Honda Pilot Maintenance and Repair



  • ralphucoralphuco Member Posts: 13
    There are seven people with this brake problem and a descriptions of it can be found in the discussion of '03 to '05 Pilots on this board. Ralph
  • rodutrodut Member Posts: 343
    A vehicle that randomly brakes by itself on the highway ?!? My god ...


  • rodutrodut Member Posts: 343
    Dear Edmunds
    This time I published this post on 2 discussion groups only. So please don't delete it. Thanks.


    There are only 7 vehicles probably because the problem just started to show up. 2005 was the 1st year when VSA was installed on Pilots, so 2005 Pilots have the oldest VSAs, so the most likely to fail.

    Years ago I predicted that VSAs will kill people. I even had lots of posts removed from this web site (Edmunds accused me of SPAM, because I posted my post on about 50 discussion groups, if I remember correctly). Also the local newspaper accepted to publish my article about the dangers of a malfunctioning Stability System (January 2006). I also sent my article to NHTSA (January 2007).

    At that time I was predicting that when malfunctioning VSA will steer the cars randomly all over the place because of applying the brakes on one side of the vehicle (to correct for an imaginary skid, when the computer would receive a wrong information from a bad sensor). Well ... it seems that these days it applies the brakes on all wheels, not just on one side as I was predicting.

    The following is the letter I had sent to NHTSA (in January 2007), and their confirmation of receipt:

    Thank you for contacting the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Vehicle Safety Hotline Information Center.

    We appreciate the time you have taken to contact us and value your opinion. Your comments have been forwarded to the appropriate NHTSA personnel.

    However, if you need additional information on our services please feel free to contact us at 1-888-327-4236.

    Thank you, Response Team

    Disclaimer: "This response is for information purposes only and does not constitute an official communication of the U.S. Department of Transportation. For an official response, please write U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 400 7th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20590.

    > Dear NHTSA,
    > In my opinion you expose yourself to huge lawsuits by making the ESC mandatory (49 CFR Parts 571 and 585 - Electronic Stability Control Systems; Proposed Rule). Please, in the name of mankind, read carefully my letter. I am a 42 years old Electronics Test Engineer, so I know a lot about electronic systems. I understand that you have good intentions and want to protect us. But you don't see the whole picture. By only looking at the technical performance of new VSC systems you miss some major points:
    > 1) You miss the fact that these systems will kill people when they will become defective (because of age, vibrations, thermal cycles over many years, hardware bugs, software bugs, etc). You authorize a computer to steer a car ... well it will do it when needed, or when not needed (if defective). So some family somewhere in America will drive in straight line, on a sunny summer day, on dry pavement, and suddenly the old and defective steering sensor will send to the computer the wrong information (let's say "steering wheel turned max to the left"). The computer, thinking that the driver turned the steering wheel to the left, will apply the left side brakes to abruptly steer the car to the left (let's say in the path of an incoming 18 wheeler). Fortunately for you all of them will die, so it will be nobody to sue you. BUT after many people will be killed, some other family, another sunny day, could escape alive. And those people will sue you.
    > 2) The 2nd fact you miss is the impact of such systems on people's health. For instance my heart skips a beat (or a couple of beats) when the ESC system activates. Do you think that is "safe" for me ?!? It's because I don't expect somebody else to steer and brake my car. I never had any health problems when skidding on ice !
    > 3) The 3rd fact you miss is that you create dumber drivers. Overconfident too. For 10 years I drove a rear wheel Volvo 240 wagon. It was skidding on snow all the time, but that was never a problem, because by instinct I was turning the steering wheel to the right position. New drivers, driving these ESC cars, will never have that instinct. So they will become dumber drivers. But they will be overconfident too, because they will trust the damn computer, which will let them down when they will try to break the physics laws (so they will go into the ditch). Do you think that the dumb&overconfident combination is safe ?
    > 4) In 10 years these 2007 cars will be owned by modest-income people, so it's likely they won't spend thousands of dollars to fix fancy electronic systems. Nobody will care about warning lights ! They will keep driving them and put all of us (your children too) at risk.
    > 5) Very limited testing. Testing of such a complex system (supposed in good health) cannot be done for an infinity of scenarios. Testing will be limited to a small number of road scenarios, and will also be done on young, properly functioning systems. No test engineer or designer will be able to know with 100% certitude that those systems will be safe. BUT I can tell you with 100% certitude that those systems will become older, and will malfunction, at a certain point in time. Isn't that obvious ? Do not believe that the diagnostic system will pick up any malfunctions. I spent my whole life debugging electronic systems, and I can tell you that there is an infinite number of possible malfunctions in such a complex electronic system (sensors, modules, wiring, connections, rusty grounds etc). A designer can't imagine and predict an infinite number of problems and scenarios.
    > Solution:
    > In my opinion your ESC regulation should either disappear from the face of the Earth, or it should require manufacturers to install a separate fuse for the ESC system. With such a fuse available, any car owner would be able to PERMANENTLY disable a system authorized to kill him and his family (if defective), without disabling any other car electronic system (ABS, braking etc). Also if in 10 years a certain manufacturer realizes that it manufactured a million of dangerous cars, that manufacturer could issue a cheap recall (to remove that fuse), so cheaply convert a million of dangerous cars into a million of safe cars (ESC free).
    > Final comments:
    > What nobody at NHTSA seems to notice is that for the 1st time in automotive history, the computer has been given the right to kill. And you want to make it a mandatory feature!
    > Can't you see the lawsuits against you ? Can't you see our lives at the mercy of a damn aging computer ?!
  • mercaramercara Member Posts: 291

