Notes: The 2012-2013 Honda Pilot have a small complaint trend of owners reporting the engine hesitates sometimes when accelerating.

While it's not a widespread trend with the Pilot, it's a little concerning because of the possibly safety ramifications. While it's certainly something to keep in mind, most Pilot owners are not experiencing this problem.


pretty bad
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
7,765 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.

2012 Honda Pilot drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2012 Honda Pilot Owner Comments

problem #16

Dec 202015


  • 45,000 miles


Vehicle developed a vibration around 45000 miles in rear and thought tires needed rebalancing. That didn't help and after vibrating on a 1600 mile trip had dealer replace tires with original brand and size after discussing problem with them. $1000 later I took the car back to dealer and complained about vibration. They rebalanced tires on hi tech balancer. 275 miles on new tires and still vibration is there. Went back today because of vibration and they did software update and replaced right rear tire. Service manager and then general both rode with me I vehicle and they agreed the vibration is still apparent. They think it's inherent with the Honda Pilot. It obviously is not something that is normal. Who what's to drive a car vibrating all the time.

- Homosassa, FL, USA

problem #15

May 082013


  • 4,839 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Honda Pilot. While driving 15 mph, the accelerator pedal was depressed but the vehicle failed to accelerate before going into a higher speed. The failure recurred intermittently. The dealer was unable to diagnose the failure. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 4,839.

- Ellicott City , MD, USA

problem #14

Apr 252012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Honda Pilot. The contact stated that while attempting to accelerate, the vehicle stalled without warning. The vehicle was taken to the dealer. The technician was unable to find a failure. The transmission fluid and oil were changed. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 10. Updated 6/3/15 updated 06/09/15

- Imperial Beach, CA, USA

problem #13

Jul 242014

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 20,000 miles


Problem: While trying to accelerate, there is a resistance/hesitation that is felt in the gas pedal and the engine has trouble increasing RPM's. this is an intermittent issue. Case I: while in a parking lot, trying to pick up a little speed. Gas pedal has resistance and engine won't pick up speed. I keep my foot steady on the accelerator and then Pilot picks up speed in a unexpected rush. High level of danger due to people present in the area; as there was an unexpected amount of speed. Case II: Road type: Three lane road in each direction of traffic. While in the legal U-turn lane, I observe that there is enough distance to make a U-turn. From a stop I try to pick up speed (I was aiming for 5K RPM's, I know how far to press the gas pedal to get that response). A great resistance and lack of response from the gas pedal was felt. There was minimal acceleration happening and then after about 6 to 8 seconds, the engine was able to get to 6K RPM's. as the cars approached faster I almost got rear ended. As there have been more cases, these are to two most dangerous ones. *note: The resistance/hesitation of the gas pedal happens under any temperature in the cabin.

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #12

Sep 252014


  • 20,000 miles
Recently purchased a used 2012 Honda Pilot touring. After driving for a few days, I tuned into a considerable vibration in my seat mostly at highway cruising speeds. I believe it is the same shudder that others have reported. I have brought to the dealer on 2 occasions so far and they have balanced, rotated, and even put new wheels from another vehicle on it. I swear I continue to feel it and Honda techs including the master tech say it drives normal. It drives me insane and I continuously adjust speeds to avoid it from happening which is dangerous on the highway. It also pulls considerably to the left even when the road slopes right. This is very dangerous as if someone ever drifted while driving, it is straight into oncoming traffic! I also wonder about longevity of the transmission, torque converter etc. I'm supposed to be excited driving a new car, and now I am frustrated the entire ride each and every time. I regret this purchase. This has gotten to the point I want to return or take a loss and trade it for another car manufacturer. This is unacceptable in a $42,000 vehicle. Other than this sole issue, I love the Pilot. I decided to add my entry to hopefully help get Honda's attention to this issue and resolve for those of us experiencing this.

