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 1 of 2)

problem #40

Sep 012015


  • 140,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Honda Pilot. While driving 5 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning and was able to be restarted. The failure recurred on numerous occasions. The vehicle was not diagnosed nor repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 140,000.

- Jefferson City, MO, USA

problem #39

Apr 042016


  • 147,000 miles
My vsa light and my vtm-4 wheel light came on. When I attempted to push on the gas petal it would accelerate. I was driving on a city street going home

- Tallahassee, FL, USA

problem #38

Jan 012016


  • 100 miles
Using excessive oil 120K using 2 qt every 2,300 miles with no visable leaks

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #37

Oct 292015


  • 157,000 miles


Loss of power on highway even when accelerator engaged. Had to pull over the shoulder. Vehicle could not be driven. Smoke was coming from the rear of vehicle but sent away after engine was shut off. Vehicle had to be towed. Service department at nearest Honda dealer cited a radiator leak that likely got into the transmission line.

- East Northport, NY, USA

problem #36

Sep 082015


  • 140,000 miles
On 9-9-15, our 2005 Honda Pilot abruptly stopped on emerald parkway - police assisted. Leaking fluid was clumpy red/brown and vehicle hot. Shop today says radiator and transmission and possibly engine need replaced and instructed us to contact a Honda dealer. This is our second safety complaint on this vehicle - 1st was dangerous "phantom braking" or inadvertant application on brakes in 2012, which Honda subsequently recalled in 2013. After reading thru complaints, I see the exact same problem - transmission line in radiator suddenly came loose and transmission fluid leaked into radiator and coolant leaked into transmission, ruining both has occurred numerous times. We anticipate a very expensive repair.... we are thankful this did not occur on the highway, during rush hour or with any of our 3 kids in the vehicle, and are angered at Honda's failure to recall this as well - as some said they did for 2003 and 2004 models?

- Dublin, OH, USA

problem #35

Jul 282015


  • 960,000 miles
Car was hard shifting until I get home. Pulled up driveway, could not get into "park". very hard shifting between other gears, unable to put into "I" or first gear at all. Had to put in neutral on flat surface because car would roll even with emegency brake on. Had to unhook battery cable to save on juice. Had the car for 5 years, problems.

- Syracuse, NY, USA

problem #34

Jun 042015


  • 159,000 miles


I took my vehicle to the dealer today to get the current recalls taken care of and also told them to check the motor mounts. I've read quite a few complaints about the motor mounts failing around 55,000 miles and abrupt/harsh shifting in the transmission is a good indicator of the defect. Dealer just notified me that 2 motor mounts need to be replaced (front and side mounts). They replaced them but at my expense, unfortunately. Not sure when the motor mounts expired since I owned the vehicle, I'm the second owner. The current mileage on my Pilot is 159,000 so I entered 159,000 miles for the vehicle incident. But the 3 years I've owned it, I have always noticed an abrupt or harsh shift from park to drive/reverse. I feel with a lot of Honda Pilot owners complaining about this defect, there should be a recall. Thank you, rich kim ps, here's a couple of forums/blogs about this issue.

- Bernalillo, NM, USA

problem #33

May 152015


  • 135,300 miles
Car shudders occasionally around speeds 30 while accelerating, the shudder lasts few seconds and stops. This could happen only once or several times if you continue to drive around speeds 30 mph. From Honda forums it looks like a common problem with same year Honda Pilot and accura rdx. Driving with such an condition shakes the driver for an unknown vehicular behaviour that may cause an accident/ fatality. It is suggested Honda Corp may be asked to put a recall for all vehicles in this manuafcture year.

- Oakdale, MN, USA

problem #32

Aug 242013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 107,000 miles
On our way home to NJ from a family trip to Canada we stopped for a bathroom break in the "middle of nowhere" Maine. The car hesitated to go when stepping on the gas. I managed to drive down the road, the "temp" light went on, then I pulled over. I checked the fluids....the transmission fluid was milky red. We were lucky to have cell phone service to call for a tow. I had my family, wife and two younger kids in the car. We waited for over 30 minutes for the tow truck to arrive, he had to call for Transport for my family. We managed to find a service center that was willing stay open to fix our car. The car needed a new radiator and have the transmission flushed ($800), a valve broke sending coolant into the transmission. We learned that other 2005 Pilot had the same problem of which there was a recall for this issue on the 2004 Pilot, Honda would not do anything! (as a side note, I had some seat leather replaced and the color match was that of a 2004 Pilot). Since the day of the repair the transmission is very rough/bucking while shifting gears. To date, besides routine maintenance, oil changes and small parts, I have replaced the timing belt, starter, water pump, and the radiator. To have the transmission replaced would be a very costly repair. This was our family travel car and I now will only take the car around town for fear that the transmission will go. I was not in the market for a new car but due to this situation I need to get rid of this car!

- Metuchen, NJ, USA

problem #31

Dec 092014


  • 95,000 miles
This is a 2005 Honda Pilot we bought in 2009. The dealer called me to say that the radiator burst and the antifreeze got mixed in with the transmission fluid causing the transmission to fail. He is now quoting a $5,000 bill to replace the radiator and the transmission.

