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 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
100,100 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 drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2005 Honda Pilot Owner Comments (Page 3 of 7)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #85

Oct 162013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 105,000 miles


Makes loud noise and rattling while accelerating.

- North Branford, CT, USA

problem #84

Nov 042013


  • 150,000 miles
Radiator failed causing the transmission fluid to mix with the coolant. My wife was stranded with my four children. We had the radiator changed and coolant and transmission fluid flushed. The transmission has not functioned properly since the problem happened.

- Sparta, NJ, USA

problem #83

Dec 092013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 138,250 miles
I bought a used 05 Pilot 1 year ago for my wife and boys. Vehicle started to shudder at around 30-40 mph. I remember my mother having this same thing happen to her Acura MDX and she was told she needed a whole new transmission. I looked up what was happening to our Pilot and have found hundreds of other complaints dealing with this same issue! Acura even put out a service bulletin (06-003) addressing the problem of the torque converter in the transmission and stated that even if the vehicle was out of warranty owners may be eligible for a goodwill consideration to have the problem fixed free of charge. This shows that they are aware of the problem and expected to have many such complaints. Honda Pilot has the same engine/transmission as it is the same company and needs to issue a recall!!! if I am expected to pay $11,000 for a used 05 Pilot with 130K miles on it I should not also be expected to pay an additional $4,000 to replace the transmission less than a year later!!! if Honda is proud enough of their product to charge that high amount to begin with they need to back it up with quality that matches the price!! please issue a recall on this so people don't have to continue to throw money down the drain in this economy!

- Corrales, NM, USA

problem #82

Dec 142013


  • 150,051 miles


Transmission cooler line inside radiator failed combining fluids and causing the transmission to malfunction. Loss of ability to drive/move vehicle while on a rural road between cities during a snowstorm with my family in the vehicle. This is a common failure and requires a new radiator and replace / rebuild the transmission. A recommendation from Honda to replace the radiator every 100,000 miles for a marginal fee(similar to the timing belt) would have prevented having to replace / rebuild the transmission.

- Rockford, MI, USA

problem #81

Dec 052013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 89,100 miles
I was driving up a hill when my vehicle started to lose power and high rpms upon acceleration. Was not able to climb hill so I pulled over and turned the car off. Restarted and made it a short distance before it stopped. I was fortunate to get out of harm's way prior to the car giving out completely.the vehicle had to be towed. A mechanic took a look at the vehicle and explained that transmission and radiator were both ruined and would both need to be replaced. He indicated that transmission fluid and radiator fluid mixed causing the malfunction and it also has caused the need for flushing of the engine. I have noticed that several other owners have made internet posts about the same problem. This issue should be under consideration for a recall by Honda as it sounds like a common occurrence that is the result of a design flaw. It is potentially very dangerous as this happens with no warning and causes the vehicle to stop functioning. Obviously, this would be very dangerous if it occurs at highway speeds. Thank you in advance for your consideration.

- Marquette, MI, USA

problem #80

Oct 182013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 87,000 miles
While driving along a rural 2 lane highway with no one behind me, the transmission appeared to slip and the engine RPM went way up. The truck slowed down. This lasted 3 or 4 seconds and then went back to normal. In a few minutes, I stopped at the light entering the village of saranac lake, NY. The 2005 Honda Pilot stopped running. I tried to restart and nothing happened at all. I put my flashers on and opened the hood. I saw a liquid that looked like chocolate milk leaking under the engine. After it was towed to a garage, the mechanic said he thought the radiator leaked and allowed the antifreeze to mix with the transmission fluid. The truck would need a new radiator and maybe a new trans and or engine. If someone had been behind me when this happened, it could have caused an accident because it caused the vehicle to slow down and the brake lights did not come on. I read that over 1 million 2003 and 2004 Honda Pilot were recalled for the same problem.

- Greenwich, NY, USA

problem #79

Oct 282013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 111,000 miles


Transmission cooler line inside radiator failed commingled fluids and causing transmission to malfunction. Loss of ability to drive/move vehicle while in middle of multi-lane highway.

- Prior Lake, MN, USA

problem #78

Oct 012013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 110,000 miles
The Honda has started shuddering when between 30 - 40 mph this is a known issue with this vehicle. The shuddering makes it very difficult to control the vehicle at times and should be considered a major safety hazard.

