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:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
94,673 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 steering problems

steering problem

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2005 Honda Pilot Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #27

Jun 042014


  • 73,500 miles


1st incident-I was traveling at a slow rate of speed (approx. 25-30 mph). Heard a growling sound & car suddenly braked on its own. I also felt as if I had lost steering ability. The vsa light flashed on then off during the incident. 2nd incident- same as above only a week later. 3rd incident- about 2 weeks later. My wife was driving the car. Had slowed down to enter the ramp to get on the highway. Again the car made a grinding sound, the vsa light came on momentarily while the car applied the brakes on its own. All of these incidences occurred after the car was serviced for the vsa recall(13-026) on May 6, 2015. Previous to this service, we had never had any issues with the vsa. We believe that by having this recall performed, has caused another malfunctioned as a result. I have read some much more frightening incidences than ours on your site. So we are now driving our car with the vsa off! please investigate before someone seriously gets hurt.

- Macon, GA, USA

problem #26

Feb 022015

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 79,000 miles
Felt no power when turning steering wheel and had to pullover. After resting the vehicle I it was ok. I felt it last year in may also and dealer hillside Honda in NY just did service and power steering fluid change and charged me. I will go back thus week.

- South Richmond Hill , NY, USA

problem #25

Oct 172014

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 108,000 miles
My 2005 Pilot model has 108,000 miles. The vsa light started to come on while I was driving the car. Whenever that happens for a fraction of a second the brakes and steering wheel would lock up and vsa light remains on until vehicle is turned off. The stability control recall 13V092000 was performed July 2013, it was to fix this problem. Local Honda dealer found yaw rate sensor failure and wants $1,100 to replace.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #24

May 162014

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 151,900 miles


Yes my 2005 Honda Pilot has developed serious kncking and shaking in suspension steering, called Honda they said its not covered under recall I fell it should be for safety reasons.

- Sunnyvale, CA, USA

problem #23

May 012014


  • 120,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Honda Pilot. The contact stated that while driving 40 mph, the steering wheel seized and began to vibrate. The vehicle came to an abrupt stop and the vsa warning light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was unable to be diagnosed. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 120,000 and the current mileage was 122,000. The VIN was not available.

- Lebanon, TN, USA

problem #22

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 #21

Jun 172013

Pilot 6-cyl Diesel

  • 107,511 miles


Began to notice significant clockwise-counterclockwise vibration in steering wheel when driving spouse's car. Attempted to solve problem by having tires checked and balanced; no defects were identified and rebalancing didn't solve problem. When unsuccessful, took to second facility and had tires balanced again without resolution of problem. Took car to dealership, who balanced the tires a third time, with not resolution of problem. Problem continues even after replacing all tires, and wheel alignment. After researching issue on the internet, it appears as though this is a common complaint with Honda Pilot cars for multiple years, and that Honda has not issued any technical advise on how dealers can fix the problem.

- Williamston, MI, USA

problem #20

Sep 012011

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 89,100 miles
The vehicle in question, a 2005 Honda Pilot ex shudders at or between 35 to 40 has almost cost me to lose control and possibly my life. This is a "known" torque converter problem to Honda, yet they refuse to address their negligence. Sudden, unexpected braking, without brake application is terrifying and also due to manufacturing defects. The steering controls often veer to the right without any apparent cause.

- North Wales, PA, USA

problem #19

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 #18

Apr 102012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 100 miles
Braking and steering problems happened several times in a 11 or 12 month time frame took it to dealer 4 times and they could not get problem to duplicate and no repairs done. Accident occurred due to these problems a month ago Honda will not take ownership of problem.

- Bronx, NY, 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

Jan 022013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 196,750 miles
I was driving under slightly wet conditions at a fairly low speed (approx. 25 - 30 mph) and the car seemed, momentarily, as if the left front tire had gone flat and an indicator light with a triangle and an exclamation point and the vsa light simultaneously came on. I pulled over, checked the tire, turned the car off, restarted it and everything was fine for the rest of that day. The next morning, I experienced the same thing after the car had sat all night. After turning it off and back on, the indicator and vsa lights were out, but then came back on less than 30 minutes later while idling. The weather conditions this day were cold, but dry. I made an appointment and took the car to leith Honda. I experienced the same condition while driving it to the dealer. The service advisor told me that there was no indication of a problem and the car's computer didn't indicate that the vsa had even been on. I picked the car up that night, after they had closed, and experienced the problem less than 15 minutes after I left the dealer. I then experienced it again the next day, after a cold start, and then again today, also after a cold start, but this time while idling. This is a scary and potentially dangerous situation and there are lots of reports about this problem floating around the internet. My particular experiences haven't been as bad (yet) as others have described, but the symptoms are the same (front brakes momentarily locking and steering pulling, in my case, to the left).

