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.


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
39,600 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

problem #5

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 #4

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 #3

Dec 272007

Pilot 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 25,000 miles
I have had a 2005 Honda Pilot for 2 1/2 years. On at least 3 occasions, the brakes apply themselves. It is a very dangerous event. The Honda company must do something about this. The last incident of this type occurred last night, the date shown below.

- Goodlettsville, TN, USA

problem #2

Jan 112007


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Brakes lock up while drving down the road. Dealership says they don't know what is wrong with it. This has happened three times now. The car has been to the dealer twice. Keeps happening. Nearly rearended this last time. Research on the internet shows that I am not alone. Yet Honda dealership claims they have never heard of this, they called headquarters and no one has heard of this. They want us to come and get it. I am afraid to drive it. It isn't safe to have your car locks its breaks out of no where. No warning at all. Another person on the internet reports it happened on the freeway!!! car swerved all over, cars honked swerved to miss them. They have a claim number with Honda as well. This is not safe and the Honda dealership is acting like I should just forget about it and drive this car.

- New Orleans, LA, USA

problem #1

May 102006

Pilot 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 15,600 miles
I was driving my 2005 Honda Pilot form my home and made a left turn out of my subdivision. Suddenly the vehicle made a loud grinding noise that seemed to come from the front of it. It went away and I continued driving slowly (about 15 - 20 mph) to see if I could detect something further wrong or if I had run over something. As I found no indication of the cause of the noise I continued on. Within approximately one city block the vehicle seemed to apply the brakes and slowed itself to a crawl. I did not apply the brakes! the noise again occurred while this happened. The noise, I realized, was similar to anti-lock brakes activating during a hard stop. This occurred three more times in rapid succession and then went away. I continued on trying to figure out what was wrong and applied the brakes myself. They seemed to work ok. As I proceeded, the brakes once again applied themselves (with absolutely no action from me) another four times. At this time the vsa light came on the dash. I attempted to turn it off, but was not sure if it did turn off or not. I drove another two to three miles without further problems. On May 10, approximately three weeks after the first incident, the vsa light came on. I pulled over, shut off the car and restarted it as directed in the owner's manual and the vsa light did not come back on. Later that day, while driving with four people in the Pilot I had made a left turn and had accelerated to about 40 mph when the brakes again applied themselves, the Pilot dived to the left and came to a complete stop. Again, I did not apply the brakes, the Pilot did this itself. The vsa light had come on again and I followed the procedure in the owner's manual. This seemed to work once again. As everyone in the Pilot had their seat belts on, no one was injured.

- Mountain Home, AR, USA

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