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 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
90,949 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 #35

Dec 202014

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 65,000 miles


My wife was driving to work when suddenly she heard like a whirring sound and the car just suddenly shut down. She pulled on the side and noticed fluid was leaking underneath the front side of engine. We have the vehicle towed to dealership. Talking to the agent, they told us that transmission fluid leaked into radiator and radiator coolant/trans fluid leaked into transmission. Cost of repairs: $1130 to flush out the fluids and 5000 to fix transmission. My problem is that we're upto date with the service check-up and upset that this was not prevented from happening.

- Lutherville Timonium, MD, USA

problem #34

Jan 312014

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 128,100 miles
Transmission cooler line inside radiator failed combining fluids and causing the transmission to malfunction. Loss of ability to drive/move vehicle with family in the vehicle. This is a common failure and requires a new radiator and replace / rebuild the transmission. A recommendation from Honda to replace the radiator every 100,000 miles would have prevented having to replace / rebuild the transmission. Subsequent to repair, oil remains in the coolant system and has caused failure of a coolant line due to over-pressurization. The vehicle, with multiple children in it, has been stranded two more times due to coolant system failure.

- Old Lyme, CT, USA

problem #33

Nov 042013


  • 150,000 miles
Radiator failed causing the transmission fluid to mix with the coolant. My wife was stranded with my four children. We had the radiator changed and coolant and transmission fluid flushed. The transmission has not functioned properly since the problem happened.

- Sparta, NJ, USA

problem #32

Dec 142013


  • 150,051 miles


Transmission cooler line inside radiator failed combining fluids and causing the transmission to malfunction. Loss of ability to drive/move vehicle while on a rural road between cities during a snowstorm with my family in the vehicle. This is a common failure and requires a new radiator and replace / rebuild the transmission. A recommendation from Honda to replace the radiator every 100,000 miles for a marginal fee(similar to the timing belt) would have prevented having to replace / rebuild the transmission.

- Rockford, MI, USA

problem #31

Oct 282013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 111,000 miles
Transmission cooler line inside radiator failed commingled fluids and causing transmission to malfunction. Loss of ability to drive/move vehicle while in middle of multi-lane highway.

- Prior Lake, MN, USA

problem #30

Oct 202013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 150,000 miles
Had a sudden failure of the transmission cooling portion of the radiator causing a loss of power to the rear wheels while driving on the highway at 70 mph. If this had happened on a busy freeway it would have been very dangerous. Upon doing an internet search I see that hundreds of 2005 Honda Pilot have suffered the same sudden failure of the exact same part causing the same condition. This usually results in damaging the transmission and costing thousands to repair. This is absolutely a safety hazard. Honda refuses to acknowledge that any problem exists. It is plainly evident that a manufacturing defect of this part exists. Any engineer who examines the data of hundreds and hundreds of accounts posted on the internet must come to the same conclusion. This is defective! this is dangerous! owners should be partially compensated for the expense of repair. Honda should be held accountable for a knowingly defective part.

- Canton, MI, USA

problem #29

Oct 202013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 96,000 miles


I was on a circular on-ramp to a highway. My vehicle started losing power upon acceleration so the engine revved but car slowed down. I made it off the ramp to the highway and was able to pull off to the shoulder. The car has an automatic transmission so I thought maybe it wasn't clicking into place properly but it was. I noticed a puddle of fluid. I had it towed to a mechanic who said that the transmission cooling line blew out & the radiator will have to be replaced along with the adapter because there are no threads left on the radiator to grab the connector. He said it was something that's not supposed to happen. It was a mechanical failure. I have read several posts on line on a number of web sites from owners with this same problem. Most people have also replaced their transmissions because the radiator and transmission fluids ruin both when mixed together. My car is still at the mechanics, so I don't know about the transmission yet, but the posts indicate that the car is never the same. I was lucky that I had enough juice to pull over to safety. Apparently there are no recalls from Honda in spite of the numerous complaints that I've seen. Repairs are expensive & this problem seems to occur mostly within the 100,000 mile range, give or take. If I get rid of the car before or after fixing it, it would only be a problem for the next consumer & that's not really fair. I feel that Honda should reimburse current owners for transmissions and radiator replacements on those cars that have had the problem and recall/repair the parts on the ones that haven't. I feel that this is an important issue because my car could have come to a complete stop on the highway and caused a serious & potentially fatal accident. Honda needs to take responsibility for this defect before someone gets hurt or killed. Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter.

- Downingtown, PA, USA

problem #28

Jun 122013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 113,000 miles
Radiator failed, causing loss of transmission fluid, causing loss of motion. The car stopped dead in the road and could not move on its own power. From contact with other Honda Pilot and Honda ridgeline owners, I learned that this type of failure occurs frequently at around 100,000 miles. The single radiator unit cools both the engine and the transmission fluid.

- Levittown, PA, USA

problem #27

Jan 082013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 110,000 miles
I bought the 2005 Pilot ex in 2009. Brought it back to the dealer after 1 month of driving for hesitation in the transmission. Dealer couldn't find the problem. Thought this must be how it shifts. Have always noticed a slight radiator fluid smell. No one could find any leak. About 3 years later at 110,000 miles, transmission fluid and radiator fluid mixed when the radiator gave out. We were out of town and on our way home leaving us on the side of the road to be towed back into town (approx 30 miles) and had to spend an extra night until the repairs were finished. $637 repair for the radiator. 2 months later noticed the air conditioner not working. Took it to our local guy who said it wasn't hooked up right when they replaced the radiator. Correct hookup, pressure test and recharge air system was $186. A week later after explaining the radiator problem to my local repair guy we had the transmission flushed twice to try to save us from future transmission trouble. $292 for the transmission flush related to the radiator failure. Now a month and a half later we have a shudder between 35 and 45 mph and a noise at about 55 mph that sound like a piece of metal dropping off the car. Asked the local repair shop and transmission repair shop and they both said the transmission was damaged and needed to be replaced. Went with the transmission place, after reading all the similar stories of other 2005 Honda Pilot, the dealers will over charge and not even admit to this known issue. The stories of the same problem happening again made us go with the most competent repair shop who does this every day. So it's the fourth of July and we are without the family car today. Should be able to pick it up tomorrow with the rebuilt transmission for $3,915. Total bill; $5,031 for a failed radiator. This is wrong. Honda should acknowledge this issue and be made to recall it.

