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:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
97,398 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 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2005 Honda Pilot Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #22

Feb 012012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • miles


The climate control lights have gone out on the dashboard of our 2005 Honda Pilot and it has been a common complaint of other owners on internet forums. It becomes a hazard at night because the buttons do not illuminate which I believe is an extreme hazard that takes the eyes off the road for longer than needed to adjust settings. No other place in the dash has had the bulbs stop working but it seems to be happening to everyone's climate control lights. I think this is an extreme hazard similar to someone using a phone in the car and Honda should be held responsible to correct the problems.

- Beaver, PA, USA

problem #21

Aug 082012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 100,000 miles
While driving, airbag, (!), vsa, vtc and brake lights all lit up. Horn stopped working as did all controls from steering wheel (cruise, radio airbag light). I pulled over, everything seemed to work but lights would not turn off. Went to Honda in ft pierce, fl. Was told it's probably a low battery. Replaced battery, lights all stayed on. Contacted johnston Honda in stuart, fl. Head mechanic told me he had no idea what would cause this and if he ran it on diagnostics, it could take 8 hours at $80 an hour and he still may not find the problem. Brought this lemon to local mechanic who ran on diagnostics for 2 hours. Could not find problem so he did not charge. As almost all other complaints above, while driving at 35 to 40 the car starts to shudder as though it will turn off. Was told it's possibly defective motor mounts. I have contacted american Honda motor works in California with these issues and they essentially told me to 'gfy'. stated car is not their problem.

- Palm City, FL, USA

problem #20

Apr 182007


  • miles
All the dashboard lights in A/C heating panel burned out. Every one, and just in this panel. All the other dashboard lights are fine. This seems to be a common complaint with this model and is widely reported in Honda Pilot forums. The is a safety problem when driving at night. One is forced to turn on the interior dome lights to adjust the dashboard controls.

- Vienna, VA, USA

problem #19

Aug 192012


  • miles


I had just returned from Montana on Saturday night (to spokane, wa); when I attempted to start my car Sunday morning, my key got stuck in the ignition. I worked on it for 90 plus minutes and finally was able to get it out of the ignition. During this time however, the key did not ever turn in the ignition therefore everything remained "locked". I immediately tried the same key on the drivers door; no luck. It did however open the back hatch and the passenger door, both manually (the battery needed to be replaced in the key, so I was using it the old fashioned way until I got a new battery). So, with this information I went down to larry miller Honda, downtown spokane in a borrowed vehicle. While there I was approached by a salesman and I explained my dilemma: "unable to turn key in ignition, therefore unable to get my car moving at all!"..he then instructed me to "spray wd 40 into the ignition switch and the door locks". and informed me that the service depart. Was not open but we went back there because "there were some employees working on some vehicles. When we got back there, the salesman asked the service dept worker if he thought spraying WD40 into my ignition switch would work, the serviceman agreed. So I got some wd 40, sprayed away as directed, no luck. Monday: Went back to Honda, where one of the managers told me "never spray WD40 into ignition, this will gum it up...and now it will cost me $600 or so to replace ignition system. He also stated "they have been doing alot of these lately because of gummed up ignitions on the Pilot." I asked if this did not raise a flag for them and possibly a problem. He then said I would need to get a whole new key, re-program it and then get a new ignition set w/ new keys and re-program them. I said that Honda gave me the wrong information resulting in destroying my ignition and that they should be resp. More.

- Spokane, WA, USA

problem #18

Aug 152012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 156,234 miles
Vehicle low beams stopped working. Further investigation showed charred wire and melted connector. This issue has been recognized by Honda for the same model on an earlier model year (NHTSA id 12V136000). Honda part designations and failure description match recall. I would recommend Honda expand recall to cover all effected vehicles.

- Yorktown Heights, NY, USA

problem #17

Jul 212012


  • 140,000 miles
While driving home after dark, we suddenly lost both dim headlights. Have tried replacing bulbs, fuses, relays, steering column switch and nothing as worked. Checked recalls online and this same problem happened in the 2003 Pilot to which there was a recall. Same parts I understand. Luckily, there was no traffic and we were able to stop and figure out that we still had bright lights and could continue home, but having 3 children in the car and driving blind was a horrific experience and this should be added to the list of recall.

- West Liberty, OH, USA

problem #16

May 052012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 145,000 miles


The low beams quit working, the wires in the terminal switch kit burned up. This vehicle uses the same kit as the 2003 that was recalled. I have had to replace the wiring twice within three months. I reported this problem to Honda and they will not honor it as a recall even though the same part was recalled for 2003 part. There was smoke coming from my steering column and a burning smell. This appears to be a fire hazard.

