Notes: We all want our SUVs to be able to stop on a dime, just not randomly and without warning. But that's what was happening to 2005 Pilot owners: their vehicles were slamming on the brakes even when they didn't. A government investigation of this problem led to a recall in March of 2013.

Another issue that keeps popping up is transmission fluid mixing with coolant in the radiator which is causing transmission failure, a costly repair to say the least.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 2
Average Mileage:
98,218 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.

2005 Honda Pilot brakes problems

brakes problem

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2005 Honda Pilot Owner Comments (Page 2 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #47

Oct 172014

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 108,000 miles


My 2005 Pilot model has 108,000 miles. The vsa light started to come on while I was driving the car. Whenever that happens for a fraction of a second the brakes and steering wheel would lock up and vsa light remains on until vehicle is turned off. The stability control recall 13V092000 was performed July 2013, it was to fix this problem. Local Honda dealer found yaw rate sensor failure and wants $1,100 to replace.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #46

Oct 142014

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 47,810 miles
Vsa engaged while driving xway, pulled vehicle to right, into other lane. This was repaired per previous recall, but continued to engage periodically within 3 days. Additionally, I am on list for airbag recall, but not yet recalled in ky. We are in Ohio valley, with higher humidity than Florida. I have driven to Florida multiple times. We should be added to recall list.

- Louisville, KY, USA

problem #45

Aug 232014

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 122,100 miles
On numerous occasions during the ownership of the car, especially when it is raining, damp, or snowing while driving the car for no reason it loses power. The steering wheel locks, and the car acts as if the battery has been disconnected. This has happened more than 20 times. This is a defect. I am reporting, because I realize this needed to be reported. It is a safety issue. This loss of electrical power has occurred with the original battery, as well as two other batteries over the life of the car. It appears to be electrically related. The loss of power results in the steering wheel locking and no power. Luckily, each time this has happened, I was driving at 30 miles per hour. If this ever occurred on the highway, it could resulted in an accident.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #44

Oct 152007


  • 9,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Honda Pilot. The contact stated that while driving approximately 60 mph, the vsa light illuminated as the vehicle started to shake. The contact mentioned that the steering wheel became hard to maneuver and it felt as if the brake were engaging. The vehicle was merged to the side of the road, where it was turned off and restarted. The vehicle resumed normal operation. The failure recurred several times. The vehicle was taken to a dealer. The technician diagnosed that the yaw rate sensor had failed. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 9,000.

- Tallahassee, FL, USA

problem #43

Jun 112014


  • 162,829 miles
The first incident happened while turning, car came to a stop, jerked the wheel almost hitting another car; all without warning. A child passenger was in the back seat and was thrown forward hitting her head on the passenger front seat and seat belt locked causing her to have a seat belt bruise. Vsa (light), the vsa activation light (triangle with exclamation inside) were both illuminated. SUV was taken to local dealership to perform the recall work. Two weeks later, same thing but this time I was going about 55mph on highway, SUV came to almost a complete stop within a short distance. Grinding feeling and with the vsa indicator lights on. Almost hit someone when the wheel jerked and caused me to go into the right lane and almost hitting someone, kids were in the SUV one in the passenger side front and the other in back same side. Seat belt once again left a bruise on their chest and caused the front passenger to have strained his neck. This is a vehicle that cause great concern. I am now afraid to allow my son to drive this vehicle with this problem continuing. The dealership has said that they have performed the recall bulletin and I will need to fix this on my own. This is not satisfactory at all.

- Roanoke, VA, USA

problem #42

May 302014

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 164,000 miles
I went to Honda dealership on May 30, 2014 in fremont California for the safety recall campaign - installing subharness. After the dealership installed new harness for the safety of vsa (vehicle stability assistance) on the 30th of May 2014, vsa light is on when I pickup the car and the service advisor at the dealership said it was yaw rate sensor failure according to the code scanned. Before the recall, the car was ok, without the vsa light on. Basically I am driving the without vsa after the recall from Honda.

- Milpitas, CA, USA

problem #41

Mar 142014

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 96,000 miles


While driving around a bend towards a red light, without my foot on the pedal my car made a weird shutter or brake pulsing, I thought I had gone over some ripple strips. When the light changed, I proceeded to make a right turn in a busy intersection, when going almost 30 & out of the turn, my Pilot came to an unassisted abrupt stop! im so lucky the person behind me didn't rear end me! it sounded like the transmission was grinding & the tires were locked. I waited a few seconds let go of brakes & the vehicle began to move but in 5 ft it did it again. Towed to dealer who cant seem to find or recreate the problem. Multiple brake, ABS, vsc & electrical alarms were reported by dealer but still no solution. This car is unsafe to drive and by multiple reports this is a widespread problem.

