Honda Pilot Maintenance and Repair



  • nasgroupnasgroup Member Posts: 14
    Thanks. Exacvtly what I was looking for...
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    I think I've purchased my last hard copy set. I didn't get $120 worth out of my last set (but I'm not much of a wrench turner either). Now I use my public library online more:

    Online Repair Manuals
  • tornadogtornadog Member Posts: 94
    Wat could be the reason for rought bumpy ride on my month old 2010 honda pilot? It started after they started digging holes in our neighborhood roads, and I had to drive over badly filled ditches. Now even on smooth highways, I can feel the bumps, and can feel it on the accelerator pedals.
  • bigdadi118bigdadi118 Member Posts: 1,207
    Check the air pressure of your tires. If they are all up to par then possible strut/shock leaking fluid and being defective.
  • tornadogtornadog Member Posts: 94
    the pressire is 32 in one tire and 31 in the rest. So I think the pressure is OK.
  • 1008020310080203 Member Posts: 4
    I purchased a new 2010 Honda Pilot Touring last month and have about 2500 miles on it, including one road trip of 1200 miles. Opened the hood (for the first time) and noticed a greasy, oily film with dirt and grit thinly layered in the engine compartment. Not notice this before so quickly in a newly owned car before, checked all of the dip sticks and caps and all are secure. Is this just normal road, travel oils or something mechanically wrong? Any comments appreciated...
  • nasgroupnasgroup Member Posts: 14
    Actually they are $150 for the 2010 Pilot manuals.
    I've just gotten in the habit of buying them for all my motorcycles and cars.
    I'd rather have 'em and not need 'em than not have 'em when I need 'em :)
    I do all my motorcycle(s) wrenching and most of my vehicles depending on how much time and complexity. We rotate replacing 2 vehicles every 4 years thus every 8 years. With car reliability these days the wrenching is mainly wear items like brakes and belts, but have had to change the odd starter.

    It gives me peace of mind when travelling knowing that I have 'em with me. Especially on the motorcycles. Just make sure you put together a useful tool kit with wrenches/sockets/wire/duct tape , etc
  • carfreakkcarfreakk Member Posts: 1
    My mom told me I am getting her 2004 Honda Pilot when I get my license in a few weeks. The car has a few damages and I asked her if she could repair it and then give it to me. She said if I can find a quote on the price of the whole repair she would see what she could do. Here's what is wrong with the car:

    1. 4/6 speakers are blown out and do not work
    2. The car is very very dirty and is stained with coffee and cig ash
    3. Paint stains on the front bumper
    4. A decently deep scratch on the back right fender that took the paint right off
    5. The wheel alignment is off a little bit
    6. A few dents here and there

    What am I looking at as far as pricing?
  • nasgroupnasgroup Member Posts: 14
    ... sounds like a great 2st vehicle ;-)

    My thoughts are

    1. 4/6 speakers are blown out and do not work
    Replace them yourself. Real easy to do. Go to and you can get a set of "Kicker 07DS600" speakers for $40. Cructchfield will give you a list of speakers that fit your new ride. They also have installation instructions. Best buy will install speakers purchased there for around $50.

    2. The car is very very dirty and is stained with coffee and cig ash
    Elbow grease, carpet and upholstery cleaner ill do wonders, plus some febreeze if it is really smokey.

    3. Paint stains on the front bumper
    plan a) Get a rag, spray some brake cleaner and rub the paint off ...
    plan b) Go to Walmart and get a tube of GS-27 and rub the paint off.

    4. A decently deep scratch on the back right fender that took the paint right off
    get a bottle of the factory touchup paint. Check your driver door jamb for the factory paint code.

    5. The wheel alignment is off a little bit
    2 or 4wd? Not more than $100

    6. A few dents here and there
    Leave 'em, it's just character and it is not a new vehicle. There are dent suction devices that could pull 'em out, but why bother...
  • kipkkipk Member Posts: 1,576
    Fan got noisy and vibrated a while back and it cost me $50 for the dealer to remove trash from the bird cage blower. Did fine for a month or so, but the noise has returned. Sounds like the fan is behind the glove box.

    Any instructions on how to remove the glove box and anything else involved, and get to the fan would be appreciated.

