Honda Pilot 2003 through 2005



  • steverstever Posts: 52,457
    I'm not sure why the '06 Pilot discussion was created, but there are some others over in Future Vehicles for cars that are just getting refreshed instead of having a major change.

    We did just start an '06 Forester (which isn't new, just refreshed a bit) discussion because we keep hearing that we need to have more threads because the most users can't find things in a discussion with 15,000+ posts.

    I don't know what we'd do if the Old Beetle was around - remember the ads? VW would talk about how the Beetle stayed the same from year to year, and then they'd print a laundry list of the 2,000+ changes and improvements made in the last year.

    Thanks for the comments!

    Steve, Host
  • mach7mach7 Posts: 7
    Is there a way to tell the build date and location of manufacture by VIN #?

  • sportymonksportymonk Posts: 258
    Not sure about the VIN # but the build date is on the sticker on the drivers door. It is in mm/yy format. As to the location, the first digit tells you the country which for Pilot tells you where since there are only two Canada and Alabama. Used to be a 1 in front meant US and a 2 meant Canada. (I had a Voyager with a 2 in front and had to have the papers showing the Air Force shipped it to Germany so I could ship it back since it was not an American built vehicle.)

    I think my new Pilot has a 5 in front so I am not sure what the numbering system is now. Have seen several sites but most are out of date.
  • mach7mach7 Posts: 7
    Thanks for the information, I think I found a site.
  • allison5allison5 Posts: 130
    Well after many posts in these forums, I think I have finally narrowed it down to what cars I do NOT want. I am the one that has back problems and can't decide which car would be best for me and my 3 kids. I REALLY REALLY do not want an American vehicle (Have had too many past problems). I drove the Odyessy, Sienna, and Chrysler- for some reason they all do not fit my back well. The Sienna and the Chrylser were the worst. I have had many people tell me they LOVE the pilot and seats are great. However I had an Odyessy, seats were ok but not fantastic, my friend says Honda seats are Honda seats no difference to speak of. Is that bologny or not??? The Pilot seats were comfy for me, as were the MDX and Volvo XC90. I feel like this decision is as bad as buying a house, in my case even worse, it seems really ridiculous. I cart 3 kids, ages 11 in a few weeks 9 and 5. Are they going to complain to me all the time that they are squished and uncomfy? It seems like the 2nd row seat has quite a bit of leg room though. The only other thought would be an Expedition or Sequoia. I looked online at numbers for dimensions and I was quite surprised that the Pilot dimensions were not that much off from some of the big SUV's.
  • enascar3enascar3 Posts: 18
    As far as the seats and comfort goes in the Pilot with a bad back. I have lower back problems at the L4/L5 discs, herniated and degenerative disc disease. I frequently drive a little over 500 miles to my fathers house, 1 stop, yes, 1 stop. No issues, no problems.

    I've driven my fathers Odyssey 300 miles, stopping a couple of times (had passengers). This vehicle bothered my back.

    The Pilot is 05 w/ leather. The Odyssey is 02 w/o leather. Not sure how the seats are in the newer Odyssey.

    Hope this helps. Good luck.
  • sportymonksportymonk Posts: 258
    One of the reasons I did not buy an Ody (besides the fact it is a minivan) are the seats in it. Check the Ody board at Edmunds and you will find that many people have had problems with the seats being uncomfortable but then again many have not had problems. Some think it is the lumbar support. Some have added more padding. Don't know if a solution was ever found. Affects people of all heights and weights. Very sporadic problem. I test drove an Ody and did not like the way the lumbar support felt when adjusted all the way off; felt like it was still out a little.

    Have a Pilot and just finished a 1200 mile trip and nobody had any problems with the seats (or anything else for that matter).

    Don't think the Pilot seats are different as at one point I posted a suggestion that they take the Ody seats out and put Pilot seats in and it seems there was a reason you can't.

    Anyway, for what its worth, I have no problem with the Pilot seats. Best solution is go take a long test drive.
  • cccompsoncccompson Posts: 2,388
    For what it's worth, I have an Odyssey and my wife has a Pilot. Both are '05s. The Odyssey seats took a couple of months for me to get used to and now I think they are quite good. We gave them a thorough test on a recent 5300 mile round-trip.