- Hoboken, NJ, USA

problem #40

Feb 072014

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 109,440 miles
As I was approaching a left turn lane I applied the brakes gently and the left front brake momentarily grabbed causing the vehicle to swerve into the oncoming traffic and the vsa lights activated. This has occurred 9 times in the last 300 miles. I took the vehicle to the dealer immediately and they told me they could not duplicate the problem and they found no problems with the car. Never had a problem until the "recalled" vsa module was replaced less than 6000 miles ago. The dealer tells me that the vsa module is not under warranty.

- Santa Maria, CA, USA

problem #39

Dec 102010

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 140,000 miles
When driving on straight, level pavement, vsa light illuminates and car suddenly shudders and changes direction. Uneven brakes are being applied by the vsa system in order to correct a problem that is not present. Meanwhile, the loss of control of the vehicle is dangerous. The problem has happened several times before and after the recall to replace the wiring harness. The recall service did not fix the problem or make it happen less frequently. My car seems to only have the problem in sub-freezing temperatures. Dealer diagnosis says that yaw sensor is sending a bad signal to vsa system. A new yaw sensor is currently on back-order, so it seems that I am not alone in having problems.

- Lees Summit, MO, USA

problem #38

Jun 062013


  • 84,236 miles
After the recall of vsa it happens that the SUV experiencing the symptom of excessive braking and vsa light comes out... before the recall we haven't experiencing this vsa problem.. I don't know in some reason why it comes out after the recall had been made..first occurrence I bring it to the dealer and advise that they been check, fixed and inform it won't come out any more.. after two weeks it happened again and my SUV will bring again to the dealer for the second time... I feel they make me feel worse this recall that been made... is there any advice "??"

- Hayward , CA, USA

problem #37

Apr 252013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 62,000 miles


The vehicle would apply additional brake force on the driver's side front wheel while the driver use the brake to slow the vehicle on a downhill road. The extra brake force only last 1 second or 2 but it caused the vehicle steer to the left and the vsa come on. In several occasions, the vehicle crossed the lane to the oncoming traffic. The vsa light will come on until I turn off the ignition. The Honda dealer initially suggest it was related to the vsa recall but after performing the recall work 4 times, the issue still exist. They finally determined the yaw sensor was causing the problem and replace it.

- Englewood, CO, USA

problem #36

Dec 192012


  • 195,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Honda Pilot. The contact stated that while driving 25 mph, the vehicle stability assist engaged independently, causing the front driver's side tire to seize. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for inspection and they stated that the vehicle stability assist module needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 195,000.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #35

May 112013


  • 64,800 miles
I've just brought my 2005 Honda Pilot in to the Honda dealer to have the recall fixed but now it seems like the random breaking with the vsa on is more frequent after the fixed. The recall for the Honda Pilot 2005 with the vsa did not fix my vsa trouble. The trouble I getting is still the same after the fixed. "if the control unit was damaged, the vsa system may apply a small amount of breaking force even if the driver has not pressed the brake pedal."

- Elk Grove, CA, USA

problem #34

Mar 122011

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 67,000 miles
The brakes suddenly applied while cruising along the interstate at 75mph. The vehicle was able to be directed off the road then the brakes locked up and vehicle would not go forward. Vsa light came on. This happened several times later at lower speeds and the brakes would lock up and vsa light would come on. Mechanics could not determine the problem, since it was an intermittent problem. Honda dealer told me that no recalls or alerts were on vehicle. The front brake rotors were machined in Feb 2012 because they were "warped" and then had to be replaced a year later because the brakes were pulsating. Since Nov. 2009 I have had to machine the rear brake rotors that were "warped" twice. I am now using the vehicle with the vsa off.

- Venice, FL, USA

problem #33

Mar 262013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 118,058 miles
While exiting a driveway at approximately 5 miles per hour the brakes locked without the driver applying pressure. The driver was able to get the vehicle to the center painted median with extra gas and still under unwanted braking. Once the car came to a complete stop for 30 seconds or so the brakes released. The driver then drove the vehicle at a slow speed along the curb to our house within 2 miles. It's now parked as we are afraid to drive it. A call to metro Honda in montclair was of no assistance. They said my vehicle was not effected by the recent Honda recall on the issue. The vsa light remains illuminated as well as the system warning light.