    Air bags kill too, but I think the benefits outweigh the risks.
  • rodutrodut Member Posts: 343
    The difference is that the airbags kill you if you misuse them (you stay too close, or put a child in the front seat, etc ...). Stability systems kill you without you being at fault in any way (just driving the wrong car at the wrong time).

    These Stability Systems could become extremely lucrative for lawyers. I think some lawyers will keep their eyes glued to these systems (sold by any manufacturer, because actually Honda was one of the last ones to offer it as standard feature on their cars).

    And it's "Rodut", not "Rodent" !!!

  • vibovibo Member Posts: 9
    Will someone describe where I might find the transmission fill location on my 2006 Honda Pilot (EX 4wd)?

    I have found the drain plug underneath, and of course the ATF dipstick, but I cannot find the fill plug. The location is not given in the owner's manual. Perhaps Honda does not want "Weekend mechanics" doing weekend maintenance.

    Any help would be great!! Thank you!
  • ciacia Member Posts: 10
    Hi, the strangest thing happened to my rear tail lights on my 2003 Pilot. The section where the brake lamp is located, the small cap that covers the lamp popped out on both tail lights. The upper caps are still in place.The caps have dropped down to the bottom of the tail light assembly. I can't even remove the red lense to pop the caps back in place since they are factory sealed. I want to take a picture and send it to Honda. I wonder if this is a defect of some kind. Has anyone experienced this issue. I'm sure that when I'm driving and going over bumps, the caps are tossing around in the tail light assembly. Someone has suggested to use an exacto knife to remove the lense, but I think that once you open the seal it will always retain water afterwards even with a good silicone seal. Any ideas out there?????????? :confuse:
  • kipkkipk Member Posts: 1,576
    A lot of transmissions are filled through the dip stick tube. Is the tube large enough for a small funnel?
  • vibovibo Member Posts: 9
    Thanks for the info. I was able to get good information.
  • toms422toms422 Member Posts: 2
    I was told by a dealership that the transmission should not be flushed, just replace the fluid?
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    What does the manual say?

    How much more does a flush cost than replacing the fluid?

    amigo_john, "Isuzu Trooper" #8070, 30 Jun 2003 6:46 am
  • toms422toms422 Member Posts: 2
    to replace the fluid - $90 ... FLUSHED
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    I'd just replace it myself if it's time. I don't believe in flushing (although some call it "power flushing").
  • mercaramercara Member Posts: 291
    If you want to replace the full fluid, I suggest go for a Fluid exchange. For a flush they pour in some kind of cleaner into your transmission and some of the residue will stay back in your transmission and it's not good.
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    This just in:

    "But Honda's memo to mechanics clearly says "do not use transmission flushing machines" because of the risks to the car." (NBC LA)
  • bigdadi118bigdadi118 Member Posts: 1,207
    I believe 3 x fill/drain should serve like a flush. Just do the fill/drain on each engine oil change, around 5000 mi.
  • kipkkipk Member Posts: 1,576
    That would probably be a waste of money. That fluid really doesn't "wear out" like engine oil does. There are 8 or 9 quarts of fluid in the tranny. When it is drained, only 3-4 quarts actually drain. Most/much of the remaining fluid is in the torque converter. So each time tranny is drained it merely dilutes by 1/3 the fluid that was in there.