- Franklin, PA, USA

problem #77

Oct 202013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 150,000 miles
Had a sudden failure of the transmission cooling portion of the radiator causing a loss of power to the rear wheels while driving on the highway at 70 mph. If this had happened on a busy freeway it would have been very dangerous. Upon doing an internet search I see that hundreds of 2005 Honda Pilot have suffered the same sudden failure of the exact same part causing the same condition. This usually results in damaging the transmission and costing thousands to repair. This is absolutely a safety hazard. Honda refuses to acknowledge that any problem exists. It is plainly evident that a manufacturing defect of this part exists. Any engineer who examines the data of hundreds and hundreds of accounts posted on the internet must come to the same conclusion. This is defective! this is dangerous! owners should be partially compensated for the expense of repair. Honda should be held accountable for a knowingly defective part.

- Canton, MI, USA

problem #76

Oct 202013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 96,000 miles
I was on a circular on-ramp to a highway. My vehicle started losing power upon acceleration so the engine revved but car slowed down. I made it off the ramp to the highway and was able to pull off to the shoulder. The car has an automatic transmission so I thought maybe it wasn't clicking into place properly but it was. I noticed a puddle of fluid. I had it towed to a mechanic who said that the transmission cooling line blew out & the radiator will have to be replaced along with the adapter because there are no threads left on the radiator to grab the connector. He said it was something that's not supposed to happen. It was a mechanical failure. I have read several posts on line on a number of web sites from owners with this same problem. Most people have also replaced their transmissions because the radiator and transmission fluids ruin both when mixed together. My car is still at the mechanics, so I don't know about the transmission yet, but the posts indicate that the car is never the same. I was lucky that I had enough juice to pull over to safety. Apparently there are no recalls from Honda in spite of the numerous complaints that I've seen. Repairs are expensive & this problem seems to occur mostly within the 100,000 mile range, give or take. If I get rid of the car before or after fixing it, it would only be a problem for the next consumer & that's not really fair. I feel that Honda should reimburse current owners for transmissions and radiator replacements on those cars that have had the problem and recall/repair the parts on the ones that haven't. I feel that this is an important issue because my car could have come to a complete stop on the highway and caused a serious & potentially fatal accident. Honda needs to take responsibility for this defect before someone gets hurt or killed. Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter.

- Downingtown, PA, USA

problem #75

Sep 052012


  • 110,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Honda Pilot. The contact stated that while driving approximately 35 mph, the transmission shifted gears in a jerking motion. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where the contact was advised that the computer system would need to be reprogrammed. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 110,000.

- Monroe Township, NJ, USA

problem #74

Mar 012012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
There is a shuddering in the transmission that is getting worse over time. It seems to be happening around 35-40 mph. I have changed the fluid, and spoke to numerous mechanics, and they all seem to just blow it off. Or say they never heard of it before. But while reading the forums on the internet, there are many people who are experiencing the same issue with these vehicles and similar vehicles with the same drive trains. This should be investigated for a recall of the transmission or torque converter before someone gets killed.

- Manasquan, NJ, USA

problem #73

Oct 072011


  • 75,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Honda Pilot. The contact stated that while driving 45 mph, the vehicle shuttered while accelerating. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was not available. The failure mileage was 75,000 and the current mileage was 120,000.

- Powhatan, VA, USA

problem #72

Sep 152013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 84,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Honda Pilot. The contact stated that he noticed transmission fluid leaking from the vehicle after parking. The vehicle was towed to the mechanic for inspection. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure and current mileage was 84,000. Updated 10/17/13

- Bear, DE, USA

problem #71

Aug 232011

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 93,104 miles
Intermittent transmission failure causing vehicle to loose acceleration at low to medium speeds. Ongoing issue after repairs have been completed. First incident at 93,000 miles and intermittent problem continues at 112,000 miles after 3 repairs. Internet search shows thousands of complaints of unsafe transmission issues on 2005 Honda Pilot yet Honda Motors refuses to admit design flaw. Acura MDX with exact same drive train as the Honda Pilot has been recalled for the same issues being experienced by Pilot owners yet Honda Motors will not do a recall on this issue. This is a widespread unsafe issue with these vehicles that is oviously caused by an design flaw as Honda corrected the design in the 2006 models. Honda should be made to take resonsibility for their defects.

