Honda Pilot Maintenance and Repair



  • walleye5walleye5 Member Posts: 26
    It is a fine line between a door being a nice tight fit vs. not closing as nicely as we might like. Look in the door jamb and you will usually see a "u" shaped door striker that is adjustable. Only a very slight movement in or out will make the door tighter or looser closing. I think if it does not improve as the vehicle breaks in, if you complain again they will adjust it for you. I assume the other doors all close to your liking, so you can tell them to make the bad one like the others. You should only get wind noise if they loosen it too much. Mike
  • jrock80jrock80 Member Posts: 66
    Does the Pilot have the same 3.0 V6 that the new Accord has? I have experienced the same starting problem on my '03 Accord EX V6 as well as the loud clunking sound when you turn on the A/C. My dealer has replaced the fuel pump and fuel pressure regulator all to no avail.
  • gachargachar Member Posts: 8
    My Pilot EX dumped all it's oul in my driveway at 5000 miles. It was towed to the dealership and they found that the timing belt was bad and destroyed some seal. After they fixed it, they found that 2 of the valves were bent. It was fixed too. The whole thing took 1 week. All this with no loaner. This policy of honda sucks. I had atleast 7 problems in my pilot when I took delivery. Most of them are not fixed yet because of the lack of parts. It has been 4 months. The inconvenience this vehicle has caused me is very annoying (4 trips to the dealer so far). Every time I need to drop off the vehicle, have some one pick me up and get a ride to work. I AM VERY UNHAPPY WITH THIS VEHICLE.
  • txpackertxpacker Member Posts: 2
    Took delivery just before thanksgiving. Ex cloth. Noticed in the past week or so that it wont start the first time. Going to the dealer tomorrow. It has 2700 miles
  • brews1brews1 Member Posts: 40
    The transmission takes about a second to drop into drive after drive is selected. It runs and shifts fine but was wondering if anyone else noticed a slight delay between placing the lever in drive and the transmission actually shifting into drive. As far as starting, it happened about two times where it took more than once and that was when the cold weather first hit and the temp dropped from the 50s to the 20s after the car sat overnight. Other than that, no problems.
  • johndorrfjohndorrf Member Posts: 1
    I have read all the problems that everyone has posted on this site. Does anyone have any good things to say about the Pilot? I'm having second thoughts about the purchase.
  • brews1brews1 Member Posts: 40
    I don't consider my issues to be problems that would make me sorry I bought the car. They are really minor issues when compared to the whole package. I am very happy with the Pilot and think it is much better than most cars out there that cost a whole lot more. I would recommend a Pilot to anyone and I have owned plenty of cars in my time.
  • melandmalmelandmal Member Posts: 11
    We've had our EX for over a month now and couldn't be happier. Granted there have been some comments about minor annoyances, but the overall package and value far surpass everything out there. You want to read about some troubles, go spend some time in the GM Triplets board. Now there's reason to second guess your purchase of one of those.
  • stsai001stsai001 Member Posts: 1
    I did experienced a few times of failed start on the first crank and the second crank also take one or two seonds longer than normal. Also, I have experienced the smell of gas but it was while I am driving. It happened a few times in particular when I hit a bump or sharp turn. I also have a hum sound from the back when I do a sudden start or stop but can't repeat the issue every time. The dealer checked the noise and can't find any thing. I really find hard to communicate with dealers since they don't normally believe what you told them. My car has 3500 now. I hope honda or dealer can help me out.
  • chitturichitturi Member Posts: 16
    My Pilot has 800 miles on it and failed to start on first try on 3 or 4 occassions. I've read the postings of same problem before in our forum. Has any one got the problem solved?. It's really frustrating these kind of things happening with honda.
  • rkasirkasi Member Posts: 1
    My Pilot has around 3700 miles on it and I did have some startup troubles a few times. A week ago, it took 4 tries! Dealer asked me whether I left the lights on! (even after I mentioned these discussions).
  • chitturichitturi Member Posts: 16
    It looks like many people have this start up problem and It's been there for quiet some time. We have to be real aggressive with Honda to fix this problem. It looks like they haven't done any thing about this problem despite >8 complaints to Honda corp. we pay high prices to these foreign cars to be free from this kind of hassles.
    I have 1997 Geo Prizm with 85000 miles on it and I never had to try more than once to start it even in harsh winters.
  • jrock80jrock80 Member Posts: 66
    Maybe if we all band together and start a class action law suit against Honda for this frequently experienced problem by many of their customers we could either all have the problem fixed or be given some kind of restitution for this problem.
  • avcii2avcii2 Member Posts: 13
    Count me in.
  • chitturichitturi Member Posts: 16
    Count me in too.
  • gachargachar Member Posts: 8
    I have the same problem. It doesn't happen every time. Happens quite often though.
  • chitturichitturi Member Posts: 16
    I've Complained this problem to Honda corp. Folks! Please complain this problem to Honda, so they will find out the problem and fix it soon.
  • stuartcstuartc Member Posts: 33
    Hi all:

