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:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
97,935 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 #19

Feb 132013


  • 118,000 miles


First incident, my wife was driving approximately 45 mph when 2005 Honda Pilot began to vibrate and make a "groaning" noise or a noise almost like when you drive on a gravel road. 2005 Honda Pilot was also (while vibrating and making noise) abruptly slowing down/ stopping without depressing the brake pedal. It would also do this while applying the accelerator. Second incident was later that same day. I picked the 2005 Honda Pilot up from my wife as she was now to afraid to drive it. After about 10 mins of driving, I was doing about 55 mph and the 2005 Honda Pilot made the same noise and vibration as described above and also slowed down abruptly as if I hit the brakes(which I didn't). About another half mile was a traffic light as I began to slow down for light I applied the brakes gently and as I applied the brakes the brake pedal left my foot and the 2005 Honda Pilot came to an abrupt stop. This happened two more times so I pulled into a parking lot because I did not feel safe driving at that point. When I stopped in the parking lot I noticed my vsa indicator light was on. It would not turn off until I turned the 2005 Honda Pilot off. Same day I took my 2005 Honda Pilot to the local Honda dealership and they have not been able to reproduce the symptom.

- Panama City, FL, USA

problem #18

Jan 202013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 74,000 miles
I have a 2005 Honda Pilot sometime shuddering between 30-40 mph. To make the shudder stop, I press or release the accelerator briefly. After checking on line about this problems with over 300 complaints. They all state that the torque converter cause the vibration. Honda still not recall. Couple of times someone almost rear end me. Please look into this problem.

- Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #17

Jan 082013

Pilot 4-cyl

  • 165,000 miles
Driving on the highway at approximately 45 mph, my Honda Pilot abruptly pulled to the left. It felt like the anti lock brakes actuated. The vsa and triangle light illuminated. The Pilot was pulled off the highway where it stopped. The ignition was turned off and on an the condition cleared.

- Aiken, SC, USA

problem #16

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 #15

Dec 042012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 61,000 miles
Beginning 12/06 the car would slam it's brakes on, independently, when making a left turn. It happened a couple times and the dealer could find nothing. After having it happen yet again, and after detailing how this problem nearly took my life, Honda agreed to take the car and the service rep. Would drive it. I was fortunate and it happened to him very quickly. Under warranty, 1/25/07, a ABS/tcs/vsa modulator was replaced. Now five years later the car has decided that if it can't independently slam it's breaks on, well, it will just independently speed up instead. Again, when making left hand turns. Guess what, now we are out of warranty and Honda is out of caring. I would be very curious to know how many people Honda has hurt or killed, just no one figured out why in the world the driver sped up or suddenly slammed on the brakes.

- Sour Lake, TX, USA

problem #14

Oct 222012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 98,700 miles
Vsa warning light and ! light come on at the same time when vehicle is in motion. Lights come on after approximately 5 minutes and stay on until the vehicle is turned off and restarted. This problem began about one month ago and happens almost every day. The warning lights seem sensitive to the cold as well. The on board diagnostic computer has no registered any malfunction codes. Fortunately have not yet experienced the intense braking of other owners but there seems to be a significant problem with the vsa system on 2005 Honda Pilot.

- Eagle River, AK, USA

problem #13

Sep 122012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 119,000 miles


We recently purchased this car used from anderson Honda of palo alto. On several occasions the vsa has engaged for no apparent reason at speeds ranging from 10-35 mph. The vsa engaged at slow speeds when turning and at the faster speeds on the straight-A-way. When the vsa engages the vsa light and warning light turn on. The lights do go off after the car has been turned off and at rest for a few minutes. Most often when the vsa engages the car shudders slightly, both the brake and the gas pedal shudder and vibrate. The car feels like it is slowing momentarily. In the most recent episode on Nov. 27. the car was traveling 35 mph down hill and the steering pulled slightly to the left.

- Redwood City, CA, USA

problem #12

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 #11

Sep 242012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 126,000 miles
This problem began earlier in 2012 and was investigated by the dealer in June. While driving at various speeds (45-75mph), the vsa system engages, locking one wheel for a second or two, and pulling the steering wheel as if in a skid. When this stops, the vsa light is on as well as a yellow triangle with an exclamation point. When the dealer 'fixed' this in June, they repaired a TPMS sensor. They also found a brake caliper stuck and fixed that as well as replaced the brake pads. Since June the issue has not occurred until yesterday. It has happened at 3 times in the past 2 days, all at @ 45 mph. This seems to be a widely reported issue and is certainly a safety concern. When this happened in June on the interstate, traffic on both sides of me dropped back because they could tell I lost control of the car.

- Mechanicsville, VA, USA

problem #10

Jul 092012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 100,000 miles
Approximate date I put was today, but this has happened several times to my spouse within the last few years. Today is the first time I had been able to duplicate it. I just started the car, pulled out of the driveway on my way to work. About 300 yards down the road at approximately 25 miles per hour the car braked on its own twice and stopped the car. I had to get to work so I continued on. It occurred two more times on my way to work. I was never going faster than 40 miles per hour. It happened once while I was braking and two times while I was at a coast. My wife just told me that it happened again to her as recently as 3 days ago. I am concerned obviously because of the safety aspect of this. I have 3 children and god forbid this happen on the freeway or at high speeds. I have seen multiple complaints on the internet of this same occurrence with the 2005 Honda Pilot and they all said to file a complaint with this site.

