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.


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
23,498 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2012 Honda Pilot Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #24

Jan 172019


  • miles


Vehicle has excessive oil consumption. Also had spark plug failure.

- Creedmoor, NC, USA

problem #23

Apr 252018


  • 105,000 miles
The gasket on the spool valve on older Honda Pilot is known to fail. The failure results in oil leaking onto the alternator which fill cause the alternator to eventually fail resulting in a loss of power to the vehicle. This recently to my wife while driving on a busy highway. Oil leaking from the spool valve fouled the alternator resulting in the loss of power to the vehicle including to the power brakes and power steering. This engineering failure causes a hazardous situation. The vehicle had been recently serviced by Honda for an oil change and the issue was not noticed. At minimal, Honda should recommend replacement of the gasket as part of routine service after a period of time or certain mileage. A simple google search identified this issue with older model Honda Pilot.

- Centreville, VA, USA

problem #22

Nov 012016


  • 100,000 miles
Excessive oil usage - fouling plugs - reduced gas mileage - vcm fault dtc 3400 technical service bulletin (tsb #11-033)

- Gulf Breeze, FL, USA

problem #21

May 282016


  • 39,000 miles


39000 miles and egr valve malfunction. Just bought this 2012 Honda Pilot. The dealer covered repair as I just bought it. Is this going to be a reoccurring problem? the dealer only replaced the egr valve and did not clean carbon build up. From what I have read they should have.

- Delta, PA, USA

problem #20

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 #19

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 #18

Mar 242015

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 48,180 miles


Purchased the vehicle used from a franchise dealer and am the second owner. The engine hesitates at low speeds (approx. 10 mph) when accelerating. This becomes apparent when attempting accelerate from a stop light, accelerating from a turn, merging onto a freeway, changing lanes, etc. It does happen periodically and I am unable to reproduce the issue on-demand, but it seems to happen daily whenever the car feels like it. I am surprised there is no recall issued for this, as I have already had a couple of near missing when trying to merge onto the freeway with steady flowing traffic and when crossing an intersection from one side of the street to the other. I have yet to take the vehicle to the dealer, as it is out of warranty and there does not appear to be a solution to this issue, so I want to understand what my options are. I'll be reaching out to american Honda soon.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #17

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 #16

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 #15

Jul 042014

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 42,000 miles
The check engine light and vtm4 light come on after over an hour of driving. Sometimes the whole inside of the car smells has while driving and the fuel consumption is not efficient. In addition when the car sits in the garage for a few days, maybe 2-3, and I start driving, the wheels make some deep brushing noise. This gets worst when I brake. Sometimes it smells like something is burning under the hood or around the engine.

- Arlington , TX, USA

problem #14

Nov 012013


  • 37,000 miles


SUV vibrates abnormally at 30-45 mph. Can feel it in the seat of your pants, floor and center counsel. Had a wheel alignment and wheel balancing done, no help. Was told it is normal, nothing could be done. This problem is very distracting and could cause an accident.

- Bartlett, IL, USA

problem #13

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 #12

Dec 232013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 15,000 miles
My vehicle vibrates when I am driving. It does not behave this way all the time. However, when the vehicle vibrates, it seems as though it wants to shut off. This has been happening frequently since I purchased my vehicle. It usually happens when I slow down to make a turn or while I am cruising at highway speed. When this happen, the eco light on my dash goes on and on... the vibration seems like I am driving a manual transmission vehicle, and failed to shift to the appropriate gear. I am not sure if it is the vcm in my vehicle being faulty. I have taken my vehicle to the dealer on 3 separate occasions and they mechanic tells me it is normal. This is not normal. I am afraid my vehicle may stall in traffic and cause accident. The other issue I am having is I occasionally smell a strong gasoline fumes in my vehicle cabin when I am driving. It seems the gasoline fume is entering my vehicle from the engine. Can't tell where it is coming from. Perhaps through the ac vent.

- Clarksburg, MD, USA

problem #11

Nov 292013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 100 miles
I have had issues with a strange engine vibration at various speeds. I emailed Honda 3 times and never received any response. I finally called Honda and was told I have to contact a local dealer. I have brought my vehicle in to Honda 3 times and it has not been fixed. The second time I dropped it off I was told they "did some adjustments", but they did not indicate what they did and it did not fix the problem. The last time I brought it in and took the main mechanic on the freeway to show him the noise. He acknowledged the noise and said that it was vibration from the motor mounts and that the motor mounts are managed electronically so they can not fix it. He told me that I will have to wait until Honda hopefully comes out with a software update that will fix the problem.

- Redwood City, CA, USA

problem #10

May 262012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • miles
2012 Honda Pilot touring- vehicle is having vibrations coming from the engine while going in and out of vcm - variable cylinder management system. Happens regularly at various speeds.the vibration/shuttering is both felt and heard. The dealer has said this is normal with this engine and vcm technology. I had a 2005 Pilot without the vcm system and was very happy, I bought this one without a test drive. Had I known this problem existed, I would not have purchased it.

- Greenwood, IN, USA

problem #9

Aug 132013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 24,500 miles
Car is having vibrations coming from the engine while going in and out of vcm - variable cylinder management system. Happens regularly at 70 mph while on cruise control, on flat highway going up a slight hill the vibration starts. This comes and goes, and I could not yet replicate with the dealer. Many people with V6 engines with vcm in it from Honda are complaining about this issue. Looks like it started in the Pilot and is happening with the Odyssey as well. Honda would be forced to look into what is causing this vibration as it appears pretty wide spread.

- Easton, PA, USA

problem #8

Jan 072013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 18,000 miles
From a dead stop or slow roll, the engine fails to respond immediately to the accelerator pedal. There is a slight delay from the pressing of the accelerator to the engine responding, creating a very dangerous situation when trying to clear intersections, turning on to a highway, turning from a blind curve and many other situations. I have experienced several near crashes. The vehicle was taken back to the dealership for a computer update but the problem has not been corrected, leaving the vehicle in an unsafe condition.

- Highlands, NC, USA

problem #7

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 #6

Jan 102013


  • 20,800 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Honda Pilot. The contact stated that while driving 30 mph, the vehicle stalled and lost acceleration power. The contact took the vehicle to a dealer for a diagnostic testing. The test result did not identify a defect in the vehicle. The dealer changed the main computer but that did not remedy the stalling issue. The failure was reported to the manufacturer. The failure mileage was 20,800.

- Yucaipa, CA, USA

problem #5

May 272013


  • 32,000 miles
At various times at slower speeds the vehicle will not accelerate for approximately 3 seconds. This seems to occur when turning or beginning to travel uphill. I took it to dealer and the dealer mechanic could not replicate this occurrence. This happens about every two or 3 days. I believe it is dangerous when traveling through an intersection of merging lanes. There are several posts on a Honda owner's website with others experiencing the same problem but Honda can't find the problem.

- Hattiesburg, MS, USA

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