    That said, I prefer those in the Pilot while my wife thinks the Odyssey seats are better than those in the Pilot. Go figure!
  • allison5allison5 Posts: 130
    in the pilot? Do families with 3 kids find there is enough room in the 05 Pilot? have there been any families that have wished they went up to a bigger car such as Expedition, Sequoia whatever. My husband has GMC Yukon but he might get rid of it, if he keeps it it is fine to have Pilot because then we can use bigger vehicle for trips etc if we need to. Just wanting to know if people find it is roomy enough, it seems like it has a lot of room in it.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 29,020
    Of course there is enough room.

    heck, my parents used to take us 3 kids cross country in a Volvo 240 sedan. Expeditions and Sequoias are just NOT necessary for a standard family. If you WANT more room, that's one thing, but you don't NEED more room than the Pilot (heck the pilot is even too big most of the time, IMHO).

    ‘21 Camaro LT1, '07 ML63, '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '13 Fiat 500c, '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 54-car history and counting!

  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    There are no SUV seats better than the XC90, IMO. The BMW X5 and Porsche Cayenne come close, but they are considerably smaller and much more expensive. That said, we decided to get a 2005 MDX instead of the XC90, primarily because of the additional room in the 2nd and 3rd rows and the ease of use of the 3rd row. We only have two kids, but my wife often carts their friends around as well.

    We briefly considered the Sequoia and are glad we didn't go in that direction. All of the vehicles that are larger than the MDX/Pilot are much less fuel efficient and drive like a cross between a truck and a school bus.
  • jay_24jay_24 Posts: 536
    In the old days you could stack kids anyway you wanted...

    However today kids need to be in booster and child seats. Three child seats just fit inside a Pilot. Three Booster seats fit better however its really hard to fit your hand in-between to buckle the kids up. In Allision's case only the 5 year old might be in a booster, so a Pilot should work fairly well.

    I'll agree you don't need the Expedition, Tahoe or Sequoias. But you do need a wide car/SUV/van for 3 kids. Always putting a kid in a 3rd row of a SUV is a pain and to be used only now and then. Using the 3rd row also cuts your storage space big time.

    If you happen to tow a boat or camper then your options become SUV or Van. The mini-vans are not great tow options either, but do work for smaller boats and campers.

  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    Variations in individual seat comfort aside, I don't think there is any question that the Odyssey is a more comfortable people-hauler than a Pilot, especially in the third-row. If you priorities are to haul people and their gear and/or you don't need the modest off-road/towing capabilites of the Pilot, the Odyssey is simply a better all-around package for this mission.

    - Mark
  • jfavourjfavour Posts: 105
    The thing that always gets lost in the comparison of a minivan to an SUV (as in this case of Ody vs. Pilot) is the fact that Minivans are getting huge. I checked out the new Sienna and Ody vs. a Pilot and came away feeling that the vans felt gigantic. The spec numbers bear this out:

    Pilot: Length 188, Width 77.3, Height 71.7, Curb Weight 4431
    Ody: Length 201, Width 77.1, Height 70.0, Curb Weight 4494
    Sienna: Length 200. Width 77.4, Height 68.9, Curb Weight 4310

    I know a Ody gets better mileage (due to lack of awd and better aerodynamics), but it should be a better people and cargo hauler for its extra 13 inches of length. The pilot would fit better in my garage and is large enough for what most people need. If you have 3 kids or less, do you really need such a huge vehicle as an Ody?

    I have 3 kids age 5 and under and I fit all of them in car seats in my 2000 Accord sedan and my 2002 CR-V. They are a bit tight, but it is easily "do-able." Even so, I am thinking about moving up to a Pilot to add a bit of space in the 2nd row for the kids, plus the flexibility of hauling additional passengers on occasion. I just found the Ody and Sienna a bit too huge. I kind of wish more companies would offer a slightly smaller (more mini-) mini-van, like Mazda's Mazda5. They just don't seem to sell very well. I guess most people like the extra hugeness of these supposed mini-vans.
  • allison5allison5 Posts: 130
    The decision has been made that I will not be doing minivan again, seats are just not good for my back in the 3 diferent minivans that I have tried. It is not worth buying a 30.000+ vehicle and having a bum back. So as stated before I have thought about the Pilot seriously and am still curious. I think my issue is that I ask too many people questions/advice and then I get too many different answers. Right now I have GMC Yukon (not the big suburban) and when I take it out to the beach, mountains etc etc and we have our 3 kids, maybe a friend of theirs AND our 80 lb dog we are already crowded so I can't imagine a pilot. We probably go to Lake Tahoe in Calif about 5 hrs from our house around 5-6 times a year combining winter and summer. The beach many more times than that so I am torn. I am having friends tell me I should turn this yukon in and get a newer yukon, saying that in the long run I would be happier with a bigger vehicle especially as the kids are getting bigger. They are 11 and under. I really do like the pilot
  • jay_24jay_24 Posts: 536
    For the most part I'll agree. Mini-vans (except 8 pass seinna) are terrible at 3 kids. Why? because the second row has only 2 seats forcing the use of the third row. Your Honda Accord has only 3 inches less hip room in the rear seat (than the Pilot, and has seat belts for 3 unlike the Ody. (ignoring silly jump seat). However, the bigger child seats must be tough in an Accord since they are about 18+ inches wide. Accord rear hip room = 53.5 and 18x3 = 54inches.

