in the transmission service, all I am concerned was to give them wider scope to see the transmission problem plus around $200 for the labor, but warned me that I have to bring my Pilot back religiously every 75,000 miles for the transmission check and service because the transmission "may" not gonna last long. And so I was temporarily relieved that I can still use my Pilot for at least another year before I can have the transmission fixed.

So I told the dealer to go ahead and replace the "swtich" and do the "transmission service" and labor for around $350. After they have "fixed" it, the "D" light flashing is gone (there was no signs of transmission problem when I turned the Pilot in except the D light flashing no other light were on too).

After a week or more while I was driving in the freeway I-5 on a 70 MPH and slowed down a bit there was a big BANG and jerk, it seems like my car suddenly switched gear from the 4th to the 3rd and back to 4 and 3 like 3 times and its back to normal, my speed was from 70mph to a sudden 50mph speed change in a split seconds. Luckily there was no one behind me. My family was so nervous that it felt like we were tossed really bad inside the car during the jerk. I continue driving and it happened again and again even I was only doing 40 mph. I noticed that when switching from a high speed gear to the lower gear it is will change the gears abruptly or prematurely, then back to the higher gear again, and if you continue it will switch back to the right gear without problem, and if I slow down the changing of gears prematurely happens, causing jerks. The faster you are the bigger jerk there will be. So I drove back home with care and emergency/hazard lights on with my gear on the D3 and speed of 40 to 45mph only on the I-5.

I sent the Pilot back to the dealer this morning, telling then the story. After two hours I receive a call telling me that the transmission has to be replaced, now they are talking! And they are trying to look for something to blame such as the transmission fluid was bad, they do not have records of my Pilot having them replace or check the transmission fluid, I do it outside to save money. I told them the pilot is just 7 years old, too young to get this kind of problem so I think I bought a lemon Honda Pilot. I asked the dealer why is it that the AAMCO detected the transmission is needing fix or replaced, while they only detected switch? The reason I brought it to the dealer to take their opinion because I have more trust with them hoping they can give me a right diagnostic and repair, to save me money and hassles, its their product, but it came out it is AAMCO knows the Honda problem more that the dealer do, it is AAMCO who can save me money and not take advantage of me. The dealer have me pay $350 for nothing and after a week they want me to pay $3,000, this is what I called taking advantage of their customers or they just don't have well trained technician and old fashioned diagnostic machine?

Now I am lost, money drained and have to be absent from work for all these hassles. Never ever buy Honda car or truck again.

- , Rowland Heights, CA, USA

problem #2

May 122008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

My transmission failed in my Honda,there was a recall on transmissions but Honda stated they fixed the problem, obviously not or else i wouldn't need a new transmission.. TERRIBLE EXPERIENCE WILL NEVER PURCHASED ANOTHER HONDA AGAIN!!!

- , Stockton, CA, USA

problem #1

May 242006

(reported on)

Pilot LX

  • 85,000 miles

The car was no longer under warranty so we didn't take it to the dealer --we didn't expect to have to replace the entire transmission either. Once we found out that was the case, we called Honda. Because we didn't take it to them, they all but refuse to do anything about it. I have found a wealth of information online regarding the Honda transmission problem -- everyone seems to know about it except Honda. I have always held them in such high regard, but they have totally let me down on this one.

- , Canton, GA, USA

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