    Honda recommends draining the fluid and replacing the filter every 30K miles. The "FILTER" change and cleaning the metal particles from the drain plug are most likely the true goal. :)

  • ciacia Member Posts: 10
    Where the dip stick is located, look completly on the opposite side of the tranny near the fire wall you will see a tube with a bolt holding down this tube on the tranny. Remove the bolt which is about 2 inches long and grab the tube with your hand. pry the tube left to right till it gets loose and it will lift right off. You can now put a funnel there and fill your tranny. It will take anywhere beteen 3 to 4 litres of oil. Make sure you use the Honda ATF-Z1 oil. Put the tube back in the hole and install the bolt back in place.The level on the dip stick should be checked with the engine off.Also, change your rear differential oil every 25,000 miles. Use the Honda VTM-4 dif oil. The dif is easily emptied by removing the plug under the dif.but refilling it you will need to purchase a suction tube with a hose attached to it. You can purchase this in any tool shop. With this devise you can suck the oil a bit at a time right out of the VTM-4 gallon and transfer it to the diff. The refill plug is on the top side. The dif will take close to 3 litres of oil. I've already changed mine twice without any issues. Good luck
    CIA :shades:
  • mitch65mitch65 Member Posts: 26
    I'm in the process of buying a used 07 Pilot EXL. I was wondering if the Diagnostic Trouble Codes, if erased by one of those readers, can still be discovered? I have a reader myself and I know I can erase them so that the "check engine" light doesn't pop up anymore. So is there a way I can be sure there are no problems if the owner did erase them? I'm getting a service to check out the car regardless.
  • boughtalemonboughtalemon Member Posts: 28
    May I ask you how much you are paying for the 2007 Pilot and what the mileage is on it? I am thinking of selling mine, it has less than 8000 miles, all the bells and whistles except the dvd. It's a 4x4.
  • mitch65mitch65 Member Posts: 26
    Sure. I got the price to 19,500. I saw his ad for 20k even on CL. I saw his window ad asking for 24k, then 22k originally. Has just under 17k miles. Also 4wd. No extras, except a remote starter and 60mo 60k mile warranty
  • markludmarklud Member Posts: 41
    I have a 2003 Pilot, 46,000 miles, and want to flush and change antifreeze myself. Not that I'm cheap, but I don't want to use Honda pre-diluted antifreeze, unless I have to. If I flush the radiator and block, won't there be water be left in the block? Do I have to remove the block plugs? Anyway, what other brand would someone suggest is best for this Honda? The way I used to do it on other cars was, flush and fill with the concentrated kind. Usually this is because there is an equal amount of water left in the block, and using a pre-diluted antifreeze will make it too diluted.
  • mercaramercara Member Posts: 291
    If you erase the DTC code without resolving the underlying problem, it will come back on. There are certain cases when there maybe a delay in the light coming back on. For example if an oxygen sensor fails it may start to give readings outside the standard parameters. However if you reset the code the light may not come back on right away.

    There is no easy answer to your question. It depends on what triggered the code.
  • mitch65mitch65 Member Posts: 26
    I understand all that you said about the light not coming back on right away. But I wanted to know if the code can still be found if it was just erased by a handheld reader. For instance, if the seller erases it today to hide the condition, can I still find out about the condition thru some similar method tomorrow, understanding that the light won't come back on for a few weeks?
  • boughtalemonboughtalemon Member Posts: 28
    thanks, that is very low, you are getting a good deal. At these prices, I'll keep mine, cannot buy anything as good for 19K.
  • mercaramercara Member Posts: 291

    My understanding is that you cannot get the code once it has been erased. At least the hand held scanner that I have doesn't have this feature. Not sure if the more expensive ones can do this.
  • parvizparviz Member Posts: 484
    It is my understanding that if a code has been erased but the condition that triggered the code still exist, then the light will come back on after about 40 miles, at least on most cars.
  • alspilotalspilot Member Posts: 5
    The maintenance required code B1 came on my 06 Pilot.
    What does B1 stand for?
  • bigdadi118bigdadi118 Member Posts: 1,207
    From Owner Link re 08 Pilot ...

