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:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
1,229 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

problem #12

Sep 242013


  • 100 miles


Similar to NHTSA # 10819872 (attached pdf). Vehicle gas pedal/accleration becomes unresponsive when taking foot off gas and maneuvering left/right or around a curve. Trying to re-engage will take 3 seconds or not at all. Remedy is to take foot off gas and pump the gas pedal. This causes vehicle to lurch forward. I have learned to brake torque to regain gas pedal control. This has happened since 9/2013 and it is now 3/2016. Also speed varies 10-20 mph and mileage is now 13000. Almost accidents until I got used to it.

- Depew, NY, USA

problem #11

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 #10

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 #9

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 #8

Jan 082014


  • 5,000 miles
Vehicle shutters terrible at certain speeds/RPM. Have to adjust acceleration to get it to stop. Huge safety issue. Not normal operation for a new vehicle. It's criminal that Honda claims its normal.

- Wilmington, MA, USA

problem #7

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 #6

Nov 252013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 100 miles


Vcm (vehicle cylinder management) issue: I purchased a 2013 Honda Pilot from zimbrick Honda (madison wi) in November 2013. Since the first day I bought the vehicle I have been very disappointed and have grave concern regarding the safety of my children when in the vehicle. Driving the new vehicle home I noticed a rumbling and shuttering vibration issue at varying speeds but most consistent with RPM between 1,000-2,000 especially noticeable when backing off the accelerator or after the vehicle reaches constant speed and eco light is on. I took the vehicle to zimbrick Honda and they informed me that the vibration is part of the normal operation of the vehicle and it is due to the vcm and that there was nothing they could do about it until Honda comes out with a way to correct the problem. I have only 2,000 miles on the vehicle and am very disappointed and annoyed with the Honda Pilot and have significant concern regarding the safety of the vehicle due to the vcm issue. This should not be part of the normal operation of the Honda Pilot and I believe Honda should correct the problem.

- Deforest, WI, USA

problem #5

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 #4

Sep 032013


  • 25 miles
Often when I step on the gas petal the car hesitates before accelerating. The delay in acceleration is up to 3-5 seconds. Occasionally it feels like the car is going to stall. While it has been happening in the Suburban and rural areas since we bought the car in late August, this week I had to drive into and around the city. When I press the gas petal down, the car simply does not move forward and then, without warning, it jumps forward at a rapid rate. To control the car it is necessary to keep one foot on the gas and the other on the brake in case it surges forward after the hesitation. The problem is worst in stop and go driving. It is frightening, a danger to me and my passengers and to other cars near me. It should be repaired.

- Teaticket, MA, USA

problem #3

Oct 012013

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 750 miles
Upon applying the brake in an avoidance situation, I noticed the spongy feel to the brakes. What concerns me more, is that during the process of the event, the brake pedal settles down to below the height of the accelerator and if your foot isn't square on the brake pedal, you wind up hitting the gas while trying to stop the vehicle.. I need to talk with someone. This is most certainly a defect in design.

- Palm Beach Gardens, FL, USA

problem #2

Feb 282012

Pilot 6-cyl

  • 1,000 miles
Shortly after acquiring my new Pilot in February of this year I had and incident whereby at a low speed I lost all control of speed and the car began to slow down. Pressing the accelerator did nothing and the car behind me nearly hit me. It troubled me, but thought is was just something odd.. until it happened again, and again. I have devised a response (remove pressure from the accelerator entirely and reapply pressure). This is a dangerous situation for anyone who does not know how to react even though one should not have to do this. I realize I am not alone, nor is this an isolated instance to my car. Browse the forum and there are numerous postings related to this and it seems to affect both 2012 and 2013 Pilot. Honda has neither acknowledged nor attempted to fix this problem.

- Ann Arbor, MI, USA

problem #1

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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