    Adding extra kids isn't an option in the Accord however. We car pool to school so 5 kids (all under 10) need to fit. Got a mid size sedan for that?

    Allison - Pilot vs Yukon isn't that much difference. We looked at both and ended up with a Tahoe. Why? Honda dealer was not pleasant and wanted MSRP plus over $1000 for towing package. The Tahoe (one year used only 9k miles) was cheaper by a bunch. Even new the price is very close. (given employee pricing and discounts)
    I still follow this page because the Pilot was nice and may replace the Tahoe once the kids are older. (4 or 5 years)

  • sportymonksportymonk Posts: 258
    The dealer wanted MRSP??!! What was he drinking at the time? Seriously, if you quit going into the dealership where they can do their emotional stuff and use the Internet you will save bundles. I bought my 05 EX-L Steel Blue Pilot for $ 29680.55 OTD. Leith Honda Raleigh June 29th 2005. Got the tow pkg for $950 installed by dealer. I saved a bunch more by being armed with facts on Extended Warranty. had 6 yr 100,000 mi 0 ded for $960. Dealer couldn't match it.
  • jay_24jay_24 Posts: 536
    We bought about 6-8 months after the Pilot came out. (2003?) Many dealers were straight MSRP at that point. Also not many Honda dealers near by to choose from. Closest is 30 miles. I was armed with the price data, that's why we walked away after the test drive when thet sales person wouldn't budge.

  • sportymonksportymonk Posts: 258
    Aahh, I see. didn't know it was a while back.
  • enascar3enascar3 Posts: 18
    I was thinking everyone is out driving around in their Honda Pilot, but with gas at $2.40+ per gallon, that is unlikely.

    Anyone with the Cargo tray/mat have problems with everything back there sliding around? Any way of preventing it? I ownder if Rhino Linering the cargo tray would help? Any suggestions?
  • sportymonksportymonk Posts: 258
    $2.40 + !!!! Where are you? I'm coming there now! I just filled up at $2.599 and that is.02 cheaper than the other day! Just traded an 01 Impala 23 city // 29+ Hwy for my Pilot 16 City // 22.3 Hwy. In Rocky Mount (near Raleigh) NC.
  • enascar3enascar3 Posts: 18
    Well, today it's $2.45; I'm in Charleston SC and fill on the Air Force Base which runs a couple of cents cheaper than the local economy.

    16 city seems low but not bad, i get 18 city but have really been easy on the throttle. There aren't any hills here either which helps a great deal.
  • spyderredspyderred Posts: 138
    You guys are complaining about $2.40 and $2.59. We are paying $2.69 for regular unleaded at Sam's Club which is cheaper by at least 5-7 cents / gallon than the local gas station. This is not a complain. Just a statement of fact. This is in Southern California. I guess we can't have the best weather and the cheapest gas.

  • vrmvrm Posts: 310
    Three child seats just fit inside a Pilot. Three Booster seats fit better however its really hard to fit your hand in-between to buckle the kids up.

    I am doing research on the Pilot. Our kids are all less than 4 years old. I am trying to determine how "child-seat friendly" the Pilot is. Questions:

    Are you saying that I can fit 2 child seats in the second row of the Pilot? If yes, will all 3 child seats be secured by LATCH? I was under the impression that the Pilot only provided LATCH anchors for 2 child seats. Thanks!
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    Are you saying that I can fit 2 child seats in the second row of the Pilot? If yes, will all 3 child seats be secured by LATCH? I was under the impression that the Pilot only provided LATCH anchors for 2 child seats.

