Honda Pilot Maintenance and Repair



  • 01r101r1 Member Posts: 280
    I finally got my rear spoiler replaced! I can now open the hatchback. I don't know if this new spoiler is redesigned, or just installed/adjusted differently, but there is more space between the top edge and the roof line now. Doesn't even look close to rubbing.

    They fixed my driver's seat that would shift left and right when going around corners. They installed a new track.

    They fixed my center seat belt(s) holder problem by installing new ceiling holder/trim pieces. The new ones actually hold the belts with some force. I don't think they'll be falling out any more.

  • lb17lb17 Member Posts: 4
    The SRS light (side air bag off) has been going on/off every 10-15 minutes when no one is sitting on the front passenger car seat. Nothing is placed on/near it either. I understand that the light is supposed to go off if a small child (or an object whose weight is close to that of a child) or someone leans into the path of the air bag.
    However, none of that applies.

    After having taken it to my original dealer - who couldn't fix it. (He took the battery connector off and reset the computer.)
    I am hesitant to take it to another dealer who may waste more of my time or break something else.

    I called Honda and they were not very helpful - no recalls either.

    Would appreciate any info or a fix for it.

    The strange thing is, it does not flash when there is a passenger sitting on the front seat.
  • my_pilot_03my_pilot_03 Member Posts: 7
    On my New Pilot, when i put reverse gear it makes a bang noise (hard knock clearly audible even with windows closed). This happens only once in the morning. If i try to repeat it i cant hear any thing until the next morning.

    What could this be.....
    Any one else facing this.

  • my3kidsmy3kids Member Posts: 56
    I have no idea what it means for the Pilot...but my prior car, a van, did EXACTLY the same thing. I had to leave it over night at the dealership because that was the only way they would be able to hear, and feel, what was happening. The transmission had to be replaced.
  • mstone1mstone1 Member Posts: 1
    Bought 2003 Pilot in May, after 2,600 miles been in shop for the third time. In slow traffice load pop and the engine light comes on and the gear light for D flashes. First time nothing at dealer was done, they couldn't duplicate the probelm. Second time (250 miles later) they replaced the solenoid. Third time (now and a week later after the 2nd time) they say they may have to replace the transmisson. Anyone else having a problem like this?
  • spartan789spartan789 Member Posts: 1
    I have heard that the Navigation System in cars can double as DVD players while the car is in park. I was wondering if anyone else had heard of this and if they have tried it. I looked in my Navigation system manual and it makes no mention of this. I love this car. Never had a problem with it so far (cross my fingers).
  • qbrozenqbrozen Member Posts: 29,255
    from what I've heard, this can't be done. Somebody else had taken theirs to an A/V installer to have it modified so that it could, though.

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

  • t2_t2_ Member Posts: 8
    I can hear the car is knocking, anyone else experience this problem? Could it be because I use 87 octane fuel? Should I be using 93 octane instead? Please advise.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Member Posts: 29,255
    its supposed to run ok on regular, so you shouldn't hear knocking. I might have the dealer check this out.

    We run 93 in our cars, so I can't help you otherwise.

