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:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
6,161 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.

2013 Honda Pilot drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2013 Honda Pilot Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #21

Jul 122013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 300 miles


Vehicle constantly vibrates/shudders as engine run in eco mode and as vcm kicks in/out or is in use. I see hundreds of same complaint on Honda message boards and all have gotten the same response from Honda. They indicate it is normal operation and nothing they can do. Anyone that's driven a vehicle for more than a few hours can tell you it's not normal for a vehicle to vibrate like that. In my driving, I find it to be not only annoying, but very distracting as I'm constantly trying to change speeds/RPM, etc. To make the vibrations go away. This constant distraction is a safety concern. I implore you to get Honda to own the situation and find a fix.

- Saint Louis, MO, USA

problem #20

May 312013


  • 0 miles
My 2013 Honda Pilot shakes and rumbles when I hit 20 mph! when the eco light flips on, my cars starts shaking. It's so annoying. I have been saving and saving my money for my dream car, and now I hate my Honda. I have driven CR-V, and Accord, and loved them. This car is a horrible ride! I just want to drive in peace.

- Rockford, MI, USA

problem #19

Sep 062013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 100 miles
I purchased a brand new 2013 Honda Pilot in September 2013. From the first day of driving it, I noticed a vibration coming from the drive train/engine/transmission when the engine was switching into "eco" mode. The vibration can be felt through the steering wheel, gas pedal, and floor board. It becomes worse when cruising at a low RPM, or when climbing a hill (no matter how steep the hill is) when the eco mode is engaged. The vibration only stops when the car is required to increase the RPM, either from manually depressing the gas pedal, or the computer deciding it needs more power. The vehicle does not experience this vibration until the engine warms up and the eco mode engages. When the engine is cold, the eco mode does not kick in, and there is no vibration. I now have 5600 miles on the Pilot, and the problem seems to be getting worse. I've taken the car to the dealership, who without taking it for a test drive advised that "this is a known problem with the eco mode on both the Pilot's and Odyssey's". they went on to tell me that there was nothing they could do to fix it, as Honda has determined that this is "normal operation". in addition to filing a complaint with the dealership, I have also filed a complaint with Honda customer care. No resolution to date. Had the salesman told me about this "normal operating vibration issue", I would not have purchased the vehicle.

- Volo, IL, USA

problem #18

Sep 012013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 10,000 miles


I purchased a 2013 Honda Pilot touring model on May 3, 2013. Over time, and now whenever I drive between 35-45 mph the car shudders and vibrates. It occurs in vcm mode and is now present whether in vcm mode or accelerating. There is no vibration thru the steering wheel. I feel it thru the car seat, back, and center storage lid. Passengers have remarked "what's wrong with your car?" at 30 mph the car drives very smooth. By 35 mph it's like driving a different car. The vibration is getting more pronounced as miles accrue.

- Issaquah, WA, USA

problem #17

Nov 012013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 3,500 miles
At various speeds there is a very annoying shuddering and vibrating and growling at 45 mph 68 mph. Just when your ready to have a smooth ride on the highway it begins to shudder in eco...on a straightaway while free wheeling and while I am on cruise control... if you accelerate or decelerate, it will cease for a second and begin again.. I have even stayed at 68 mph to see how long it would last on a straight away while it was shuddering....and it continued...until I decelerated.

- Mukwonago, WI, USA

problem #16

Jul 022013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 41 miles
2013 Honda Pilot 4WD was purchased 6/30/2013 from dch temecula. On 7/1/2013, vtm light on instrument cluster stayed lit in all gears, all speeds, including park and drive, which is out of manufacture spec's. dch Honda of temecula confirmed issue on 7/2/13. Relay replacement was needed and performed. Car out of our possession: 2 days. On 11/26/2013, at 5,974 miles, car was brought in with vtm light staying on again. Part unavailable. Took car home wed 11/27/2013 per advisor "car is safe to drive." Phone GM; offered a service car on Friday 11/29/2013 while dealership replaced vtm control module. Car out of our possession: 2 days. On 12/16/13, 6,573 miles, vtm light staying lit on instrument cluster while car is in any gear. I was able to duplicate the issue while car was in park. Shifted through the gears while stationary -- light still on. Vtm light will not engage on manual switch. At this time, unable to determine how long car will be out of possession until it is brought in. In addition to vtm light issue, rear hatch glass switch would not open glass, as per owner's manual. Noted during purchase; sales person said able to fix under warranty. Car brought in on 7/2/2013. Part was unavailable until 7/8/13. Dealership able to switch part out from car on lot on 7/5/13. Car out of possession: 1 day. To date, car has been out of service for 5 days within 5 months of ownership. At this time, I would like american Honda to issue a safety bulletin on this car, possibly issuing a recall due to poor quality control. Possible accident likely to occur if we depend on all wheel drive and it does not engage. Car was purchased with 4WD as main priority.

