Notes: It's worrying when the top category for 2016 Honda Pilot problems are transmission problems. Owners report jerking when accelerating. Also as the first model year of the redesigned 3rd generation Pilot, it's not a good sign.

Honda released a TSB on October 29 2016 that's possibly related. The TSB deals with a "a judder from the torque converter lock-up clutch ... while driving between 20 and 60 mph" due to deteriorated transmission fluid resulting from "specific driving conditions". In the TSB, Honda states they are developing a software fix to try to keep the transmission fluid temperature within spec.

We are keeping a close eye on this defect trend because if certain driving conditions can affect transmission shifting in the first year of ownership, we'd hate to think what 10+ years will do.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
42,200 miles
Total Complaints:
31 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (22 reports)
  2. service bulletin 17-014 - update software/flush transmission (9 reports)
2016 Honda Pilot transmission problems

transmission problem

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2016 Honda Pilot Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #31

Sep 012022

Pilot EX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles


My 2016 Honda Pilot EX has a jerking issue when accelerating slowly. You can see the RPM gauge bounce when this happens. The "bucking" or "jerking" can be felt but its not super noticeable. Online, I have found this to be a common complaint with references to Service Bulletin 17-014. My vehicle has 77000 miles on it currently. I changed the transmission fluid at 43000miles in 2019 but this issue has only just started recently. My transmission fluid currently does not look brown or smell burnt. It looks the normal red color.

When I bought from Honda I assumed I was paying for a higher quality vehicle. I'm very disappointed. The nearest Honda dealership is almost 2 hours from my residence. I don't have time to run this vehicle back and forth for problems like this.

- mojo8672, Coudersport, PA, US

problem #30

Aug 222022

Pilot V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,200 miles

Purchased the 2016 Pilot from CarMax and noticed the issue. I thought if I put in Higher Grade gasoline it would help. Did this for a few weeks but it didn't do any better. Googled the issue and found it here on this website. Returned the vehicle the next day and got my money back. Ended up purchasing a 2017 Pilot with no issues so far.

- Kelly H., Hickory, US

problem #29

Sep 062019


  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,000 miles

I am thankful for all the people who reported this problem, so I had an idea what was going on when our 2016 Pilot felt like it had a difficult time accelerating or slipping gears. I called the dealership and they said they were not sure they would be able to re-create it so this must be a common problem. We put it off since that tech was very discouraging. The car seemed to have more severe "slips" while accelerating so we took it in. The service rep was very nice and sent us a report that a bulletin 17-014 for update and trans flush showed up. Apparently, it is covered until 80,000 so we did not have to pay for the flush. Unfortunately, he said it is common to have to do this about 3 times. Obviously, Honda needs to do a recall on this and offer free transmission flushes and updates to 2016 Pilots for the life of the car. (My 2004 Pilot has 275,000 miles and is still doing great!)

If you have this problem, please report to NHTSA 1(888) 327-4236. They were very nice and helpful!

- Diana P., Austin, TX, US

problem #28

Oct 012019

Pilot EX-L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles


click to see larger images

transmission jerks transmission jerks

I took it to the dealership and they didn't want to pull off their service tech to check on a problem that they could not duplicate. After the service rep guy and repair guy drove it together later in the day they noticed the jerking. I had Honda Care Warranty but, of course, it was not covered because the 30,000 transmission service had not been done. I reminded them that I bought the car from them less that a year ago so I did not own the car at that time. They would not pay for the transmission flush as I was at fault for assuming that the the dealership would have made sure all the service maintenance would have been up to date.

They said that there was an update that was recommended but not mandatory, that needed to be done. The cost was $400ish. Since it was a step under a recall I would have to pay for it. After I made a big fuss, they did me a favor :( and did update at no charge - but I had to pay for the transmission flush. All was good for two weeks. Yesterday it started to give a hard jerk every time I accelerated 20-30 mph. Once I got past that speed all was good. I got to my destination with the intent of calling the dealership the next day. When I got back in the car all was good for 6 or so miles until I came to a stop and got to the 20-30 mph and it hit hard again. It felt like someone that doesn't know how to change gears in a stick shift. I realized it could not get into the correct gear. I immediately dropped it off at the dealership. Waiting for them to get back with me. I am sure they will not cover it ONCE again on the extended warranty that I paid for less than a year again when I bought it used.

