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 4 of 7)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #65

Jun 062013


  • 122,600 miles


As soon as I stopped in front of my house, I saw fluid pouring from the front right engine area.fortunately for me, the problem occurred at that moment. There were no symptoms of, or dash board alerts previous to that.( and nothing on the street) the car was towed on a flatbed to my service center, which is a certified Honda service center.. apparently there was a line failure that allowed antifreeze and transmission fluid to mix and go into the transmission. The radiator was replaced and coolant flushed. The transmission was flushed 6 times with 28 quarts of transmission fluid and after driving 16 miles I am aware that the tranny is compromised and am going back to flush again. My service man made it clear that there is no guarantee on the transmission. I am a woman who maintains her car diligently and could not have done anything to prevent this catastrophic failure and upon researching the problem, find other Honda owners experiencing the same thing. It is up to Honda to step up and recognize a design/product flaw and perhaps recall others before it happens to them. I sincerely hope Honda realizes that this is an opportunity to do the right thing and fix the problem.

- Annapolis, MD, USA

problem #64

Sep 012011

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 89,100 miles
The vehicle in question, a 2005 Honda Pilot ex shudders at or between 35 to 40 has almost cost me to lose control and possibly my life. This is a "known" torque converter problem to Honda, yet they refuse to address their negligence. Sudden, unexpected braking, without brake application is terrifying and also due to manufacturing defects. The steering controls often veer to the right without any apparent cause.

- North Wales, PA, USA

problem #63

Jun 112011


  • 80,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Honda Pilot. The contact stated that while driving 38 mph, the vehicle began to shake and became hesitant when shifting between gears. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for diagnosis and the contact was informed that the transmission would need to be flushed. The vehicle was repaired but the failure recurred. The vehicle was returned to the mechanic, who informed the contact that the rotors were warped and would need to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired but the failure recurred. The vehicle was taken to a dealer for diagnosis and the contact was then informed that the torque converter would need to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 80,000 and the current mileage was 120,000.

- Sebastian, FL, USA

problem #62

Aug 062012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 135,000 miles


When accelerating the vehicle begins to shudder, jerk and lose power while accelerating from 0-40mph. Steering wheel begins to shake, acceleration seems to stall. At higher speeds on freeway there is some shuddering but not as noticeable. Braking or reducing speed does not immediately stop the shuddering. Its almost predictable at low speeds. Loss of power during acceleration feels as if the vehicle could stall especially when turning left with on coming traffic approaching.

- Rohnert Park, CA, USA

problem #61

Sep 032012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
I own a 2005 Honda Pilot. I have had an issue that is increasingly getting worse- when driving 30-45 mph, the engine/transmission starts to shudder. If I let off the accelerator it will let up. It is scary, the whole vehicle jolts repeatedly. If the engine is jolting so dramatically, I can only imagine that the stabilization of the engine is being put in jeopardy. In doing some research, I have found that I am one of hundreds, if not thousands of people with the same problem and complaint. I feel that this is the manufacturer's defect that should be addressed and resolved by Honda promptly. The concern is not only for the vehicle itself, but mostly for the lives that these vehicles carry. Please give attention to our complaint before a serious accident occurs. We have paid for a safe and reliable car, so please give us one. Thank you for your attention and consideration, please help NHTSA!

- Kansas City, MO, USA

problem #60

Feb 012013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
As I try to increase speed, the engine will sputter as if it doesn't want to shift to the next gear. This is particularly noticeable in the range of 25-50 mph. I have to let off the gas in order for the car to shift to the next gear successfully. If I continue to give it gas it continues to sputter until I let off the gas.

- Knoxville, TN, USA

problem #59

Mar 202013


  • 170,000 miles


Driving at approx. 30-35 mph when without warning I experienced high RPM's and the vehicle wouldn't go into gear. When I stopped the car and looked under the hood there was fluid everywhere, even down the side of the car. After having the Pilot towed to my local repair facility it was determined that the lines that run the coolant had failed and transmission fluid anti freeze had mixed together and were introduced into the transmission. This happened immediately! I had the radiator replaced and the transmission flushed 27 times in order to completely clear the systems. This process cost me $1000 and the repair shop told me they could not guarantee that the transmission would not fail as they had no idea whether there was internal damage or not. Well, it didn't work! the transmission is making noises that it never had before and shifting almost at will. My dilemma now is replace the transmission or replace the vehicle. There is absolutely no way anyone could anticipate this problem or do anything to prevent it because of the way this was engineered. When I bought this Pilot I did so believing that I would be the one to decide when it was time for me to buy a new vehicle, not Honda! I have owned 4 Honda's in the past but this will be my last.

- New Jersey, NJ, USA

problem #58

Aug 212012


  • 54,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Honda Pilot. The contact stated that while driving approximately 30 mph, the transmission began to slip gears and the engine rpms increased. The vehicle began to decelerate independently with the transmission becoming unresponsive. The contact coasted the vehicle to his residence where it was towed to an independent mechanic. The mechanic rebuilt the transmission to correct the failure. The manufacturer was not notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 54,000.

