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.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
32,334 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

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2012 Honda Pilot:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2012 Honda Pilot Owner Comments

problem #14

Apr 162018


  • 32,200 miles


While trying to stop at a red light on a regular city street last night my car kept on moving even when pushing really hard on the brakes!! I switched the gear to neutral and the engine made a very loud noise and I kept on moving the gear between neutral park and so till the gas pedal got disengaged and car went back to normal. Luckily no cars were in front of me and no one got hurt.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #13

Aug 252017


  • 78,000 miles
I was in stop and go traffic in rush hour, traveling in the middle lane of a 3 lane interstate highway. One of my daughters was traveling in the front passenger seat and the other one was I seated behind me. I had been traveling for about 45 minutes at a maximum speed of approximately 20 mph, as traffic would clear and then become congested again. I was maintaining about 5 car lengths between my car and the car ahead of me. I tapped my accelerator to move up which caused my Pilot to shoot forward. I thought to myself it was lucky I had maintained a good distance with the car in front and applied the brakes to slow down. The car continued to surge, and I could hear the engine revving. I began screaming, and my daughter in the front seat was yelling for me to hit the brakes. I told her I was pressing the brakes, but the car continued to accelerate, despite my applying with great pressure on the brake. My daughter could also hear the engine revving. We slammed into the car in front of us, and continued moving. This car rear ended a pick up truck which finally stopped my Pilot. Both front seat airbags deployed, and my car became attached to the car I rear ended. Luckily, everyone involved in the accident was able to walk away, but if the driver I had struck had passengers, there definitely would have been severe injuries. I received a ticket from a state trooper for failure to maintain a safe driving distance for an accident that was not my fault.

- West Caldwell, NJ, USA

problem #12

Apr 132017


  • 74,500 miles
In two instances when pulling into a parking space at a slow speed with my foot on the brake, the Pilot suddenly accelerated causing a collision with (1) a tree and (2) a building. In both cases my foot was on the brake. The first incident happened in 2014 and the second in 2017. Neither of the incidents caused bodily harm. In the 2014 incident police were not called and it was not reported to insurance. In the 2017 incident police were called and a claim will be filed with insurance.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #11

May 172016


  • 60,000 miles


On May 17, 2016, in my driveway, I was trying to move my 2012 Pilot from beside my husband's vehicle to behind it so my son could pull into the driveway. I pressed the gas pedal to move behind my husband's truck and it moved up a little before it accelerated to a high speed slamming his truck into the garage and crushing it. I hit the brakes, but it didn't help. The engine was revving and tires were spinning as fast as they could. The airbag hit me in the face causing me to jerk the steering wheel to the right, which then caused the Pilot to drive across my front yard at a high speed crashing into my neighbor's tree with my foot still on the brake! the engine only stopped when my husband ran out of my house and turned off the Pilot. At that point, I didn't know what was happening because I had been hit so hard in the face by the airbag. The Pilot was inspected today by Honda corporate at a Honda dealership against my better judgment. Of course after a thorough inspection, "no cause was found for unintentional acceleration." There seems to be a pattern of this same thing happening to other people and Honda not taking responsibility. Something needs to be done before someone is seriously hurt!

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #10

Dec 292015


  • 25,000 miles
Two occurrences of car lunging forward 10-20 feet acting like being rear-ended. Foot was firmly pressed on the brake pedal and car lunges many feet, this occurred two times in one day. Two days prior to this incident, I was unable to successfully stop at an intersection as the engine would not rev down and braking was impossible to accomplish. Honda cars of mckinney tx is unable to diagnose the issue. Honda headquarters sent out a specialized technician who also can¿T replicate or diagnose the issue.

- Allen, TX, USA

problem #9

Jul 052015


  • 40,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Honda Pilot. While at a stop light, the accelerator pedal was depressed but the vehicle failed to accelerate before going into a higher speed. The failure recurred intermittently. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed, but the failure was not determined. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 40,000.

- Galt, CA, USA

problem #8

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 #7

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 #6

Aug 042014

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 42,500 miles
Good morning, this seems to be a frequent problem on our vehicle. When we come do a stop and then try to accelerate, the vehicle hesitates (2-3 sec.). in the meantime, I'm still pressing the accelerator down trying to get the vehicle to go. Eventually, the vehicle catches, but then wants to take off (accelerate fast). Recently, my wife said she came to a stop, went to cross the street, and as the vehicle started to move, she couldn't get the vehicle to go and eventually had to stomp the pedal to avoid an oncoming vehicle. I have attached a link to a Honda forum. This seems to be a fairly common problem and it doesn't seem Honda has a solution. Honda forum regarding issue: I worry about this hesitation no only for my life and my family, but also others that own this vehicle. This hesitation issue needs to be addressed by Honda.

- Gloucester, VA, USA

problem #5

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 #4

Apr 292013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 7,500 miles


I purchased this vehicle from brickell Honda in miami with 7,000 miles. I had traded my 2010 Honda Pilot so I was very familiar with this vehicle in general. Immediately, I felt a hesitation when I pressed the gas pedal. At first I thought it was my imagination. However, after driving it for a week it became apparent that this was a huge safety issue as it continually hesitated when accelerating in traffic. I took it back to the dealer and expressed my safety concerns. They drove the car and told me that they could not duplicate the problem. Their "master mechanic" explained that it was a new feature with the Pilot's to save gas! I said, well this is very frightening when you press the gas and the gar does not move! they said there was nothing they could do as that is the way the car was made to run?! I have since seen many complaints identical to mine with the 2012 Honda Pilot. Frankly, I am not sure what to do but I wanted to be sure other owners knew of this issue.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #3

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 #2

Feb 012012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 100 miles
When accelerating from a low speed, such as entering a parking lot from the roadway or entering a roadway from a parking lot, the engine does not respond to my pressing on the accelerator. After a few seconds, the car lurches forward. This only happens when accelerating from a very low speed, about 10 mph. The vehicle was taken to the dealer twice and an accelerator module was replaced, but there has been no change, the problem still exists. The danger is very serious when trying to enter the flow of traffic from a lot or side street. Very often, it takes much too long to reach the speed of the existing traffic. The dealer explained that there is no longer a cable connection between the accelerator pedal and the engine, it is now "fly by wire". there seems to be a disconnect between my pressing the accelerator at a low speed and the engine responding immediately.

- Alpharetta, GA, USA

problem #1

Apr 272012


  • 200 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Honda Pilot. The contact stated that while driving at various speeds and attempting to accelerate, the vehicle hesitated and lunged forward abnormally. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who was unable to diagnose the failure. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 200 and the current mileage was 55,000.

- Oklahoma City, OK, USA

Not what you are looking for?