- West Hartford, CT, USA

problem #11

Aug 012012


  • miles
My 2012 Honda Pilot ex-L has had issues with vibration when driving at consistent speeds between 40-50 and 60-70 (I.e. not accelerating). Local dealer initially tried to update control software with no impact, then replaced the torque converter under warranty, also with no impact. Honda service manager now says that this is a known issue with the variable cylinder management program that is designed to increase fuel economy - and the only way to correct this is to drive with the overdrive turned off (thereby significantly lowering fuel economy). The vibration can be best described as a sort of "stuttering" that typically occurs during highway driving while moving at a consistent speed, almost as if it were misfiring and goes away once the accelerator is pushed harder, only to return once consistent speeds are again reached. The issue has been non-stop since purchase in January 2012, and the vehicle now has approximately 55,000 miles. Had Honda initially explained the issue I would have applied for the North Carolina lemon law program, but instead they were less than up front about a known issue.

- Monroe, NC, USA

problem #10

Apr 012013


  • 15,000 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Honda Pilot. The contact stated that while driving approximately 60 mph and attempting to decelerate, the vehicle suddenly began to vibrate and lose power before responding normally. The vehicle was taken to the dealer but no diagnosis was determined. No repairs were performed. The contact was informed that the vibration was caused by the motor mounts, which the dealer advised was normal. The vehicle continued to experience the failure. The manufacturer was notified and no solution was offered. The failure mileage was 15,000.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #9

Aug 242012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 100 miles
Vehicle shudders/vibrates when vcm (eco) engages/disengages. Shuddering/vibrating is very pronounced. Transmission 'clunks' during engage/disengage of vcm.

- Woodbury, MN, USA

problem #8

Dec 182013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 10,400 miles
I have a 2012 Honda Pilot- I purchased used with 9K miles. I have put approximately 5K miles on the vehicle and immediately noticed an engine vibration similar to being in the wrong gear in a manual transmission. I took the car into the Honda dealership and asked them to check the transmission- as I initially thought that it was a "hunting" issue with the transmission- the dealer indicated that it was normal. The more I drive the vehicle, the more it appears to be related to the engine and not the transmission. The vibration is very annoying and not normal. Honda needs to step-up and take care of the problem. Too many issues out there with others with same complaints. If Honda does not correct soon it will tell me a lot about the quality status of their brand. This is my 4th Honda and will certainly be my last that if Honda fails to solve the problem. Let's see it Honda- clock is ticking...

- Fishers, IN, USA

problem #7

Jul 162012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 500 miles
Purchased 2012 Honda Pilot July 2012. Went on a trip a few days later and noticed a vibration in the steering wheel, seat and floor. As time went on I figured out it was happening when the eco mode was engaged. At approx. 45 mph the transmission shudders badly like it doesn't know what gear to shift into. Even at lower (30-40 mph) and higher (50-70) speeds I can feel when the eco mode kicks in and the vibration / shuddering starts. I've been to the dealership, they said they could feel the vibration but nothing was wrong. Even brought in a regional Honda representative who told me that's the way the vehicle works and there is nothing they would do about it. What I can see happening is my warranty runs out and the system fails and I'm stuck with a big repair bill.

- Litchfield, OH, USA

problem #6

Jan 152013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 1,000 miles


After the break-in period, I took the vehicle to highway speed. Constant vibration under light throttle at constant speed (between 63-68 mph), eco mode. Only solution is to raise or reduce the speed which is a safety concern on the highway - running over people or get run over. The vibration is very annoying which cause the drivers (and the passengers) to lose Focus on the road - another safety concern. Brought the car back to the dealer several times but no solution to fix it, currently driving this vehicle on the road and put my family and other cars on the road in danger as Honda thinks it's a characteristic of the vehicle.

- Columbia, MO, USA

problem #5

Jun 252013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • miles
Intermittent accelerator response delay. Sometimes when you need to accelerate, as when making a left turn in traffic, the response delays and then responds. This is a safety issue. You cannot depend upon response to the accelerator when you may need it. Honda upgraded a program earlier and there was improvement, but the problem still persists.