- Roseville, MI, USA

problem #57

Jan 202013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 74,000 miles
I have a 2005 Honda Pilot sometime shuddering between 30-40 mph. To make the shudder stop, I press or release the accelerator briefly. After checking on line about this problems with over 300 complaints. They all state that the torque converter cause the vibration. Honda still not recall. Couple of times someone almost rear end me. Please look into this problem.

- Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #56

Nov 132012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 101,000 miles
I took it in for a recall. I was told that the front and right engine mounts are "cracked". at about 25-45 mph there is a noticeable shudder under the hood. In searching the NHTSA database I find many other reports of this shudder and several saying that engine mounts are a problem in this model. The reports are in several areas including engine, suspension, drive train, transmission. It seems the engine mounts could be a common denominator. If the mounts go it could cause a catastrophic failure including loss of control.

- Soulsbyville, CA, USA

problem #55

Sep 012012


  • 126,000 miles


The vehicle shutters at approximately 35 mph while acceleration. The vehicle then had the same episode happen while on the highway at 60 mph while acceleration. I have experienced these episodes several times within the last month. I believe that the issue is progressing and I am concerned about my safety. I have investigated several forums online with many posts that have the same issues with the Honda and sister Acura. I would like Honda to step up and be held responsible for the repair.

- Kensington, CT, USA

problem #54

Sep 242012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 92,800 miles
While driving at normal town speed (~25mph) car began overheating and speed dropped. Pulled car over to cool. Started to drive slowly home and symptom repeated. Car towed to Honda. They diagnosed as radiator and transmission fluid mixing due to failure in the radiator. Damaged the transmission that needed to be totally replaced, along with a radiator and transmission cooler. Engine also needed extensive flushing. Suggested cost was $6400 without labor. After repairs, engine damage could be assessed. This appeared to be a minor failure in the radiator that destroyed a separate system and might have damaged the engine.

- Cheshire, CT, USA

problem #53

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 #52

Oct 122012


  • 97,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Honda Pilot. The contact stated that while driving 35 mph, the vehicle suddenly decelerated and she was unable to continue driving. The contact mentioned that the temperature gauge illuminated and smoke started to emit from underneath the hood. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic who diagnose that the transmission and radiator fluid mixed. As a result, the radiator and transmission needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure who did not offer any assistance since the vehicle was not included on any recalls. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was not available. The failure and current mileage was 97,000.

- Edinboro, PA, USA

problem #51

Oct 102012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 103,500 miles
I was driving to work when 2005 Honda Pilot stated trailing a liquid. Drove a quarter of a mile to work to find coolant and transmission fluid leaking from the front of the vehicle. Had it towed to a transmission shop found that the radiator failed causing coolant and transmission fluid to leak out. Radiator replaced, transmission flushed and serviced, and coolant system flushed final repair cost $900. This is a common failure for the Honda Pilot and should be checked out and resolved for others.

- Muncie, IN, USA

problem #50

Oct 212010

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 61,657 miles
Vehicle engine started to shake (vibrating) more than normal. When the vehicle reached between 35 to 45 mph. Once I pass 45 mph, the engine would stop shake.

- Mansfield, OH, USA

problem #49

Sep 282012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 127,000 miles
On a 3 hour trip, driving at highway speed when engine power dropped to allow only 30-40mp and approximately 6000 RPM. After cooling down, it was able to get back to highway speed. Next day, the exact same issues started occurring. Had it towed back to dealership. Dealership indicated that the transmission had blown and it would cost approximately $5,000 to replace.

- Mckinney, TX, USA

problem #48

Sep 282007

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 50,000 miles
2005 Pilot Honda transmission shudders between 30-40 mph. Research on the web confirms that many people are having this problem - faulty torque converters. The problem began at 50K miles and now has 142K. Just spent $750 to replace the pressure switches, will not fix the problem.

- Sudbury, MA, USA

problem #47

Sep 032012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 49,500 miles
D light transmission flash and I stop the car to try reset ignition key. The D light no flash now. But I think that it will have problem my transmission later on. For my safety concern I need a recall for my car about this issue. Thanks for your cooperation to keep highway safe.

- Lakewood, CA, USA

problem #46

Sep 012005


  • miles
Took my 2005 Pilot in for major service 100K. Vehicle has been maintained with regular intervals of fluid replacement and oil changes at non Honda shops but with certified compatible products from valvoline. Mileage on car is 107,928. Picked up car was running great. Within 7 miles flashing D light engine warning light stays on and car feels like its losing power and won't shift. Dealer says its coincidence. No slowing of transmission no warning when dealer did major service and all point inspection with Honda diagnostic computer. Contacted dealer was told car should be drivable to bring it in. Car stalled out jerked back and rpms soared almost causing me to get rear ended while traveling at 35 miles an hour. Drove car 20 miles an hour and jerked back again causing me to be stuck in the middle of an intersection. Pulled over turned car off and back on only engine Silhouette still on and drove 20 mph to dealership. Car in dealership mileage is 107953 and am told its a complete transmission failure on a sealed transmission that dealer couldn't detect three days earlier. No warning system or failed warning system on a very dangerous major car failure. I was also told that it was an emissions problem even car has been though my car passed smog in May 2012 with above average rating. My point is why is there no warning or detection to this potentially life threatening car failure"???"

- Burbank, CA, USA

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