    Maintenance Minder B Scheduled Maintenance
    Recommended service for your 2008 Honda Pilot:

    Replace engine oil1 and oil filter

    Inspect front and rear brakes

    Check parking brake adjustment

    Inspect tie rod ends, steering gear box, and boots

    Inspect suspension components

    Inspect driveshaft boots

    Inspect brake hoses and lines (including ABS)

    Inspect all fluid levels and condition of fluids

    Inspect exhaust system#

    Inspect fuel lines and connections#

    1: If the message "SERVICE" does not appear more than 12 months after the display is reset, change the engine oil every year.

    #: See information on maintenance and emissions warranty on page 242 of your owner's manual.

    Independent of the maintenance minder display, replace the brake fluid every 3 years.

    Inspect idle speed every 160,000 miles (256,000 km).

    Adjust the valves during services A, B, 1, 2, or 3 only if they are noisy.

    Maintenance Minder 1 Scheduled Maintenance
    Recommended service for your 2008 Honda Pilot:

    Rotate tires

    Independent of the maintenance minder display, replace the brake fluid every 3 years.

    Inspect idle speed every 160,000 miles (256,000 km).

    Adjust the valves during services A, B, 1, 2, or 3 only if they are noisy.
  • zacsmomzacsmom Member Posts: 1
    Can you help me? I took my 07 Honda Pilot with 23000 miles to the dealer for the regular maintenance (oil change/tire rotation) and also asked them to look into a noise I was hearing when turning the steering wheel. After inspecting, they told me it was a "breakdown of the power steering fluid" and I needed to pay $130.00 to have it flushed. This seems like it should be something covered under warranty since I purchased the car from them and they are the only ones that have performed any maint. on the vehicle. What is your opinion?
  • uconnhuskiesfauconnhuskiesfa Member Posts: 2
    Re codes: Im getting 1456 and 1491. Can someone point me in the right direction? Everywhere I search on the web brings me different answers to these codes, often for different models of Honda's.

    Re Heated Seats: 2 part question. First, Passenger seat even on high barely but slightly gets warm on the weat bottom, not at all on the seat back. Any ideas where to start to find the issue? Drivers seat on high gets so hot on the seat bottom I feel like Im going to burn myself if I dont change it to low. Is this normal?

    thanks in advance all
  • bigdadi118bigdadi118 Member Posts: 1,207
    Ask why the PSF broke down so quick in 23000 mi,
    It is beyond normal wear and tear, so should be under warranty, if not you can use a turkey blaster (dollar store) to suck the old oil out and fill in the new Honda PSF bought from Dealer Parts.
  • bigdadi118bigdadi118 Member Posts: 1,207
    Re codes: Im getting 1456 and 1491 --- check with Auto Zone that they scan codes for free, they could give you a better answer.
  • strokeoluck2strokeoluck2 Member Posts: 91
    We're thinking about buying an 18' runabout boat, which would need to be pulled by our '08 Pilot. After reading this forum it seems that we need to get the tranny cooler and power steering cooler (?) installed, in addition to the hitch of of course. Our local dealer just informed me this would take approximately 3 to 3.5 hours, and would cost...$1,395.

    $1,400 for this set up?! Does this sound right?

    We live in Minnesota so we can throw a stone and hit a variety of lakes. We would only be driving the trailer/boat to lakes within ~5 to 10 miles of our home, dropping it in the water, and then trailering it back to our garage. I don't even know if we're going to LIKE boating and almost hate to invest $1,400 plus the cost of the boat/trailer, in order to find out (we don't haul anything else).


  • bridgesjbridgesj Member Posts: 1
    1- Tire low pressure sensors are all "on" indicating low tire pressure. Checked pressure and all good
    2- Overhead console button that can be programmed to operate garage door opener does not work. Light comes on but does not operate.
    3- Remotes don't work any longer. Key or interior button unlock the doors but neither remote. Batteries changed in both.