- Fresno, CA, USA

problem #9

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 #8

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 #7

Feb 122012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 122,869 miles
While driving at 40 mph, the vehicle suddenly brake to about 10 mph. There was a vibration in the front end like the ABS system was working--even with the foot on the throttle. Drove about 2 blocks to a parking lot. Vsa and triangle with "!" was on display. Stopped the vehicle and turned the engine off. After 5 minutes, the vehicle was started and driven back home. There were no display lights or sudden braking. The speed of the vehicle was now 35 mph. After driving for 10 minutes, the vehicle suddenly braked again and decelerated to about 10 mph.the vsa and triangle w/"!" display lights reappeared. There was a groaning sound coming from the car and the vibration returned. The more the throttle was pushed, the more the braking effect increased. The vehicle finally made it back to my home. The vehicle was parked at home where it was later towed to a repair facility.

- Gibsonia, PA, USA

problem #6

Aug 102011


  • 70,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Honda Pilot. The contact stated that upon stopping and shifting into park, the vehicle suddenly accelerated while the brake pedal was depressed. The vehicle continued to accelerate until crashing into a cement median and another vehicle, resulting in extensive damages. No injuries were reported, but a police report was filed. The vehicle was towed to an insurance company, where it was awaiting repairs. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 70,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Lawrenceville, NJ, USA

problem #5

Feb 102011

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 115,000 miles
After pulling out of a parking garage and driving about 4 city blocks, our 2005 Honda Pilot made a loud groaning sound and came to a complete stop in an intersection while turning left. From that point, for the next half mile, the car screeched to a complete stop every 15 to 20 seconds, even while only pressing the accelerator going speeds up to 20 mph. I instructed my wife to pull into the first available parking lot, at which point we saw that the vsa caution and off lights were on. I turned the ignition off, pulled the key out, put it back in and started the car back up. The vsa lights did not come back on. I pressed the vsa off button in order to avoid this malfunction on the way home. This is an extremely scary defect. I have read other owners' experiences of this same issue and I am convinced that it is a potentially life-threatening defect. We had our two year old and our newborn in a car which screeched to an unexpected full stop in the middle of an intersection halfway through a turn. There was no ice, the roads were dry, and the turn was controlled and normal. There was no reason for the vsa to engage. We were lucky no cars were coming the other direction to hit the Pilot in the intersection. I have also read of this unprompted full stop occurring at speeds up to 60 mph. The potential implications of this are devastating. We purchased this car used with 105,000 miles on it. It now has approximately 115,000 miles. We have been pleased with the vehicle until now, but this one issue is enough of a safety issue that I will immediately pursue getting rid of the vehicle and finding something safer.

- Nashville, TN, USA

problem #4

Sep 222010


  • 75,538 miles
Beginning in September of 2010, my 2005 Honda Pilot made a groaning noise around the driver side area, swerved abruptly to the left on its own, while the cruise was set at 56mph. Following the incident the vsa warning light and the light illuminated. After first incident, it was towed to the dealership where they found diagnostic codes for yaw rate sensor failure and battery voltage failure. They found the battery negative terminal to be very loose and they tightened it. Tech's could not duplicate the problem. This occurred 7 more times over the following 3 weeks. When returned to dealership, they were advised by Honda tech's to clean the connectors on the yaw rate sensor. Codes went away and the car was returned to me. The following day the symptoms returned. Honda dealership says they must now replace the yaw rate sensor. We are waiting for our appointment for that to occur.

- Brazil, IN, USA

problem #3

Jun 012008


  • miles
The contact owns a 2005 Honda Pilot. When the contact came to a complete stop with the brakes depressed, the rpms increased excessively. When the contact engaged the brake pedal to the floor a second time, it extended to the floor. The back end of the vehicle swung outward. She had to shift into neutral gear in order to decrease the rpms. The manufacturer was not notified. The dealer confirmed that the failure was caused by the accelerator and made the necessary repairs. One year later, the same incident occurred. The contact took the vehicle back to the dealer and the computer was reset. No additional failures have occurred. The failure mileage was unknown. The current mileage was 35,185.

- Naples, FL, USA

problem #2

May 232009


  • 74,000 miles
Saturday May 23rd I was turning left at a stop sign in the middle of a busy intersection and suddenly (as I was pressing the gas) the car began to brake on its own. Trying to move out of traffic, I increase the gas, but the more I did, the more the car resisted. (as if it was braking). It made a horribly loud noise the whole time. I tried to turn into a parking lot to get off the road, and when I barely touched the brake, it slammed stopped. I finally got pulled over, and stopped. Thinking maybe the E brake was stuck, I pushed it on, and off again. Tried to drive and it continued. Stop. Tried again. Finally made it home, and turned off the car. Shortly after, my husband drove it. Nothing happened. We ran errands that night, and Sunday afternoon with no problem. Then sun evening, it happened again. I was driving down the hwy and the car begins to brake on its own, again, making the horrible noise. It doesn't seem to matter if you hit the gas, the brake, or nothing at all... the car decides to brake on its own. Its uncontrollable. This is a huge safety issue! I have read forums online that say Honda has replaced computers, modules, wires, batteries, ABS, sensors, 4WD, ect. Some worked, some didn't. but according to my local dealership, Honda national tech support has never heard of this issue, and the tech cannot find any problems with any of the components listed on the forum print outs we shared with them. As many complaints as I have read online that are similar to mine, I don't believe that Honda has never heard of this complaint. Sounds like a recall they don't want to acknowledge?! I am concerned for safety of myself, as well as others on the road. Many forums say this happens even when going 70mph on the hwy. Not safe! Honda doesn't have any suggestions and left me with no solution. Yet, they do not want to take credit for any liability.

- Blue Springs, MO, USA

problem #1

May 112006


  • miles
I was backing out of a parking space, hit a small stanchion with my rear bumper. I put the car in drive to pull forward and there were no brakes, the car continued to accelerate, only stopping when I crashed into a parked car.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

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