    First of all, I LOVE my Pilot. Much more than I thought I would. I love the way it drives. Very quick and nimble. Also, I've really learned to appreciate the simplicity of the instrumentation layout and roominess of the interior.

    I've had my Pilot about 4 months and have about 5000 miles on her, all trouble-free until a few days ago when we began experiencing some extended below freezing weather here in the Boston area.

    Sometimes I park my Pilot outside overnight. The last two mornings when it's been parked outside overnight, the Pilot started without problem, but then the gas pedal is totally non-responsive in terms of giving gas to the car. I push on the gas pedal, the pedal depresses, but no gas is getting to the engine. The gas pedal is like this until I let the car warm up for a period of time.

    My driveway is sort of steep. The first time this happened, I started the Pilot, put it in Reverse and backed down into the street (not realizing that gravity was causing the car to move, not the gas pedal). I then put it in Drive and pushed on the gas pedal. Nothing happened. I pushed again. Nothing. Fortunately, no cars were coming down the road, as I sat helplessly in the middle of the road for a few minutes until the gas pedal became responsive (normal). Kinda scary.

    Anyway, anyone else experience this non-responsive gas pedal, especially folks in very cold climates ? I wonder if this is somehow related to the starting problems other folks are having ?

    I'll be calling my dealer tomorrow. I'll let you know what they say.

    Boston, MA
  • bileeskbileesk Member Posts: 1
    My Pilot EX-L has 2,200 miles on it and failed to start on first try on 4 or 5 occassions although I've garaged here in Northern California. Also, I have experienced the bad smell while I've been retrying to start. Has any one got the problem solved? I will call the dealer this week.
  • tocatoca Member Posts: 147
    first blush it sounds like the transmission isn't engaging. When you shift into reverse or drive, can you feel it? You should feel the Pilot want to move (without gravity of course). Let us know what the dealer finds.
  • boatsrbetterboatsrbetter Member Posts: 1
    I took delivery of my Pilot end of December. I decided to check the board after some starting issues. It seemed minor, but as everybody has mentioned, it sometimes takes a second try for it to start. After discussion with the service manager at the local dealership, he said it's not uncommon to have to turn the key and "crank" it for up to 15 seconds with Honda's. I have not previously owned a Honda, but this does not sound right to me. I'll post any updates as they happen.
  • matt53209matt53209 Member Posts: 6
    I'm not sure this helps anyone, but my wife drives a 2002 Civic and has experienced starting problems too. This happened in our previous 1997 Civic too. She says it usually happens when the gas is below a 1/4 of a tank of gas.
  • chitturichitturi Member Posts: 16
    I've recently read about a recall by Honda for defective Ingnition switch in certain Honda and Acura models ( not Pilot). The problem they have mentioned was "difficulty in Starting and engine Stalling". I am Just wondering if this defective ignition switch is causing starting problems in our Pilots. It's just a thought. Please see the following link for more details on the recall (you may have to register to log in)
  • stuartcstuartc Member Posts: 33
    I've not had the problem since my posting. The last two mornings were very cold (14 this morning) and she started with no problem and the gas pedal behaved normally.

