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 1 of 3)

problem #43

Aug 282016


  • 51,000 miles


Engine/piston/ring issue. Rings not aligned properly in one of pistons ( factory/assembly error) resulted in oil leaking and thrown on engine, caused 2 spark plugs to fail, this caused engine light to come on and then the vsa and vtm-4 came on and the eco light stopped working...we were travelling 70 miles an hour on highway. We were really afraid when the vtm-4 light came on! we had to pull off road, for fear of ruining the 4-wheel drive system, we didn't know what was happening.. we couldn't get the lights to go off, finally vtm-4 light went off and on the other lights stayed was confusing.... because the lights were false indicators due to being connected to the engine light. This malfunction caused the vsa and vtm-4 and eco light to come on falsely. Creating panic while travelling 70 miles an hour on interstate. Creating the false impresssion that the 4-wheel drive system had been activated while travelling at a speed of 70 miles an hour. Suggestion:.... engine light should be separate from other warning system lights..this incident occured approximately 300 miles from our home on a Sunday..we took automobile to dealer Monday a.M. and had repair of piston/ring gaskets etc it was determined the other warning lights were false indicators...

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #42

Aug 012015


  • 28,000 miles
When my Pilot goes into eco mode there is considerable vibration that can be felt in the steering wheel, gas pedal, interior door panel if your leg is resting against it, also there is enough reverb in the cab that at times it can irritate your inner ear. Its the worst around 45 to 65 but can be felt at most speeds. It doesn't matter whether its city or highway its present whenever eco is on at cruising speed. I took my Pilot to the dealer I purchased it from to give them the opportunity to trouble shoot the issue. Initially I thought it was the transmission but they said it was the engine going into eco mode and that it was normal. I have never had a vehicles engine produce the amount of vibration that this one does and to be told its normal to me is unacceptable. I have since read many threads and complaints about this same issue on the internet. This needs to be addressed with Honda and they need to provide a solution. We bought this vehicle in the summer of 2015, have owned it less that a year and this issue makes it a very undesirable vehicle to own and if Honda doesn't provide a solution for this we will most likely get rid of this vehicle and never buy another Honda again nor recommend this manufacturer.

- Kendall, NY, USA

problem #41

Feb 032016


  • miles
I purchased my 2013 Honda certified pre-owned in August 2015. Test drive was short and felt no issues. Felt the shudder on a highway drive the next day. Now I question if the salesperson knew this would be noticed and deliberately made the test ride short to avoid this being noticed. I even asked her about the vibration issue from reports I had read about before the purchase. I was told this was not an valid issue and that she had owned a Pilot and never felt anything. The car was brought back and a software update was done as well as fluid change in trans within the first month. It still had the shudder. After driving for a few weeks to give it a chance to prove itself and it not me "looking" for a problem I called and spoke with the service manager to report this and inform him I would coming back when my schedule allowed. It is getting more frequent and it does not seem to matter whether in eco mode or not. The shudder usually happens around 38-42 mph. But will begin anytime the vehicle cruises in any speed range continually. At higher speeds I can feel my skin shake like one of those fat burning shaking belts from years past. (just so you know I am of average build without excessive body skin.) brought the car back a second time. That was today Feb. 3, 2016. Went for ride with the service manager. Told him it seems to be getting worse. His conclusion was that this "shudder" was a "characteristic" of my $28,000 purchase. My 1999 Suburban that I traded in had a better ride. Very disappointed with Honda. I am going to another dealer to get a second opinion.

- Princeton, NJ, USA

problem #40

Jul 242013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 1,500 miles


Accelerator pedal is depressed and there is no response from the motor for almost 2 seconds. This happens at slow speeds and also when slowing down on the freeway ( slow driver ahead ) then pressing the accelerator pedal to the floor to pass and again, no response from the motor for several seconds. This is very intermittent and I have not yet been able to duplicate it on demand. I have been driving for almost 50 years and have never experienced this type of problem. It can be a bit scary.