  • gmwaltersgmwalters Member Posts: 20
    Kip, it is fairly easy to remove it. Go here for pictures and instructions. Good luck
  • mgol4mgol4 Member Posts: 7
    I had the same problem...first paid dealer to clean out birdcage, then a month later, upon return of vibration, dealer replaced blower under warrantee. Several months later (out of warantee of course) the noise returned, so I decided to check into the matter on my own. I discovered that the noise/vibration would stop when I just manually applied pressure against the housing under the glove box. When I then goty onto the floor and took a good look with a flashlight, I could see that one of the bolts (screws?) which secured the blower housing was missing. I don't know if had alway been missing or whether it was never replaced when the blower was previously replaced. In any event, when I brought it back to the dealer for my next service, I pointed out the missing bolt which they replaced (no charge) and things have been quiet for over a year now. Hope this helps. Good luck.
  • kipkkipk Member Posts: 1,576
    Thanks for your help guys. I'm nearing getting the glove box out. can see where they sawed away the plastic trim to get to the metal bracket. Got the screw and bolt out of each side but the bracket still won't budge. So I'm going back to the web sight gmwalters offered to see if I've missed something.


    Everything is vibrating in the area but it seems the most is coming from an area that has a small filter over it. (Seen when the glove box is hanging down.) When looking up from the floor there appears to be the bottom of a black motor. Is that the blower. Does it drop out the bottom by removing a couple of screws?

  • matmel04matmel04 Member Posts: 9
    I just had my brand new 2009 Pilot delivered to my house yesterday. The engine started just fine when they took it off the truck and I drove it into my garage. Now... it won't start! A couple hours after I had parked it, I went out to turn it on and the lights were all dim with the lights on the dashboard all flashing sporadically. The engine doesn't even turn. We thought it was the battery, but it shows it's fully charged (and we tried jump-starting it a couple times just to make sure).

    What on earth could be wrong? It only has 25 miles on it and was in the showroom of the dealership. We were supposed to drive it to visit family today, but all the dealerships (service dept.) are closed on Sunday and we can't find anything in the manual about this. Any ideas that we can try today?
  • kipkkipk Member Posts: 1,576
    I was recently working on our Pilot for several hours and the doors were open.
    When I turned the key on to crank it, the dash board lights blinked and there was a clicking sound. Just as you have described.

    I did notice that the interior lights were very dim. I checked the battery charge and it was something like 8.5 volts. That is a deeply discharged battery. Although the overhead lights turn off after a while, with the doors open, the low lights inside the front doors will remain on if the doors are not closed completely. .

    You say the battery shows it is fully charged. Are you using a meter or looking at the "EYE" on the battery itself.?

    If the battery is at a good charge, I would suspect that one or both battery connections may be somewhat loose. Dealerships generally will disconnect batteries when the cars are in the showroom. Someone may have "Stuck" the cable back on to get it out of the show room, but it was never tightened properly.

    They may have done the disconnect on the "Black" negative cable on the battery. Or at the other end of that cable, that runs from the battery to ground on the cars body. That connection is usually close to the battery and easy to get at.

    Even with a fully charged battery, a bad cable connection can behave like a discharged battery. When trying to jump start, a loose cable could still interfere.
  • kipkkipk Member Posts: 1,576
    Our '03 4wd Pilot has begun to make a strange sound from the rear end area.

    Hard to explain the sound. It is something like the sound you get when driving across the ridges on the side of an Expressway that let you know you are out of your lane, but not nearly as loud. Or the sound of going across an area where something with steel tracks, like a bull dozier has indented the asphalt, or rain groves have been cut "Across" the lane. It is a muted sound and not real noticeable if the drivers window is open a couple of inches or the radio is fairly loud.

    Kind of a "romp-romp-romp" sound. Each "romp" will be maybe a half second long, and there may be only one or there may be several. I've driven over the same sections of the road where it occurred at a particular time and everything was fine. So I dont think it is a road surface thing. Never know when it will happen. Might drive for a half an hour and everything is fine or it may happen several times in 5 minutes of driving.

    Doesn't seem to matter the speed, what gear the tranny is in, or whether or not the car is warmed to operating temperature. I've rotated the tires front to rear, and changed the VTM-4 fluid, with "HONDA" brand trying to eliminate the problem, even though it was changed by the dealer about 8K miles ago. on the 30K service. (At least I was charged for a change)

    It doesn't happen when a Honda tech is in the car, and they say it is probably the ABS doing "Self Checks". I'm having trouble believing that, because it was never noticed until the last few thousand miles . Surely the ABS was doing "Checks" before now.

