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 6 of 7)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #25

Feb 182012


  • 132,000 miles


Our 2005 Honda Pilot has been pretty good for last seven years and 132,000 miles, although we wanted to keep it to 200,000 miles. Last Saturday, out of nowhere, it started to leak thick, pink liquid on our driveway. It appeared to me, and after looking at the owner's manual, that the issue was the radiator. It was a cold day so I started to drive to the dealer, watching the engine temperature light on the way. The car only went two miles before transmission stopped working. The car has now been at a local repair shop for a week and three days while I rent another vehicle. It is my understanding that this is a common issue in Pilot's after going over 100,000 miles (catastrophic radiator failure that leads to transmission failure). Honda should make certain that owners replace the radiator components that lead to this catastrophic failure before the owner has to replace both the radiator and the transmission. I would have certainly bought a new car if I had known this was coming up on the horizon, but now my investment in this vehicle will be too high to get rid of it. It seems that with some preventive maintenance, $5000 to $7000 of repairs could have been avoided, and I bet the Honda dealer does not offer me $5K to $7K in trade in.

- Hingham, MA, USA

problem #24

Feb 202012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 132,280 miles
Intermittent vibration in the front passenger side when accelerating, at about 30-35 mph. Sometimes just slightly noticeable and sometimes significant enough so that the entire vehicle vibrates for a few seconds. We just purchased it used yesterday and did not notice the vibrations while test driving it.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #23

Apr 152011

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 75,000 miles
Bought a 2005 Honda Pilot based on past historical high reliability reviews of Honda vehicles. Very disappointed. Around 75000 miles, vehicle began to shudder like driving over a washboard road when lightly accelerating 30-40 mph. First thought out of balance tire, rebalanced tires. Still didn't solve problem, bought new tires, rebalanced and aligned. Problem still existed. Began to research online and very disappointed to find this is a very common problem with the tranny, torque converter, and/or transmission coolant failure. Took to dealer, diagnosed as bad torque converter, $2000. Dealer does not plan to cover, I plan on taking up with NHTSA and Honda America.

- Soemrsworth, NH, USA

problem #22

Oct 202011

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 115,948 miles


I drove up a steep drive way, I heard a grinding noise and my car stopped without me touching the brakes. I didn't know what was going on, so I put the car in neutral and put it back into drive and it seemed to be ok for the moment. I dropped my daughter off at a class and I proceeded to run a couple of errands. About one mile from where the stopping started the car did it again. It is like I slammed on the brakes but, I was not even touching the brakes at all. It proceeded to get worse and worse. The slamming on the brakes would happen every few feet. I was able to drive slowly to a nearby garage. The said I had a rear axel broken. We had the repairs done and the car seemed ok for a couple of months. Yesterday, 1-10-12 as I was taking my daughter to school I drove about.5 of a mile in our neighborhood and after I stopped at a light and started to accelerate the car did it again. This time my vsa light came on. We took it to a nearby garage and they said the vsa module needed to be reset. We picked up the car and it drove around 2 miles and it was fine then later in the day we backed out of the garage and the car started to slam on the brakes again about one house away. It wouldn't stop it did it over and over every few feet. We called a tow truck to come take it back to the garage.

- Centennial, CO, USA

problem #21

Nov 012011


  • 78,000 miles
I would be driving in the 30 mph range and the vehicle would start to shudder when changing gears. The distraction causes me to stop in traffic and suddenly pull over. Pohanka Honda in salisbury, md states it is a bad torque converter. There are hundreds of complaint about this issue on the internet about the 2005 Honda Pilot, but complaints reflect there was no recall. Now I am out of warranty. If I am not contacting the correct entity, please refer me. Thank you.

- Ocean City, MD, USA

problem #20

Dec 302011


  • 180,600 miles
Car started to slip out of gear with no warning at all on the highway and started to shudder. Got off the highway and suddenly car wouldn't move in the middle of an intersection...just started overheating and then there was a huge puddle of on the ground. Had to have it towed to the Honda dealer where we were told the hoses had failed and we needed new hoses and radiator after that is replaced we will find out if we need a new transmission. Total cost will be approx: $6,000. Looked on!keywords=#msg299 and see that there are a number of people with this same issue happening. Apparently this is the same trans that is in the 2003 which was recalled.

- Monroe, NY, USA

problem #19

Sep 052011

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 56,872 miles


2005 Honda Pilot with 58,000 miles has transmission shutter at 25 to 40 mph under light throttle. Has had all services done with factory fluids and filters since I bought the vehicle new. Looking at the searches some say it's torque converter and other have replaced complete transmission. Dealer told me the other day Pilot don't have these problems but the Odyssey have the issue. So I asked how much to fix the problem and he said $ $2000. Well I am glad that I bought the factory extended warranty and have a year left of warranty an I am making a appt, to have it repaired before the warranty runs out. Honda should recall the transmissions like they did on the Acura MDX since they both have the same power train.

- Louisville , KY, USA

problem #18

Nov 022009


  • 70,000 miles
Shuddering of vehicle when accelerating. Transmission problems.

- East Freedom, PA, USA

problem #17

Dec 112011


  • 106,700 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Honda Pilot. The contact stated that the cooling line that lead to the transmission burst, causing the vehicle to stall. The dealer diagnosed that the lines and the transmission would need to be replaced. The manufacturer denied any assistance with repairs to the failure. The dealer was in the process of repairing the vehicle. The failure and the current mileage was 106,700.