- Peoria, IL, USA

problem #30

Jul 132013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 147,622 miles


The transmission line that goes into the radiator was dislodged and all the transmission fluid leaked out as well as coolant. The car had been driven about 4 miles and was parked at the time of the incident. There was no visible damage to the transmission line or the radiator but both had to be replaced according to the Honda dealer.the cost of replacement was $641.55 and none of this was covered by Honda. We believe that this is a serious defect in the Honda Pilot and is a major problem in both the Honda Pilot and Odyssey van. This connection was not damaged and simply let loose. It has occurred in many other vehicles at different amounts of mileage from my vehicle. This connection should never come loose under normal driving conditions and is a serious defect with significant safety concerns. The repair person at the dealer told me that they are seeing a lot of these problems and that the line simply blows out under the pressure from inside the radiator (he said about 110 psi) Honda should be held responsible for this defect and all Honda Pilot and Odyssey vans should be recalled and the defect corrected before serious injuries occur. We believe you should investigate this further and have Honda take corrective action. As I investigated this I determined that in some cases the coolant and radiator fluid mix together and cause serious damage to the transmission. This is caused by the same problem but the repair cost go into the thousands $ because of the damage to the transmission.

- Southampton, PA, USA

problem #29

Jul 282014


  • 126,000 miles
I was driving my Honda RPM started going up and down vehicle started violently started to shake. I luckily made it home. The transmission fluid and coolant had mixed. I bought a new radiator, extensive transmission flush 15 qts. Now 2 months later the vehicle is shifting hard, shaking at 35-40 mph and have been informed I need a new transmission. I have read numerous comments and reports of this Honda should be notified and a recall put in place.

- Kenosha, WI, USA

problem #28

Oct 102014

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 123,805 miles
On October 4, 2014 while my son was driving the accelerator became stuck luckily he was driving and we were traveling 30 miles per hour. The car was shifted to neutral and stopped. Yesterday, after cutting the car off and removing the key the engine was sill running. The key was reinserted and removed. Today on 10/102014 once again, I pulled in the garage tried to turn off the car and remove the key but the engine was still running with the key removed. I reinserted the key as I did the day before, as I removed the key the car accelerated became stuck again, fortunately the car was in park. I did not step on the gas or accelerate since I was merely reinserting and removing the key. In any event the car pedal was stuck. I am concerned and hope this does not happen again so I am reporting for my safety.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #27

Jul 162014


  • 38,333 miles
I had been driving for about 15 minutes when car suddenly failed to maintain speed and slowed from 45 mph to 30-35 mph. I could not get car to accelerate, engine was audibly strained and smoke was shortly evident from under hood. I put on my emergency flashers and pulled off the road as soon as it was safe to do so. No warning lights were illuminated. Smoke ceased when I turned the engine off. Upon exiting the car I observed a heavy stream of brown oily liquid draining from hood and additional blue oily fluid following shortly thereafter. I checked the fluid levels to find totally depleted transmission fluid and rapidly diminishing engine coolant. I called my Honda dealer service dept. And was advised not to drive the car and to have it towed to the service dept. Which I did. It was determined that a hose had disconnected and the radiator would need replacement. He could offer no explanation as to what caused the problem stating it had not seen it before. Total cost: $825. Given the many internet complaints of this identical problem unreported to official agencies combined with those reported to Honda corporate and NHTSA I am unconvinced that all Honda dealerships are unaware of this issue. I am, however, totally convinced that serious injury or death would have resulted had I been driving on a crowded highway at 70 mph when this hose disconnected causing an instantaneous loss of speed with impending engine failure. I am equally convinced that Honda Corp. Is negligent in not admitting this to be a manufacturing defect worthy of a voluntary recall and financial reimbursement to it's customers. NHTSA is negligent in it's lack of attention to the serious nature of this problem and failure to mandate a recall.

- Farmington Hills, MI, USA

problem #26

Mar 012014


  • 125,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Honda Pilot. The contact stated that while driving 60 mph, the vehicle exhibited a reduction in power. The vehicle was towed to the dealer for inspection where they stated that the radiator and transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 125,000.updated 06/10/14

- Kirtland Hills, OH, USA

problem #25

Jan 082014


  • 145,000 miles
Like so very many other Honda Pilot owners of the timeframe, I have experienced a transmission leak and failure from a radiator failure - and though Honda had settled a class-action suit about these problems with a minor warranty extension... my failure, of course, happened shortly after that extension. I am out nearly $5,000 and nearly got killed when my car died because Honda has failed to properly recall these transmissions. Shame on Honda - and shame on you for not holding them to task even after they settled a lawsuit (with such a lame and still unsafe response).

- Maumelle, AR, USA

problem #24

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 #23

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 #22

Aug 292013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 97,358 miles
Vehicle diagnosed at dealer service center as having 2 cracked / broken engine mounts. Affected mounts are right (passenger) side and front mount. Based on similar anecdotal reports on internet forums ( and others) this appears to be a fairly common occurrence on Honda Pilot and Odyssey of this vintage. They share the same chassis. It also appears the right and front mounts are most likely to be affected.

- Newcastle, WA, USA

problem #21

Apr 012013


  • 115,000 miles
1 front motor mounts had to be replaced

- Brookfield, CT, USA

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