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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
132,147 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2005 Honda Pilot Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #20

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

problem #19

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 #18

Apr 132013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 84,000 miles
While driving at approx. 45 mph, the engine blew out the middle front spark plug (I believe it's #5) and coil pack damaging the radiator and stalling the vehicle. The spark plug was original and had never been touched. The spark plug threads were stripped requiring an insert to repair the head. The coil pack was broken and the twisted wires blew the ignition coil fuse. The expelled coil pack and/or spark plug (I never did find the spark plug) also put a hole in the radiator requiring replacement.

- Monroe, NY, USA

problem #17

Apr 292013


  • 98,000 miles


I was driving my 2005 Honda Pilot probably around 40mph, a noise, I turned on the closest road to get out of traffic and was heading up hill, the RPM dial moved erratically, the vehicle did not want to go, there were no engine lights on, the temperature gauge was normal. The vehicle shut off. I had no steering control, because I was on a hill I had to use the emergency brake to stabilize the vehicle. The vehicle had died. I turned the ignition to the off position and then tried to restart since we were on a 2 land road with no guard rail and a steep drop off beside the passenger side. When I tried to turn it on, a light came on the alt temp. I was unable to get the vehicle down and had to wait for assistance. We lifted the hood and it was not hot coming from inside but there was a fluid leaking. My vehicle was towed to the Honda dealership. I was told that this has happened to several other Honda Pilot. We could have been killed if we were on the highway when this vehicle died with no warning or lights. I was told that they think something when with the radiator which leaked fluid into the transmission. They don't know yet if the engine is dead until the work on the rest of the vehicle. The customer service person from Honda, [xxx], is not willing to assure me that if my vehicle is repaired it wont happen again and that we will be safe. My family feels that this is a faulty design that cause the vehicle to have a catastrophic break down. We have own Honda's for over 25 years and have never had a complaint. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Dubois, PA, USA

problem #16

May 072013


  • 115,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Honda Pilot. The contact stated that while the vehicle was at the dealer for a stability control repair, the dealer advised him that the engine motor mount also needed to be replaced. The dealer did not specify if the motor mount was fractured or worn. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure and current mileage was 115,000.

- Lehi, UT, USA

problem #15

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 #14

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 #13

Jun 012012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 120,000 miles
At 30-40 mph the Pilot shudders significantly and does so for about.5-3 seconds. There is apparently a design or other flaw in the torque converter (which will ultimately lead to a failed transmission). Despite what appears to be hundreds or thousands of the same complaints nationwide, Honda will apparently not not address the issue. The driving dangers are obvious, and consumers are left with repair bills of $3,000 - $5000. Please do something about this NHTSA.

- Tega Cay, SC, USA

problem #12

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 #11

Dec 032012


  • 100,200 miles
When I am driving my Honda Pilot, as it is shifting between 2nd and 3rd gear, the entire car starts to shudder and seems to be fighting a stall.

- Waterford, NY, USA

problem #10

Sep 102012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 99,000 miles


I saw on the news that the NHTSA was investigating a brake issue on the Honda Pilot 2005. I experienced a similar issue but thought it was a glitch as it only happened one day (although it happened twice that day). I've finally gotten around to filing an official report both with Honda and NHTSA to hopefully aid in the investigation. The braking issue happened on two separate occasions on the same day, roughly 2 months ago. The first incident happened on the freeway. I was going the speed limit when all of a sudden I felt like the car completely lost power. The lights on the dashboard flashed, my speed decreased suddenly although I still had my foot on the gas. It only last a few seconds and then I regained control of the vehicle. An hour later, when I was off the freeway, it happened again, but this time I was going 25 miles an hour driving on city streets. Same exact issue where it felt like the car computer shut down with no power for a few seconds. It hasn't happened since, but I'm very scared that it may happen at any time again. We only have one car and have a 1 year old. I hope Honda and the NHTSA make progress into identifying the issue. Please let me know if I can contribute any more information. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- El Cerrito, CA, USA

problem #9

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 #8

Oct 012012


  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Honda Pilot. The contact stated that after parking the vehicle, he noticed oil and coolant fluid leaking abnormally. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who diagnosed that the radiator had become corroded internally, allowing the transmission fluid and coolant to mesh. As a result, the fluid entered the transmission and caused the failure. The dealer advised that both the transmission and the radiator would need replacing. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure who did not offer any assistance. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 100,000.

- Naperville , IL, USA

problem #7

Apr 082010

Pilot 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Honda Pilot. The contact stated that the check engine warning light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who stated that the oxygen sensor was defective and needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure who did not offer any assistance. The vehicle was repaired. The failure mileage was 100,000 and the current mileage was 145,000. Updated 12/7/12

- St Louis, MO, USA

problem #6

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 #5

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 #4

Aug 132012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 86,000 miles
2005 Honda Pilot - seal or transmission cooler failed and leaked transmission fluid into the radiator. No warning lights or indicators were evident. Owner noticed leaking fluid from the radiator overflow. Both parts now require expensive replacement. Vehicle has 86,000 miles and never experienced issue before. However, there are several posts on the internet concerning the exact same issue, with little or no apparent acknowledgement by Honda of this broad issue.

- Painted Post, NY, USA

problem #3

Jan 012010

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
I started noticing a vibration at 34 to 45 mph. It was definitely caused by a malfunction under the hood. It causes my 2005 Honda Pilot to vibrate, shudder and hesitate at that speed. I have to take my foot off of the accelerator pedal before it will stop. It happens continuously at that speed.

- Peck, KS, USA

problem #2

Jun 132012


  • 77,145 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Honda Pilot. The contact stated that he noticed there was a puddle of a red colored fluid under the vehicle. In addition, the contact noticed that the automatic transmission cooler had leaked into the radiator. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and inspected. The dealer stated that the failure was common with the vehicle model. The vehicle was repaired by replacing the upper and lower hose, the radiator, the thermostat and the automatic transmission. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The current mileage was 78,500. The failure mileage was 77,145.

- Columbus, OH, USA

problem #1

Apr 282012


  • 67,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Honda Pilot. While driving approximately 20 mph, the engine power reduced significantly and without warning. The contact continued to drive and upon reaching the destination an inspection underneath the hood was performed. The contact noticed a dark brown milky substance leaking from the radiator. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who advised the contact that the transmission and engine would need to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 67,000.

- South Bend, IN, USA

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