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:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
5,357 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2013 Honda Pilot Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #23

Aug 142013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 150 miles


Ever since I pulled off the new car lot, ,,,, vehicle has vibration at 1500 to 2000 RPM. It is slight but vibrates throughout vehicle. Annoying is the perfect description. Goes away with slight acceleration. Seems to be related to eco being in operation. I see same complaint in other posts. I believe it is a rookie design flaw in power train. A $40,000 vehicle should be without this defect. I also own a 2010 Pilot that operates without any vibration at any speed or load upon engine/drivetrain. This is my second "Honda" company vehicle. I wish I had the 1st one back. You can imagine my frustration with my 2013 Honda Pilot. Honda..... can you own up to this flaw and fix?

- Gaithersburg, MD, USA

problem #22

Oct 172013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 600 miles
When slowing down to make a left turn, as I start the turn the engine hesitates and there is no response. The car seems to have no power and coasts 4 or 5 seconds before responding normally. This is very dangerous in high traffic conditions. This problem has also occasionally occurred starting off from a traffic signal, and making right turns.

- Rochester Hills, MN, USA

problem #21

Jun 062013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 2,713 miles
Everytime I reached a certain speed then try to maintain it by slightly pressing on the gas, the engine starts to shudder/vibrate. It is really annoying and it concern me a lot. The issue happens in different speed. I brought this complain to the dealership but they said that everything is working normal with the car. So, I just get a long with it. Then after a few more months, the vibration is getting worse and it is getting in my nerves. I brought it back yo them but the same they only gave me the same reason. My sister and some friends have Honda cars with eco mode also. How come that they don't experience the same thing with their vehicles. I agree with some complainants that this is a safety issue. It bothers the driver when you experience that vibration from the engine. Is Honda just waiting for someone to die from a car crash with the Pilot before they make a move to correct the issue. I just hope that they bring this issue to the higher op of Honda before someone's life will be taken.

- Farmington Hills, MI, USA

problem #20

Dec 022013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 3,000 miles


The vehicle starts to shudder and vibrate at various speeds. You must slow down or speed up to get it to stop vibrating. We bought this Honda Pilot because we drive on a lot of slick roads. I feel this makes it very unsafe for my family. Along with being unsafe, it is very annoying and with it being a new vehicle, we should not have to accept this. The dealership says it is a normal operation of vcm. American Honda tells me the same thing. I don't agree.

- Monmouth, IL, USA

problem #19

Mar 282013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 900 miles
My 2013 Honda Pilot along with many others shortly after purchasing started to show a vibration through the gas pedal and steering column that can be felt by passenger also. It appears to be a manufacturers defect with the vcm/eco modes of the vehicle. I have taken back to dealership a couple of times and called them several times concerning this defect. Honda says this is "normal". it is far from normal. The vehicle vibrates at all speeds and is inherently dangerous. I am getting no where with Honda. Thank you

- Jefferson, WI, USA

problem #18

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 #17

Nov 012013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 6,000 miles


Whenever I drive between 35-45 mph the car shudders and vibrates. 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 35 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.

- Medford, NJ, USA

problem #16

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 #15

Oct 122013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 10 miles
Vehicle vibration/rumbling/shuttering at speeds around 35-55mph. Apparently due to vcm(vehicle cylinder management system) most noticeable when backing off accelerator after vehicle reaches constant speed and eco light is on, but can occur weather eco light is on or not. Vibration is felt through out entire vehicle but as a driver, it is felt through the seat, steering wheel and center console. This vibration is very unpleasant and annoying. Vehicle was taken back to the dealer due to us just purchasing it with only 10 miles on it. The first time they rebalanced the tires. This did not help. Second time I took the service manager out for a test ride to show him what I meant. He felt the same vibration/shutter/rumble. We then went back to the dealership and took out another new Honda Pilot that was on the lot. The road test came back with the same results. Service manager then told me that the vibration I was feeling was due to the vcm as the different cylinders fired and that there was nothing they can do about it and that I would just have to deal with it until Honda comes out with a way to correct the problem, which as far as he knows they have no intention to do so. Apparently Honda says that this is part of normal operation. I paid over $36,000 dollars for this vehicle and feel that is not normal operation, and that Honda needs to correct this.

- Windham, NH, USA

problem #14

Nov 072013


  • 3,550 miles
The engine vibrates and makes a noticeable noise when driving slow or when feathering the gas pedal.

- Bellevue, NE, 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

Oct 252013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 5,800 miles
My Honda Pilot stalled without any warning and without any engine lights appearing while driving on two way side roads and entering a highway. Emergency brake release handle was not working or releasing the brake appropriately same day. Honda can't replicate the issue so they say the car is to go with me. No explanation for incident. Manufacturer had them put something in the computer to read 15 second prior to and after a stall. This is an unsafe vehicle to drive for me, my family and anyone around me if it is undiagnosed and unexpected. Power steering and brakes lost so risks are high. I run the risk of causing an accident, injury, and/or death to anyone in the car or others. I filed a complaint with Honda, [xxx] case # [xxx] without resolution and wastold to pick the car up from the dealership or I be charged a fee. The car was at bernardi Honda in natick and they did all they could to replicate and work with Honda, I was told by them to pick the car up or be charged a fee. They are aware that the manufacturer is involved. I went to pick the car up on Saturday November 2, and discovered the emergency brake release cord is still broken and there were scratches on my car. I left it there so they could order parts and fix scratches. Please assist if able. I read about two recalls by Honda for the Pilot and Odyssey regarding unexpected braking and how you assisted! thanks. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Needham, MA, USA

problem #9

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 #8

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 #7

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 #6

Jun 042013

Pilot 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,700 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Honda Pilot touring. The contact stated that while driving downhill at 65 mph, the vehicle stalled. The check vehicle stability assist warning light was illuminated and after the failure occurred, the check emission warning light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, who stated that the engine had seized and installed a new engine, before even opening the hood. The failure was reported to the manufacturer. The failure mileage was 5,700. The current mileage was 6,000. Updated 08/06/13 updated 08/5/2013

- Queen Creek , AZ, USA

problem #5

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 #4

Mar 082013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 446 miles
At various speeds there is a very annoying shuddering and vibrating and growling at 45 mph to 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.. I also get these small bucks and surges, . or a feeling of pulling me along but feeling like I am going to fall out of my seat at the same eco. Until the shuddering stops and then it feels smooth again, for a minute....and then the shuddering begins again.... my tires are balanced and I have had an engine mount neutralizing... the Honda Pilot has vcm... it is very uncomfortable to your ears the vibrating...on top of your peace of mind on your way home from a day at work....looking forward to relaxing listening to the radio to ease yourself before you get home to your family relaxing at all !!! something is definitely wrong with my vehicle....

- Portsmouth, RI, USA

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