    I called my dealer and spoke with a service rep. He had not heard of this problem. Since I can't reproduce it, he suggested that I bring it in if I have the problem again and they will try to reproduce it. Makes sense to me.
  • barrye2barrye2 Member Posts: 2
    I have noticed an occasional starting problem. Until reading this I thought I didn't hold the ignition long enough. Now I realize the problem isn't me. I really love the vehicle and have been enjoying it. The only problem I have with it is really just a nusiance problem. When I take the Pilot through a car wash (I have a black so I run it through once a week) water appears to collect behind the rear spoiler. For the next several miles it seems to drip down slowly. I have tried numerous ways of drying it but can't seem to lick the problem. The dripping causes streaking which I would like to avoid. This isn't a major problem but I would like to solve it.
  • maj1maj1 Member Posts: 37
    Just got my Pilot EX-L Nav. on the 16th, I think it's the best SUV for the money.
    I did not encounter any starting problems. From what I understand for all fuel injection engines when you turn the key to III position before starter kick over you can hear the fuel injector humming for about 2-3 second. You should wait until the injector start working before you start the engine. This holds true with my other cars, and with the temperature holding around 9 to 12 degreed in Michigan, I have no problem starting any of my vehicles. Give that a try I hope this help.

    Good Piloting
  • hondalover7hondalover7 Member Posts: 3
    I've owned my Pilot since the beginning of Oct. and have aprox. 3000 miles on it. I was relieved to see others were having problems starting their car.

    For me it's random and sometimes takes 3 tries before it kicks over. I called Honda America and filed a complaint. Everyone who is experiencing this problem should also do so. (They say never buy the Company's first year's model. There will always be kinks to take out.)

    I've owned 3 Honda's since 1986 and never had a problem.

    Interesting today, my auto driver's window would only work manually. I was able to reset it with no problem. The manual says the reason for resetting this would be only if the battery is disconnected or goes dead, or the driver's window fuse is removed. Could this start up problem be and electrical defect?

    I'll let you know what the dealer says after they look at the car.

    Again, I will also report it to Honda America.

    Let us know how you do. Maybe we will get this problem resolved.
  • snowchiefsnowchief Member Posts: 16
    I've had my Pilot EX for over 4 months and have approx. 6,400 miles on it. I LOVE the vehicle, but it's not free of defects. I have not experienced the starting problem described here. The only sort of starting problem I have noticed is when I leave for work in the morning and stop off at the convenience store a few miles away for coffee and then restart the vehicle it seems to start a little "harder" than usual, but nothing like is described above. I have just figured that it's because the engine was not warm yet, but I live in Phoenix so it's not like the engine is cold. Lately I just leave the engine running while in the store so it's really not a problem now. Sometimes in the parking garage at work I'm not sure if it started at all because the thing is so quite...I have to look at the tac to see if it's runnning and it always is.

    The small issues I have are:
    1. There is a noice coming from the cushioning just above the driver's side pillar...right next to my left ear when I'm driving. On roads that are not completely smooth it seems to "squeek" all the time. I do not like noise like that...that's why I sold my Tahoe and went to the Pilot.
    2. There are times when the driver's side windshield washer fluid squirter lets out some fluid on the hood for no reason. It's not from accidentally grabbing the washer handle instead of the gear shifter, it happens when I'm cruising down the road.
    3. The window button on the driver's door that operates the front passenger's window will stick in the "up" position from time to time when rolling that window up. If I don't pay attention it could stick and the motor would continue to run until I shut the vehicle off and open the door.

    I'm a little concerned about the pulley recall. I have lived with the other little things, but will be calling my dearer today to get scheduled to have my pulled replaced. I have no idea why I have not received a notice from Honda about this.
  • pilotbuyerpilotbuyer Member Posts: 11
    I can find no formal reference to any "pulley recall" for the Honda Pilot either at the Honda web site, this (Edmunds) site, or the Consumer Reports web site.

    Can someone please direct me to an authoritative source of information about this "recall" so that I can can check out the details.

  • snowchiefsnowchief Member Posts: 16
    I just called my dealer and they ran my VIN through Honda and my vehicle does not have any recalls. She was familiar with the pulley recall but said that it did not effect all Pilots.
  • hondalover7hondalover7 Member Posts: 3
    I called Honda Corp and asked about the pulley recall after reading this site last week.

    I was told after giving my vin # to a customer service rep. that the problem does not exist in every pilot. He suggested I register on ownerlink on the Honda website. This way, if there are any recalls I will be notified quicker through the e-mail rather than through regular mail.
  • pb_ym1pb_ym1 Member Posts: 2
    I'm reading all these problems here. Is this because of first year production of Pilot? Do you think they will fix most of these in 2004 Pilot? If yes, then may be I should wait for 2004 Pilot. Any comments from anyone????????
  • hondalover7hondalover7 Member Posts: 3
    Yes, pb_ym1.