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

  • bbug1bbug1 Member Posts: 76
    Is the sound you're hearing more of a ticking sound?
    In 1997 we owned an Ody that I had in the shop many times for that same sound. Turned out to be nothing. I now hear that same sound in our Pilot, but have learned to accept it as a Honda thing. My husband is a former Honda tech, so when we first got the Pilot I was driving him crazy with all the questions of what was normal or not.
    The only issue I have is when I am driving with the A/C on and am at a stop, when I go to accelerate there is a hesitation, almost a slipping sensation--so that is the only thing we'll be having looked at. Anyone else experience this?
  • t2_t2_ Member Posts: 8
    Yes, yes, yes, that annoying ticking sound...What the ...? It sure sound and feel like the vehicle is knocking when I accelerate. My '02 Accord V6 doesn't make that sound but I use 93 octance fuel since day one so I can't tell. Also, in the Pilot manual, it stated " ...use premium fuel when towing ...? Huh? I always thought it is not a good idea to switch and/or mix fuel??? I will try 93 octane when this tank depleted and keep you posted.
  • tocatoca Member Posts: 147
    switching or mixing octane levels isn't a problem. Try a higher octane for a couple of fill ups and see if this knocking goes away. If not, then you may have a different issue.
  • bobamygelbobamygel Member Posts: 1
    The SRS light on my pilot has been on for months now. I took it to two dealerships, 7 times, and they have not been able to fix it. I filed several complaints with American Honda Motor Company, Inc. and no one ever returned my phone calls or responded to my complaints. I was so furious, I contacted a consumer reporter for my local newspaper. As soon as the reporter called Honda and told them he was going to publish all of this in the paper, Honda called me. I will NEVER BUY A HONDA again! My car is still not fixed. I'll update soon.
  • djfultojdjfultoj Member Posts: 1
    The rear spoiler has warped on my Pilot LX. The spoiler was damaged incident to opening the hatchback. It also slightly bent the roof and scratched the paint. Honda will replace the spoiler under warranty but balks at the body work. I believe if I complain directly to Honda customer service, they will fix the problem. Do others have this problem?
  • bbug1bbug1 Member Posts: 76
    See message # 225 in this thread. I believe there is also a follow up so keep your eye out for that too.
    Think I'll go take a peek at mine and see if it's doing okay.
  • smurray3smurray3 Member Posts: 1
    This could be the throttle cable bracket. Some Pilot owners have bent the bracket back about a quarter inch and the 'knocking' disappeared. The bracket is attached on or near the firewall and sometimes on acceleration this bracket comes into contact with the firewall. The little bend trick seems to work well.
  • buulongbuulong Member Posts: 1
    My Pilot recorded 7500 miles and the manual book suggests to change the rear differential oil. Should I do it? Please advise. Thanks.
  • 01r101r1 Member Posts: 280
    Yes, you should. The first change is very important, it removes all the metal shavings and small debris that forms during break-in.

  • qbrozenqbrozen Member Posts: 29,255
    the differential fluid change is at 15K, not 7500. check yer manual again.

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

  • silverpilot03silverpilot03 Member Posts: 43
    7.5K is for severe service
    15k normal service
    Fluid is 21 USD for 4 quarts-uses 2.78 (going on memory here) plus a few aluminum washers for a couple bucks. DIY is easier than changing the engine oil, but you fill the fluid in an awkward manner. Use a transfer pump for that, or just use some flex hose and gravity. My dealer is charging 45 for the change.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Member Posts: 29,255
    can't find that specifically on the owner link, but it does say this:

    Follow the "severe" schedule only if you drive in one or more of these conditions most of the time:
     Trips of less than 5 miles (less than 10 in freezing weather)
     Extremely hot weather (over 90 degrees F)
     Extensive idling or stop-and-go driving
     Trailer towing, driving with a car-top carrier, or driving in the mountains
     Muddy, dusty, or de-iced roads

    Following the "severe conditions" guidelines won't help your Honda unless you really do drive under those conditions. Many vehicle owners waste time, money, and oil on unnecessary oil changes, for example. The quality of engine oil and filters has steadily improved to keep pace with the requirements of new engines.

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

  • my3kidsmy3kids Member Posts: 56
    I took my car in for the change, and strangely, the service department had never changed the rear diff. fluid on the Pilot. I said the book said I should. They said they never read the book! They didn't know they should have been changing it in their customer's Pilots.

    I'm switching to a Honda place in a different town...
  • 01r101r1 Member Posts: 280
    Yes, it's in the manual, and I agree that 7500 miles is a good change for the first VTM-4 fluid change after reading about all the DIY's that have seen the metal shavings come out. After the first one, if you don't fall firmly into the severe service profile, it's not going to matter if you wait 15K miles.

    It was a no brainer for mine, as I'm squarely in the middle of their severe service profile. YMMV.