    Only two child seats will be secure with LATCH. The one in the middle would use the seat belt.

    I wouldn't let that dissuade you. A belted-in child seat that is properly installed is just as safe as a seat properly installed with LATCH (sources of this include NHTSA). In fact, some recent Consumer Reports testing showed that some seats were actually safer with a belted install than with LATCH!

    The only issue in not using LATCH is convenience. LATCH installs are usually easier and there less error-prone (at least in theory). That's the main reason LATCH was standardized, because so many seats are installed improperly. There are plenty of local resources that will check the seat.
  • Im looking for a deicast model of a Honda Pilot I saw one on eBay a few years back but havent seen one since. I recently got an 05 Pilot EX in Steel Blue Metallic. If any one knows of a diecast model for display Id love to hear from you. A 1:43 scale would be preferrred but Id take anything at this point


  • Coming from an Expedition, I'm thinking about buying a Honda Pilot. Wondering if the seat belts coming from the ceiling get in the way. I sat behind the driver's seat and my child was buckled next to me in the center seat. The seat belt strap from the ceiling felt like it was very close to my head. Does it bother any back seat passengers or is it me? I want something with better gas mileage and one that can seat 8.
  • jay_24jay_24 Posts: 536
    I think that is correct. 2 latch positions and 1 seatbelt. None of our child seats had the latch system so we used belts anyways.

    Our problem was as the kids get older (4+) and use booster seats its hard to buckle them all the time. Your constantly sticking your hand between the boosters. We like to put all three in one row during trips so there is more room for stuff in back. During the week we carpool kids to school and then the third row is full too.

    Currently with a 8, 6 and 2+ we are down to one booster and a child seat so buckling is lesser of an issue. Now its.... He pulled my hair, or she touched me, I wan't to sit by the window, are we there yet?, I gotta go potty....

    The Pilot works for 3. Its just a bit harder than the full size SUVs. We ended up with a Tahoe. Mostly because of the poor Honda dealer, their location (so far away), and the Tahoe was used and was chearper than the Pilot.

    I'm still interested in the Pilot, hence following the boards. Very nice general purpose SUV for bigger families. Just wish a dealer was closer and nicer to work with.
  • suvtimesuvtime Posts: 58
    I was wondering how many people replace the alloy rims that come on the Pilot with cheap steel ones for the winter. If not, can I assume the alloy ones won't be damaged by the salt.
  • I bought my 2005 Pilot new in September 2004. I have always had problems with skidding even on slightly wet road surfaces. It happens when you have to break even slightly hard. It can be very disconcerning. I have had the tires rotated a spart of regular maintenance, did not help. I only have 15K miles . Anyway my Pilot came with a set of 17" Goodyear Integrity tires. I would like to replace the tires with something that will provide better grip on wet surfaces. I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions for replacement tires. I was thinking about a set of Bridgestone Dueler H?L Alenza tires. Any feedback or suggestions??
  • A lot of folks like the Michelin CTs or the newer Goodyear Forteras. The Forteras don't have a long track record yet but most that have them like them. Try for more detailed info concerning noise, handling etc. The goodyear Integrities have a reputation for being treacherous in the wet. Many took them off within days of buying a Pilot. I am waiting as we haven't had hardly any rain here in eastern NC until recently. Only have 6000 miles so hard to say.
  • Thanks! I really appreciate your help!
  • ericptericpt Posts: 11
    Hi Guys

    Great forums here! I saw one thread where a guy picked up one of the above for 26k and change just today. Wow!

    My local dealership just quoted me 295xx, but, they dont have what we want on the lot. Makes it harder to negotiate. They might try to get one. I thought We were getting a decent deal, 3k under invoice... seems like for the price maybe I should be getting an 06. Which I saw, and do look nice.. but not that nice! (seems like almost a 5k diff in comparably equipped)

    Im in Arizona - any suggestions welcome. Its for the wifey, she wantes the sage brush pearl - for the money, I think you should get nothing but exactly what you want. But this bid from the local dealer, seems a bit high.

    Just wanted to check my findings against you guys, get some feedback and maybe some suggestions on good dealerships in the mid-arizona region.