Update from Oct 24, 2019: Dealership kept the car 3 days, they ordered part - the 3rd clutch pressure switch - twice. The first time the wrong part was sent (or ordered). Then when they called the 3rd day to say it was fixed, they said the part is out of stock nationwide, hummm... did they have a run on repairs for this? They found the part at a local dealership. They would not cover it under manufacturers warranty - I had to use my Honda Care Policy. The other problem of "Keyless Start System Problem" they said was part of this problem. Within an hour of me getting the car back this problem came back up on the dash and my lights are not working properly. Trying to get ahold of the dealership again!

- Shelly G., Edmond, US

problem #27

Oct 012019

Pilot LX 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 39,000 miles

I liked my 2016 Honda Pilot. Loved the way it drove & the way it rides. But then it started stuttering in the Transmission while accelerating, really badly on a uphill incline. I called the Dealer and he said it was out of warranty. I told him he was crazy, it had a 60,000 mile power train warranty on it, & he said he couldn't help me. I knew then I was getting the Dealership 2 step, so I went to the owners manual & did everything by the book. I called customer service. She had been schooled well on avoiding the issue, then I filed a claim with the NCDS, that was a big waste of time, but I'm not done with them yet.

I told them about all the complaints about the 2016 Pilot Transmission stutter on the varies web sites on the net. Honda said they didn't pay that much attention, so I told them they should be & there were so many that a recall should have already been issued for the problem, and all I wanted was it to be repaired. Well, I just received my letter from NCDS rejecting my claim, it now has 52,000 on it & I'm going to quit driving it. If anyone can help me with this problem I would greatly appreciate your help, because believe me I have had my share of problems, there's not enough room on this page to list them. I could sure use some help, I need to put it up for sale, I have lost my job.

- frank j.adams, Seco, US

problem #26

Jul 292020


  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,750 miles

Same problem that they were supposed to have fixed under warranty. Now the car is no longer covered and Honda will not pay to fix it. Service advisor again tells me that transmission fluid must be changed every 30k miles. When pushed she admitted it was not required by Honda or listed in the manual but said it is necessary to keep the transmission running.

Come on Honda, you produced a transmission that burns up transmission fluid twice as fast as it should. Why do you place the burden of maintaining your mistake with your customers? I left Toyota three vehicles ago because of a quality issue. It looks like my relationship with Honda is about to go the same direction.

- Roger W., Atlanta, GA, US

problem #25

Jul 192018


  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,600 miles


Spent all day at dealer while they consulted Honda USA Engineering. Ultimately they flushed the transmission multiple times and installed new software. The service advisor told me that I should have changed the transmission fluid at 30,000 miles even though the manual does not say this.

- Roger W., Atlanta, GA, US

problem #24

Sep 162021

Pilot E-XL 3.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 43,500 miles

Yes my 2016 pilot has the transmission shudder issue. Dealer tells me transmission fluid should be changed every 30000 mi, but nowhere can I find a pilot service schedule that states that. Not even in my Pilot manual that came with car.

I have 43500 miles on my pilot and fluid has not been changed yet. I made an appointment with dealer to have it serviced, but it will take 2 weeks to get me in. I going on long trip and because I'm afraid I will damage my trans, I had third party change the fluid once. This corrected problem for now, however underlying cause of burnt fluid has not be resolved.

You better treat me right when I get there at end of Sept!!! Tsb-17-014

- Steve S., Ashland, VA, US

problem #23

Sep 012020

Pilot ES 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,000 miles

I first reported a check engine light issue with routine oil changes. The codes first produced an emission system problem. I asked repeatedly if this could be a fuel line, pump, filter issue, and I was laughed at. The problem continued for the next 70,000 miles. I continued to report the problem, but was so upset with the customer service at the dealership, I started going to a local auto repair shop. Eventually, the codes turned into a fuel/air mix problem. The fuel injectors had crapped out, and a "bucking" started occurring when I would accelerate (usually noticeable around 1200-1800 RPMs). Had the fuel injectors and spark plugs replaced with Honda OEM replacements kits.