    If you have not purchased one. I would definately recommend waiting until the 2004 model comes out. You don't want to waste your time taking your Pilot back and forth to the dealership to get the problems fixed.

    Wait until Honda takes the kinks out.
  • matt53209matt53209 Member Posts: 6
    Anyone know when a 2004 Pilot is expected?
  • chitturichitturi Member Posts: 16
    I have about 1400 miles on my Pilot and I am hearing a brief noise (about a second) from the engine when I start the vehicle first time in the day(every day) and It won't happen again during the day . The noise is like If you are "Over starting" the vehicle. I took it to the dealership and they kept the vehicle over night to duplicate the noise. They service person told me that they were able to duplicate the noise and it could be a starter problem but they were not doing any thing to fix it since the noise is very brief and they couldn't reproduce the noise when they started immidiately second time. They also told me to properly diagnose and fix the problem the noise should last longer and happen more frequently. Should I be concerned about this noise? Is this going to damage the engine if its not fixed soon(service person didn't say any thing). I am also having problems with remote, It stops working intermittently. Service person told me to use the remote from the front of the vehicle to properly work the remote. It doesn't make any sense to me. I have a 2000 Honda Odessey and the remote works from any where and any direction. Does any one have similar problems? any suggestions?
  • pilotdadpilotdad Member Posts: 12
    I've had my Pilot since July and love it. I have experienced some of the problems posted here.

    The starting problem. It would fail to start on the first try. I never did smell gas like some here. I did notice however that the green key light would flash. I read the manual and discovered that if I take the key out and reinsert it the car starts fine. It has to do with the chip in the key...if you put the key in too fast and turn it, the chip in the steering column sometimes won't recognize the key. Try it and let us know if it works for you!

    I did find the seats uncomfortable at first, with pressure under my legs. I found that if I tilted the seat bottom forward, I felt better. Now, I am very used to it, and feel comfortable all the time (until of course my wife drives it and changes my settings!).

    The hard shift problem. I'm not convinced this is a problem. I have had Hondas in the past and they all seem to shift a bit hard compared to other cars I have owned. I read something in an Accord manual that said not to worry about it and that it was normal. My Pilot seemed to have this condition at first, but either it went away with time (I have 7000 miles now) or I'm used to it.

    There is one other problem I have noticed...not a big deal but one I will have the dealer look at when I have to bring it in for something else. The front seats sometimes don't feel as if they're locked in place. There seems to be a bit of play. Anyone else notice this?

    Other than these items, I have had no problems. I love the way it handles and rides. I love the room for my five kids. I love the visibility. I love the quiet. I love the mileage for its size and weight (I'm getting a solid 21 in town). I love the fit and finish. I'm a very satisfied customer overall and would highly recommend it.
  • mqc99mqc99 Member Posts: 6
    You can go to the following Honda web site ( and register online. After registering, go to the recall section and enter your VIN. It will tell you whether your vehicle has a recall.
  • chitturichitturi Member Posts: 16
    My both remotes stop working intermittently ( once every 3-4 days) start working again after I drive my vehicle for a few miles(all doors were properly closed). Has any one experienced the similar problem?. I'll take my vehicle to the dealer soon.
  • avcii2avcii2 Member Posts: 13
    My wife's remote died pretty quickly (two months, with very little use), but a new battery did the trick. We both keep extra batteries with us just to be safe.

    Last week, it was very cold in NY. When I hit my remote the second time upon exit (when you hear the horn honk to ensure the car is locked), the alarm started going off. It hasn't happened again, though. No other problems.

    I know that you don't have to hit the lock button twice for the alarm to engage, but I was at a mall and pressed it twice just to be safe. Unnecessarily hitting the lock button a second time can drain the remote battery.

