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:
5 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
5 / 0
Average Mileage:
95,189 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 4 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #19

Sep 292012


  • 82,000 miles


I was on the highway doing about 60. I put on my blinker and was about to change to the left lane next to me. A car in the left lane sped up as I started to move left. I turned back slightly to the right and tapped my brakes. The brakes locked up and I had a hard time controlling the vehicle. Luckily there were no cars next to me or behind me, because I went into the right lane next to me and then onto the birm lane. The car stopped suddenly. The road was dry- there was no reason for this to happen. Thank god my children were not with me and that the only cars on the highway were ahead of me.

- Broadview Heights, OH, USA

problem #18

Sep 252012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 103,000 miles
Starting about a month ago, when our Honda Pilot 2005 reached a little over 100K miles, the antilock braking system started freaking out. When going approximately 35-45 mph on straight dry roads the brakes will suddenly apply themselves with no pressing of the brake pedal! luckily it has lasted only a second and they are suddenly released, but it is very frightening and if I were not looking straight ahead and holding tight to the wheel the car easily could have pulled off the road (it seems to be predominantly the front driver side brake - I think the left side only did it once.) this has happened 5 times on different days in the past month. It usually happens within the first couple minutes of starting the car. Also, when driving at slow speeds 5-15mph while turning we have started to hear a "clunking/scrapping" sound of the antilock brakes "adjusting" - is how I'd describe it" the brake pedal is not being pressed, but they seem to be confused. The sound is similar to how it would sound if we actually hit an ice patch while driving and applied the brakes - kind of a clunking or bracing sound to prevent skidding, but the road is dry. And finally just yesterday the brakes seem to have become permanently stuck in the slightest/teeniest level of application - they just sound like they are applied while driving. The car kind of humms. This didn't stop until I stopped the car completely and turned it off, waited 5 minutes and started again? this time the roads were very wet and possibly it started when we hit a slightly slick spot? but then didn't let up till the car was turned off? the brakes have a sensation like they will suddenly go off without warning or maybe even not apply if I need them to"! we drive a 7,6 and 4 year old in this car every day. Please require Honda to recall and fix this asap! thank you....updated 03-10-16

- Dublin, OH, USA

problem #17

Nov 012008

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 36,200 miles
While driving on a trip on the nys thruway, the driver's front brake would intermittently lock up and drag the car to the left. We would hear a noise (ABS pump?) and lights would intermittently come on the dash. This would last only a few seconds at a time, but enough to yank the wheel and pull into the left lane. We did make it home. The dealer diagnosed as a defective yaw/stability control sensor. They refused to process under warranty even though the warranty had barely expired. Cost $820 to fix. I am writing now because I recently saw an article in the newspaper where your Agency identified this very problem with 2005 Honda Pilot.

- Lake View, NY, USA

problem #16

Oct 152012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 78,464 miles


Vehicle being driven on highway at approximate 50mph and brakes randomly apply without pedal being depressed. Vehicle comes to dangerous and violent stop. Same thing happens when vehicle is driven at lower speeds between 25mph to 35mph. Violent braking happens both when pedal is applied and also randomly without pedal being depressed. Vehicle is not safe and Honda claims it has no real solution. Honda dealership/service center has duplicated exact malfunction and requires Honda to assist them with finding a solution. Now being held hostage by Honda on how or if they can repair issue, which leaves vehicle safety in question.

- Lancaster, PA, USA

problem #15

Oct 212012


  • 154,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Honda Pilot. The contact stated that while traveling 40 mph and the vehicle suddendly began to decelerate and became hard to steer. The contact stated that the engine continue running, but the vehicle would not accelerate since the brakes had engaged and failed to release. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was not available. The failure and current mileage was 154,000.

- Lawrence , KS, USA

problem #14

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 #13

Oct 212012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 100,354 miles


Brakes actuated on their own several times. Car came to abrupt stop momentarily but then the brakes released on their own. Starting happening today and occurred six times during a couple mile car ride. Only happened sporadically. Not sure what to do at this point.

- Galena, OH, USA

problem #12

Oct 012012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 70,290 miles
I was driving the 2005 Honda Pilot about 20 to 30 mph. The time was about 7:15 am. The roads were wet after some misting light rain. I heard a relatively loud noise that startled me. The noise lasted for perhaps 2 seconds. It sounded as if the brakes were inadvertently being applied and grabbing or perhaps something was wrong with the transmission or rear end. I do not remember that the brakes were being applied at the time, but it is possible that they were. I kept driving and was then much more attentive to there possibly being something wrong with the car. About one minute later I heard an almost identical loud sound. I do remember that I was braking at the time, but due to being startle, it is possible that I may not remember such. The vehicle may have decelerated, but to the best of my recollection, I do not believe that the vehicle deceleration was severe. I drove the vehicle to the local Honda dealer. I was told that the mechanic test drove the vehicle and could not repeat the problem and that he could not find anything wrong with the vehicle. Then the service manager talked to me about what possible might have caused the loud noise and he test drove the vehicle with me inside. He directed the vehicle with the left wheels on the pavement and the right wheels on the grass. Then he rapidly applied the brakes. The vehicle made a loud noise and to my memory the noise sounded like the noises I had encountered previously. He said that this noise was from the ABS system engaging. I was very please with the attention of the service manager and his customer interaction. Note: The printed paper shop invoice recorded : "customer states it feels like brakes are sticking. Problem is intermittent." My above incident description provides a more complete description of the incidents.