    Hope thats okay to ask for-

  • steverstever Posts: 52,457
    Maybe you found this discussion already, but if not, you can check on recent deals here too:

    Honda Pilot: Prices Paid & Buying Experience

    Steve, Host
  • ericptericpt Posts: 11
    Thanks Steve-

    I am still getting the feel for where to post what, and I meant to stick that post in that thread. I will repost over there - sorry for my confusion!

  • steverstever Posts: 52,457
    It's ok to be confused in here - just keep your wits about you when you go to the dealer. :shades:

    There's a bunch of car buying tips hanging off the main page too and the Confessions of a Car Salesman article is a real hoot.

    Steve, Host
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 15,612
    be aware that there are 2 different 'levels' of cross terrains. one is an oem version. it has a treadwear rating of 420. there is also another version with a 700 treadwear rating. make sure you get what you think you paying for.
    2020 Ford Explorer XLT, 2019 Lincoln MKZ Reserve 1
  • lumber2lumber2 Posts: 184
    You don't say wheere you are, which might color some opinions as to what to put on your Pilot. I do recommend 16 inch tires not 17.
    Xterrain tires by Michelin and michelin ltx ms are excellent tires. The GY Fortera Triple tred sounds good in the marketing but reality is unknown.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,457
    This discussion's title looks a bit like a tombstone now but since we're close to Halloween, I suppose it'll work.

    For the new model year, please visit the Honda Pilot - 2006+ discussion.

    Steve, Host
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 15,612
    guess i killed another one! :)
    2020 Ford Explorer XLT, 2019 Lincoln MKZ Reserve 1
  • steverstever Posts: 52,457
    lol, think of the new one as a younger sibling to this one; post away. :-)

    Steve, Host
  • i too just bought a 2005 honda pilot (about 1500miles)...boy you hit the nail right on the head. i too experience the same problem(s). did you get it fixed?
    i went to the dealer and try to have the side panel fixed due to the annoying rattling noise. im trying to see if they can fix the slossing noise from the fuel tank. they tell me that some honda piilot makes that noise and some dont. i told them that if the noise was the problem in 03-04 model. why cant they fixed the prob. 05. of course they couldnt give me a straight answer. im trying to see if anyone had the problem(s) fixed or we just have to live with it .
  • My Glove Box rattles and it is drivign me mad, I took to the dealer and they can not find out what is causing and to investigate they would have to take apart dash and charge $100 an hour, any one experience this, solutions to fix.

    The only thing that stops it is if I hold my hand to the glovebox
  • I used to have this rattle problem with my CR-V. I turned out that the crews to hold the lock were getting loose. You may want to check on that. It could be a quick fix.
  • Tried screwing down locks, and it still rattles, I cannot figure it out, other than to have passenger press against the glove box, for a car that is two years old, I do not want to hear this rattle everytime i drive, and
  • I sent my 2005 Pilot EX-L to Warsaw, Poland and it's been on the road there for the past week. It will be registered locally but there are some issues that have to be resolved in the next month and a half. The headlights can be adjusted to euro standards, a rear fog light can be added, however, the taillights need an amber turn signal, and a few local shops said it would be challenging if not impossible.

    The new 2006 rear light covers would be much easier to modify and they can be ordered for $142 a piece. The delership in Atlanta is unable to give me a definite answer but the shape seems to be the same when I look at the pics of 2005s and 2006s. Does anyone know if these can be swapped? Should I get them?
  • I got my question answered on the 2006+ board. Though it seems like the new taillights might fit, the 2005 ones on eBay look very similar, are cheaper, and will be just as easy to modify.
  • Yes they will fit. Go to and they have a thread on this subject. The only difference is that there is a small tab on the older lights that is not there on the 06 taillights. it used to cover a screw. It is not noticeable once the tailgate is closed. Try for a good price.
  • Hello! Can you please give an update? We just had our first snow whack of the season and Firestone is recommending the Winterforce (unstuddded) for our 2003 Pilot. They have a really lousy review from a minivan driver on, so your comments would really be appreciated. Thanks!
  • We have a 2004 pilot and the towing sucks. We are towing a tent trailer and find that we can not load two mid sized kids with any gear and be able to tow without the backend dipping and raising the front end to the extent that the vehicle feel light and unsafe on the highway. We also bought this vehicle thinking we could have a good city car and still be able to use it for vacation. Good luck with that
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