    Any ideas.?

  • matmel04matmel04 Member Posts: 9
    Thanks for all your helpful information! It was the battery. The battery was completely dead and needed to be charged. Everything else is working great now. :)
  • strokeoluck2strokeoluck2 Member Posts: 91
    On our 2008 Pilot the inside "manual" headliner lights don't shut off when the doors are shut and the key out of the ignition. I think this is the craziest thing in the world. We have two young kids and an active life. On occasion they turn the light on to see something (gets dark quick in MN), wife pulls in garage, and then everyone piles out...leaving a light or two on. If this is still the case w/the new Pilots then Honda needs to assign someone to start reading these forums and correct this. I've got an Acura TL - also built by Honda - that does NOT do this. In all other respects we really like the Pilot.
  • kipkkipk Member Posts: 1,576
    On our 03, If a door is opened and left that way for a while, or a door is not closed all the way, the "automatic" interior lights will turn off after a few minutes. EXCEPT for the lights in the lower panel of the front doors. They stay on and are hard to see from the outside as their position doesn't light up the interior much.

    The 03 has a 3 way switch on the dash that will turn on all the interior light in one position. The middle position lets them work automatically when doors open and close, and the 3rd position keeps them from turning on when the doors are opened.
    Or even if someone tries turning them on manually.

    The "MAP" lights up front can be turned on, and they stay on, no matter the position of the 3 way switch. .

  • dlmlclkldlmlclkl Member Posts: 1
    Labor cost is $367 and parts $171
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    Assuming you're in the US, you can compare the cost to what Edmunds thinks it should cost for your zip code.

    Edmunds Maintenance Guide
  • savegassavegas Member Posts: 26
    dealer told me 03 Pilot has the left front struck leaking. $354.00 parts and labor for one struct but both front structs should be replaced together.
    how can i verify that the front struct does have leak?
    i don't hear or feel any abnormal sounds or handling from the vehicle.

    any suggestions?
  • kipkkipk Member Posts: 1,576
    Probably will need to crawl under the car with a flashlight, and visually check.

    A lot of $$ to replace a strut. But seems about right in the scheme of how dealers now charge.

    Might want to try pricing the shocks/struts at one of the "Wholesale" Honda Dealers, such as Majestic Honda. Then find a "Honda/Acura" independent mechanic to do the install.

    Both of the rear struts on our 03 Pilot are leaking a bit, but the last few months remaining on the 7/75K Honda Care EW is going to replace them. Only 39K on the car right now.

    How many miles are on your car?

  • savegassavegas Member Posts: 26
    my 03 is about 77K right now.
    thanks for the info.
  • jensadjensad Member Posts: 388
    I would get a second opinion as to what is wrong and how much to fix. Also, "how can i verify that the front struct does have leak"? Ask for the part, i.e. keep the strut and if you cannot see any leakage, take it to another dealer, or maybe a friend that knows cars, and ask them to check the strut to see anyleakage.

    Good luck to all and stay safe.

  • superjonsuperjon Member Posts: 3
    I have noticed the same noise with my Pilot. I have an '05 Pilot LX. The noise is totally random. Nothing I do seems to trigger it. The noise comes about whenever it wants and for how ever long it wants. I have noticed with my vehicle that it seems to be happing around the 45 mph range.

    I have not pinpointed where the noise is coming from. I think it sound like it is coming from the front end of the vehicle but I am not certain because the issue comes on so suddenly when I am not paying attention and it is gone before I can do any real diagnostics.

    I liken the sound to what you said about driving over those "rumble" grooves on the sides of the roads. The noise almost sounds like the noise that was heard in old 4wd axles that had manual hubs when one hub was not fully engaged. You would hear a vibration noise.

    The part that really baffles me is that, considering how loud the noise is, I do not feel any sort of vibration through the floor boards, steering column, etc. as I would expect from a drivetrain issue.

    Please help!!!

  • kipkkipk Member Posts: 1,576
    I've been paying better attention to when the sounds occur. Seems to happen most in the 48 mph range. With the tach at 1500 - 2000 rpm depending on whether the TC is locked. At that speed it usually only does it once or twice. But may repeat that several times in a mile. Or I may drive it 15-20 minutes and it doesn't happen at all.