- Aiken, SC, USA

problem #11

Aug 042011

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 50,000 miles
Driving at around 45-50 mph on a busy highway in the morning rush hour, as I pressed my brake suddenly to avoid another vehicle coming on to my lane, I lost control of the car. It swung violently from side-to-side as I tried to steer it away from vehicles around me so as not to hit them. It finally came to a halt after slamming on to the vehicle that came on to my lane causing me to brake suddenly in the first place. The person whose car I hit and who watched me from a close range told me later that he was worried that the car was going to turn over. For me, the scary part was when I could not control the car by steering it. I swerved it left & right so as not to hit others but felt as if something else was controlling the sideways movement of the car. I suspected it was some kind of computer malfunction and thought about reporting it to Honda but did not get a chance to do that. I am reporting it now as I read yesterday on usa today that you are investigating a similar-sounding problem that another consumer reported.

- Bellaire, TX, USA

problem #10

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 #9

Dec 312004

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 500 miles


Stopping irregularity at highway speeds. Very unsafe feeling from a drivers perspective! non-solid feeling brake peddle plus a tendancy to not stop in a straight line. Front brake pads or caliper system have made a very detectable (from inside the Pilot with the windows up) snap / clack noise when engaging brakes during faster than normal stops from highway speeds, more than on one occasion - (replacing the brake pads with new ones seems to help / keep them new / thick)..

- Upland, CA, USA

problem #8

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 #7

Mar 192012


  • 79,450 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Honda Pilot. The contact stated that while driving 55 mph the brakes engaged independently without any warning. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who diagnosed that the fourth year pressure switch was faulty and needed to be replaced. The failure recurred. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure who did not offer any assistance. The failure mileage was 79,450 and the current mileage was 88,450.

- Dexter, NY, USA

problem #6

Aug 212012


  • 111,000 miles
While I was driving approx 40 mph my 2005 Honda Pilot's brakes engaged on their own. The brakes stuck to the floor and the car jetted to the left into the median while stopping. During the event there was a loud groaning noise that was coming from the front end of the vehicle. I made my way into a gas station and turned off the vehicle. I restarted the car and proceeded home when it happened again 1/2 mile later at 30 mph, brakes to the floor, loud groaning sound. At this point I was terrified as my 3yr daughter was in the car and we were in the middle of rush hour. The vsa light popped on after the second was immediately taken to the shop where we were told by the technician who inspected and drove the vehicle that he was able to replicate the event 2X. They stated we had a problem w/the vsa or ABS system and we had to take it to the Honda dealer. The technician also noted that when they hooked the car up to the computer there was a time when the ABS system was reading "no data".the car was taken to Honda the next day and we were told we did not have a problem w/our ABS or vsa system. They were also unable to replicate the problem. Honda concluded that my brake pads/rotors & tires needed replaced. The original shop we took it to stated our brakes and tires were fine and would not contribute to the problem we were having. We trustedhonda and completed the repairs they requested outside of the dealership. New brakes & tires on the vehicle and we have had 4 add.'L incidents since these "repairs" have been made. All of the info we received from the first shop that inspected the vehicle was relayed to Honda numerous times and they were adamant that we did not have a vsa or ABS problem. Clearly they were wrong. We are taking it back to the dealer next Tuesday.the vehicle remains unsafe to drive and we are very displeased at how Honda is handling the situation.

- Westerville, OH, USA

problem #5

Jul 182012


  • 167,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Honda Pilot. The contact stated that while driving 45 mph, the brakes suddenly engaged and the ABS warning lamp illuminated. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 167,000.

- Mesa , AZ, USA

problem #4

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 #3

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 #2

May 212011

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
My 2005 Honda Pilot brakes have automatically seized up a total of 5 times in the last year but 4 times in the last 3 weeks (May 2012). All 4 times it has happened have been at low speeds (10-20 mph, thankfully!!!) and within 5 minutes of starting up after it has sat for an extended period of time. I have taken it into the Honda dealer twice in the past three weeks (May 2012) the day after it occurred and both times they could not duplicate or find a problem. The first three times the vsa light came on but no code tripped in the computer system. The last two times it happened no dashboard indication occurred. It occurred 3 weeks ago, 1 week ago and yesterday back to back so the problem seems to be intensifying. So far, for a temporary fix, I have turned off the car and restarted it and the problem seems to stop for a while. As mentioned previously, yesterday the brakes seized up as I was driving but no dash indication came on. Because I was in the middle of an intersection, once the brakes released, I a decided to drive forward to try and get it out of the intersection only to have them seize up again about 100 meters later. I quickly turned off the car and restarted it and was able to safely return home where it sits currently.

- Overland Park, KS, USA

problem #1

Aug 012011


  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Honda Pilot. The contact was driving approximately 60 mph when the brakes engaged independently. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where they advised the contact that the vehicle stability assist (vsa) master cylinder needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. Prior to the failure, the brake switch was replaced. The manufacturer was contacted but they offered no assistance to the contact. The failure mileage was approximately 100,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Bremerton, WA, USA

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