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:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
82,529 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 1 of 2)

problem #30

Apr 192014


  • miles


2005 Honda Pilot. Lawyer wrote in on behalf of client. Sudden malfunction which resulted in personal injuries according to the letter, the brake system locked up, while his client was traveling at a high speed.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #29

Apr 282013

Pilot 4WD

  • miles
2005 Honda Pilot. Consumer writes in regards to malfunction of alarm system in vehicle. The consumer stated the alarm system went off, while driving. The consumer made every effort, to stop the horns from blaring. Soon after, the vehicle stalled. He put the gear in park and turned off the ignition. He attempted to re-start the vehicle, but it would not go into any gear. The consumer managed to get help, to push the vehicle off the road. The tires would not roll, and shortly thereafter, the brake lights and horns went off, as well as the vsa was lit. The vehicle was towed to a repair facility. The next the day, the same problem occurred, a couple of days later, the consumer received recall notice 13V092000. The description of the recall, described the problem he experienced.

- New York, NY, USA

problem #28

May 102013


  • miles
2005 Honda Pilot. Consumer writes in regards to unsatisfactory repair service from dealership. The consumer stated the dealer did not clear the (vsa) brake light from the dashboard.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #27

May 012013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • miles


2005 Honda Pilot. Consumer writes in regards to a defective vsa electrical control unit recall notice and seeks reimbursement for repairs. The consumer stated without warning, the vehicle came to a complete stop in the middle of the intersection. The vehicle was towed to a repair shop, where the vsa/ABS modulator assembly was replaced.

- Mclean, VA, USA

problem #26

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 #25

Jan 022012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 89,070 miles
2-15-2011 prior complaint of vehicle stability assist locking the brakes, occurred 3 times. Honda had no solution to abrupt jarring braking. Continued to drive with vsa turned off. 1-2-2012 vsa, even though vsa turned off, brakes locked while going 45 mph on a highway, middle lane, then braked 4 more times before I could pull out of the way of traffic. Very close near accident. Took vehicle to Honda 1-3-2012. Spoke to dealership service director again, spoke to Honda Florida rep, no ideas, denied knowledge of problem, even though internet & NHTSA documented. Finally I agreed to split repair, spent $793.61 and they replaced 57110-S9V-A61 modulator assembly vsa. Honda refused to acknowledge what the braking was caused by, or that their vsa replacement that day would solve problem. If vsa off why did it happen 5 more times? since NHTSA has an open investigation on this well documented problem I wanted you to have an update.

- Longwood, FL, USA

problem #24

May 312012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 112,000 miles


Vsa system malfunction. Front left brake engages while vehicle is in motion.

- Broussard, LA, USA

problem #23

Mar 162012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 97,000 miles
My Pilot has a very bad shake in the steering wheel whenever I reach speeds of 70mph. I've had three wheel balances (one road force balance), two alignments, rotors and brakes checked with no issues with those items. I've had to of the motor mounts replaced on the vehicle since I purchased it which I never had to do on any other vehicles I've ever owned. I told the Honda dealer that I think Honda corporation should do a recall on the motor mounts because all Pilot owners are complaining about the same issues. I still have the shaking in the steering wheel and I'm afraid that I might have to replace the third motor mount to resolve the shaking in the steering wheel. This is another expense that I can't afford but it doesn't seem Honda cares about their customers so I guess we have no other options since it seems we (Honda owners) can't get through to Honda corporation to help us!

- Mckinney, TX, USA

problem #22

Mar 162012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 96,500 miles
Traveled ~15 miles at highway speed. Exited highway onto secondary roads thru a busy town. Traveling approx 30 mph. Car shuddered and speed dropped to about 10 mph. Transmission wouldn't shift out of low with RPM approaching 4000 RPM. Stopped at light, car stalled all sensor lights came on and flashed. Got it restarted, had to put in low to it moving at ~3500 RPM, went a block to get off the main road into parking lot. Cooling fan running, but temp gauge showed no issue. Puddle of brown fluid formed under passenger side front of engine. Looked like fluid sprayed through front passenger side of engine compartment no indication on sensor lights or temp gauge that anything wrong prior to stall and all sensor lights came on. Had car towed to Honda...they diagnosed as 2 transmission cooling lines burst mixing the transmission and cooling fluid. Fix options...1) flush cooling & tranny system 5-7 times, replace radiator, filter, and lines for $1600-1800 but won't know if transmission needs replacing. 2) full replacement of radiator, lines and transmission $3800 or if option 1 chosen and subsequently transmission needs to be replaced it would cost the initial $1600-1800 plus an additional $4000 for a total of approx $5800. No indicator from dealer of the problem history for this vehicle. Had previously complained about shudder and the dealer replaced a wheel bearing first, then when kept complaining they replaced my rotors saying the rotors had warped...after being resurfaced only ~3600K miles prior. Learned lesson....investigate any problems on -line before you accept the dealer explanation.