    It will also occasionally do it at slower speeds around 25-35 mph. But doesn't happen as often as at the higher speed. At these slower speeds it seems to growl 3-4 times in a 5 second span. Then it is over.

    Sure sounds like it is coming from the back. Dealer is replacing the leaky rear shocks in hope they are the problem. I don't have a lot of faith in that "Fix", but am grateful they found the leaks before the EW ends.

    This car has had a brake "POP" since day one. Applying the brakes when backing will cause the pop, then the first time they are used going forward it will pop again. Then they are fine until used in reverse again. It is like the brake pads are shifting on their pins a bit. I believe there is a TSB for that, but it never was a recall. I'm going to ask the dealer about fixing it. Maybe one of them is vibrating, just from the rotor turning. Grasping at straws here. :cry:

  • superjonsuperjon Member Posts: 3
    I would be willing to say my drivetrain noise is in that same area as yours. I wish someone would let me know what it is. I want to fix it before (hopefully) it becomes a bigger issue or let's my wife sitting someplace odd.

    I am rest-assured that it is not the rear shocks. The noise that I am hearing is coming from something that is either electronically engaged or has inertial engagement mechanisms like a speed governer does. Something is engaging something else.

    I have heard that popping noise you mentioned. I have seen that on many vehicles. It comes from when the brake pads do not release the whole way and leave a small amount of tension onto the disc. When you back up after going forward, the entire brake caliper shifts against the opposite mounts. That is when you hear the pop. When you go forward again, it will shift up against the forward mounts and make the pop again. On most vehicles, you will not hear the noise again because the brakes free up after they are cycled a few times and seem to release entirely. However, when the vehicle sets for a while, say overnight or at work, the process will probably start over. Usually, a good dissasembly of all the caliper mount parts and pistons and then resealing with new seals and greasing all the proper parts clears the issue right up. It's time consuming but makes things sound a lot better.

  • superjonsuperjon Member Posts: 3
    I have a 2005 Pilot LX that has 111k miles on it. The vehicle has been meticulously maintained and has had all the Honda-recommended services performed at their proper intervals.

    The issue I am having is noticeable usually when I am gradually accelerating, say, like through a neighborhood. When I get up into the 30's mph range the vehicle will start the buck. It is not violent, but it is definitely not good for whatever is causing the issue.

    The only thing I can assume it might be would be something like the torque converter lock-out clutch pulsing in and out of lock about every half second.

    The issue will continue to do this as long as I maintain the specific amount of input and output load and speed on the drivetrain.

    The shaking will not happen if the vehicle is accelerated at a moderate or aggressive rate. It shifts fantastic when driving like that!

    Please advise...

  • shodanusmcshodanusmc Member Posts: 14
    There is a SHIM kit that they will put on the rear brakes which will fix that clunk when going forward after backing up, There was a RSB for this. There were also several recalls for the 03' was for the TRANNY and one for a Pully.
  • kipkkipk Member Posts: 1,576
    Yep, there was a whole "wad" of TSBs for the 03 Pilot. The engine timing belt pulley didn't apply to mine, but there were many other TSBs that did. Some were a recall that I needed to take it in for on a "Special" trip. Although, most were done while at the dealer during routine services.

    Then there were a few problems that were not included on TSBs such as the EGR valve that eventually acted up resulting in the car "Bucking" when it tried to lock up the torque converter around 50 mph.. It gave the impression that the tranny was coming apart. It seemed to act up when the car got 20k+ on the odometer which represented 1.5 to 2 years for most cars. Mine didn't do it until about 4 years down the road due to low mileage driving . Dealer didn't have a clue as to what was wrong and thought there was a tranny problem . But there were no codes on the computer. Honda tech support was no help to them. After the best part of a day of looking they put me in a rental car. Late that day, a service writer, not involved, got involved and said he remembered a rash of that problem from a couple of years earlier. So it got fixed. Fortunately the extended warranty covered it.

    I'm not one to buy a new year model, and really not one to jump on the first year of a completely new model. Prefer to let a couple of years go by for the mfg to work out the bugs.

    The Pilot was an exception. We needed the 3rd row of seating, and I just liked the looks and the way it drove. Also the Acura MDX had already been on the road for a year, and I convince myself that the bugs had been taken care of there, and "fixes" would have been passed on to the Pilot. WRONG.

