really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
111,717 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.

2004 Honda Pilot drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2004 Honda Pilot Owner Comments (Page 1 of 4)

problem #73

Jun 182016


  • 133,500 miles


Transmission failure on the highway. Engine began to rev to high rpms with no power

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #72

Apr 182016


  • 200,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Honda Pilot. The contact stated that the engine warning light illuminated and when the vehicle was in first gear and attempting to place the vehicle in second gear, the gear would seize in first gear and was unable to shift into second. The contact stated the vehicle was previously repaired for NHTSA campaign number: 04V176000 (power train) however, the failure recurred. The contact took the vehicle to the dealer who diagnosed the automatic system, the automatic transmission, system, and the clutch failed. As a result, the transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 200,000.

- Newington, CT, USA

problem #71

Sep 102015

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 174,171 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Honda Pilot. The contact stated that the key would not turn over to start the vehicle. The gears also failed to shift into park multiple times. The vehicle was taken to a dealer for diagnosis and repairs. The vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 12V573000 (electrical system). The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 174,171. Updated 2/4/16 the consumer stated the vehicle was repaired at a cost of $ $441.67. Updated 03/31/16.

- Peoria Heights, IL, USA

problem #70

Oct 142015


  • miles


I have a 2004 Honda Pilot with roughly 174,000 miles on it. It has been well cared for and the engine seems to run great. I acquired the car about a month ago and upon driving it I noticed a faint shuddering between gears upon acceleration from 2-50 mph. The weeks went on and it is now very scary to drive it shudders terribly while accelerating and decelerating from 2-50 mph. It feels as if the vehicle is going to just stall or possibly lock up and crash off the road I have an infant son and im afraid to have him in the vehicle. The car was bought outright from a certified Honda dealership for over 10,000 $ a few years back, . and like I said the car is barely drivable the steering is very unpredictable and wild it is unresponsive at times when im turning the steering wheel the car continues to go straight. The noise from the front differential area along with the brakes are so loud when going down hill that they can be heard over the radio on level 24-27. I can feel the constant vibration and upset in the front end so bad while driving that I have to mute the radio at times to make sure the vehicle isn't scraping and sparking along due to a transmission lock up cause it just feels like something is terribly wrong. I M too afraid to even go on the freeway unless absolutely necessary because im afraid of being injured or killed by this all too common problem I've been reading about. This fact is very troublesome because I live where the only way to get anywhere is to go on the freeway so I don't know what im going to do. With the amount of complaints on this exact issue im surprised there is no law suit... I am going to try to see what I can do to get one started... if your product has been proven defective like this obviously has then Honda really needs to own up its not fair how much money we all lose by purchasing this pos for the high resale prices we pay!!!

- Everett, WA, USA

problem #69

Jun 222015


  • 150,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Honda Pilot. While driving at 45 mph, the vehicle started to vibrate and the check engine warning light illuminated. The contact noticed transmission fluid leaking from the front of the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who diagnosed that the transmission failed. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 150,000.

- Brasstown, NC, USA

problem #68

Jun 052015


  • 201,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Honda Pilot. The contact stated that while driving 60 mph, the vehicle shifted into gears independently without warning. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 201,000.

- Dayton, OH, USA

problem #67

Jan 012011


  • 100,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Honda Pilot. The contact stated that the gear failed to engage when shifting from park into drive position. The failure caused the vehicle to hesitate when the accelerator pedal was depressed. The contact had to restart the vehicle several times to stop the failure from recurring. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, but was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified. The approximate failure mileage was 100,000.

- Oakland , CA, USA

problem #66

Jun 172013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 202,364 miles
I was driving in the highway then my car wouldn't go fast when I stop to SE what happen there was smoke coming out of my engine took it to mechanic he told me it was a transmission problem we goggle around before trying to fix it and it says thus type of situation is been recall already.

- Harrisburg, PA, USA

problem #65

Jul 222014

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 121,000 miles
Intermittent, audible vibration/shudder between 35-50 mph while accelerating. Dealer inspection believes it's the torque converter.

- Hampton, VA, USA

problem #64

Mar 282014

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 168,000 miles
I have 2004 Honda Pilot LX. When traveling at about 30-50 mph. Hear and feel a vibration when at consistent speed. Seems as if it's coming from the bottom of the vehicle. Maybe from a drive shaft or propeller shaft or something. It's getting much and much worst as days goes by. I am worried something can come loose when vehicle in moving motion.

- Pontiac, MI, USA

problem #63

Jul 112012


  • 67,000 miles


While driving to the airport for family vacation, my 2004 Pilot started making a grinding sound every few minutes. When we returned 2 weeks later while driving around town between 20 and 40 miles per hr. It continued making same grinding sounds. Had my mechanics look at it suggested changing transmission fluid and differential fluid, did so but it kept on making grinding sounds. Recently got a notice for another recall on my Pilot, looked online and found there was a recall for the transmission soon after I bought my Pilot in 2004. I was never notified about this recall. Pilot still grinding and getting worse. Called dealer this morning and said that my VIN # was not recalled for this problem. Why am I not getting a recall notice for a problem that Honda knows about?

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #62

Oct 292013


  • 110,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Honda Pilot. The contact stated that while driving approximately 35 mph, the transmission slipped between second and third gears. The contact mentioned that the check engine warning light was illuminated. The vehicle was not taken to a dealer for diagnostic testing or repairs. The manufacturer was notified of the failure and stated that the vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 04V176000 (power train). The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure and current mileage was 110,000.

