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 3 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #27

Apr 172012


  • 90,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Honda Pilot. While driving approximately 40 mph, the vsa warning indicator illuminated and the brakes began to lock without applying any pressure to the pedal. The vehicle pulled to the left on its own and was then maneuvered to the side of the road. The engine was turned off and upon restarting, the vehicle resumed normally. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who stated that a vsa trouble code was detected. The manufacturer was notified of the defect. The vehicle was also taken to an authorized dealer where a trouble code was not detected. The vehicle was not repaired. There was an open and closed investigation under NHTSA action number DP12002 (electronic stability control). A preliminary evaluation PE12-028 was opened. The approximate failure mileage was 90,000

- Dalton, MA, USA

problem #26

Jul 012008

Pilot 6-cyl

  • miles
The contact owned a 2005 Honda Pilot. The contact stated that the driver was traveling at an unknown speed when the vehicle unexpectedly began to pull to the left before crashing into an oncoming vehicle. The driver and passenger were killed as a result of the impact. A police report was filed of the incident. The vehicle was destroyed and towed to a savage facility. The vehicle was inspected by an independent engineer and informed the contact that the failure was possibly related to a faulty electronic stability control. A defect petition was opened and closed under NHTSA action number DP12002 (electronic stability control). There was a concurrent investigation associated with NHTSA action number PE12-028 (electronic stability control) that could possibly have been related to the failure. The manufacturer was not notified of the incident or the defect. The failure mileage was unavailable...updated 02/25/13

- Milwaukee, WI, USA

problem #25

Jan 022013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 196,750 miles
I was driving under slightly wet conditions at a fairly low speed (approx. 25 - 30 mph) and the car seemed, momentarily, as if the left front tire had gone flat and an indicator light with a triangle and an exclamation point and the vsa light simultaneously came on. I pulled over, checked the tire, turned the car off, restarted it and everything was fine for the rest of that day. The next morning, I experienced the same thing after the car had sat all night. After turning it off and back on, the indicator and vsa lights were out, but then came back on less than 30 minutes later while idling. The weather conditions this day were cold, but dry. I made an appointment and took the car to leith Honda. I experienced the same condition while driving it to the dealer. The service advisor told me that there was no indication of a problem and the car's computer didn't indicate that the vsa had even been on. I picked the car up that night, after they had closed, and experienced the problem less than 15 minutes after I left the dealer. I then experienced it again the next day, after a cold start, and then again today, also after a cold start, but this time while idling. This is a scary and potentially dangerous situation and there are lots of reports about this problem floating around the internet. My particular experiences haven't been as bad (yet) as others have described, but the symptoms are the same (front brakes momentarily locking and steering pulling, in my case, to the left).

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #24

Oct 222012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 98,700 miles


Vsa warning light and ! light come on at the same time when vehicle is in motion. Lights come on after approximately 5 minutes and stay on until the vehicle is turned off and restarted. This problem began about one month ago and happens almost every day. The warning lights seem sensitive to the cold as well. The on board diagnostic computer has no registered any malfunction codes. Fortunately have not yet experienced the intense braking of other owners but there seems to be a significant problem with the vsa system on 2005 Honda Pilot.

- Eagle River, AK, USA

problem #23

Sep 122012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 119,000 miles
We recently purchased this car used from anderson Honda of palo alto. On several occasions the vsa has engaged for no apparent reason at speeds ranging from 10-35 mph. The vsa engaged at slow speeds when turning and at the faster speeds on the straight-A-way. When the vsa engages the vsa light and warning light turn on. The lights do go off after the car has been turned off and at rest for a few minutes. Most often when the vsa engages the car shudders slightly, both the brake and the gas pedal shudder and vibrate. The car feels like it is slowing momentarily. In the most recent episode on Nov. 27. the car was traveling 35 mph down hill and the steering pulled slightly to the left.

- Redwood City, CA, USA

problem #22

Oct 212012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 127,400 miles
While driving on the highway at approximately 60 mph the brakes suddenly activated and the vehicle rapidly decelerated. Tires actually screeched due to the rapid deceleration. The brakes pulsed off and on until the vehicle came to a complete stop. Pressing and releasing the brake pedal had no effect. I turned off the car then re-started it and continued on with no further problem. If a car would have been behind me it certainly would have caused an accident as my vehicle stopped so abruptly I surely would have been rear-ended. I have owned this vehicle for 5 yrs and this has happened 5-6 times, the first time about 6 mos after I purchased the vehicle. The date here is the most recent incident. It has occurred at different speeds and happens when the brake pedal has not been touched. It is random and I have gone as long as a year between incidents. I have not yet taken it to a dealer because it is such a random occurrence and not possible to duplicate, and numerous accounts of this problem on-line indicate that Honda does not have a fix and does not acknowledge the problem. My experience is exactly as described in NHTSA action number DP12002 and PE12028.

