— Honda Pilot idle-stop problems have caused the government to open a federal investigation after receiving more than 220 complaints about engines that failed to restart once the idle-stop systems activated.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 195,000 model year 2016-2020 Honda Pilots equipped with 3.5L engines and 9-speed automatic transmissions are included in the investigation.
Safety regulators say Honda Pilot owners complain their SUVs fail to restart from complete stops when the automatic idle-stop features are engaged, or what NHTSA calls the "Auto Start/Stop" functions.
It doesn't matter if the Pilots fail to restart at stop lights or road intersections, many customers complain the Pilots must have jump-starts to get the vehicles moving again.
Honda describes the Pilot idle-stop feature as a gas-saving feature.
"The Honda idle-stop feature maximizes your fuel efficiency when your vehicle is idling. If you're stationary for more than two seconds, such as in stop-and-go traffic, the engine will shut off; many of the vehicle's functions, such as the A/C, will continue to power on smoothly. Merely release the brake to start up the engine again! This feature can be easily disabled."
A sample of the complaints come from these 2016 Honda Pilot owners.
"Approximately 4 months ago, when the vehicle was in idle-stop mode and would attempt to start again, the radio would cut out. Recently, on a couple of occasions, the vehicle would not start automatically and would require a complete manual start (put in park, press the brake and push the start button). I took it to the dealership a week ago to have it checked out. I was told it was a "software" adjustment that was needed to correct the problem. Everything was fine for a couple of days and then the same problems started to reoccur (radio cutting out and occasional lack of restarting from the idle-stop mode).
"My 2016 Honda Pilot Elite has been back to the dealer four times for a fix to the auto idle stop problem. Each time they report a different fix and it works for a period of days or weeks, then stops again. Last visit they said it was because of a defective vehicle battery. Again it worked for less than two weeks. I really like this vehicle and do not want to avail myself of the State Lemon Law protections."
Investigators have met with Honda about the idle-stop issues and NHTSA alleges the automaker knows about the evidence. Additionally, Honda told regulators owners of other models have complained about their vehicles having the same issues.
Those vehicles include the Honda Odyssey, Acura TLX and Acura MDX which are also equipped with 3.5L engines and 9-speed automatic transmissions.
CarComplaints.com will update our website with results of the Honda Pilot idle-stop investigation.