- Mooresville, NC, USA

problem #4

Oct 102012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 7,000 miles
A few thousand miles after purchase of my 2012 Honda Pilot touring, I began to experience drive train vibration issues. The vibration was most noticable between 40-45 mph but also noticable at other speeds. It is related to the eco mode and the vtm. The vibration grows worse as the drive train is put under load just before it shifts out of eco mode. The vibration is not noticable when the vehicle is not in eco mode and engaging all 6 cylinders. I contacted my dealership and test drove it with the service manager who also experienced the vibrations. My dealership contacted Honda techs and was initially told it was the torque converter. I scheduled another appointment with the dealership to replace the torque converter. Computer data was collected from the vehicle and sent to Honda. At that time, they determined not to replace the converter and instead replaced the propeller shaft. The vibration issues continued. I scheduled another appointment with the dealership and test drove a 2013 Pilot. It had the same issues. My dealership again contacted Honda techs and was finally told that the vibrations are inherent in the vehicle and that there are no plans to correct the issue. I contacted Honda directly to complain about the issue and request a schedule to correct the problem. A case manager was assigned to my complaint, and I received a return call. When I complained about the vibrations, I was informed that they were a "symptom" of the vtm. When I asked why I did not experience the same issues when not in eco mode, it was repeated that it was a "symptom" of the vtm. Honda acknowledges a vtm "symptom", but will not discuss it in any more detail. I am cncerned about the long term affects on the drive train and drivability of the vehicle. I won't allow my family to drive the vehicle for fear of catstrophic failure leaving them stranded on the roadside.

- Dover, OH, USA

problem #3

Oct 042012


  • 300 miles
I recently purchased a 2012 Honda Pilot to replace a 2010 Pilot that had some uncharacteristic issues. Weeks after driving it off the lot, I began to notice a noise when the ac fan kicked on. I took the Pilot to the dealership and was told this was just the sound the fan makes when it kicks on. For those who have experienced this issue, they know this sound is anything but normal. It is a quite loud whining noise that changes it's pitch while you are sitting idol with the ac on. A second issue I have seen is the vibration when driving at a constant speed. The Pilot drives well when increasing or decreasing speed, but a constant speed causes a vibration similar to that of a manual transmission vehicle running in too high of gear. This issue is terribly annoying and the only way to avoid is to constantly change your speed. Both of the issues can be found in reports online with a consistent answer: Honda knows about the issues but has no current fix. I wish I had never bought this vehicle. Two Pilot at this point and no luck. There needs to be a recall on these issues and support from Honda.

- Brownsburg, IN, USA

problem #2

Jun 272012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 66 miles
Driving home from the dealer in a brand new 2012 Honda Pilot, 4WD, ex-L w/res on 6/26/12. At approximately 62 to 65 mph the transmission is lurching as it appears to be shifting back and forth between 4th and 5th gear. This causes a jerking motion and can be felt in the steering. Took vehicle back to dealer on 6/28/12 and a Honda technician drove the vehicle as I was in the passenger seat. The technician confirmed the issue and indicated it was exactly as I had described. He says this is a known problem but there is no fix. He said it's due to the torque converter. He said it is the same on the Odyssey models but Honda released some software updates but they weren't successful. He said if it happens just speed up or slow down (he really said this). He said if Honda releases any software updates they'll contact me. Wow.

- Chagrin Falls, OH, USA

problem #1

Oct 152011


  • 30 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Honda Pilot. The contact stated that when driving approximately 45-70 mph he noticed that the vehicle would start to shutter. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and they advised the contact that what he was feeling was normal for the vehicle. After the diagnosis the owner stated that he believed that the failure was due to the torque converter. The vehicle had not been repaired. The manufacturer was contacted and they offered no assistance. The failure mileage was approximately 30. The VIN was unavailable.

- Canaan, NH, USA

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