  • silverpilot03silverpilot03 Member Posts: 43
    The first change flushes the worn clutch material that is more prevalent upon intitial break in than will be in the future There will be some metal, but in today's production plants, most parts are machined to a higher tolerance and quality than in the past. There is little metal-metal friction in the diff, unlike the engine (piston-rings). You should always do the first engine oil change after 2500 miles, then follow the normal schedule. That first engine flush will make a difference.
  • lbl1lbl1 Member Posts: 1
    The ticking is probably the struts. I have had my Pilot for 8 weeks and heard the ticking about 2 weeks ago. When I took it in they said it was the struts and that they have seen this with other Pilots.
    I went back last week for the "hesitation." They said this is a problem with the exhaust cap or something to do with the exhaust system. I am going to go in Friday for repair.
  • markludmarklud Member Posts: 41
    I've heard from multiple sources, including service dept, that you should not change engine oil in honda till first 7500 miles because of a special break-in oil. Does anyone really know if there is such oil and is that mileage correct? Also, how can I change the rear diff. oil myself and make sure that the dealership will still honor any warranty claims if need be? The owners manual is pretty clear on making sure it is changed or warranty will be voided.
  • tocatoca Member Posts: 147
    I was also told by my dealer that Honda ships their vehicles with an oil containing additives not found in the oil used during changes. However, they said to change at 5,000 not 7,500.
  • silverpilot03silverpilot03 Member Posts: 43
    There is no such thing as SPECIAL break-in oil. Ask them to see that in writing. The only reason you should let the engine break in with DINO oil is to allow a little more friction to wear any of the tighter tolerances. After that, you can change to SYN oil or stay DINO. WATCH YOUR FILTER though. Do some research and you will find a huge difference in the performance of filters. That is the biggest issue with engine longevity. Micron size will tear an engine up if the filtration is not adequate.I just stopped at HONDA today to pick up a part and they asked when I was going to do an oil change. I notified them I did my own at 4K and would follow a 4-5K schedule thereafter. They recommend 4K, not the 7500 the manufacturer recommends. Oil changes can be a sticky (no pun intended) situation that has way too many opinions. My input is just my opinion as a mechanical engineer and quite a few contacts in the automotive world.
  • rcpulkrcpulk Member Posts: 4
    I just picked up my 03 Honda Pilot on Tuesday, and all this talk of problems is making me nervous. I love it so far (250 miles) :) We researched and drove a ton of cars, and this was by far superior. The only thing that has bothered us so far is the loud noise that almost pops your ear drums when driving fast on the highway with the rear windows open.
  • markludmarklud Member Posts: 41
    I've always changed all my vehicles' oil at 3,000mile intervals. I buy name brand oil (exxon, havoline) and fram or purolator filters. Which brand does the best filtering? (honda brand?) Also on the subject of oil, will 5w-30 oil hurt the pilot? I can't even find 5w-20 weight in stores.How about synthetic 0w-30weight? Does anyone know the answer to my question regarding changing my own rear diff. oil. Will it void warranty if honda doesn't do it themselves?
  • markludmarklud Member Posts: 41
    Buy Ventshades side window air deflectors. They do make a big difference in the thumping noise, and keep the rain out if you park with windows slightly open.
  • my3kidsmy3kids Member Posts: 56
    My service manager said the same not change the Pilot's oil the first time until 7000-7500 miles. He said even with severe schedule, keep the initial oil in that long. He said they had had Pilots in with oil leaks that changed too quickly. Don't know if it right or not, but I waited as I was told.
  • silverpilot03silverpilot03 Member Posts: 43
    You can change it yourself. You have to purchase two washers and 2.78Q of fluid. Fluid comes in a 4 Q bottle. Cost is 23 for one bottle and the washers My dealer charges 45 for the complete service. The only problem is filling the fluid. The diff fill hole is a little high and there is minimal clearance, so it is tougher than filling engine oil. I do my own, but I actually enjoy doing the maintenance on my own car.
  • wcothamwcotham Member Posts: 1
    Whenever I apply brakes for the first time after traveling in the Pilot (either forwards or reverse) I hear a fairly loud "clicking" noise coming from the rear of the vehicle. Someone told me that this is the ABS system and is normal. Is this true??
  • tocatoca Member Posts: 147
    Well....I can only go by what two different Honda Service departments told me - and that is Honda's are shipped to dealers with additives. So is the actual quart container "special"? No. But the fact remains the oil in the vehicle you purchased from Honda isn't the same as picking up a quart of Castrol. Both also recommended changing at 5,000.
  • mharris5mharris5 Member Posts: 1
    I am the owner of a 2003 Pilot EX-L with RES and had the selling dealership install Honda designed Rear Back-up Sensors three weeks after vehicle delivery. This is the first SUV I have ever owned and was concerned about my ability to accurately back-up the vehicle without hitting something. Immediately upon taking delivery of the Pilot, after having the sensors installed, I noticed a loud groaning noise emanating from the rear of the vehicle whenever I drive forward or back-up over a minor bump, travel over a dip in the road, or take a sharp turn. It sounds like the rear suspension on an old truck or car with serious suspension issues; but it is not a suspension problem. I returned the Pilot to the dealer and they acknowledged the noise and admitted they had no clue on how to fix the problem. The dealer informed me that they reported the sensor issue to Honda Corporate Technical Services and, 2-months later, I have heard nothing from the dealer or Honda Corporate. This noise is really annoying! Has anyone experienced the same problem? Please, someone advise me!
  • autopilot1autopilot1 Member Posts: 1