    Afraid to take to the dealer without investigating more for fear of huge repair bill.
    Any suggestions?
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    1. Did you check the spare?
  • poodog13poodog13 Member Posts: 320
    Seems crazy to me to install tranny and power steering coolers simply to tow an 18' boat that probably weights around 2k lbs for 5-10 miles. I could see if you were towing a 22' boston whaler to the shore, but not for what you are going to be doing.
  • cecillcecill Member Posts: 4
    For short runs in Minnesota I think you can get by with just a hitch installed. I ordered on line a Draw Tite hitch and electrical pig tail that plugged in on my 2004 Pilot. Total cost was $155 and that included shipping. . It required removing two bolts to the rear tow hook and installing four bolts. Simple job that took 20 minutes. I ordered it from (ETRAILER.COM). Hope this helps.
  • normhnormh Member Posts: 30
    I have an ' 03 pilot with extended warranty. I bought the factory trailer tow package from H and A for less than $600 and this is why I did it; I was told that if I had any warranty issues relating to the transmission or power steering and did not have the factory kit, it would void the warranty of those items. I tow a 2800# boat less than 10 miles and have since 2003 and have never had any problems.

  • strokeoluck2strokeoluck2 Member Posts: 91
    Thanks guys. I tend to agree with you. Maybe if we think about hauling it way up north I would get the coolers installed. For now I'm going to take a stab at putting this thing on myself for a few hundred bucks.
  • joemama33joemama33 Member Posts: 26
    If the Honda techs ever ask what the hitch is for when you have the Pilot in for service, be sure to tell them it's for a bike rack. :blush:
  • bandajuanbandajuan Member Posts: 2
    Hos, I see your post from last year. I have an 08 pilot and have been experiencing the same problem over the past month. It's been a horror story. Did you ever come up with an answer? Could use your advice if you have any?
  • sddebsddeb Member Posts: 4
    We want to put the hitch on our '03 Pilot because we want a bike rack. The hitch is about $275 at the dealer, but they are charging about the same again to install. Any suggestions on where to take it? We don't need the wiring, etc., because we aren't actually towing anything, just attaching at Thule or Yakima rack for 4 bikes.
  • strokeoluck2strokeoluck2 Member Posts: 91
    As you've seen from my previous post, I'm no hitch expert. However, I took the other person's advice and checked out and wound up purchasing everything I needed from them. I absolutely love their website. They have brief videos that clearly show you how to install their products. On a Pilot they sure make it look easy. Looks like the hardest part of the install will be cleaning the floor of my garage before I get down there to work on this thing. And their customer service was awesome. I emailed them a question about hitch accessories and within several hours they replied back (a real, live person with an "American" name) with links to the products I needed to purchase, as well as a few alternatives.

    Of course with my luck I'll mess something up on the install and wind up doing it three times - but that's usually my problem.

    I spent $215 on the hitch, receiver, two different size balls (yes I know that sounds funny) and wiring harness. Shipping was free.
  • hoshos Member Posts: 31

    I was give n all kinds of excuses going from one honda service department to another. I found that Honda service depts do not take any responsibility over anything you'd report and treat you ike an idiot and tell you 'its all in your head' !!! But, to answer your question, I never got anywhere with them and eventually the spell stopped. I am sorry I could not be of any help.
  • bandajuanbandajuan Member Posts: 2
    Ok, thanks. That is my story exactly. The smell is getting better. What bothers me is that the dealership told me they went through every service bulletin and even spoke with the engineers in California. Obviously you and I have the same issue and others probably have too. Honda likely knows something but they're no help.

    Thanks anyway.
  • pilotvppilotvp Member Posts: 1
    my driver side mirror was broken in a parking garage. The powered mechanism seems to work fine. I just miss the actual mirror glass. Anybody has any idea if I can just replace the mirror (glass) or the whole side mirror including the electrical part has to be replaced.
    If I have to replace the whole thing, is there an online store I could order the correct color since the backing of the mirror is the same as the rest of the car and not primed black as I have seen on a few websites.

    Many Thanks,
  • martin19martin19 Member Posts: 7
    This happened to me on an old car once. I went to a local glass & mirror store and they cut me a new mirror that I glued in myself. It was a while ago, but the whole thing costs less than $10.00.
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    For a bit more money, I think most auto glass places would cut the mirror and glue it on for you.
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