- Mason, OH, USA

problem #70

Jun 122013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 113,000 miles
Radiator failed, causing loss of transmission fluid, causing loss of motion. The car stopped dead in the road and could not move on its own power. From contact with other Honda Pilot and Honda ridgeline owners, I learned that this type of failure occurs frequently at around 100,000 miles. The single radiator unit cools both the engine and the transmission fluid.

- Levittown, PA, USA

problem #69

Jan 082013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 110,000 miles
I bought the 2005 Pilot ex in 2009. Brought it back to the dealer after 1 month of driving for hesitation in the transmission. Dealer couldn't find the problem. Thought this must be how it shifts. Have always noticed a slight radiator fluid smell. No one could find any leak. About 3 years later at 110,000 miles, transmission fluid and radiator fluid mixed when the radiator gave out. We were out of town and on our way home leaving us on the side of the road to be towed back into town (approx 30 miles) and had to spend an extra night until the repairs were finished. $637 repair for the radiator. 2 months later noticed the air conditioner not working. Took it to our local guy who said it wasn't hooked up right when they replaced the radiator. Correct hookup, pressure test and recharge air system was $186. A week later after explaining the radiator problem to my local repair guy we had the transmission flushed twice to try to save us from future transmission trouble. $292 for the transmission flush related to the radiator failure. Now a month and a half later we have a shudder between 35 and 45 mph and a noise at about 55 mph that sound like a piece of metal dropping off the car. Asked the local repair shop and transmission repair shop and they both said the transmission was damaged and needed to be replaced. Went with the transmission place, after reading all the similar stories of other 2005 Honda Pilot, the dealers will over charge and not even admit to this known issue. The stories of the same problem happening again made us go with the most competent repair shop who does this every day. So it's the fourth of July and we are without the family car today. Should be able to pick it up tomorrow with the rebuilt transmission for $3,915. Total bill; $5,031 for a failed radiator. This is wrong. Honda should acknowledge this issue and be made to recall it.

- Macedon, NY, USA

problem #68

Jun 172013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 119,143 miles
On 6/17/2013 during my daily commute to work I was driving at a normal speed of 65mph when I noticed the "D" gear light on the dashboard started to blink continuously. When I got to work I looked into my owner's manual which informed there may be a problem with the transmission and I should take the vehicle to the Honda dealership. When I took the vehicle to the dealership where I mind you I just spent almost $700 on 6/15/2013 for suspension maintenance informed that this issue is very popular with the Honda Pilot and it's most likely my 4th gear pressure switch for the transmission. They then informed me that it will cost $350 to replace this part. When I previously looked up the part needed and how to possibly diy; I found that the part only cost between $34 and $40 and a beginner can change this part in about 45 minutes to an hour. So why is the dealership charging me $350 to change a part that cost $34 - $40 and an hour labor; does technician make $310 an hour these days?! Honda usa knows that they have a defective part on the Honda Pilot and refuse to conduct a recall because they rather cheat their customers than have a smaller bonus! there are articles on-line of drivers transmissions locking up because of this issue which is extremely dangerous; Honda and all other automotive makers need to be held accountable for all faulty parts within their product just any other company.

- Mckinney, TX, USA

problem #67

Jun 222013


  • 83,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Honda Pilot. The contact stated that while driving 3 mph, the temperature gauge spiked as coolant began overflowing from the radiator. The vehicle was taken to a dealer for diagnosis and the contact was informed that transmission fluid was found in the radiator and radiator fluid was found in the transmission. As a result, the radiator, transmission cooler, transmission and all of the lines from the transmission would need to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 83,000.

- Kokomo, IN, USA

problem #66

Jun 192013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 273,000 miles
Got into vehicle today. Placed car into drive and the car would not accelerate. I placed it back into park and then back to drive. It finally kicked into gear. I got on the highway and drove approximately 30 miles with no problems. I made a quick stop. When I started my car again it did the same thing. I drove about a mile and the transmission starting slipping badly. It stopped accelerating completely. I had it towed to the dealer. I was informed by the dealer that the radiator had failed and had mixed with the transmission fluid. Was told the radiator and the transmission would need to be replaced. Wake up ntsb. This has been reported consistently to you as a complaint and posted on numerous forums online. This is definitely a problem with this model and Honda is not stepping up. Make them answer the complaints. Most people do not have $5000 to repair an 8 year old car.

- Franklin, TN, USA

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