    Did you try a new battery for the remote?
  • chitturichitturi Member Posts: 16
    Few days ago I posted about a problem with my keyless entry(I thought it was not working intermittently). It's not the battery in the remote. The remote is not working In certain Shopping malls/residential areas only. I was able to duplicate the problem by going to those areas repeatedly( other places it's been working fine). I have a Radar detector in my Pilot, has it to do any thing with remote not working selectively. Any thoughts or suggestions?. since I was able to duplicate the problem I am relieved and I'll take to dealership soon.
  • angieebangieeb Member Posts: 8
    I do not have a "roaming code" garage door opener. In my previous vehicles, setting the home link has been easy! I absolutley cannot get the thing to work and I have followed the directions exactly over and over again. Any suggestions?
  • msgolf41msgolf41 Member Posts: 9
    Angie - I had tremendous problems getting it to program (mine was rolling code, though) but the two things that I did were to replace the battery in my remote (enough juice to open the door, but not enough for programming) and I finally (stubbornly) followed the suggestion to unplug the opener while 'teaching' the homelink.

    Once you have done this, plug in the opener, hit the 'learn' button and it should begin flashing. When you press your homelink button the learn light should "go solid" (stop blinking, but be on) and then press the homelink button again and the learn light should turn off. It should now be ready to go. Once propgrammed, you seem have to press the homelink button rather firmly to get it to work, but it will. Good luck.
  • tocatoca Member Posts: 147
    It's not how firm you press the button, but rather how long. I find you have to press and hold for about a second or two. With my old remote it was a quicker press and release.

    Also agree with msgolf's programming tips. If you don't deviate from the manuals step by step instructions, you should be able to get homelink to work successfully - at least with the rolling code systems.
  • nukemtnukemt Member Posts: 2
    I had a lot of trouble programing for my Genie door opener and finally went to the homelink website. I found out that you must start from the beginning of the programing instructions and continue thru the instructions for the roaming codes without stopping. It took just one try this way. Good luck.
  • rmallikrmallik Member Posts: 3
    Any indications from dealers/Honda about when the 2004 Pilot is expected? I see that the 2003 was available around June 2002; will the 2004 be available around June 2003? Thanks.
  • jimboscjimbosc Member Posts: 8
    I just took delivery of a 2003 Pilot EX-L last Saturday and it also has the starting problem. Most mornings it does not fire up the first try - does on the second after cranking it longer than it seems you should. Runs a bit rough for a few seconds after that - which makes me think it is fuel system related or electrical. This is in a garage so the car is never sitting in temps below 35 degrees at night. Start-up during the day has been no problem so far.

    Honda does recommend all electrical accessories be turned off before a cold start. Is it possible that is causing a problem (I have been leaving the climate contol system on)? I tried the key removal and reinsert trick - did not seem to help. I usually do step on the brake pedal as recommended - also seems to make no difference.

    Something is not right - but I am willing to live with it for now. I am just concerned if we get a cold snap the thing will not start - but it seems like the 30-40 degree range is worse than colder temps from what I have read on various forums. That would point to some type of computer issue.

    If Honda does issue a TSB on this please advise - I will be all over the dealer at the first schedule maintenance to fix this (unless it gets worse - then it goes back immediately). I actually threw my keys at a Ford Service Tech once when they messed up a repair. Honda does not want to piss me off!

  • melandmalmelandmal Member Posts: 11
    This is what I do when I get into my Pilot each time. When I first get in and sit down in the seat, I insert the key into the ignition without turning it on before putting on my seatbelt. After putting on my seatbelt, I then start the car. I've never had any issue with slow starting, other than the time I tried to start the Pilot with our other car key. I've heard that since there is a chip in the key that it takes a couple of seconds for the key and car to recognize each other. Try this and see if it works. Cheers.
  • chitturichitturi Member Posts: 16
    Does VTM sign light up when VTM engages(automatic)?
  • 01r101r1 Member Posts: 280
    No, it only lights up when manually engaged or flashes when there's a problem with the system.
  • jimboscjimbosc Member Posts: 8
    Using the combination of:
     - no accessories on
     - waiting several seconds after inserting the key
     - steeping on the brake pedal when cranking over the engine

    Seems to have solved the starting issue. I guess the only weird one to me is the brake. The car will start without the brake being pressed, but fires up the first try when cold with the brake on. On a manual tranny - the clutch has to be pressed in or the starter will not engage. Why does Honda let the car turn over but do something in the 'puter to prevent starting. I guess I am wondering the logic that went into how they applied this.

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