- Silt, CO, USA

problem #15

Apr 162012


  • 75,000 miles
This has happened several times to my wife and daughter over the past month or so. They are driving along at any rate of speed and all of a sudden the car looses all power and the vehicle abruptly slows down and then recovers and begins running again. During this time the lights on the dashboard go out and flash and there is a popping sound at times. The last time it happened there was loss of all electrical to dash board system including the radio. The radio needed the code reentered which is normal for when all battery power is lost to the vehicle. I had this checked by a mechanic and they were unable to locate any problems. They checked the alternator, battery, connections and the system for any errors and nothing can be found. This is consistent with all other complaints associated with the esa, vsa/vsc and electrical systems as reported on this forum. I believe there is a major and dangerous bug in the system causing the car to loose power and control and any rate of speed. I also informed Honda customer service but they said that they are unaware of any problems (or I should say owning up to any of thier problems) and to issue a complaint through this forum. I'm afaid it's going to take a major accident and a loss of life, which is bound to happen based on the fact that the car comes to an abrupt halt, in order for Honda to own up to thier responsibility of spending the effort to identify this problem and issue a recall and get this fixed. I've been a Honda owner (currently 3 cars) for over 23 years. I'm beginning to loose loyalty and faith in the company and will definately strongly consider making a change to another make on my next purchase. Please Honda own up to the problem before someone is killed!

- Draper, UT, USA

problem #14

Feb 172010

Pilot 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 119,000 miles
My wife called me one morning on her way to the shop. She was frantic saying "my steering wheel is smoking. I don't know what to do. I'm just about a minute from the shop. Should I pull over or just try to make it to the shop?" I told her, if it's not too bad and she is that close just keep coming unless it gets worse. When she made it to the shop, I pulled off the plastic cover around the steering column. And found the yellow wire going to the headlamp switch burnt. The molex plug and headlamp switch were also melted. I called local Honda dealer and asked them if their was a recall for this. They said no. Also saying this never happens. I had to purchase a new headlamp switch and make repairs to the wiring and plug. I own an automotive shop. If not this would have been a very costly repair..I also have pictures of the burnt wire and molten plug and switch if needed...updated 04/19/12 updated 05/11/12 updated 05/17/2012

- Scott, LA, USA

problem #13

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 #12

Jul 012011


  • 72,000 miles


The climate control lights inside our Honda Pilot have all burned out. It is extremely dangerous to change the settings at night because the light bulbs do not light up. Please fix this Honda!

- Beaver, PA, USA

problem #11

Dec 082011

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 56,500 miles
Display lights on several buttons on climate control unit are not lit up, this makes it difficult to see & make adjustments at night.checked all fuses, all ttare states problem not covered by warranty.I checked various sites & noticed similar complaints.plz notify if there are any service bulletins or recalls tnks. *

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #10

Oct 112011

Pilot 6-cyl

  • miles
Lights for HVAC system do not illuminate. Unable to see controls for defroster, A/C, heat, etc. When driving at night.

- Safety Harbor , FL, USA

problem #9

Jun 152011


  • 90,000 miles
SRS warning light goes on and stays on for days, then goes off and seems ok for a while. Sometimes it comes on briefly and goes off. Lately it has come on again and has not gone off for a couple of weeks straight. There has been no accident or airbag deployment in this vehicle.

- Columbia, MD, USA

problem #8

May 012007


  • 25,000 miles
The climate control lights on my 2005 Honda Pilot are non-functional. I purchased this car new and these lights failed after about two years. This appears to be a common issue with the Pilot.

- Lakewood, OH, USA

problem #7

May 142011

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 81,756 miles
SRS wargning light on. Dealer determined that both SRS front impact sensors are faulty and needed to be replaced. Front airbaigs would not deploy if needed.

- Lewisberry, PA, USA

problem #6

Apr 142011


  • 65,000 miles
While driving on city road I heard a loud bang and smoke appeared under the vehicle. The vehicle then started running very rough so I pulled off the side of the road. I got out of vehicle and found a coil laying on the ground along with some other plastic pieces. I had the vehicle towed to my mechanic. My mechanic examined the vehicle and found that a spark plug had blown completely out of the engine block head along with the blown coil that I had picked up. The spark plug was never recovered even though I returned to the scene of the incident.

- Erie, PA, USA

problem #5

Feb 202009


  • 65,000 miles
Both the left and right airbag sensors for my 2005 Honda Pilot exl failed six months apart. In the first case, in February 2009, the sensor light came on while we were driving back to Pennsylvania from North Carolina. Examination at the Honda dealer in pa determined that one of the two front sensors had failed due to corrosion and an electrical short. The unit was replaced. Six months later the sensor light came on again and it was determined that the other sensor failed. The cause of the failure was corrosion and an electrical short. In both cases, the airbag would not have operated had their been an accident. The dealer claimed the failures were, "just one of those things". having worked with passive restraint systems in the past and having worked with nearly all automobile companies (including Toyota and Honda in Japan), I doubted this explanation. These were improperly manufactured and sealed sensors and corrosion/failure was inevitable. This is a rare failure if the components are manufactured properly.

- West Chester, PA, USA

problem #4

Jun 232008


  • 40,000 miles
All of the dashboard lights in the ac control panel in my 2005 Honda Pilot have burned out. This seems to be a common problem with the 05 Pilot. It's just he ac control panel lights. It is very dangerous at night, as the only way to see the controls is to have to turn on the inside dome lights. Seems like a manufacturer's defect to me.

- Vienna, VA, USA

problem #3

Mar 072010


  • 70,000 miles
Driving along highway, headlights fail to turn on. Brights work. Unable to use headlights for any driving. Checked fuses all good, though incorrect marking on a 15A fuse slot that is 20A. All lights bulbs are good, even replaced to be sure. Found melted 16 pin connector with combination stalk switch. Unable to repair yet.

- Marquette, MI, USA

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