- Wauwatosa, WI, USA

problem #61

Aug 012013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 114,000 miles
While driving around 30-50 miles an hour my vehicle has been making a shuddering noise with a vibration and while this is happening the rpms with move up and down with as the shuddering progresses. It seems as though this is a common problem with the year and make of the vehicle. I have taken it to the dealership to verify that I need to have my torch converter replaced and it will cost around $1700 to fix it. I'm concerned for the safety of my vehicle as it could cause the whole transmission to go out.

- Joplin, MO, USA

problem #60

Aug 152013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 98,000 miles
Driving around town transmission locked up. Avoided crash. Recall on my vehicle was never performed. Now my transmission needs to be rebuilt and I have to pay for Honda negligence" we purchase this new in 2004 the recall was in the same year. Always dealer maintained. This is unacceptable!! my family could have been seriously hurt in a serious crash!! now my vehicle is at aamco for the repairs. Honda will not cover the repairs because the recall was never done" Honda never repaired it !! I my family will never buy another Honda product again, sorry buy my family's well being is more important than their profits.

- Port Jefferson Station, NY, USA

problem #59

Oct 012007

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
I now have been the victim for the 2nd time of what is unquestionably a major design flaw in the transmission / torque converter of the shared power train for Honda Pilot ('03, '04) Honda Odyssey vans ('02 to '04) & Acura MDX ('01, '02). I owned a pristine 2001 Acura MDX with just over 100K miles on it which experienced the all too common trans./ torque converter failure only a few months after I purchased it from a Honda dealer. This happened in spite of the fact that the power train recall (sanctioned by NHTSA) had been completed in 2004. I parted ways with the vehicle, incurring a substantial loss. But the nightmare continues, as unfortunately, my other vehicle is a 2004 Honda Pilot. Right after I purchased it new in 2004, I took it back to the dealer since the model was subject to a nearly identical power train recall as the MDX and Odyssey. My dealer said my VIN was not included in the recall, & that my new Pilot should be fine. Yet @ 60K, the "D" light on the shifter display started to blink from time to time. Each time the dealer said everything was fine; shuttering on downshifting over the years was passed off by the dealer as normal for the vehicle. Then last week, the power train failed on this vehicle as well. This time my son was driving, & the car shuttered so badly that it nearly went out of control. This car has been well maintained & I have all service records. Clearly the recall "remedy" for this major design flaw has not solved the issue, and these power trains still present a major safety hazard for the vehicle operator & others on the road who may need to avoid a disabled vehicle in front of them. Please do something! if you total all the power train complaints for the recall yrs. On these 3 models, you get nearly 3000. The legitimacy of NHTSA is at stake. This "solution" was a good deal for Honda, but it has not protected the public!

- Tallahassee, FL, USA

problem #58

May 252013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 149,000 miles
Noticed that the D was flashing while on a multi-stop trip to visit family. This first occurred while driving on the interstate and there were no other indications that there was a transmission problem. When I stopped for gas the light stopped flashing and everything seemed to be fine. I continued on to the first stop of my trip. A couple of days later I drove to the 2nd stop of my trip and while driving in and around town on the 2nd day there the D started flashing again. I took the car to a transmission shop and was advised that the transmission was failing and needed to be replaced. At that time I did not know that there had been a transmission recall and so I authorized the repair. That repair was a complete transmission rebuild which cost $2638.42. Since finding out about the recall and the other transmission problems I feel that I should be reimbursed for this repair.

- Christiana, TN, USA

problem #57

Jul 062013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 158,470 miles
I was due for my yearly vehicle inspection. Prior to getting the vehicle inspected the check engine light came on. I took the vehicle to the dealer for the inspection and told them the engine light came on. I was then told that the code that came up was for the transmission and that it needs to be replaced. The vehicle did not pass inspection because of this and I was issued a piece of paper to place in the window that gives me 10 days to have the vehicle repaired. The car is a 2004 Honda Pilot with 158470 miles.it has shown no signs of transmission problems.

- Uniondale, NY, USA

problem #56

Jun 032013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 156,513 miles
Transmission fail-description of problem: Heat build up between the countershaft and secondary shaft second gears in the automatic transmission, eventually leading to gear tooth chipping or gear breakage. Contacted Honda and was told that there were no recalls for this VIN and because the service work was not completed by Honda they claim no responsibility for their design flaw. A very expensive engineering/design problem that was flawed from the beginning and then burdened/blamed by Honda on the consumer.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #55

Jul 212004

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 750 miles
At speeds of between 30-45 mph, car would shake and make grinding noise under the hood. This repeatedly happened for years but my dealer said they "coudn't replicate the noise" and did not tell me that it was my transmission. Then I get a notice saying there was a transmission recall issue. The two fix-it options were an oil jet kit and replace the tranny. The dealer gave me a oil jet kit, but the transmission has continued to go bad ever since with no other replacements or offer of repair by the dealer. This is a bad transmission! american Honda has offered to now pay me 30% of the replacement cost which will still cost me $3500, for a refurbished transmission. I am taking this to the top- Honda should not be having me pay for a transmission that they knew was bad.

- San Luis Obispo, CA, USA

problem #54

Jun 112013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 160,000 miles
When I started the car and began driving I noticed that the gear change lever was gliding through R, N, D, etc. Rather than being firm in each position. Luckily, the car did not fall out of gear. I have since learned from the shop that the only thing holding it in gear as I drove was this very loose lever. This was extremely unsafe to drive! the determination is that the shift selector assembly inside the transmission is broken and a new transmission is required. I am dismayed to see how many Honda require new transmissions, and am upset that despite the obvious safety issue, and the number of problems experienced, no recall has occurred.

- Mechanicsville, VA, USA

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