    We purchased our 2003 Honda Pilot in Feb03 and it's now at about 9,000 miles. The truck had been wonderful for us until the 7,500 mile service which occurred in July. During that service the dealership did some routine check-ups, an oil change, and flushed the rear differential fluid, all procedures that are called for in the Owner's Manual.
    Then, over the course of the next 2-3 weeks, we started to hear noises in the back end of the truck, particularly when turning. We took it into the dealership to check it out. They've informed us that the rear differential fluid, the same fluid that they flushed less than 800 miles before, was contaminated. The fluid was so full of water that it was not lubricating and as a result the rear differential is shot. They've given us a repair estimate of $3,100 and indicated that it's not covered by warranty because the cause is contaminated fluid - not the vehicle. They claim that the only way that water could have gotten into the fluid is through 2 vents which are inside the back wheels above the axle. They indicated that the truck must have been driven through high water (i.e., higher than mid-way up the axle) which is specifically cautioned against in the Owner's Manual.
    We've only done normal city driving and did not drive through any high water. The dealership is denying the possibility that their technician could have screwed up when flushing the fluid. So now we don't know which direction to go. Is it a manufacturer issue in that the truck is poorly designed and not able to sustain normal city driving - we don't think so unless there are a lot of unhappy Pilot owner's that we don't know about. Or is it a dealer issue in that their technician screwed up.
    We've contacted the BBB, our Attorney General, and are seeking legal counsel.
    Many thanks for any thoughts/advice regarding this issue.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Member Posts: 29,255
    can you tell me what dealer you went to? If this is a service issue, I'd love to know who to avoid.

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

  • alethridgealethridge Member Posts: 1
    My Pilot has a mild high frequency vibration between 70-80 MPH. I've had the tires balanced which had no effect. I rotated the tires front to back which also had no effect. The tires are Goodyear and my Pilot has 8K miles. I'm not even sure it's a tire problem. Any feedback? Also don't tell me I'm to picky and that I drive to fast. Thanks
  • my3kidsmy3kids Member Posts: 56
    Interesting! I had my VTM4 fluid changed and I hear a strange sound from the back of my Pilot! Took it for service and they say all sounds are normal, but it sure doesn't sound normal to me. Not an issue when turning though...just most other times. Sounds as though it is coming from between the back 2 wheels. Where did you hear your noise?
  • limesjalinlimesjalin Member Posts: 1
    I just purchased a new 2003 Pilot EXL-RES and can not seem to fill up the gas tank. The pump shuts off at 3/4 way full everytime. I took it for service and the rep claims that its an SUV feature for the pump to shut off to avoid overflow and that I am suppose to pull the pump out and let the gas drain and then continue. I have tried this and it does not work. The pump will not allow me to pump any more gas and keeps clicking off. Anyone experiencing this annoying problem?
  • hesitanthesitant Member Posts: 17
    After months of looking at different vehicles and asking for advice here at Edmunds, I finally got to test drive one of the rare Pilots that come in to dealerships in my area. I decided to purchase one and have been waiting for a red '04 to come in. Now I am worried about whether I should go back to looking at the Acura or the Chrysler Pacifica.