    For the most part it has been a good, but not a great car. The newer Pilots are much more refined and a lot quieter inside as far as wind noise and road noise are concerned.

    FWIW, yesterday my wife and I were riding in the Pilot and the "NOISE" started acting up big time. That pretty much snapped my last nerve. :sick: Stopped at our local Honda dealer and drove a Ridgeline, because we now need a Pick up more than we need the 3rd row of seats. After 30-40 minutes of discussion, they allowed us the "Excellent" (KBB) trade in and discounted the 09 Ridgeline $4000. Trade difference was $16,225.

    I felt it was a "Fair" deal and I'm happy with the way the Ridgeline drives, rides and handles. Much quieter inside than the Pilot was. That may have to do with the rear wheels being "Outside" the cabin and the longer wheel base. Hopefully the bugs are worked out of the 09 models.

    Next door neighbor got a Ridgeline in '07. My son got one in '08. Neither has had any problems. Neighbor pulls a near 4000# foldable Trailmanor camper. Son hunts some of the most gosh awful terrain in the world and this time of the year his Ridgeline is covered in mud as is the trailer and 4 wheeler he tows behind it.
    Hopefully, this one will be just as reliable as their's have been. :)

  • ante71ante71 Member Posts: 7
    Hey guys, Do you think it's a good deal or Is it worth it If I get my Bnew Pilot EX-L a 5 year/60,000 miles maintenance Plan for $2,000? It includes Regularly scheduled factory recommended services, Oil and filter changes every 3,750 miles and 1 detail per year? Please need your opinion.

  • boughtalemonboughtalemon Member Posts: 28
    Absolutely not! An oil change is about $30 and you'll do maybe 4 a year, so in two years you'll spend $440 for that. You'll probably spend another $400 on those scheduled maintenance services. So, do the math.
  • boughtalemonboughtalemon Member Posts: 28
    Sorry,I made a typo, the oil changes will cost you $240, not $440.
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    For future reference, after posting, you may edit your post for 30 minutes.

    And 3,750 mile oil change intervals are wasteful and unneeded. The factory recommended interval from Honda is 10,000 miles for the 2010 Pilot (so even $240 is high, boughtalemon).

    And every time you go for your "prepaid" maintenance, what you want to bet the service writer will try to upsell you something else?
  • ante71ante71 Member Posts: 7
    @ boughtalemon and steve,

    Thanks to all your replies, I decided not to get that plan after reading all your opinions.
  • demmomdemmom Member Posts: 1
    My 2008 SE Honda Pilot made a horrible noise while backing out of the garage and whenever I turned the steering wheel. I thought it was only a tension belt. It only has 23,000 miles on it. I took it to the dealer and was told that I needed a new power steering rack and pump. We have owned 6 Honda cars between my husband and I and have never experienced a problem like this. I was told that it is a manufacturing defect.

    Anyone else have a problem like this?
  • jmac8jmac8 Member Posts: 12
    Have not had that problem but my 2006 pilot with 50,000 miles needed the catalytic converter replaced. Thank goodness it was covered under the federal warranty. My honda warantee expired. I am considering an extended warantee. Does anyone have any suggestions for a extended warranty?
  • kipkkipk Member Posts: 1,576
    There is a Honda Pilot forum, on edmunds, with Extended Warranty as the topic.

    "HondaCare Extended Warranty Price? Is it worth it?"

    Good stuff there, especially which ones to consider and which to stay away from.

  • strokeoluck2strokeoluck2 Member Posts: 91
    We have an '08 exL and have not had the issue you describe. I read this forum sporatically and don't recall seeing any other similar posts (but you can do a search). We had one minor suspension problem that required a couple visits to the dealer because we couldn't duplicate the problem in front of the techs. But they eventually found it and fixed it under warranty. Overall our Pilot has been extremely reliable, comfortable and enjoyable.

    We investigated extended warranties but decided against it. A warranty is insurance. One of the reasons we purchased a Honda was because of it's reliability, so I felt it wasn't necessary to spend $1,500 to $2k on an extended warranty that might protect us for another couple years (at the rate we put miles on). I would not presume to know what your situation is, or what the best deal might be for you.
  • sihansihan Member Posts: 5
    2004 Pilot.