The check engine light didn't come on anymore, but now the bucking continued and was seemingly getting worse. Took it back to the dealership to learn that the transmission needs to be replaced. I asked the service rep could the fuel injection problem that started the bucking have contributed to the transmission problem? He said no-way. I asked my auto repair shop, and their transmission expert got on the phone with me immediately and said this absolutely was the problem. He also went on to say how Honda is notorious for covering up faults by classifying problems in many different silos, rather than owning up to related problematic issues that cause further damage to the vehicle.

I used to have a 2004 Pilot, and a 2008 Odyssey. To keep things transparent, I even called Honda corporate, was passed around to several different reps, none of which actually did anything other than placate. I had an extended warranty, I reported the issue multiple times, and they refused to acknowledge ownership of the problem - all because the notes that the service techs were inputting conveniently left out the problems I was reporting on almost every occasion! Lesson learned, always ask for paper copies of every note a dealership enters into their system on your vehicle! I am sorely disappointed in Honda.

And to and insult to injury, Honda never reported, nor conducted the fix for service bulletin 17-014 (update software/flush transmission). I think it's time to call a lawyer...

- John D., Perkasie, PA, US

problem #22

Jan 012019

Pilot EXL 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

My 2016 Honda Pilot felt like the transmission was slipping while accelerating or going uphill at times The RPM would also vary 100-200 RPM at the time. I took the vehicle to the local Honda dealer and explained the symptoms to the service advisor. She was familiar with the issue. She told me that the technician would drive the vehicle with a computer hooked to it to record what was happening. They confirmed the problem and fixed the issue under warranty. The solution was TSB 17-014 (software update and transmission flush). Total time at the dealership was about four hours. The vehicle drove much better after the fix. She also told me that Honda was extending the warranty to 80,000 miles and eight years to cover this issue.

- Norman W., Kerrville, US

problem #21

Nov 012017

Pilot LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 20,000 miles


Jerking started after I had the vehicle for about 1 year. Most noticeable accelerating from a stop under 40 MPH or in high torque, low RMP (heading up hill) at low speed. Reading complaints on this site helped me recognize that there was a risk that the dealer would "not be able to reproduce the problem". I drove it to the dealer on 8/31/19 (50000 Miles) and filmed the tac jerking back and forth with my phone and then panned to the fact that I was driving by the dealership. I showed the service rep the video when I dropped the car off to prove that they should be able to reproduce the problem on demand without any special driving conditions.

Dealer called me back about 3 hours after I dropped it off and said that the car was fixed. The service document said that the following: "The judder was caused by deteriorated transmission fluid. The transmission fluid deteriorates quicker than expected when it is exposed to intermittent high heat loads under specific driving conditions.

Check if the software has been updated. If the software has not been updated, take an automatic transmission snapshot, review the data, and confirm that the judder is coming from the torque converter. Then forward it to the Tech Line. If the snapshot ind...

Flush the ATF (ATF DW-1)"

The service rep said that they did a software update and flushed the transmission. They retested and that everything should be good. Additionally, they said that the are extending the warranty on this issue to 8 years 80,000 miles.

I drove the car home and clearly the issue has been fixed. Perfectly smooth driving. I will update if this happens again.

- Roper S., Pittsburgh, US

problem #20

Sep 092019

Pilot LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,000 miles

Honda knows that there is a problem with the transmission that causes the fluid to overheat. The overheating issue leads to a “judder” in the transmission. The car accelerates in a very jerky way especially between 30 and 50. This is a big safety issue if you are trying to pass someone. As soon as the vehicle reaches 80,000 miles Honda will no longer cover the so-called “repair” which is to flush the burnt transmission oil multiple times. This costs almost $400. If you have this problem please report it to NHTSA at 1(888)327-4236. Honda knows they have a defective transmission and, instead of fixing it, they are passing the transmission flush cost on to the buyers. A recall should be issued before someone gets killed trying to pass in a vehicle with a faulty transmission. Please let NHTSA know if your Honda Pilot transmission is shaking!!!!!!! The more people that notify them, the higher the chance it will be resolved.