- New Windsor, NY, USA

problem #21

Dec 182011

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 115,000 miles
The first incident occurred while traveling at highway speeds. The car violently jerked forward 3 times and came to a complete sudden stop on the interstate. Luckily no one was following too close or we would have been rear ended. My foot was on the accelerator maintaining a steady speed, and it was like I stomped on the break rapidly three times and then the car came to a complete stop. We took the car to the Honda dealership and they could not repeat the issue but said that the battery wasn't putting out the proper amount of amps and was likely resulting in the computer sending faulty messages. They replaced the battery. The car seemed to be fixed when the battery was replaced, but then the issue recurred about two months later at the end of February 2012. While accelerating at about 30 mph, the car violently came to a sudden stop in the middle of the road. Again, we were lucky to not be not rear ended. We took the car to another auto shop, but they weren't able to duplicate the issue. They assessed the computer and noted a faulty egr valve and replaced it. The car drove fine for two weeks after that, then the issue recurred for a third time, again at about 30 mph. The same thing occurred; the car came to a sudden stop in the middle of the road after the sensation of stomping on the breaks several times. The car is in the shop again, and they can't recreate the problem. Their assessment is leading them to believe there is a faulty ABS switch or brake booster. After several failed repair attempts, we aren't confident that anyone knows what the problem is. However, if you read the forums online, this is a problem that has been reported by dozens of people with my year, make/model and at the approximate mileage as my car. If we continue driving the car, we are scared we may injure ourselves or others.

- Madison, AL, USA

problem #20

Feb 042012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,236 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Honda Pilot. The contact stated while traveling 30 mph with the brake pedal engaged to slow down, the brakes became stuck and the vehicle started to shutter for approximately one minute. The contact took the vehicle to the dealer who stated they could not find the problem. The failure mileage was 110,236 updated 04/10/12 updated 04/23/12

- Hillsborough, NC, USA

problem #19

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 #18

Sep 182011

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 88,800 miles
Vehicle engaged anti-lock brakes randomly as coming to stop. Vsa light would come on and then disappear when the vehicle would start. Acceleration affected at highway speeds of 50-60 mph and on side roads at 20-40 mph. No indicator light when car was restarted as to issue with car. Car would lurch randomly both braking and accelerating. First dealer towed (willet Honda, morrow, ga) did not find issue and sent driver on way. Car lurched randomly less than one mile drive out of the dealer service lot. Second dealer service station (ed voyles Honda, marietta, ga) contacted american Honda for issue. Identified as electrical system failure causing full brake failure including antilock brakes and vsa system. Total cost of repairs $1565.16. No indicator at all to indicate failures. Willet dealership should not have released vehicle to owner with safety issue.

- Marietta, GA, USA

problem #17

Jul 042011

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 101,393 miles
2005 Honda Pilot.. purchased used had for 2 weeks and the brakes locked up 4 times with 2 passengers in car. Occurred while tapping brakes at about 30 mph also happened twice with out tapping brakes. Taking it back to dealership I purchased from.

- Sandston, VA, USA

problem #16

May 012006


  • 2,500 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Honda Pilot. The contact was driving approximately 30 to 35 mph when the brakes engaged independently and then released within a few moments. The contact stated that the failure would occur sporadically and without warning. The vehicle was taken to the dealer several times for the failure but the dealer was unable to duplicate or diagnose the failure. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure but provided no assistance. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 2,500 and the current mileage was 101,000.

- Marlborugh, MA, USA

problem #15

Apr 112011


  • 134,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Honda Pilot. While driving approximately 15 mph the brakes engaged involuntarily. The vehicle came to a stop for a few moments before the brakes released. The failure recurred intermittently. During the failure, the vehicle stability assist light was illuminated. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer four times in which the vehicle stability assist was repaired. The failure persisted. The failure mileage was 134,000 and the current mileage was 134,213. Corrected smch

- Malvern, AR, USA

problem #14

Oct 122010


  • 105,864 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Honda Pilot. The contact stated that while driving approximately 55 mph, the vehicle began making a clicking noise, suddenly stalled and the vsa light illuminated on the instrument panel. The vehicle was restarted and taken to an authorized dealer who stated that the brake sensor had failed but they could not see a blatant problem. The vehicle had not been repaired. The failure mileage was 105,864.

- Acworth, GA, USA

problem #13

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 #12

Oct 012010


  • 115,900 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Honda Pilot. The contact stated that while driving 45 mph there was a loud noise and the brakes locked. The vehicle also stopped moving while his foot was on the accelerator pedal. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who stated that they diagnosed and duplicated the problem but there was no defect. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and the current mileages were 115900.

- Colfax, CA, USA

problem #11

Jul 272010


  • 77,606 miles
Had a Honda dealership service center complete repairs on warped front brake rotors. Dealership informed me that the front motor mount is broken and collapsed and that the right rear shock is starting to leak. The vehicle has 77,606 miles and has been well taken care of and regularly serviced. After researching these issues, it appears that the motor mount and rear shock failures are not uncommon issues for 2005 Honda Pilot.

- Austin, TX, USA

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