- Bloomington, IN, USA

problem #21

Oct 132010

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 30,000 miles


While driving the braking system suddenly started to activate the anti-lock braking system, violently applying the brakes regardless of how hard or softly I touched the brake pedal. This anomaly has occurred multiple times without warning and for no apparent reason. I could not address this problem because it was unpredictable and went away when I would get the car to a safe place and turn off the key. It would no longer be happening, similar to rebooting a computer. No dash symptom lights would appear during these incidents. Please advise if I have any recourse with Honda since the vehicle is out of warranty. Reference NHTSA action number PE12028.

- Cape Coral, FL, USA

problem #20

Sep 242012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 126,000 miles
This problem began earlier in 2012 and was investigated by the dealer in June. While driving at various speeds (45-75mph), the vsa system engages, locking one wheel for a second or two, and pulling the steering wheel as if in a skid. When this stops, the vsa light is on as well as a yellow triangle with an exclamation point. When the dealer 'fixed' this in June, they repaired a TPMS sensor. They also found a brake caliper stuck and fixed that as well as replaced the brake pads. Since June the issue has not occurred until yesterday. It has happened at 3 times in the past 2 days, all at @ 45 mph. This seems to be a widely reported issue and is certainly a safety concern. When this happened in June on the interstate, traffic on both sides of me dropped back because they could tell I lost control of the car.

- Mechanicsville, VA, USA

problem #19

Jul 092012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 100,000 miles
Approximate date I put was today, but this has happened several times to my spouse within the last few years. Today is the first time I had been able to duplicate it. I just started the car, pulled out of the driveway on my way to work. About 300 yards down the road at approximately 25 miles per hour the car braked on its own twice and stopped the car. I had to get to work so I continued on. It occurred two more times on my way to work. I was never going faster than 40 miles per hour. It happened once while I was braking and two times while I was at a coast. My wife just told me that it happened again to her as recently as 3 days ago. I am concerned obviously because of the safety aspect of this. I have 3 children and god forbid this happen on the freeway or at high speeds. I have seen multiple complaints on the internet of this same occurrence with the 2005 Honda Pilot and they all said to file a complaint with this site.

- Fresno, CA, USA

problem #18

Jun 182012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 53,350 miles
On three hot afternoons (around 75 degrees) the car repeatedly had problems - mostly when turning. It felt like the antilock brakes went on by themselves even though my foot was not on the brake. The car quickly slowed and made grinding noises. Most of the times that it happened, the stability control warning light came on. It felt and sounded similar to the way it stops on icy roads in the winter, but the slowdown was more severe. The car seemed fine during the cooler morning hours and the problem worsened as the temperature rose. It is currently sitting at the Honda dealership while the problem is being diagnosed.

- Anchorage, AK, USA

problem #17

Oct 122011


  • 103,000 miles


It was night, and my girlfriend and I just exited the freeway, we just turned onto a side street and made it 100 yards when all of the sudden it felt like my left front tire went flat or I hit something and it dragged, I immediately pulled over to inspect, and found nothing. I did notice the vsa and vsa activation indicators on, turning the car off and then on again reset the indicators. Oddly concerned we circled back to check for anything in the road, there was nothing. It happened again just a few minutes later, and the indicators came back on. It repeated itself a third time, and I drove home very worried it would happen on the freeway. Each instance was momentary and it pulled hard left each time with a load antilock brake type jarring vibration. From reading other stories I can see that this problem isn't one of a kind, and I haven't seen anyone post a fix for it.

- Mission Hills, CA, USA

problem #16

Feb 152011

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 75,400 miles
While making 2 turns in a parking lot at 10 mph, the vsa (vehicle stability assist) engaged, causing the brakes to suddenly grind the vehicle to a jarring halt---stopped on a dime! a moment later, while driving straight ahead at about 20 mph, the vsa engaged again, causing another sudden grinding braking to a full stop. Honda says they know nothing about this anomaly---despite easily finding numerous blogs on the internet of people having the same problem ---up to occurring at highway speeds. Honda diagnostic equipment did not identify that this occurred nor tell them that there is any problem. I do not consider this vehicle safe to drive!