- The Woodlands, TX, USA

problem #39

Apr 212013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 500 miles
Ever since purchased new, the engine hesitates at 10 mph when accelerating. I have taken it to the dealer repeatedly, but they do not give me any reason for why this is happening. It happens periodically about two to three times a week. Presently vehicle has 15,000 miles on it. This is dangerous as I might be changing lanes, accelerating forward, or turning a corner, when the vehicle hesitates. I have also reported this to american Honda, with no explanation given by them either.

- Denver, CO, USA

problem #38

Dec 222014

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 26,000 miles
My Honda Pilot vibrates and hums when the eco light comes on. I notice it at lower speeds and rpms, not sure if it is transmission or engine, mentioned to my service tech but they could not find and issue.

- Shawnee, KS, USA

problem #37

Oct 162013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 89 miles


Our Honda 2013 Pilot has had this problem since we purchased it new. There is an engine noise that sounds like metal vibrating/flapping. It usually occurs when driving between 40-60 miles per hour, but not always. It seems to happen when driving up a hill or turning. Although it also occurs when driving on a flat surface during acceleration. We brought it into the dealer service station twice. The first time they did not hear it, but neither could we. During the second visit. The maintenance supervisor said he barely heard the sound- it was faint. They offered no explanation, but said to bring it in when it is louder. I'm concerned that they won't hear it until our 36 month warranty expires! I've read one other complaint about this noise and see no recalls. Does anyone else have this problem with their 2wd 2013 Honda Pilot?

- Watkinsville, GA, USA

problem #36

Oct 262014

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 24,000 miles
Turned on the car and backed out of my driveway, which is sloped so it does not require any acceleration. Shifted into gear on the street and began to roll forward. Applied pressure to the accelerator and noticed that the car was not responding at all - engine was not revving, car was not moving forward despite flooring the gas pedal. Stopped and shifted into reverse and had the same problem. Simultaneously, several warning lights appeared including vehicle stability control among others. Eventually had to leave the car disabled on the side of the road and have it towed to a local Honda dealer, where they were unable to replicate the problem. After 3 days, they "reset all the computers" and told me the car was fixed. Same problem occurred 2.5 wks later. Again, dealer could not replicate the problem. However, they replaced the "box" which the accelerator connects to and told me the problem should be fixed. 3 days after returning the car to me, the same incident occurred a 3rd time. This time the vehicle fluids were also overheating. I left the car running until a Honda technician could come and take a look and see the problem in action. Unfortunately, he shut the car off upon arrival and then was not able to recreate the problem. Honda has now had my vehicle for 8 days with no progress. Their only suggestion is to uninstall the remote starter which came with the car when I purchased it new. They have no evidence that the remote starter is causing the problem and have not offered to compensate me in any way for its removal. Car is only 1.5 yrs old. Updated 12/22/2015

- Norwalk, CT, USA

problem #35

Nov 072014

Pilot 6-cyl

  • miles
This has happened several times: Car is a stopped or slowly rolling and you step on the gas to get into traffic floor to the floor and the car doesn't move. The newest incident today is the car was in motion going approximately 10 mph when it completely died. All power lost, could not steer and had to pump the brake several times to stop. Dealership says verbally over phone no open recalls on car and unless they can recreate, they probably can't fix anything. I am going to get killed with my baby in this car.

- Smithtown, NY, USA

problem #34

Sep 142013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 100 miles
When trying to accelerate at low speeds or from a stop, there is a 2-5 second hesitation and then a surge. This has happened several times a week since we bought the vehicle. The scariest part is that it is unpredictable. It is especially dangerous when entering busy traffic, which we have a lot of. We have complained to the dealer every time we have taken the vehicle in for regular maintenance. Of course they say they can't make it fail when they test drive it.

- Duluth, GA, USA

problem #33

Mar 082013


  • 5,500 miles


Intermittently when starting to drive after being stopped at light or stop sign the engine will hesitate and bog down for a few seconds before it "kicks in" and then there is a "surge of power". this is very annoying and also very dangerous as someone could easily get rear-ended or worse yet get caught in the intersection in oncoming traffic. There is also vibration and shutter at certain speeds and seems to be worst when eco mode kicks in and when driving conservatively. There is also a pull in the steering upon acceleration.

