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 1 of 2)

problem #39

Apr 162016


  • 120,000 miles


I experienced a sudden involuntary unintended acceleration, while I was slowly pulling into a perpendicular parking space in at a medical center parking lot. This happened on a nearly empty tank of gas at about 3:15 pm on Saturday 4/16/16. It was a hot day. The parking space was at a slight incline. I was moving very slowly nearly stopped, yet once I was about a third of the way into the space, while still gently breaking, my car suddenly lurched forward with tremendous force if I had completely floored the gas pedal. I reacted fast pushed the breaks hard with all my strength. Which engaged the antilock braking so I heard a "thud-thud thud" a loud repeated clunking-locking sound. My Pilot did stop before hitting a tree and the vehicle in the facing parking space. I did not hear the engine rev to the degree of the sudden forward motion. Nor did I hear revving resolve once it stopped. It was a very odd and frightening experience that baffled my mind. I tried to sort out the cause for a while to see if maybe I had without knowing it put my foot on both pedals. But I don't think so. I had sandals on, and in trying to reproduce the situation, or the position my foot would have to have been in to do that, was awkward and I would have felt the pressure on my foot of putting on the gas. And I was only slowly pressing the break not jamming on the break until I braked to stop the speed of it lurching forward. The degree of acceleration was as if the gas pedal was put to the floor which was not what my breaking foot was doing. The car did come to a stop just in time to not hit what was at the front of the parking space. I did not hear the engine noise rev at all. My best guess at the time was something went terribly wrong with the mechanics or electrical signals of the fuel injection to move so suddenly forward. Now I am worried about the safety of this vehicle.

- Palo Alto, CA, USA

problem #38

Oct 082015


  • 140,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Honda Pilot. While driving at 10 mph, the speedometer dropped down to zero. The contact stated that the vsa warning light illuminated and the brakes activated independently. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 140,000.

- North Reading, MA, USA

problem #37

Apr 032015

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 98,000 miles
I was parking, when the car jolted forward, I hit the brake, but the car accelerated going onto the pavement of the shopping centre, breaking two sides of a brick pillar. Both sides of the front of the car doors were destroyed and the main front, the car was a total loss. The airbags, never came out.

- Centreville, VA, USA

problem #36

Mar 052015

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 220,000 miles


Sitting in a parking lot and the vsa light came on. Looked it up and saw the recall on the vsa so intended to get it checked out. A couple days later I'm tooling along at freeway speed and for a brief second it felt like someone slammed on the brakes and released, and the vsa light came on. Took it to the dealership and the codes they found were for some sort of a power drop and blamed it on a possible power outage or drop at some point. Maybe alternator, battery or something, but they didn't find anything wrong with any of those, but it cost me $125 to be told they don't know. The vsa recall was completed in 2012 for the wiring harness. Today (a week later) I'm going about 25 on a surface street and the exact same thing happened, so I took it to the dealership without turning off the engine and possibly clearing any codes. What they came back with was a faulty yaw sensor code, but they want to keep it for a couple days to do further research. I'm told it is connected to the main computer and if it is the yaw sensor then the main computer has to be replaced, at a cost of $1650 (they will credit toward the repair the $125 I paid last week for the non-answer). In reading online, I'm not the only person who has had this issue. Also reading online a quick review seems to lead me to believe that the sensor can be replaced by itself, separate from the main computer, at a much lower cost.

- Fontana, CA, USA

problem #35

Mar 012007

Pilot 6-cyl

  • miles
The vsa and/or ABS will unexpectedly apply the brakes while driving. It is a short and quick application of the brakes, hard enough to make the vehicle swerve. It then seems to release and you can continue driving. Once this occurs both the vsa and ABS lights on the dash turn on showing they are disabled. The brakes continue to be operational. Upon turning off the ignition the lights reset and the vsa/ABS seem to be operational. During cold temperatures I will sometimes find the vsa/ABS lights turn on and stay on during start up but again only during cold temperatures. After driving a short time (10-15 minutes or miles) I will turn the ignition off, wait 1-2 minutes, turn the ignition on and the vsa/ABS lights go through the normal start up test and turn off and expected. This vehicle has not been in any major accidents that would affect the braking systems.

- Marquette, MI, USA

problem #34

Apr 222008

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 52,016 miles
Vehicle stalled and will not accelerate, vtm, vsa and engine lights on. Problem started in 2008 before Honda issued a recall. Problem ongoing as of present. Seems like temporary fixes each time, Honda can't seem to find a permanent fix. Keeps getting the run around. Very frustrating.

- Snellville, GA, USA

problem #33

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 #32

Jun 152014

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 105,000 miles
On 06/15/2014, around 6:00pm, while approaching a curve at approx 30 mph lightly applied brakes. Brakes locked up and vsa light came on. Had the car checked by dealership and told me the problem is the sensor of vsa, it happens mor and more often for last couple of months.

- Andover, MA, USA

problem #31

Mar 142014

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 96,000 miles
While driving around a bend towards a red light, without my foot on the pedal my car made a weird shutter or brake pulsing, I thought I had gone over some ripple strips. When the light changed, I proceeded to make a right turn in a busy intersection, when going almost 30 & out of the turn, my Pilot came to an unassisted abrupt stop! im so lucky the person behind me didn't rear end me! it sounded like the transmission was grinding & the tires were locked. I waited a few seconds let go of brakes & the vehicle began to move but in 5 ft it did it again. Towed to dealer who cant seem to find or recreate the problem. Multiple brake, ABS, vsc & electrical alarms were reported by dealer but still no solution. This car is unsafe to drive and by multiple reports this is a widespread problem.