    Silverpilot03, if you see this, you recommended the Pilot, but your personal info says you own an Acura. What is your take on the Acura reliability? If it is better, it may be worth the price difference. Although the console in the Pilot is much more functional for me than the one in the Acura. And I like that I can get cloth seats in the Pilot. I live in the heat and didn't really want to burn legs on leather seats in the Summer like we do on our Ford Explorer.
  • agostineagostine Member Posts: 2
    I am considering a Pilot and am wondering if any current owners have any problems/concerns with the middle seatbelts in the 2nd and 3rd row seats. The belt originates in the ceiling and comes directly down across the neck, which seems quite unsafe to me. I am 5'5" and it cuts right across which is uncomfortable but in accident it feels as though it could snap your neck. I currently own a landcruiser and the middle belts actually originate from the top of the seat itself, much more comfortable for children especially. I have asked 2 different Honda dealers about the middle belts and each has said the positioning has never been questioned. Please advise if this is an issue with vehicle safety.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Member Posts: 29,255
    What are you worried about?
    The few problems stated here in regards to the more than 80,000 Pilots already on the road? C'mon, its not like there are a huge percentage of problems. Very few and even less are major problems. The only widespread big one was taken care of with a recall and has not been present since the early '03 units.

    I've bought cars with WAY more complaints lodged against it than this (and I'm talking exponentially more problems) and still had no problems with those.

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

  • sjwsmwsjwsmw Member Posts: 131
    That center console has turned out to be a feature that I enjoy daily. I actually NEED it now. At first, the thought of a column shifter was depressing with the connotation of ol fogey, but I got over that real fast after I used it the first time.
    I am quite happy with my cloth interior as well.

    my 2cts.
  • ceadsceads Member Posts: 24
    will it be possible to update my 03 pilot to a 04 in terms of the 2nd row moving forward??? are there any kits out there???

  • janie52janie52 Member Posts: 2
  • janie52janie52 Member Posts: 2
    My pilot which has 11,000 miles on since Nov. of last year. Great car and have had NO problems until last week. Bazaar, in the rain all of a sudden the air in the front cuts off totally, the air in the back is blowing but warm, the back windshield wiper stops in the up position and my right blinker is stuck on. Now, it is hot here and Texas and this is not cool. I get the phone number of the local dealership and talk to the service rep. I mention all that has happened in the past few minutes and I want to bring the car in tomorrow. He says he's never heard of this and said no problem. All of a sudden the air comes on full blast in the front, the back windshield wiper works and the right blinker goes back to normal. Scared me while driving,and I couldn't believe it. Now, since then occasionally the front windshield wiper will go on its own and the back one will do the same. But, no problem with the air conditioning. Good thing!! Has anyone heard of this. I'm questioning to go the service because they won't see any of these problems I'm sure, you know how that works! It seems to be an electrical problem. The reason I bought a Honda was to not have to visit the dealership for repairs. I had enough of that on my Mercedes ML in the first year of production. They were my carwash!!! Any ideas?
  • jbrutvanjbrutvan Member Posts: 13
    we would love to sell our 03 seats (front and second row) for heated (front row) and adjustable second row, i would think you would be able to do this (it's the same frame, etc.) but dont know how. Email corporate, i am.
  • jbrutvanjbrutvan Member Posts: 13
    well, we put a remote start on our pilot and low and behold, the door locks upon selecting reverse or drive and unlocks when you put it in park.
Sign In or Register to comment.