    I noticed the color of coolant was blue, not typical green. Called Autozone, Kragen etc to match the color but no one has it. In fact they don't even have a data base to match 2004 Pilot for coolants. Does anyone know if it's OK to use a standard green coolant on my pilot or do I have to buy the blue one from the dealer? I read from some mag that you have to match the color but I'm not sure..

  • zdogszdogs Member Posts: 18
    I have an '09 EX and was planning to take it in yesterday for it's first dealer service (indicator came on at about 5,800 miles). When I started driving to work yesterday I noticed a faint humming sound and thought how lucky it was that I was going in for service today. They checked it out and told me that my hearing was good because indeed there was a humming sound - front right wheel bearing was going bad. They replaced it and now it's good to go. I realize even Hondas can have some things go wrong early on, but I hope this isn't a sign of things to come...
  • kipkkipk Member Posts: 1,576
    >" I realize even Hondas can have some things go wrong early on, but I hope this isn't a sign of things to come..."

    Stuff happens! We just keep in mind that, Generally Speaking, Honda is one of the best about fixing those things quickly. And overall you are likely to have less trouble from your Honda than most any other brand on the market.

    Hopefully those things that do go wrong will happen within the first 3 year/36k miles.

    FWIW I've purchased Extended warranties on the last several vehicles, including 2 Hondas.
    They have all paid for themselves fixing things that should not have gone wrong, but did. :sick:

    Just bought a new '09 Ridgeline and the "Honda Care" extended warranty ended up costing $1335 for 96 months/100K miles and "0" deductible. A '$50 deductible would have been $1135. Probably could have gotten it a bit cheaper, but I wanted to get it over with, while at the dealer, and have it included in the financing.

  • tallnycfliptallnycflip Member Posts: 1
    I have an 06 Pilot EX. I have kept it in impeccable condition. The car is coming to 45K miles. I've never driven it past 85 mph. And I've never had any major repairs done to the car or it's engine.

    My question is whether at the 45K reading, should I have a major overhaul done to the car or just replace the oil and spark plugs? I recently lost my job so I don't have money to spend like I used to. Anything I can do to keep it running great like it is and save money at the same time would be great. Any advice would be appreciated.
  • kipkkipk Member Posts: 1,576
    At 45K the transmission fluid needs to be changed. If it is 4WD, the rear end dope needs changing also.

    Engine oil and filter and tire rotation should pretty much complete the necessities. Most of these things can be done by the owner. But I would definitely use OEM Honda parts for everything except the engine oil.

    You shouldn't need spark plugs until 100K or so.

    If you have the work done at a Honda dealer, it pays to do price shopping. Honda dealers in our area are competing for service work.

    Hopefully something wonderful in the job market will present itself real soon.
    Prayer really helps! :)

  • crbiermancrbierman Member Posts: 8
    I have an 08 Pilot with black side steps that I transferred from my previous 05 model. Will those same side steps fit on the new body style of the 10?
  • strokeoluck2strokeoluck2 Member Posts: 91
    Consider it a freak thing. We have an '08 ExL and had a front something-or-other replaced on the suspension. Had it not been covered under warranty it would have run us about $250 in parts/labor. We also purchased a Honda because of it's reputation for reliability. We also own an Acura - partly for the same reason (and it's also a blast to drive). Aside from the suspension issue both cars have been extremely reliable and well-built.

    We have never purchased an extended warranty for a vehicle. Our previous three vehicles exceeded 100,000 miles - and we never experienced any major repairs (and two of those vehicles were American made!). I suppose lightning could strike at any time, but I just have a hard time coughing up $1,000+ for that extra insurance. I figure that's the reason I'm paying a premium for a reliable brand in the first place.
  • knewbieknewbie Member Posts: 6
    Hello, I have Honda 2004 PIlot EXL, done all maintanace schedule at Dealer so far , Pilot has 50000 miles on it, recently I notice I can't put the gear in D3 or 1, and second Gear. onlly , "R" and "D" works, enen the VTM botton doesn't work when I push it no light leads. please help.

  • jerryoster1jerryoster1 Member Posts: 6
    I had the same issue the first time I tried to use the lower gear and 4 wheel drive. (2006 EXL) What I found I did incorrectly was to pull the shifter toward me when changing ranges. If you just press up or down on the shifter without doing that, it worked. The 4 wheel light won 't work unless you are in the lower gears. (I didn't reead the manual.) I hope that's your answer also.
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