- Macedon, NY, USA

problem #26

Jun 142013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 69,000 miles
Front and right side motor mounts are broken according to va inspection. The vehicle only has 69K miles and being serviced regularly, how could that happen? need to pay over $500 to replace in order to pass va safety inspection. Noticed many owners has the same problem.

- Chantilly, VA, USA

problem #25

Jun 222013


  • 83,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Honda Pilot. The contact stated that while driving 3 mph, the temperature gauge spiked as coolant began overflowing from the radiator. The vehicle was taken to a dealer for diagnosis and the contact was informed that transmission fluid was found in the radiator and radiator fluid was found in the transmission. As a result, the radiator, transmission cooler, transmission and all of the lines from the transmission would need to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 83,000.

- Kokomo, IN, USA

problem #24

Jan 042013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 98,000 miles
Temperature gauge started to rise. I stopped the car and found the radiator had failed internally. The coolant was mixing with the atf. All the atf fittings to the radiator showed signs of rusting. In my opinion the radiator design and manufacturing are faulty.

- The Woodlands, TX, USA

problem #23

Mar 162012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 97,000 miles
My Pilot has a very bad shake in the steering wheel whenever I reach speeds of 70mph. I've had three wheel balances (one road force balance), two alignments, rotors and brakes checked with no issues with those items. I've had to of the motor mounts replaced on the vehicle since I purchased it which I never had to do on any other vehicles I've ever owned. I told the Honda dealer that I think Honda corporation should do a recall on the motor mounts because all Pilot owners are complaining about the same issues. I still have the shaking in the steering wheel and I'm afraid that I might have to replace the third motor mount to resolve the shaking in the steering wheel. This is another expense that I can't afford but it doesn't seem Honda cares about their customers so I guess we have no other options since it seems we (Honda owners) can't get through to Honda corporation to help us!

- Mckinney, TX, USA

problem #22

May 082012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 139,000 miles
Transmission cooling portion of radiator failed causing transmission fluid to leak into the radiator and mix with coolant. Transmission drained and caused car to stop. Introduction of antifreeze into the transmission caused damage to the transmission resulting in need to replace transmission.

- East Stroudsburg, PA, USA

problem #21

Apr 162008

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 37,228 miles
I had to replace my radiator at 37228 mileage and 85031 on 2005 Honda Pilot. The radiators are failing at the transmission fittings attached to the bottom of the radiators. There are several thousand complaints about this issue and Honda is denying there is a problem. The problem is the transmission cooler is built into the bottom of the radiator. The cooler sits in the bottom of the radiator. There are two transmission fittings on the out side of the radiator that attach to the transmission. This brings transmission fluid in the radiator cooler, cools the fluid and returns it to the transmission. Now inside the bottom radiator sits the transmission cooler which is just a small pipe witch is attached to the transmission fittings. When the fluid enters the radiator cooler it gets instantly cooled and returned to transmission because the cooler is submerged in radiator fluid. This is because the bottom of the radiator is the coolest at the bottom. What's happening is the transmission fittings are rusting away and failing allowing radiator fluid to enter the return line to the transmission. When radiator fluid enters the transmission the transmission is done. You need a replacement. These problem is happening to several Honda and Nissan. The two car company's use the same manufacturing for the radiator. The company is dense. The failing on Honda and Nissan. If you look into this matter you will see how many people are affected by this. I replaced two radiators for this truck so far. Please look into this problem for $1400 so far. There is a defect with this radiator and Honda refuse to do anything about it. People are spending thousands of dollars for something that could be fixed by Honda and Nissan. Please issue a recall with this issue. Thank you

- Levittown, NY, USA

problem #20

Sep 012009

Pilot 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles
My husband and I notice a shudder when you reach a speed of 35-40 mph. We in turn took it into Honda to have it checked several times and to test drive, I even drove the Honda while the service man was in the car and it would not shudder. It is still having the shudder problems, I am taking it in for the 4th time for service and oil change and maybe the service department can tell me what is wrong and why it shudders. From research we have found out that we are not the only Honda Pilot owners with this same problem. There are 98 total discussions on this website ( discussing the same problems we are having, I truly hope that Honda is going to stand good on taking care of this problem or we will no longer purchase another Honda. We have been told that it is the torque converter.

- Pensacola, FL, USA

problem #19

Mar 022012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
2005 Honda Pilot --- 60,000 miles -- garage kept. Internal transmission hose inside radiator burst while sitting in my garage allowing transmission and radiator coolant to mix and leak. Numerous other people have experienced same issue with same vehicle. Please investigate. Radiator and transmission failure.

- Montgomery, NY, USA

problem #18

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 #17

Dec 202011

Pilot 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 112,776 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Honda Pilot. The contact stated that the vehicle hesitated to accelerate from stops with an abnormal increase in engine rpms. The vehicle eventually stopped accelerating completely. The vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer where the contact was informed that there was a catastrophic failure of the radiator and transmission. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure and current mileages were 112,776. Updated 02/03/12 updated 03/21/12

- Smithsburg, MD, USA

problem #16

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

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