- David H., Chattanooga, US

problem #19

Jul 152019


  • Automatic transmission
  • 36,000 miles

Just bought my 2016 Pilot on July 3, 2019. Not long after, within two weeks the transmission started jerking. I was bringing the car in to the dealership anyway so I mentioned it to them. When I came back to pick it up I was told it was a computer update that had not been completed. They said they completed the update and all should be fine. Within two days the problem is occurring again. I am leaving for a business trip tomorrow so I will be calling them on Monday to complain again and set another date to have it fixed. I will update my post if new information is obtained.

- Susan M., Gettysburg, PA, US

problem #18

Jun 022019

Pilot EX-L 3.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 28,000 miles

Purchased from reputable used car dealer and the Pilot is in perfect condition with only 28K miles. 6-Speed transmission intermittently will start shifting very harshly, from 1-2 and 3-4 and maybe others. It happens either on a hot engine/transmission or cold, right from the start. Only every few days or so. We have found that shutting the car off and restarting fixes the problem. Plan to take it to the dealer since it has the 60K mile drivetrain warranty.

- Steve H., New Market, US

problem #17

May 012019


  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,000 miles

My brother in law has many certifications as a Toyota mechanic. He drove me to the airport and told me I had a transmission problem. He then went home and looked it up that it needed a software update.

I called DCH Honda they can't be bothered and were only good to sell me the car. Joyce Honda said there was an update service bulletin. I spoke to Jen and Rosa today from Honda. Rosa is located in California and refused to give me her supervisor at first then said can't return phone call for 24 hrs. Who do I believe

My brother in law said if I do not get the updated software I will need a new transmission.

Any one else have their rpm needle going up and down as they drive. Hesitation?

- Carolyn K., Andover, US

problem #16

Apr 012018

Pilot Touring

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

I have only been able to replicate the issue while it tries to upshifts from first gear to second with revs past 4000 and then letting off the accelerator as it shifts to second gear. Tech says nothing is wrong even though we went for a test drive.

- npolite, Drexel Hill, PA, US

problem #15

Aug 102018

Pilot EX-L 3.5L V6

  • CVT transmission
  • 30,000 miles

Pilot had no known issues until the transmission started the jerk/stutter. It started not too long after the 30k service. I was going up a freeway on ramp and immediately noticed the car struggling/jerking a bit until I got up to speed. A huge telltale sign of it was watching the RPM needle jumping as the RPMs were going up. It is supposed to be a linear increase as the RPMs go up. After I let off the gas (speed of traffic already) the problem went away. It happened once in a while after that but I never was able to recreate it on demand. It always happened at random times while accelerating. I took it into the dealer at my 35k service and mentioned it to my service advisor. He said he is familiar with what I described and will have the tech check it.

Apparently, a few days prior to my appointment, the service advisor had a 2017 Pilot that had the issues I described for a short amount of time before experiencing transmission failure due to a sensor issue

After the service was done, my advisor informed me the tech was unable to recreate the problem I described so nothing was done. My advisor told me to continue to drive the vehicle until the problem persists, then bring it back. He said any warranty repairs that the transmission needed has to be allowed by corporate first. If the tech doesn't see the problem, corporate would not allow the warranty repair. My advisor told me to wait it out instead of fixing it out of pocket.

A few months have passed and it seems the problem is getting worse (40k miles). I haven't been able to get it to happen on demand still, but notice it occurs much more often when the vehicle is going up an incline or after it has been driven for a while. The most recent one was going up a street with a gradual incline (for those of us who are familiar San Francisco, going up Fulton street from Ocean Beach to 25th Ave). It jerked/stuttered much more violently while climbing the hill and accelerating from a complete stop. The problem got a little better after a short meal break before disappearing again the following day. I can't seem to get it to happen consistently enough in order to get a video of it. Now I am just driving it until it happens on demand but hoping I wont get stranded from sudden transmission failure.