- San Dimas, CA, USA

problem #32

Mar 182013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 87,200 miles
While driving I went to apply my brakes to begin slowing down, I only applied a very small amount of pressure when a grinding noise started and lasted only a few seconds then a slight jerk as if my car was braking on its own and then a warning light turned on (exclamation inside a triangle and the vsa letters appeared) this stayed on until I turned off the car. This has occurred now 4 times. Fortunately I only have to drive 5 miles to work. Firstly, I am afraid to drive any distance especially on the highway should this get worse and secondly I have grandkids that I Transport and am concerned that I could possibly be putting their lives in jeopardy!! I do hope that something is done or a recall is made so that this can be fixed.

- Jeffersonville, IN, USA

problem #31

Oct 142012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 143,000 miles
Long story but I believe it is all related. Based on my understanding the anti-lock brake system and vsa are all part of the same system in a 2005 Honda Pilot. We were having a "noise" that was believed to be caused by a random anti-lock brake system self check. This would happen at any speed and appeared to be activated by any small bump in the road. This was more of a nuisance than anything but we thought we would have the dealership look into it. More on this later. In addition we also had the vehicle stability assist (vsa) engage once and the results were a little scary or violent at best. The problem occurred when traveling at approximately 70 mph under windy conditions. The vsa system engaged, the brakes were heavily applied, and the vehicle was put into a control mode that pulled the vehicle left and right. We had very limited control of the vehicle when all of this was happening. We were able to pull the vehicle over without incident and deactivate the vsa to finish our trip. What our dealership found was a cracked electrical connector on the main engine wiring harness where it connects to the anti-lock brake and vsa module. The connector is located under the engine shroud in an area that isn't accessible during normal or routine maintenance and we have never had any service done on anything in this area. Our guess is that it was cracked during the original installation or it fatigued over time. The Honda technician thought the root cause of the problem was moisture entering the control module via the damaged connector. This in turn caused damage to the printed circuit board that controls the braking and vsa system. We stopped investigating the repair at this point because of cost. It was over $2000 to get the harness and control module replaced. I wanted to share this because of all the recent news on 2005 Pilot.

- Bridgman, MI, USA

problem #30

Feb 132013


  • 118,000 miles
First incident, my wife was driving approximately 45 mph when 2005 Honda Pilot began to vibrate and make a "groaning" noise or a noise almost like when you drive on a gravel road. 2005 Honda Pilot was also (while vibrating and making noise) abruptly slowing down/ stopping without depressing the brake pedal. It would also do this while applying the accelerator. Second incident was later that same day. I picked the 2005 Honda Pilot up from my wife as she was now to afraid to drive it. After about 10 mins of driving, I was doing about 55 mph and the 2005 Honda Pilot made the same noise and vibration as described above and also slowed down abruptly as if I hit the brakes(which I didn't). About another half mile was a traffic light as I began to slow down for light I applied the brakes gently and as I applied the brakes the brake pedal left my foot and the 2005 Honda Pilot came to an abrupt stop. This happened two more times so I pulled into a parking lot because I did not feel safe driving at that point. When I stopped in the parking lot I noticed my vsa indicator light was on. It would not turn off until I turned the 2005 Honda Pilot off. Same day I took my 2005 Honda Pilot to the local Honda dealership and they have not been able to reproduce the symptom.

- Panama City, FL, USA

problem #29

Jan 212013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 106,250 miles
Accelerating at relatively low speed, usually just after stopping, heard audible "pop" through car radio, ABS and emergency brake lights came on. Car braked rapidly, even though foot was on accelerator and not touching the brake pedal. Forced car to almost a complete stop. This same sequence of events happened three times within 30 minutes. Pulled car into parking lot and called Honda service dept. They had never heard of this happening and car was towed in to run diagnostics. Service dept drove car around for over three days and was unable to duplicate issue. They had some ideas to cause, but since they couldn't get it to repeat, could not fix anything.

- Wichita, KS, USA

problem #28

Aug 082012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 100,000 miles
While driving, airbag, (!), vsa, vtc and brake lights all lit up. Horn stopped working as did all controls from steering wheel (cruise, radio airbag light). I pulled over, everything seemed to work but lights would not turn off. Went to Honda in ft pierce, fl. Was told it's probably a low battery. Replaced battery, lights all stayed on. Contacted johnston Honda in stuart, fl. Head mechanic told me he had no idea what would cause this and if he ran it on diagnostics, it could take 8 hours at $80 an hour and he still may not find the problem. Brought this lemon to local mechanic who ran on diagnostics for 2 hours. Could not find problem so he did not charge. As almost all other complaints above, while driving at 35 to 40 the car starts to shudder as though it will turn off. Was told it's possibly defective motor mounts. I have contacted american Honda motor works in California with these issues and they essentially told me to 'gfy'. stated car is not their problem.

- Palm City, FL, USA

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