- Longwood, FL, USA

problem #15

Feb 102011

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 115,000 miles
After pulling out of a parking garage and driving about 4 city blocks, our 2005 Honda Pilot made a loud groaning sound and came to a complete stop in an intersection while turning left. From that point, for the next half mile, the car screeched to a complete stop every 15 to 20 seconds, even while only pressing the accelerator going speeds up to 20 mph. I instructed my wife to pull into the first available parking lot, at which point we saw that the vsa caution and off lights were on. I turned the ignition off, pulled the key out, put it back in and started the car back up. The vsa lights did not come back on. I pressed the vsa off button in order to avoid this malfunction on the way home. This is an extremely scary defect. I have read other owners' experiences of this same issue and I am convinced that it is a potentially life-threatening defect. We had our two year old and our newborn in a car which screeched to an unexpected full stop in the middle of an intersection halfway through a turn. There was no ice, the roads were dry, and the turn was controlled and normal. There was no reason for the vsa to engage. We were lucky no cars were coming the other direction to hit the Pilot in the intersection. I have also read of this unprompted full stop occurring at speeds up to 60 mph. The potential implications of this are devastating. We purchased this car used with 105,000 miles on it. It now has approximately 115,000 miles. We have been pleased with the vehicle until now, but this one issue is enough of a safety issue that I will immediately pursue getting rid of the vehicle and finding something safer.

- Nashville, TN, USA

problem #14

Jan 252011


  • 95,000 miles
I own a 2005 Honda Pilot since 2008 and this car has 95,000 + mileage. Recently the vsa light started coming on. I have taken this car to several shop for diagnostics and the codes coming up is not readable. I went online to research on this and discovered that so many people do have the same problem. Can you compel Honda to do something before the problems get out of hands pls?

- Md, MD, USA

problem #13

Nov 292010


  • 61,000 miles
Honda Pilot 2005 vsa issue and malfunctions: Sometimes the light came up even I drove on a flat road with low speed. There is a loud clunk noise and the brake and steering for a fraction of a second locks. One time it happened when I was in a turn and almost hit a wall. I am concerned that the vehicle stabilization system is not safe if I had to make an emergency turn and that the vehicle would roll.

- Tucker, GA, USA

problem #12

Oct 102010

Pilot 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Honda Pilot. The contact stated that while driving approximately 30 mph the brakes decelerated on their own. The vehicle came to a complete stop and stalled. The vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer. The dealer was unable to diagnose the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was approximately 55,000. Updated 12/23/11... updated 02/17/12 the consumer stated the electronic stability control system was defective, which caused the steering to fail and the brakes to apply involuntarily. Updated 04/2412 updated 05/03/12

- Arlington, MA, USA

problem #11

Sep 222010


  • 75,538 miles
Beginning in September of 2010, my 2005 Honda Pilot made a groaning noise around the driver side area, swerved abruptly to the left on its own, while the cruise was set at 56mph. Following the incident the vsa warning light and the light illuminated. After first incident, it was towed to the dealership where they found diagnostic codes for yaw rate sensor failure and battery voltage failure. They found the battery negative terminal to be very loose and they tightened it. Tech's could not duplicate the problem. This occurred 7 more times over the following 3 weeks. When returned to dealership, they were advised by Honda tech's to clean the connectors on the yaw rate sensor. Codes went away and the car was returned to me. The following day the symptoms returned. Honda dealership says they must now replace the yaw rate sensor. We are waiting for our appointment for that to occur.

- Brazil, IN, USA

problem #10

Aug 032010


  • 47,000 miles
While driving on a flat surface along I95 in good weather, I lost control of my steering/brakes for a second. The vsa light came on. I took the car to my local mechanic who ran several tests only resulting in an error code with the yaw rate sensor. The light went on again before I left the parking lot. He then ran more test, found the sensor "lost it's memory" and reset it. The next day it happened again, my mechanic then performed an alignment. Through this he only charged me a minimal fee for one of the visits. He stated that the sensor may have gone bad. This happens daily at various speeds, conditions etc. A few times I turned the car on and before I left my driveway the light was on, other times, drove over an hr and it did not come on. I contacted my dealership to which they told me they do not know of any issues concerning the vsa. I have looked up several forums on line and found quite a few complaints on the same issue. They have gone through the same steps my mechanic has done, some had transmissions replaces, others master cylinders and some it remained a mystery. I only lose control for a split second, but that's all it takes to cause an accident. I just wanted to report this problem. Thank you.

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #9

Jun 282010


  • 55,000 miles
Vsa light and SRS light 2005 Honda Pilot.

- Valparaiso, IN, USA

problem #8

Mar 232010


  • 60,000 miles
Traffic light turned green I proceeded through an intersection going straight between 10-15mph my brakes suddenly started pumping hard I tried to apply a little more gas the brakes started again, I hit the hazard light and managed to get out of the rush hour traffic into a parking lot, read my manual the vsa light came on the dash and the triangle below it came on as well. I turned the ignition off and then restarted the 2005 Honda Pilot exl the dash indicaters did not light up I drove the twenty or so miles home trying to stay in the shoulder lane just in case the brakes malfunctioned again. I did a lttle researching on the net there are a few other Pilot owners that have had the same problem with no definitive solution.

- White Rock, 00, USA

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