- Punta Gorda, FL, USA

problem #32

Feb 012014

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 4,500 miles
Sometimes when starting out and making left or right hand turn after being stopped at a stop light or stop sign, the engine will hesitate and bog down for a few seconds before it "kicks in" and then there is a "surge of power". this is very annoying at the least and also very dangerous as one could easily get rearended or worse yet get caught in the intersection in oncoming traffic.

- Portland, OR, USA

problem #31

May 292014

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 12,000 miles
Cracked or damaged piston ring or rings...spark plug damaged...."in my opinion"the engine will never be reliable, it will never be 12,000 miles....

- Portsmouth, RI, USA

problem #30

May 012014


  • 1,200 miles
TL * the contact owns a 2013 Honda Pilot. The contact stated that while waiting at a traffic light, there was a sudden increase in engine rpms as the vehicle hesitated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer. The technician was unable diagnose the failure. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 1,200.

- Ronkonkoma, NY, USA

problem #29

Jun 252013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 6,231 miles
June 2013 - (3 mos old) car consistently misfires right before eco light comes, stalls. Requested to have this feature turned off but per dealer this cannot happen. Told me this was normal could not "duplicate" problem. Second time (January 2014) check engine light came on car lost power then turned itself off. Once it stated again took directly into dealer. They were not able to "duplicate" problem and car does not store problem code. Kept for 5 days updated software. Car still is not 100% still feel misfire prior to eco light coming on. 3rd time taking car in April 2014 check engine light flashing loss power. Pulled to side turned off car. Within 1/2 hr had car back to dealer. Could not duplicate problem. The car did not store problem code. Without the codes it is my word against there's. this dangerous not knowing if car will decide to stall. Barely 13 mos old.

- Whittier, CA, USA

problem #28

Jan 152014

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 4,000 miles
While driving in Florida and Louisiana, I noticed a low-frequency buzzing sound and vibration which could be felt through the steering wheel and floorpan. I believe it is associated with the variable cylinder management (vcm) feature. It could be felt when the vcm transitioned from 6 to 4 cylinder mode, with the RPM of 1700-1900 and speeds of approximately 25, 45 and 60 mph. It would occur with very light accelerator pressure, just maintaining speed, and disappear when accelerator pressure was increased, causing it to downshift and/or the vcm to transition back to 6 cylinder mode. This problem is less evident here in Colorado springs (6000 ft elevation), which I cannot explain. I did not have this problem with a 2008 Pilot nor a 2008 Odyssey, both of which had a similar vcm feature. My local Honda tech could "not duplicate" my concern and said it was "operating normally". the transmission also "hunts" between 4th and 5th gear.

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #27

Oct 042010

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 250 miles
75% of the time the vehicle is in eco mode the entire vehicle vibrates and shudders. The effect varies from annoying to severe. It happens at all speeds. These are the same conditions that have been stated by numerous owners. I expect major pre-mature damage to the engine and drive train. Honda refuses to admit to the defect and has no fix for the defect. Ridiculous!!!!!!!!!

- Lake Elmo, MN, USA

problem #26

Mar 032014

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 16,000 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Honda Pilot. The contact stated that while driving approximately 5 mph and attempting to enter a parking garage, the vehicle jerked violently and crashed into a concrete barrier. There were no injuries and a police report was not filed. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 16000.

- Temecula, CA, USA

problem #25

Oct 032013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 10 miles
Engine vibration in eco mode. It has grown steadily worse since new. This is completely unacceptable for a well engineered vehicle.

- Oregon, IL, USA

problem #24

Feb 152014


  • 11,000 miles
I have had this Pilot for a year and its performance has been going downhill. When the eco engages, the car starts to shudder and sound like it is going to stall. I need to press on the gas to get the car going again. This happens at any mph as it occurs when the eco light turns on. The dealership is aware of this issue and states its a flaw of the 2013 Pilot and cannot be fixed. They also call it normal. I do not feel safe in this vehicle and I do not consider it normal for the car I am driving to sound like it is going to turn off. Piazza Honda of limerick states they can hook this car up to a computer to ensure that there is no problem but told me over the phone that it was a know issue, basically telling me I am wasting my time. This issue should be fixed, or recalled as it is unsafe.

- Malvern, PA, USA

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