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #15

Dec 152008

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 45,000 miles
My wife lost control, 2 lane paved road 45 mph (car damage from bumper till rear end) coming to stop in a ditch to her left. No other vehicle/involved, report was filed with insurance, car repaired ( over $10,000 ) I arrived as police officer was interviewing my wife @ our driveway, she was still crying, never had any accidents before, or speeding tickets ( very passive driver, our kids where in the car 3 and 4 years old @ the time) her explanation: The car was going out of the road to my right on its own, I tried to corrected but the steering was not responding, I felt the car going into the ditch, I pulled hard, it responded crossing the lane violently, tried to control it came back to the right hitting the stop ahead sign, swerved again to the left and stopping @ the ditch.150 feet from the intersection, between telge rd. Westbound and grant rd. Cypress tx 77429 previous owners of Honda CRV, we love theirs cars we thought it was just bad luck, things that happen, we moved on. Since then she/complained/brakes will disengaged and engage again. The car will stop but a couple of feet longer that intended. 1st. Time I replace brake pads, 2nd.time I tried to replicate the experience but no luck. 3rd. Time new brake fluid and complete brake inspection. 12/2012 she told me again. I decided to drive the car to work myself every day. 12/29/2012 coming back from work, stop sing, hit the brakes, right before the car stops the pedal sunk completely, noises came from the wheels as if there was and on/off switch being use for braking. The car stops about 10 feet longer then intended. Being concern about a solution I started looking for any info about this online, so it could fix it this is my kids/wife vehicle. I discover all the similar cases online, I wonder if the steering really when out of control on its own, like she swore to my in 2008.

- Cypress, TX, USA

problem #14

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 #13

Nov 232012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 105,000 miles
Driving along a two lane highway on a 20 degree morning and coasting around a gently curving corner to the right at 45 mph when an unexpected jarring and pulling to the left occurred coupled with a loss of speed and the vsa letters and a triangle indicator lights lit on the dash board.. needless to say this got my attention and luckily nothing was coming from the other direction. I had not touched the brake pedal until after the initial problem occurred and when I saw the lights and went along maybe 200 to 300 yds it did it again which got me very worried. I pulled over and turned the engine off and tried to reset the car but to no joy so I drove the remainder of my commute to work with the very same lights left on. The remainder of my drive was fine but not sure if I am safe driving with this anomaly and especially the sudden self braking, when will it happen next?

- Barrington, IL, USA

problem #12

Jun 152012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 205,000 miles
My wife and I have had multiple incidences with our vsa system in our 2005 Pilot over the last several months. While driving anywhere from 5-40mph, the car has locked the brakes and steering. It seems to happen randomly with no prior indications. I did a bit of research online and found no solution to my problem. I saw that the NHTSA was looking into the issue as of October, and I am hoping to find a solution soon. This is a serious issue that has the potential to cause a fatal accident if it happens at the wrong time.

- Casper, WY, USA

problem #11

Jul 022012


  • 85,000 miles
Vehicle pulls to the left and wheels shimmy on freeway. Purchased 4 new tires with front and back alignment, plus tire balancing on 08-01-12. Vehicle still pulls to the left and wheels shimmy when driving on freeway.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #10

Nov 012008

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 36,200 miles
While driving on a trip on the nys thruway, the driver's front brake would intermittently lock up and drag the car to the left. We would hear a noise (ABS pump?) and lights would intermittently come on the dash. This would last only a few seconds at a time, but enough to yank the wheel and pull into the left lane. We did make it home. The dealer diagnosed as a defective yaw/stability control sensor. They refused to process under warranty even though the warranty had barely expired. Cost $820 to fix. I am writing now because I recently saw an article in the newspaper where your Agency identified this very problem with 2005 Honda Pilot.

- Lake View, NY, USA

problem #9

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 #8

Jul 162012


  • 167,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Honda Pilot. The contact stated that while driving 65 mph the front wheels and steering wheel seized abnormally. The contact mentioned that the vsc warning lamp illuminated. The failure recurred several times. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who was unable diagnose the failure but stated that they would replaced the yaw sensor and the ABS sensor as a temporary remedy. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was not available. The failure and current mileage was 167,000.

- Corona , CA, USA

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