- Temecula, CA, USA

problem #15

Dec 242012


  • 1,000 miles


Vibration at 1500 RPM. Stops when RPM go above 2000 or less than 1400.

- Zionsville, IN, USA

problem #14

Jan 182013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 100 miles
We have had this problem since day one (January 18, 2013) with our 2013 Honda Pilot ex 4WD. The problem is a noticeable vibration when the engine drops down from high eco mode (4 cylinders) to low eco mode (3 cylinders - if I understand the eco cylinder reduction system correctly). It is smooth in high eco mode but as soon as it drops down, the vehicle vibrates/rumbles significantly. It is my wife's primary vehicle and I do not like to drive it for that reason. I do not have an independent audible vibration although when in low eco mode it makes a sound as well as a vibration with the vibration being the most pronounced. It is odd that one part of the eco mode is smooth and the other part is rough. I can predict when the roughness will occur when traveling on a relatively flat road with gradual inclines and declines. When the road declines, the low eco mode engages and the vibration initiates and continues until the road begins to incline at which time the eco mode transfers from its low mode to its high mode and the vibration stops immediately. The vibration is significant enough and is comparable to riding on smooth asphalt and then the surface changing abruptly to a rough oil and chip road surface. We had a 2009 Honda Pilot LX 4WD with the same eco system and there was no vibration in low eco mode. Has anyone had a successful fix/repair of this issue? it is very annoying to me and this cannot be normal by any stretch of the imagination. If nothing can fix this problem, is there a method to shut off the low eco system from activating but still have the high eco system operable. I would rather have a smooth ride and sacrifice some gas mileage than be tormented by this vibration. The vibration is so obvious that it cannot be ignored especially if you are driving it. It vibrates in the steering wheel as well as the vehicle in general. Thank you.

- Lewistown, IL, USA

problem #13

Sep 122013

Pilot 4WD

  • miles
Letter from constituent regarding Honda's 2013 Pilot recall (NHTSA recall 13V-382/campaign#JB5/service bulletin #13-075); he has been unable to correct the problem from american Honda motor co. Or university motors; requesting assistance from NHTSA. The consumer stated he would like to have the long block and short block replaced. He stated he talked to three different automotive mechanics, and it was in their opinion that replacing only the short block of the engine was not a trustworthy fix. The short block repair performed under non-factory conditions, which could lead to contamination of the engine, that would cause serious issues and engine failure in the future. The consumer stated the dealer would not return his calls. Also, the consumer was not getting the proper gas mileage as advertised. The vehicle was rated between 16 and 17 mpg, and he was getting 13 mpg. The vehicle rolled backward on a slight incline, while in drive, there was a vibration/shudder coming through the vehicle, when maintaining a constant speed.

- Helena, MT, USA

problem #12

Oct 212013


  • 100 miles
I have a 2013 Honda Pilot, less than 1 month since purchase. At speeds from 20 mph to 70 mph my engine and car will, vibrate, shudder. There is also a low frequency noise that seems to vibrate in my ear which is also quite a distraction. It seems to happen most when I am on a flat or slight incline. The only way to get it to stop is to either speed up or let off the gas. This is very distracting while driving at highway speeds, and very frustrating since it is a new vehicle. I have taken it back to the Honda dealership and they said that they feel the problem, but they said that american Honda states that this is normal for this vehicle. I do not understand how this could be normal. A rough feeling, vibrating cabin and shuddering engine is not a normal operating car. It feels like something will break or come loose, which makes me very nervous as my children commute with me every day.

- Brentwood, TN, USA

problem #11

May 162013


  • 10 miles


Vibration, humming noise while in eco mode. At slower speeds while feather gas, eco can sometimes seems to get confused abruptly turn off causing a jolt like feeling. At times, eco seems confused whether to fire on 2, 4, or 6 cylinders and can become in almost what I call an arrhythmia type feeling, with the vibration jumping around until it finds what it wants to do. Noticed the issue since I drove it off the lot. As expected, dealer says they can't find any issue. Vibration can be so bad that I sometimes think it is the road, but it is not. Would dump car but would loose money. Very unfortunate and will not be buying a Honda again. If you are looking into one, please be sure to test drive at all speeds, especially cruising at slow and faster speeds. Cruising and feathering the gas is when you notice it most.

- Irvine, CA, USA

problem #10

Aug 062013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 2,500 miles
My 2013 Honda Pilot jerks and surges when eco light engages. I have taken the vehicle to the dealer twice, with a third trip scheduled and am told, "we can't recreate the problem." But, it does it all the time when I am driving, and appears to be a very common problem based on other complaints I have read online. This is extremely unacceptable and Honda needs to acknowledge the problem, as well as provide adequate repair. This impacts the value and marketability of the vehicle. I would get rid of it today if it wouldn't have such a negative monetary impact.