- Shrewsbury, MA, USA

problem #16

Jul 192010

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 49,000 miles
We went to camping trip and heard some grinding sound while I was driving this vehicle very low speed in camping ground. It has less than 50K at that time. Then felt shudder while I was pressing gas pedal lightly to speed up. I thought it was caused by bumpy camp site road but it happened again on my routine commute road which I knew well there's no bumpy road condition. Most of time, it happens between 35 and 40 mph or shift gear from 4th to O.D. now it has appx 63000 miles on it and Honda America denied or not acknowledge this problem at all.

- Danville, CA, USA

problem #15

Sep 012011


  • 110,000 miles


Transmission shutters at approx 30 mph

- Cherry Hill, NJ, USA

problem #14

Nov 192011


  • miles
Noticed vehicle left a large puddle in the driveway. Checked under hood and it appeared something had leaked/sprayed in the engine compartment towards the passengers side. Took to mechanic. Diagnosis of problem (paraphrased as best as I can recall)- transmission cooling part failed and leaked into radiator causing trans fluid and antifreeze to mix, flow through engine and spray out. Mechanic stated it's something he doesn't see often and it's a major repair (think 1K). A quick search of the internet shows this is an issue with 05 Honda Pilot and that Honda is not taking responsibility for it. This is obviously a design flaw or defect and they are doing nothing. Hopefully the problem was caught/addressed in time to repair without having caused additional major damage to my engine. Unacceptable.

- Thurmont, MD, USA

problem #13

Oct 242011

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 74,233 miles
Transmission is slipping when you try to accelerate in any speed.

- Maynard, MA, USA

problem #12

Jun 272007


  • 35,000 miles
Since purchasing my car, a 2005 Honda Pilot, in 2007, I have experienced a shuttering that occurs at around 40 miles per hour. Honda will not accept responsibility for the thousands of owners experiencing the same problem. The problem is coming from the torque converter/transmission, around a $3,000 to $5,000 to fix and Honda is not accepting responsibility for it...please do not purchase a Honda if your thinking about it...go Toyota! at least Toyota stands behind their mistakes!

- Old Hickory, TN, USA

problem #11

Sep 302011


  • 90,000 miles
Won't go into second gear.

- Sunbury, OH, USA

problem #10

Jun 272011


  • 98,000 miles
My 05 Pilot shudders during acceleration between 35-40 mph. This is a widely known problem, Honda needs to be held responsible.

- Montgomery, NY, USA

problem #9

Sep 062011

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 144,500 miles
While driving the vehicle, it lost power even with applying a lot of pressure to the gas pedal. Immediately pulled over. Turned vehicle off and back on - could not shift it into drive. Check transmission fluid - extremely low. Vehicle had just been service at dealer 1-2 weeks prior to this incident. Added transmission fluid - vehicle would shift into drive but not D3, D2, etc. Drove to hotel nearby. Next morning checked fluid - again, extremely low then noticed chocolate milk substance spewing from reservoir near radiator/washer fluid reservoir. Immediate called dealer, had it towed and just learned that the transmission and radiator are both completely ruined. This seems completely unreasonable for under 145,000, especially given the other complaints of this nature that I've seen on line. Thank you.

- Columbus, OH, USA

problem #8

Aug 132011

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 58,970 miles
Transmission would not engage into reverse, notice a pink-brown fluid in the driveway. Had Pilot towed to dealership where Pilot was bought & serviced. Informed transmission cooling lines in radiator had disintegrated, causing transmission fluid to leak into radiator & radiator fluid into the transmission. When asked how this could happen to a 6 yr old Pilot with only 59 K mileage no one had the answer. Recommendation was new radiator & 2 transmission flushes, cost $906.29. I asked for some kind of assistance with the cost of the repair, because of the year, mileage & all schedule services were performed @ the dealership. Here comes the Alabama shim-sham. I was informed to call Honda of N America. Honda offered me $300 towards the repair cost, I said the offer was unacceptable, they offered $450, that was unacceptable. A few days later Honda called back offering 400, I asked what happen to the 450 offer, they offered 450 again. I informed Honda I needed an offer of 600, they agreed, I'm waiting for the check in the mail. 4 days after I took the Pilot from the dealer repair shop the transmission went. Dealer informed me replacement cost would be $5200. Informed dealer I should not be charged because disintegrated transmission cooling lines caused the transmission problem. Here comes the Alabama shim-sham again. Dealer & Honda would pay $2500, I was to pay remaining cost $2700. I informed them that the offer is unacceptable. Dealing with Honda & dealer they stated the new cost to me would be $500, I informed both I need a better offer than that, the next offer was for me to pay $250, I accepted that offer. Honda has a problem with the 05 Pilot transmissions & transmission cooling lines. They know it but won't admit it. Transmission cooling lines are disintegrating @ the 5 - 6 year mark regardless of the mileage. Something needs to be look at for the reason why.

- Sutton, MA, USA

problem #7

Dec 052009

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 120,000 miles
Vibration on transmission while driving at 35-40 mph.

- Louisville, KY, USA

problem #6

Dec 012009


  • 34,500 miles
While accelerating between 35-45 mph, my vehicle shudders. This is a continuing issue. It doesn't do this every single time but at least once during the driving period. Sometimes it is very noticeable and other times negligible.

- Charleston, SC, USA

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