- Hoboken, NJ, USA

problem #30

Feb 072014

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 109,440 miles
As I was approaching a left turn lane I applied the brakes gently and the left front brake momentarily grabbed causing the vehicle to swerve into the oncoming traffic and the vsa lights activated. This has occurred 9 times in the last 300 miles. I took the vehicle to the dealer immediately and they told me they could not duplicate the problem and they found no problems with the car. Never had a problem until the "recalled" vsa module was replaced less than 6000 miles ago. The dealer tells me that the vsa module is not under warranty.

- Santa Maria, CA, USA

problem #29

Dec 142013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 153,099 miles


I had let the car warm up for about 20minutes before I left. About 8:30am Saturday Dec. 14th 2013 my 2005 Honda Pilot started to accelerate on its own at a very high rate of speed. I tried to push on the brakes but it would not stop. I started praying to jesus and saying out loud god please! god please! god please! I know this sounds a little dramatic but it was very scary! I got off on the side of the road and by the grace of god something gave way. Either the accelerator stopped accelerating or the brakes finally worked but I was able to get the car to stop. From one worried car owner to another who may have had this problem or that might have this problem. I now know that I could put it in neutral and maybe turn the key off to also to get it to stop.

- Lander, WY, USA

problem #28

Jun 062013


  • 84,236 miles
After the recall of vsa it happens that the SUV experiencing the symptom of excessive braking and vsa light comes out... before the recall we haven't experiencing this vsa problem.. I don't know in some reason why it comes out after the recall had been made..first occurrence I bring it to the dealer and advise that they been check, fixed and inform it won't come out any more.. after two weeks it happened again and my SUV will bring again to the dealer for the second time... I feel they make me feel worse this recall that been made... is there any advice "??"

- Hayward , CA, USA

problem #27

Apr 252013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 62,000 miles
The vehicle would apply additional brake force on the driver's side front wheel while the driver use the brake to slow the vehicle on a downhill road. The extra brake force only last 1 second or 2 but it caused the vehicle steer to the left and the vsa come on. In several occasions, the vehicle crossed the lane to the oncoming traffic. The vsa light will come on until I turn off the ignition. The Honda dealer initially suggest it was related to the vsa recall but after performing the recall work 4 times, the issue still exist. They finally determined the yaw sensor was causing the problem and replace it.

- Englewood, CO, USA

problem #26

Jun 012013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 47,200 miles
While braking for approaching a stop light, the vehicle suddenly accelerated. The engine RPM went way up (roaring). With my right foot heavily on the brake, I shifted to neutral for sometime and the engine RPM went back to normal. Being the first vehicle at the stop light, no accident occurred. The vehicle was taken to a Honda dealer for testing. They stated that they could not duplicate the problem (of course, how can you duplicate a problem which only occurs intermittently).

- Edmond, OK, USA

problem #25

May 312013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 152,300 miles
I had the manufacturer's safety recall (recall: 13-026 vsa system unexpectedly activates) work done recently. Approximately a week after I had this service done, I experienced sudden acceleration when I made hard left turn. Sudden acceleration persisted for about 3 to 4 seconds. I could not control the vehicle during that time and eventually it subsideed. I am supsecting this has something to with the safety recall fix that was done. I had slightly overshot the left I had to make and made a hard left turn then I realized that vehicle went into a sudden acceleration. I am certain that I did not have my foot on the accelerator.

- North Mankato, MN, USA

problem #24

May 112013


  • 64,800 miles
I've just brought my 2005 Honda Pilot in to the Honda dealer to have the recall fixed but now it seems like the random breaking with the vsa on is more frequent after the fixed. The recall for the Honda Pilot 2005 with the vsa did not fix my vsa trouble. The trouble I getting is still the same after the fixed. "if the control unit was damaged, the vsa system may apply a small amount of breaking force even if the driver has not pressed the brake pedal."

- Elk Grove, CA, USA

problem #23

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 #22

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 #21

Oct 142012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 143,000 miles
Long story but I believe it is all related. Based on my understanding the anti-lock brake system and vsa are all part of the same system in a 2005 Honda Pilot. We were having a "noise" that was believed to be caused by a random anti-lock brake system self check. This would happen at any speed and appeared to be activated by any small bump in the road. This was more of a nuisance than anything but we thought we would have the dealership look into it. More on this later. In addition we also had the vehicle stability assist (vsa) engage once and the results were a little scary or violent at best. The problem occurred when traveling at approximately 70 mph under windy conditions. The vsa system engaged, the brakes were heavily applied, and the vehicle was put into a control mode that pulled the vehicle left and right. We had very limited control of the vehicle when all of this was happening. We were able to pull the vehicle over without incident and deactivate the vsa to finish our trip. What our dealership found was a cracked electrical connector on the main engine wiring harness where it connects to the anti-lock brake and vsa module. The connector is located under the engine shroud in an area that isn't accessible during normal or routine maintenance and we have never had any service done on anything in this area. Our guess is that it was cracked during the original installation or it fatigued over time. The Honda technician thought the root cause of the problem was moisture entering the control module via the damaged connector. This in turn caused damage to the printed circuit board that controls the braking and vsa system. We stopped investigating the repair at this point because of cost. It was over $2000 to get the harness and control module replaced. I wanted to share this because of all the recent news on 2005 Pilot.

- Bridgman, MI, USA

problem #20

Feb 022012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
The vsa light and warning light come on within a minute of the first movement of the vehicle. When the light comes on there is a loud clunk noise and the front brake and steering locks for a fraction of a second. It has happened more than once on the highway nearly causing me to be hit from behind.

- Alexandria, VA, USA

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