- Sherwood, AR, USA

problem #9

Jun 032013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 5,000 miles
Runs very rough in eco mode. Noticeable vibration in steering wheel. Car has done it since brand new.

- Seville, OH, USA

problem #8

Jun 192013


  • 450 miles
I purchased a new 2013 Honda Pilot ex-L on June 15. I noticed on my first trip on the interstate that the car hesitates when driving in eco mode. This is very annoying as it feels like the engine isn't getting enough gas. Had it checked out at the dealership and was told others had complained too, but this was a normal function, nothing could be done. I feel like I'm jerking down the road. I traded a Honda Odyssey, which also had eco drive, and I never had these issues with the van. I hate to drive this car!

- Casselberry, FL, USA

problem #7

Jun 202013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 42 miles
When the eco turns on start to vibrate the whole car. The car vibrates and rattle noise comes in the engine compartment. Very disturbing ofr a new car but they say is how the eco works, concerned can cause engine damage due to vibration.

- El Paso, TX, USA

problem #6

Apr 152013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 75 miles
This report is for a new, 2013 Honda Pilot touring model with less than 100 miles on the odometer and has continued since. After the car is warmed up, and when the eco light illuminates, there is a shudder or a low frequency, rumbling vibration throughout the vehicle. This was first noticed while on the highway with cruise control set, but has since been observed at multiple speeds with or without cruise control. The vibration starts when backing off the accelerator after reaching a constant speed and continues until the engine loads down due to a hill or further acceleration. This also coincides with the eco light turning off. It does not appear to be related to a shift point, because when the accelerator pedal is depressed, the vibration stops and the engine rpms stay constant. The level of vibration is not as intense as that of riding over rumble-strips, but the frequency is similar. The level of vibration appears worse at higher engine rpms.

- Medway, MA, USA

problem #5

Feb 202013


  • 6 miles
2013 Honda Pilot brand new as I was driving home noticed a vibration coming from front end. More pronounced at higher speeds. Notified dealer and brought in too check out. Dealer started the diagnostics process by sitting in the passenger seat and we went for a ride. Honda tech acknowledge the vibrations coming from the front of the vehicle. Steering wheel shake, bangs, shuttering and low pitched humming noises. Tech and dealer document my concerns and say " we are aware of the problem you have to take this up with Honda. " there is nothing they can do. Contacted Honda after a week of calling daily. Which Honda's response is "yes we starting to get a lot of similar complaints but not enough for too react. This is normal vehicle operation. ". that is unacceptable, I cannot wait for something tragic to happen before Honda reacts.

- Hempstead, NH, USA

problem #4

Dec 072012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 154 miles
I purchased this vehicle (2013 Honda Pilot ex-L) on 11/26/12 and almost immediately began to feel an annoying vibration when the vehicle was in eco mode. This vibration can be felt in the steering wheel, console. Seats and throughout the cabin. It is most noticeable on level stretches of roadway when applying light pressure on the fuel pedal. The vibration or "flutter" diminishes when more pressure is applied to the fuel pedal. When taken in to the dealership I was told this was a normal characteristic of the vehicle. After contacting Honda customer care I was told it would be checked into and have heard nothing further.....

- Hudson, NC, USA

problem #3

Feb 092013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 600 miles
While slowly backing out of parking place into the street, the engine suddenly and unexpectedly accelerated out-of-control to very high rate. Caught off guard, the engine RPM was not noted, but driver quickly decided that the only solution was to turn off ignition. There was no mat on pedal, and driver does not operate brake and accelerator pedals with two feet. Engine re-started and functioned normally.

- Temple, TX, USA

problem #2

Feb 072013


  • miles
Purchased a 2013 Honda Pilot on 12/28/12. I began to notice a very annoying vibration/shudder in the car as well as hear a rumbling noise. It's occurring at many different consistent speeds and the only way to stop it is to accelerate to a higher speed where it may not occur. I find this is a safety issue as it occurs mostly when the vehicle is maintaining a consistent speed. So, when on the highway and driving the stated 65mph speed limit, I must increase my speed to greater than 65mph in order for the rumbling noise and vibration to stop. Obviously, speed limits are posted for safety reasons. Additionally, I feel this defect severely diminishes the resale value of the $34,000 vehicle as I'm sure anyone whom notices the vibration/shudder/rumbling feeling and sounds will not be interested in buying the vehicle for fair market value. I am also questioning the long term impact of this judder'/vibration will have on the vehicle. My effort to have this repaired by the dealer continues, but thus far they have told me it's torque converter judder and it's a normal characteristic of the vehicle. I've researched torque converted judder problems and feel there has to be a solution, yet Honda more than likely doesn't want to absorb the cost of repairs as this problem is occurring in many of it's Pilot. On this web site the issue was also reported in the 2012 vehicles. There are also many other owners voicing their displeasure with this problems on other websites. One being your assistance would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

- Ellicott City, MD, USA

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