A friend described the feeling as though the vehicle was struggling to either switch gears or produce enough power for the appropriate gear. It is like you skipping a gear when driving manual, instead of going from second to third, you go straight to fourth/fifth. The problem seems to stop when the you force the transmission to downshift by pressing the gas harder, but once you let off it feels like it struggles for a moment to find the right gear to be in.

Waiting for another week to see if it gets worse before making an appointment again. I don't want to waste my time leaving my vehicle to them in hopes they see the problem.

- Kin L., San Gabriel, CA, US

problem #14

Oct 092018

Pilot EX-L AWD

  • Automatic transmission
  • 23,000 miles

Started jerking around 30 mph like teenager was learning to drive a stick shift. It progressively was getting more frequent but sometimes after turning the car off and restarting it, it would not longer do it. As it got worse I had planned on bringing it in but then all the warning lights went off for Transmission and Emission warnings. I had the vehicle towed to the dealer. They ran diagnostics, said the computer needed an update and then sent me on my way saying that should solve the problem.

Update from Oct 29, 2018: On 10/17, the following week, the car started jerking again as it was shifting gears. It is time consuming and frustrating to be bringing a 2 year old vehicle back and forth from the dealership for repairs. Brought it in and this time they flushed the transmission fluid and perform S/B 17-015, 17-018, 17-026, 17-042 and 17-044

They did provide a courtesy vehicle, but it is never big enough for my neighborhood carpool so not only am I dealing with missing work for this, I also am having to jump through hoops to either swap driving days or borrow larger cars to get kids back and forth. Moms....i know you feel me, right!?

Update from Oct 29, 2018: Oct 21st whiling driving errands with my daughter the vehicle does the same jerk again at around 30 mph. I call Monday morning 10/22, they arrange to come and pick up my pilot and drop off a courtesy car for me at my home. The tech I talked to that morning said that I would be getting a new transmission.

Tuesday I speak with another technician that says they can't see any incidents on the computer and that they cannot duplicate the problem. They say they are driving it occasionally trying to recreate the jerking I describe. Wednesday we were planning on taking the AWD pilot up to the Mountains but of course we don't want to drive an unreliable vehicle. They decide to keep it for the week and keep driving it.

Today is Monday the 29th. They just delivered my car back to me, after having it a week and apparently did not perform any type of repairs, updates or maintenance on the vehicle. Nothing. I would never buy a Honda again after this experience. I did a quick search here and on other sites and this is apparently a common problem with the Pilots.

- Kristi C., Orlando, FL, US

problem #13

Sep 032018

Pilot EX AWD 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 51,400 miles

Purchased Honda Pilot EX AWD November 2015. No mechanical problems until 9/3/2018. Transmission worked fine until this date, then while shifting it felt like I drove over a pot hole in the road.

This terrible "Clunk" and "Jerk" repeated every time the transmission shifted, until reaching higher gears. I'd say it clunked from 2nd to 3rd gear...really bad.

Took car into Honda, they couldn't find anything and recommended changing the transmission fluid. This service was done, and the transmission has worked fine until yesterday, October 28, 2018, when it "clunked" again at low speed. Again, just like you hit a pot hole in the road.

Today, October 29, 2018, the transmission is working smoothly again.

As with all the complaints above, I can't take it back to Honda unless it's not working properly. They will just say they can't find anything. I've decided to wait until the problem is consistent, then take it back to Honda.

If someone has gotten their transmission problem solved, please post how the dealer eliminated your problem of "clunking, jerky" shifting. Thanks!

- Leon H., Burton, OH, US

problem #12

Oct 212018

Pilot Touring V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles

Driving on the interstate car all of a sudden acts like its in neutral, then jerks hard back into gear. Transmission problem light comes on. I pull over, shut it off then emission system light comes on and stays. I contact Honda, carry it back and they inform me they cannot find any problems, continue to drive it and if it happens again let them know. I find this unacceptable. If a car had been directly behind me when it all of a sudden wouldn't accelerate, this could have caused a major accident.

- Michelle M., Hinesville, US

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